20 Cheap Family Friendly Things To Do In Baton Rouge (16-20)

This article concludes this series and is Part 4 of 4, which details activities 16-20.

 

ACTIVITY #16:

GO EXPLORE SPACE TOGETHER UNDER THE STARS

observitory

Cost: $0 For The Entire Family 

Go stargazing with the littles at the Highland Road Park Observatory. They have all kinds of cool science exhibits for the kids to look at and touch and then you get to look through the large telescope at the planets, all for FREE. The kids love this place. The schedule changes a fair amount so check before heading out, but Saturday nights are usually Family Nights and in the fall they have a great activity where the kids can roast marshmallows and have smores. We never miss this.

They also have a little daily science academy on Saturdays where children can attend for roughly $5 or $6.

Highland Road Park Observatory

13800 Highland Road

Baton Rouge, LA 70810

Ph. (225) 768-9948

Learn more at: http://www.bro.lsu.edu.

 

ACTIVITY # 17: 

GRAB A BLANKET AND WATCH A FREE FAMILY MOVIE UNDER THE STARS

movie stars

Cost: $0 For The Entire Family + Concession Food 

At least once a month, BREC puts on a FREE family movie night. The location changes practically every time, but the kids really enjoy this. They usually have at least one food truck and snow cone truck there, so take a little money for the concessions or pack your own. You just grab a blanket and some lawn chairs and you are all set. Get there early, as you will want to try to score good seats on the lawn.

At the last one that we went to in June 2018 (Peter Rabbit), they had free popcorn, gatorade, ice cream and hotdogs. The movie time was listed at 7:30, but we didn’t actually start the movie until 8:20 because it wasn’t dark enough to see the outside screen. In other words, don’t kill yourself getting there on time, because the kids were just running around playing until just before the movie started around 8:15. It was a really great night and we had so much fun going to this event.

To that end, there were also tons of families who brought coolers with all of their own food and drinks, so do whatever works best for you. It was still very hot at that time of night and we had a spray bottle filled with water that was used about 40 times to cool off various people.

This summer’s schedule is as follows. If you click on the address, I have built links that you may use to find point to point directions to each park:

Thursday, 28 June 2018:

Peter Rabbit: Baringer Road Park, 7401 Baringer Road, B/R, LA 70817. Movie at 7:30

Thursday, 12 July, 2018:

Paddington 2: T. D. Bickham Jr Park, 6850 Petit Road, B/R, LA 70814. Move at 7:30

Friday, 10 July, 2018:

Cars 3: Nairn Drive Park, 2800 Nairn Drive, B/R, LA 70808. Movie at 7:30

 

To learn more visit http://brec.org/index.cfm/search?q=Movies+in+the+park.

 

ACTIVITY # 18

TAKE THE KIDS ON A SAFARI ADVENTURE RIGHT HERE IN LOUISIANA

safari.jpg

Cost: $79 For The Entire Family  (Includes Safari Feed For The Animals)

Yes, this one is a little bit of a drive, but it’s worth it. In Folsom, LA (about 70 miles away) there is the largest, totally free-roaming wildlife preserve in the country. It is home to over 4,000 exotic, endangered and threatened animals from all over the world. This is not a zoo or a petting farm. It’s an actual safari. The price tag is a bit high, but for a family of 4, you could bring this one in under $80 (including Safari animal feed), which for a safari isn’t really all that bad. You will load up in open air safari buses. The animals come right up to the side and you can feed them, if you buy the feed, which I included in the price above.

Admission Prices:

Adults: $19

Anyone Over 62: $17

Ages 2-11: $13

Ages 1 and Under: FREE

Bucket Of Animal Feed: $30 *It’s a huge bucket though, so just grab another family and split the price, which will make it only $15 per family. The kids go wild over being able to feed the animals, and if I’m being honest, it’s a pretty big thrill for the adults too. This is a wonderful outing for the family. It’s better than a zoo in my opinion, because the animals are free to roam and exist more naturally.

Global Wildlife Center

26389 Hwy 40

Folsom, LA 70437

(985) 796-3585

Learn More At: http://globalwildlife.com.

 

ACTIVITY #19: 

TAKE THE KIDS TO CABELAS FOR THE DAY TO SEE THE SIGHTS

cabelas-hamburg-pa-084

Cost: $0 For The Entire Family + Cabela’s Restaurant Food If You Buy It

Taking your kids to Cabelas (Hunting, Fishing and Outdoor Store) for the day may seem like a crazy idea, until you actually go inside of one. There is just so much to do here. There are so many different kinds of animals to see (of course, they are preserved and not alive) here. There are hunting and fishing games here that are free of charge. This place is huge and it’s air conditioned. There is so much to look at and to do and when you are tired, just pop into the Cabela Cafe for a bite to eat or a drink.

