The Walter B. Jacobs Memorial Nature Park in Caddo Parish is just a short drive from anywhere in the area and is a wonderful place for hikers, nature lovers and family fun. The park is located about 5 miles west of the town of Blanchard in western Caddo Parish.
The nature park consists of 160 acres with seven short trails totaling around five miles. There is an aviary housing several raptors, an owl, and a bald eagle as well as a deer pen. The visitors’ center is worth a visit by itself. The center houses an extensive collection of the area’s wildlife, interactive displays for children and my favorite feature-a “Please Touch!” table with tortoise shells, animal skulls and other items for visitors to examine.
The park’s five miles of trails offer scenic views, including a stand of uncut hardwood, one of the few remaining in Northern Louisiana and the only one on public lands. On the day I visited, the trails were being enjoyed by 20 members of the Bayou Chapter of the Ozark Society who stopped to have their picture taken by the Journal.
As in the other places I’ve visited in my travels, the staff makes the visit special. Naturalist Joe Drane took time to show me each of the raptors and bald eagle. He told me about the park’s educational-and fun-programs for children and adults. He is a font of knowledge on nature, animals, and their environments. His enthusiasm is evident, not only in his presentations, but in the meticulous care and maintenance evident throughout the facility.
The Walter B. Jacobs Memorial Nature Park is a wonderful opportunity for some family fun and learning. The park is also well worth a visit for hikers and anyone looking for a get-away from our all too often stressful and rushed world. The Walter B. Jacobs Memorial Nature Park is free to visit. More information may be found at http://www.caddoparks.org. Get out and explore!
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