Alligators, Ibis, egrets, herons, bald eagles, cormorants, ducks, nutrias, possums, cypress trees, etc. can all be seen on this fantastic tour that meanders down Alligator Bayou and into the 13,000 acre Spanish Lake Basin and wetlands. You'll take the Alligator Queen, a 42-seat flat, canopied river boat and be thoroughly entertained by the captain and the tour guide who have a wealth of knowledge about the area's history and ecology and spark it up with humor and surprises. We had the BEST time here and recommend it to anyone wanting to get a real sense of Louisiana culture, ecology and Cajun history (and those yearning to get some "hands-on" experience with the gators!). I promise you you won't be disappointed! Tours are by reservation only and we recommend the evening (5pm) one because of the chance of seeing a red sunset such as the one we saw over the Spanish Lake Basin. Amazing!
Alligator Bayou is a nice-sized bayou running into a series of canals and into Spanish Lake. I'm not associated with them, but the place is run as a commercial business. (I hope that this fact won't cause my description to be pulled.) Most of the land is actually owned by a non-profit organization that bought these 900 acres to keep them from being cut for timber.
The primary tourist attaction at Alligator Bayou is the swamp tour. The tour runs on big pontoon boats that hold fifty people or so. For adults, the cost is $15 with lesser costs for children and seniors. I haven't taken the tour yet, so I can't comment on its quality or length. From what I've heard as the boat passes me on the bank, the tour is pretty standard but good.
The place also rents canoes for about $10 per hour or so. They aren't bad canoes, but like any rental canoe, they take a beating.
The brochure advertises a Cajun history museum, but that project is still in development. The brochure also mentions cottages, but I've never seen them. They have a building that looks like a restaurant, but I've never been able to tell whether it runs all the time or just on special occasions. They have parties on the big back porch outside the building, but those parties are group events.
Finally, they offer their boat launch facilities for a $5 per launch fee. I've launched from there a couple of times in my kayak.
The drawing point of this location is the swamp. For people who aren't from this area, the swamp is exotic and beautiful. I've seen herons, egrets, cormorants, Mississippi kites, and swallows around the lake area. I've only seen a few alligators. I've seen nutria every time that I've explored an area called 'The Flats.'
Nutria are somewhat similar to beaver, but they don't have a flat tail and don't make dams. They were introduced to Louisiana as a captive animal to be raised for fur. They were originally kept in a cage on McIlerny Island where they make Tabasco sauce. However, a hurricane flooded the island, and the nutria swam over the top of their fence and escaped into the wild. They are still trapped for their fur and a favorite food of both Cajuns and alligators.
In addition to the animal life, the plant life is interesting. The swamps have some big cypress trees, and everything to every side is green with vegetation.
2 Reviews and Opinions
16520 Airport Drive, Prairieville, Louisiana, 70769, United States
Ok,I have to be honest. The only real nightlife in the part of Prairieville I live in is a trip to Sonic or Snap Fitness, or maybe a stop in the local Walgreens or supermarket. A little further away there are a few nice restaurants and shops. What I love to do is go out on my back patio over looking our lake and watch the sun set. Nothing like it.
Dress Code: pajamas if you wish!
I can't recall why I have this in here because I never go here anymore, but...it's close to home and many other people like it :) One of the main reasons to go to Freds is to take a boat onto the Amite River which it borders (pronounced A-meet) and finish at Freds for some grub and brew.
Dress Code: Very casual ie: flipflops and shorts
Alligator Bayou - I've described Alligator Bayou in my 'must see' section, but one of the ladies at the canoe rental area told me that the bar stays open on Sunday night until 2:00 am Monday morning. I'm not a fan of the bar scene usually, so I can't say whether this bar is a worthwhile place to go. I assume that if they'd stay open that late on a Sunday night, they'd be open other nights as well.