I promise you that your children will have a good time here. It’s an easy couple of hours worth of entertainment that is basically free of charge, unless you purchase something or grab lunch there.

In the Baton Rouge are, the local Cabelas is at:

2200 W Cabela’s Parkway

Gonzales, LA 70737-5154

225-743-3400

Store Hours

MONDAY – SATURDAY

9:00 AM – 9:00 PM

SUNDAY

9:00 AM – 7:00 PM

 

Find your local Cabelas at https://www.cabelas.com/stores/stores_home.jsp.

 

ACTIVITY # 20: 

TAKE THE KIDS ON A FACTORY TOUR OF AVERY ISLAND, HOME OF TABASCO SAUCE

tabasco

Cost: $22 For The Entire Family + Lunch At Tabasco Restaurant If You Eat There

This place is just plain cool. When you pull onto Avery Island, you are at the actual home of the current bottling operations for Tabasco Sauce. You can take a self-guided factory tour for only $5.50 per ticket. There is so much to look at. You get to see the actual bottles being filled and labeled, you get a little sampler pack and the history here is just amazing. At the end there are so many cool photo opportunities with the life size Tabasco bottles, Tabasco bottle chandelier and more. There is a cute little gift shop too if you want to buy souvenirs, but it’s optional.

When you are done with the tour, head over to the Tabasco Restaurant, which you can walk to, and grab a bite to eat. They have a great outdoor patio where you can dine if the weather is nice, or grab a seat inside to cool off. Trust me, for the price, this day long adventure is hard to beat.

Admission:

Everyone Over Age 4: $5.50

Everyone Under Age 4: FREE

Location:

Hwy 329, Avery Island, LA 705

(337) 373-6129

9AM-4PM

Learn more at https://www.tabasco.com/visit-avery-island.

 

Well, that brings us to the end. I know that was a lot of information, but I figured that since I was already looking it up for myself, that I should share it with the rest of the class. If you know of any other local treasures that we should all know about, please post them in the comments section below and please share this article with your friends.

The next time that I can’t think of something to do with the littles, I will have this list to fall back on to keep the machine moving forward :-). I hope you guys enjoyed this post. Thanks for spending some time with me. See you around out there.

You just finished reading Part 4 of 4.

To read the other parts of this post, just click on the links below:

Part 1 (Activities 1-5)

Part 2 (Activities 6-10)

Part 3 (Activities 11-15)

Part 4 (Activities 16-20)

Gratefully,

Raphaela

20 Cheap Family Friendly Things To Do In Baton Rouge (11-15)

This article is Part 3 of 4, which details activities 11-15.

ACTIVITY # 11:

FLY A KITE AT LSU, VISIT MIKE THE TIGER AND MORE

LSU_Parade_Grounds_Memorial_Tower_6596a6af-9236-4bfc-80f2-7b8fe98f856c

Cost: $5-$10 Parking + Lunch On Campus If You Eat There

Go to the Dollar Store and grab a few kites and some other little toys and then head out to LSU for a day of fun on the campus grounds. You can go see Mike the LSU Tiger, fly a kite, have a picnic and so much more. If you get hungry while you are there, there are fast food restaurants and available bathrooms in the LSU Student Union  and if you want to take a break from the heat. If you want to grab lunch and a book, then there is a Barnes and Nobles on the campus. Pack up the car, some snacks and head out to LSU for an inexpensive day of fun.

These are the hours for the Barnes and Nobles on campus: M-Saturday: 8AM- 8 PM, Sunday 11 AM-6 PM. The LSU Cafe is in that building, so you may grab a snack in there too. The Barnes and Noble/LSU cafe are located at 2 Union Square, Baton Rouge, LA 70803. If you click that address, I have created a link that will allow you to find point to point directions from wherever you are on the campus. Just click that link and then tap ‘Your Location’ as the starting address, flip you GPS to walking instead of driving and then head on over. Here is the phone number in case you need to call while you are on campus for directions (225) 578-5137.

 

To Get To The Visitor’s Center:

As many of the buildings on campus don’t have an actual physical address, here is the best that I can do for you. If coming from the Prairieville area, take 10 west to Dalyrimple exit. Go through the main gate and continue straight onto Dalyrimple until you come to the intersection of Dalyrymple and Highland. You will see the Visitor Center there. There is metered parking there, which you may purchase by the hour. Here is a link that I created to help you get there, just click here to have your phone direct you to this location.

