Monroe, Louisiana may be a small town but it has become a tourist attraction for Duck Dynasty fans. With this being the last season the show will air on TV, it is no surprise that people will be planning a weekend trip to visit the Duck Commander soon. Going beyond your fan experience of touring the warehouse and trying to catch an autograph or two, there are several attractions this small town offers. Here are some suggestions of things to do in Monroe, Louisiana beyond the Duck Commander.
Things To Do In Monroe, Louisiana
Biedenharn Museum & Gardens
Whether you are a Coca-Cola consumer or not, this museum was neat to visit. The Coca-Cola portion of the museum itself was not very large, but there were a few fascinating facts to learn and exhibits to see. You can start by touring the home of the first bottler of Coca-Cola, Joseph Biedenharn. His daughter, Emy-Lou, was a renowned opera singer during the World War II years and decorated each room of the home, very elegantly.
After walking through the home, head over to the Coca-Cola counter.
One of the workers will tell you all about Coke’s beginnings and how the bottling process works. I was actually surprised to learn they ship these tiny little bottles to be filled. The small containers are really hard plastic so it is shocking to know they expand so large. After hearing the stories of Coca-Cola history you are welcomed to walk around and see the artifacts.
I love this brightly colored truck. It is one of the original delivery trucks for Coca-Cola. Can you imagine seeing the soda man driving around bottles of Coke to be sold? You are welcome to take photos and pose by all the displays. They have vintage signs and unique bottle wrappers on display. Some are showcased from around the world.
After you have toured the inside of the museum, head outside to enjoy a nice cold Coca-Cola in an old fashioned glass bottle for only $0.05! Just like they used to be. This is the only place you can still buy a Coke for five cents. The kids thought this was pretty cool. The museum does limit it to only one bottle per guest to keep things fair.
This old vending machine may not be electronic but it even offered a place for you to open your bottle right on the front of the machine.
After enjoying your nice cold Coke, browse through the beautiful gardens. There is over an acre of beautiful scenery to take in. Fountains, French ironwork, statues, and many blooms surround this tranquil area.
We had a great time taking family photos and being silly. On each of our trips we take a jumping photo, it’s tradition.
Adjacent to the home, you can explore the extensive collection of historically significant and unique Bibles, including a Gutenberg leaf, in the Bible Museum.
Hours: 10am-5pm Tuesday-Saturday
Cost: Adults – $10, Children – $6
Chennault Aviation & Military Museum of Louisiana
As a military family we enjoyed browsing the Chennault Aviation and Military Museum. As Duck Dynasty fans our kids got a kick out of seeing Uncle Si’s military uniform on display. Before you even walk in the door to the museum you can explore and take photos with the military helicopter and truck.
This is another small museum and will not take you long to go through the whole thing. There are numerous glass cabinets filled with items and the gentlemen working inside loves to tell you all about the history of various items. He was a very lovely man.
Location: 701 Kansas Ln, Monroe, LA 71213
Hours: 9:00am-4:00pm Tuesday-Saturday
Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge
You can’t visit Louisiana without heading over to the bayou. The Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge is a free place for your family to explore. There are several wooden walkways and lookout decks you can stand on to take photos or watch for wildlife.
The 4,500-acre expanse of lake, swamp, bottomland hardwoods, mixed pine and hardwood uplands is a wildlife habitat with all manner of plant species and everything from small alligators and turtles to coyote, deer and a wide variety of fowl. Delight in the beauty of herons, egrets, orioles and red-winged blackbirds from the wildlife pier or bird blind.
We went for a walk on a nature trail that twists its way through a forested wetland. I suggest using bug repellent and plenty of sunscreen. Besides viewing the 1,600 acre lake from the trails, you can also rent a canoe to row your way out under the cypress and tupelo trees.
The Visitors’ Center offers interactive exhibits and a nature shop. We picked up some postcards while there and educational brochures. Behind the center is a covered amphitheater for educational programs. Visit the Aquarium Room with live exhibits of native fish, reptiles, amphibians, and a Discovery Room.
Location: 480 Richland Pl, Monroe, LA 71203
Hours: Refuge – daylight hours, Visitor Center – 8am-4pm weekdays; 9-5 Sat.; 1-5 Sun.
Cost: Free. Boat Launch – $2, Canoe Rental – $20 for 4 hours, $35 for full day
Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo
We loved exploring this zoo. It was beautiful and so reasonably priced. We have never visited a zoo for less than $5. Although this zoological park appeared somewhat small, it is over 80 acres filled with family fun. You can hop aboard a jungle cruise or play in the ZOOasis splash pad!
Over 450 kinds of animals and 1200 species of plants to view. There was even gorgeous peacocks walking around the grounds right next to you. It was amazing to take their photo and see them up close and personal.
There was plenty of shaded area for our family to relax and not get overheated during our summer visit.
A special Louisiana Purchase Exhibit features animals indigenous to the original Louisiana Purchase with wildlife ranging from the black bear, bison and elk to mountain lion and American Bald eagle. The Australia Exhibit features wallaroos, wallabies, emu, cockatoos, and a kookaburra. The interactive petting zoo is home to pygmy goats, miniature zebu cattle, miniature horses, four-horned sheep and more. A must-see!
My favorite was walking over this chain bridge and watching the tiger swim. He did not mind the company at all and tread the water for a long time while we shot videos and captured some photos. So fun to watch!
Location: 1405 Bernstein Park Drive, Monroe, LA 71210
Hours: Daily 10:00am-5:00pm
Cost: Adults – $4.50, Seniors – $3, Children – $3, 2 & under – free
And now the reason for our trip… to visit Duck Commander. We got lucky on our first stop in with meeting Willie. This is not a common occurrence from what I understand.
You can check their online calendar to see if they are in other cities speaking at events during your planned trip dates to help determine if you even have a shot of getting an autograph. They also list on their website and Twitter account when they will be at the warehouse greeting fans. But beyond just meeting the family members and cast of one of your favorite television shows, shopping at Duck Command is an experience in itself.
After we did a little shopping for Duck Dynasty swag, we headed over to have lunch at Willie’s Duck Dinner and stopped by the Duck Dressing boutique. Lunch was delicious and my teen got a really cute shirt while at Duck Dressing.
There are a few other museums that we never got the chance to visit during our weekend trip. You can also take a riverboat cruise out on the bayou or visit the winery and brewery. If visiting the Duck Command is on your wish-list, there are many ways to turn your trip into a full family vacation that everyone will enjoy.