Where we stayed: Pioneer Acadian Village RV Park and Campground
We spent a few hours one afternoon exploring the lovely living museum of Vermilionville. a Cajun/Creole Heritage & Folklife Park. For those homeschoolers, their website has a number of lesson plans you can use to tie in with the fieldtrip.
We started in the watershed exhibit where we learned about the Vermilion bayou and how water shaped the way of life here. Kaylie had a great time discussing bugs with the naturalist working in the watershed exhibit.
The naturalist had a facinating experiment going with mealworms. In the aquarium on the left were healthy (dare I say vibrants looking) mealworms happily munching on and digesting styrofoam. On the right were lethargic looking mealworms living amongst their usual food of grains. Turns out, if you want to keep using styrofoam cups, all you need to do is keep an aquarium on mealworms on hand.
Walking through the historic buildings of the village.
In the old school house.... up until about 1916, Cajuns in this area would speak mostly Cajun French, at home and in school. In 1916, an act was passed that banned teaching and speaking in French at public schools. All children were required to attend public schools.
A simple ferry. Just pull on the rope to slide the ferry across the span of water.
If only I could get the kids to do their own laundry...
And on to Mardi Gras!
One of the reasons we chose to stay near Lafayette was because they have a number of parades before Mardi Gras. Technically Mardi Gras is one day (Fat Tuesday), but most of the communities around New Orleans have parades and celebrations beginning in January, weeks before Mardi Gras. Most of the parades are family-friendly with no "girls gone wild" shenanigans or drunken fist fights. However, check out the Mardi Gras website for details on which parades are the most family-friendly if you're planning to take the kids (we almost went to one where everyone wears tutus and bras..whoops).
Krewe of Carnivale en Rio
Emmett mastered the chant of Mardi Gras, "Throw me something Mister!" He even caught a bead necklace with his head (like the ring toss game).
We arrived a couple hours before the parade so we could get a good spot. Tip for skipping the worst parade traffic and getting to bed on time - park near the beginning of the parade. When the last float in the parade passes by, the road opens up and you're free to find your car and drive away. It may take that last float another hour to reach the people at the end of the parade route... Of course if you want to take home all the extra beads, you may want to hang out at the end of the parade route.
The Loot - pounds of beads, light saber, hula hoop, stuffed animal, cups...
And it wouldn't be Mardi Gras without King Cake. Don't think I'll need to eat other one of these giant doughnuts.
I'll be sharing our travel plans, some reviews, cooking ideas (because I know you are all jealous of my easy-bake oven), and ... oh who am I kidding?! I'll be lucky to get our photos posted!