 

To Get To The Public Safety Building For A Parking Pass If The Visitor Center Is Full:

If there are no parking spaces left in the Visitor Center, go back towards the traffic circle at the main gate. You are basically going to act as if you just came through the main gate again, which means that you will pass the main gate on your left, and then take the first right after the main gate. This road will become a dead end. Make a right onto South Stadium at the dead end. You will be looking for the Public Safety Building, which will be on your left side approximately ¼ mile down after you make the right at the dead end. They will issue you a visitors pass for $10 per day and instruct you where to park. Here is a link that I created to help you get there, just click here to have your phone direct you to this location.

**These parking rules only apply Monday-Friday. Saturday and Sunday the campus is open to the public and no parking permits are required.

 

People are pretty friendly on the campus, so just stop someone and ask for directions, but here are some LSU attractions worth visiting. If you click on the name of the attraction that you are trying to visit, I have created links to directions to get you there.

Mike The Tiger Habitat 

Depending on what time of the day you go, you may or may not be able to actually see Mike the Tiger, but you can always see his habitat. If you go around 6:30-7 PM on most nights, he comes out for his feeding and you can see him walking around in his habitat.

LSU Tiger Stadium

The Indian Mounds

LSU Dairy Store

They make their own ice cream….grab a Tiger Bites ice cream..yum! Ice cream here is roughly $2 per scoop for the little kids and it is unbelievably delicious.

Parade Grounds

This is a great place to fly a kite, run remote control cars around, throw a ball, or just let them run around and get out their wiggles. If you want to grab a coffee before you go over there, just look for the Barnes and Nobles on the corner near the parade grounds and grab a cool drink before heading over to the Parade Grounds. There are huge trees that provide massive amounts of shade for parents to cool off and get a break while the littles play. Take a blanket and chill while the kids run around.

 

 

Here is a picture to give you a general idea:

 

To learn more about each of the locations above, visit: http://www.thelouisianaweekend.com/top-5-places-to-visit-at-lsu

 

 

ACTIVITY # 12:

SERVE TOGETHER AS A FAMILY AND VOLUNTEER TO SERVE THE HOMELESS

serve

Cost: $0-$10 For The Entire Family Depending On What Supplies You Purchase To Donate

Yes, it’s fun to take the kids out and show them a great time, but summer is also a great time to teach them about giving back and community service. This is one of their favorite activities. They absolutely love giving back. It makes them feel grown up and responsible.

Volunteers of America Greater Baton Rouge

Call 225 387-0061 To Drop Off At 3949 North Boulevard, Baton Rouge, LA 70806

Bake a Treat for the Homeless: Bake homemade muffins, cookies, or other goodies at home and drop off at our main office Monday through Thursday for people served through our homeless programs. Great for scout troops, students needing service hours or families with young children. Contact development@voagbr.org

Make Detergent Bags for our Laundry Center at the Drop-in Center: Great project for young volunteers or students! Portion out single scoops of powdered detergent into zip-top baggies so that the homeless, low-income seniors and veterans can wash their clothes. Dropoffs are accepted Monday through Friday. Contact development@voagbr.org.

Learn more at https://www.voagbr.org.

 

Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank:

Volunteer to sort and pack food donations or volunteer with your family to serve at one of their Family Nights. All volunteers must be at least 7 years old. Check their website calendar for availability and sign up on their website.

The kids absolutely love doing this. It is so fun for them to help organize the massive bins of food that they get to work with on Family Nights. They take all of the donations that are on about 15 pallets and they help to pull them out of the boxes and then find the correct bin to place the items in. At the end of the night, the kids get to choose a drink and a bag of candy as a reward for their help. The kids all work together and it is just a great night of community service. Make sure to wear closed toe shoes to protect your feet from pallets and heavy objects moving around.

Call (225) 359-9940 with questions.

10600 South Choctaw, Baton Rouge, LA 70815

Learn more at https://brfoodbank.org/home/volunteer.

 

ACTIVITY # 13:

PLAY TENNIS AND LET THE LITTLE ONES PRACTICE ON THE BACKBOARD

tennis

Cost: $2-12 For The Entire Family Depending On Whether You Use Backboard Or Rent A Court

Whether you are a seasoned pro, or you simply want to take the kids and let them hit against the backboard (BREC calls it a hitting wall), this can be hours of fun. My kids love and I mean love trying to see how many times that they can hit and return the ball against the wall. It’s great for hand eye coordination and the kids always have a great time doing this.

