Festival of Lights 2018
Family Travel, Holidays, Outdoor fun

Top 10 Holiday Destinations 2021

December 1, 2021

Fill the winter break this year with a trip to one of these top 10 holiday destinations!

Zoolights at BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo

Join BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo for Zoolights through Thursday, December 30. This nightly event is presented by Children’s Hospital of New Orleans and features more than 50 illuminated sculptures of animals and traditional holiday displays for the whole family to enjoy. Again this year, every guest presenting a non-perishable food item during Zoolights, will receive half off of regular admission price. All donations benefit the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. Now, that’s a dazzling way to make a difference this holiday season. brzoo.org

Red Stick Rising

There’s nothing like ringing in the new year in Louisiana’s Capital City. And this year before the countdown to 2022 begins at Baton Rouge’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration–Red Stick Revelry, presented by BankPlus–the kids can start their own New Year’s tradition. Red Stick Rising is the ultimate event for the whole family, complete with storytelling, arts and crafts activities, a special performance from Clay Achee and his puppets, and an “Auld Lang Syne” sing-along while Baton Rouge prepares for the red stick drop. From 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., there’s no shortage of fun for children as we toast to the new year and rock around the clock in Baton Rouge. visitbatonrouge.com

Ice Skating on the River

The Raising Cane’s River Center will once again magically transform into a “Winter Wonderland” just in time for you to create your holiday memories. Ice Skating on the River is an annual holiday tradition that will kick off on Friday, December 17, 2021. A fun-filled holiday event for all ages, Ice Skating on the River will have 75-minute sessions nearly every day from December 17, 2021 until January 3, 2022. Ice Skating on the River has group pricing, birthday packages and skating lessons available. For more information, visit them online. raisingcanesrivercenter.com

USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park

Now Hear This! Looking for a day trip for the entire family? USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park is your destination. Step back in time as you board the WWII battleship the Mighty A. See how the crew lived, worked, fought and played. Explore 10 decks on your self-guided tour. From battle stations to the ice cream parlor, this floating city is full of stories. Tour the WWII submarine USS Drum and learn about her dog, Stateside. The Aircraft Pavilion has a collection of historic aircraft, including a spy plane, military trucks and jeeps, and a Flight Simulator. The park is open every day except Christmas Day. Free kennels, picnic area, and fishing pier. ussalabama.com

Perkins Rowe

Perkins Rowe is the ultimate place to be during the holidays. From clothing to sports memorabilia, visitors can cross off their entire holiday shopping list at the Rowe. While shopping, they can enjoy the twinkling Christmas tree in Town Square and have their photo taken with Santa in the Cajun Night Village. Visitors can also stop by on Saturday, December 11 from 5-8 p.m. for the annual Santa Rocks the Rowe event to enjoy live music, children’s activities, and surprises. perkinsrowe.com

Christmas on the River

The lights will be bright this holiday season at Monroe-West Monroe’s Christmas on the River. Through December 31, visitors will enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas. The season begins with the Freedom Trees at the Chennault Aviation and Military Museum, followed by Santa’s Christmas Village at the Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum, open wagon rides through the lights, holiday outdoor movies, and Candy Cane Lane, a drive-through light park in Calhoun. Festival Weekend is packed full of holiday cheer with two parades, the Kiwanis Club of Greater Ouachita Christmas Parade and the Bawcomville Redneck Parade. Additional events this weekend include a Downtown Gallery Crawl, a 5K, live entertainment, and fireworks. christmasontheriver.org

French Market District

Immerse yourself in the holiday season at the French Market District. We’ve decked our halls from Jackson Square to the Flea Market to celebrate the season, including our Christmas tree adjacent to Café du Monde in Oscar Dunn Park (formerly Washington Artillery Park). Don’t forget to mark your calendar to join us for our annual family-friendly St. Nick Celebration in Dutch Alley on Saturday, December 11 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., featuring live music, kid’s activities, a petting zoo, and the St. Nick Second Line. More information about St. Nick Celebration and more holiday offerings can be found online. frenchmarket.org

New Orleans City Park’s Celebration in the Oaks

Celebration in the Oaks presented by Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust in New Orleans City Park, the Park’s largest fundraiser, has fascinated guests for years as one of the most spectacular holiday lights festivals in the country. This year, the highly successful Driving Tour–featuring City Park’s famous giant live oak trees swathed in more than a million twinkling lights throughout the 2.25-mile ride–will return, in addition to an expanded experience in the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park and the Botanical Garden, including rides, marshmallow roasting, and hot chocolate. celebrationintheoaks.com

Celebrate the Holidays with Audubon Nature Institute

Help make a positive impact on the natural world this holiday season with a visit to Audubon Zoo and Audubon Aquarium. From lions and sharks to otters and orangutans, have a memorable time with your whole family. Reach into the ocean at the Shark Discovery, the new shark and ray touchpool at the Aquarium, and swing to the Zoo to experience unique natural habitats such as the award-winning Louisiana Swamp and Jaguar Jungle. While you’re there, discover how you can do a world of good to protect these animals. Reserve your tickets online. audubonnatureinsitute.org/tickets

Barn Hill Preserve

For the animal lover in you, come take a walk on the wild side at Barn Hill Preserve. Barn Hill Preserve is a zoological facility located in Ethel, Louisiana. Barn Hill promotes animal education through unique hands-on experiences. The most popular and unique experience at Barn Hill is the otter swim. Guests have the opportunity to have a two-hour guided tour and meet and hold a two-toed sloth on a pillow on their lap, and then they will get in a climate-controlled pool with asian small-clawed otters. Barn Hill also allows guests to bottle feed a six-month old giraffe, T’challa. Guests can learn about reticulated giraffes while having a once in a lifetime experience feeding one up close. To learn about every experience Barn Hill Preserve offers, visit their website barnhillpreserve.com, or email office@barnhillpreserve.com. Be sure to follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.

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