Just rent the court or backboard for one hour and then go back if they are loving it, which they will. They have snacks, rackets, and more for rent and purchase in the little tennis shop on site here.

$12/Indoor Court Rental Per Hour

$2/Per Hour Hitting Wall/Backboard Use

7505 Independence Blvd.

Baton Rouge, LA 70806

225-923-2792

Monday-Thursday from 8 AM- 10 PM

Friday: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Saturday: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Sunday: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Learn more at http://www.brec.org/index.cfm/park/IndependenceTennisCenter.

 

ACTIVITY # 14:

LEMONADE STAND FOR A CAUSE

lemonade

Cost: $10-$20 For The Entire Family For Supplies (Cups, Lemonade, Etc)

Find a local charitable cause by simply Googling ‘local causes (add your city name). I found this for the Baton Rouge Area: http://www.wafb.com/category/100829/volunteer-or-donate-to-our-non-profits-links

Call a local business and explain that you would like to set up a lemonade stand to raise money for the cause and pick a date together. It’s good business for them and more traffic for you.

Just grab a folding table, some cups and lemonade and you’re ready to go. Don’t forget to take change (quarters, dimes, dollars, etc) and make a sign with the logo of the cause that you are selling lemonade for by using free sites like www.canva.com and then printing them out at places like Walgreens in full color for just a few dollars. If you want to keep it old school, just grab a Sharpie and hand write your sign. No one will care. It’s all for the cause.

Don’t forget to create an online event and promote it on Facebook so that people know to come out and support the cause. It’s also a great idea to set up a Facebook Fundraiser page for people that may want to donate who are not local to you, but may still want to help.

 

ACTIVITY # 15: 

TAKE THE KIDS ON A SCAVENGER HUNT AROUND TRADER JOES, OR ANYWHERE

tiger

Cost: $0 For The Entire Family + Groceries If You Purchase Any

Almost all, but check with your local store, Trader Joes hide a stuffed animal on their shelves every day. When your kids find him, they go to the counter and they get a free lollipop. While you are there, enjoy the free samples and pick up some food for a healthy outdoor barbeque with the family. My kids love trying to hunt this little guy down in the store. It’s a good way to distract them while you are trying to shop so that they stay focused and quiet. You’re welcome. 🙂

The local Trader Joes here is at (yes, they do participate in this activity):

Baton Rouge Trader Joes

3535 Perkins Rd

Baton Rouge, LA 70808

225-382-0588

Hours

8AM – 9PM (Mon-Sun)

Find your local Trader Joes and see if they participate: https://www.traderjoes.com.

You can also print out scavenger hunt forms for so many other places and just make a day out of it. They are all over Pinterest. Here is a good place to find some to print out.

Grocery Store Scavenger Hunts:

https://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=grocery%20store%20scavenger%20hunt&rs=typed&term_meta[]=grocery%7Ctyped&term_meta[]=store%7Ctyped&term_meta[]=scavenger%7Ctyped&term_meta[]=hunt%7Ctyped

Mall Scavenger Hunts:

https://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=mall%20scavenger%20hunt&rs=typed&term_meta[]=mall%7Ctyped&term_meta[]=scavenger%7Ctyped&term_meta[]=hunt%7Ctyped

Wal Mart Scavenger Hunts:

https://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=wal%20mart%20scavenger%20hunt&rs=typed&term_meta[]=wal%7Ctyped&term_meta[]=mart%7Ctyped&term_meta[]=scavenger%7Ctyped&term_meta[]=hunt%7Ctyped

 

You just finished reading part 3 of 4. Click here to read Part 4 of 4, which details activities 16-20.

To read the other parts of this post, just click on the links below:

Part 1 (Activities 1-5)

Part 2 (Activities 6-10)

Part 3 (Activities 11-15)

Part 4 (Activities 16-20)

20 Cheap Family Friendly Things To Do In Baton Rouge (6-10)

Here is a continuation of the first post. This is part 2 of 4, which lists activities 6-10.

 

ACTIVITY # 6: 

GIVE THEIR MINDS A PLACE TO EXPLORE AT THE KNOCK KNOCK MUSEUM

Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 4.38.54 PM.png

Cost: $56 For The Entire Family 

This place is seriously hard to beat if you have children ages 6 and under. Older children may enjoy some of the activities, but this place is an all out wonderland for younger children. They have so many pretend zones; car wash, mechanic shop, grocery store and more. They have tons of arts and crafts. There are plenty of places to get their wiggles out with the outdoor picnic area, the inside climbing area, dance zone and so much more. It is a little pricey but it is a very clean facility and you could easily spend the entire day there and not get bored.

Hours:

Monday: Closed

Tuesday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Wednesday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Thursday: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Friday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Saturday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Sunday: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Pricing:

Visitors: $14

Ages 0-12 months: FREE

Location:

1900 Dalrymple Drive

Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70808

Contact:

info@knockknockmuseum.org

call 225-388-3090

Learn More: http://knockknockmuseum.org

 

ACTIVITY # 7: 

BEAT THE HEAT AND CATCH A $5 MOVIE AT AMC THEATRES EVERY TUESDAY

Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 4.40.44 PM.png

Cost: $20 For The Entire Family + Concession Food 

Grab a ticket for only $5 all day long, every Tuesday at AMC Theatre locations. That’s a steal when you consider normal ticket prices are between $8-$13 a piece. If you join AMC’s free AMC Stubs program, you earn points towards free tickets, drinks and more. They have a premium loyalty plan too, which is $15 per year. If you go to the movies even a few times per year, it’s totally worth it, because you get free upgrades on soda and popcorn and you earn free tickets much more quickly.

When you go on Tuesday, you can ask for the Cameo Combo and grab your movie ticket, a popcorn and a soda for only $10. Good luck beating that deal anywhere.

**Quick tip, when you are looking for a $5 movie, make sure that whatever movie you choose says Digital and not Dolby, Imax 3D or Real 3D. I didn’t know this the first time that I went for $5 Tuesdays and we had chosen a 3D movie time showing. The tickets ended up being $9.50 each. Needless to say, that defeated the purpose of $5 tickets. I just wanted to mention it so that you can avoid this little surprise.

$5 Ticket Tuesdays: https://www.amctheatres.com/ticket-tuesday

AMC Stubs Loyalty Program: https://www.amctheatres.com/amcstubs

 

In Baton Rouge, the local theatres are:

AMC Baton Rouge 16

16040 Hatteras Avenue, Baton Rouge, LA 70816

 

AMC Mall Of Louisiana 15

9168 Mall Of Louisiana Blvd, Baton Rouge, LA 70836

 

Find Your Local Theatre Here: https://www.amctheatres.com/movie-theatres.

 

ACTIVITY # 8: 

FIND PLACES WHERE KIDS EAT FREE OR NEAR FREE TO REDUCE THE COST OF SUMMER MEALS

Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 4.42.20 PM

Cost: $10-$? For The Entire Family Depending On Where You Eat

During the summer, food costs go way up. We are always either on the go, or at the house for longer hours because school is not in session. Don’t break the bank. Use these resources to score free or near free meals for the kids and build it into your day. The kids won’t know the difference, but you will when the bill comes. Go out, have fun, save money!

Amazing App To Help You Find Local Deals: **Seriously Amazing App**

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/kidseatfree-restaurant-finder/id933114765?mt=8

 

Some National Chains Offering Discounts At:

https://clark.com/deals-money-saving-advice/10-restaurants-where-kids-eat-free/

 

A Few Other People Have Put Together Lists (Some May Be Outdated)

https://happymoneysaver.com/kids-eat-free-list/

http://batonrougemoms.com/kids-eat-free/

 

My Personal List

***I update this list regularly, but it’s always wise to call or ask when you arrive to make sure that this deal is still being honored.

 

Monday:

Izzo’s Illegal Burrito: Anytime after 4 PM, Kid’s meals are just $.99 cents with the purchase of any adult meal. There is no limit to the number of children that you can purchase meals for. The kid’s meals come with chips and a drink, so it’s a steal! They also have a face painter or a balloon animal artist on site for free, but they don’t usually show up until around 5:30 or 6. If two adults split a medium burrito, chips and the drink, a family of four could bring this whole meal in for less than $15.

TGI Fridays You can find one of these just about everywhere. With every adult entree purchased, you receive one free kid’s meal. Good on Monday and Tuesdays.

Red Robin: Kids 10 and under eat free all day long.

 

Tuesday:

Las Palmas: One free kid’s meal with the purchase of any adult meal anytime after 4PM.

Brewbacher’s Grill has a kid’s night every Tuesday.

Ruby Tuesday  One free kid’s meal You can claim one free kids’ meal with the purchase of an adult entrée from 5PM to close.

TGI Fridays You can find one of these just about everywhere. With every adult entree purchased, you receive one free kid’s meal. Good on Monday and Tuesdays.

Denny’s On Tuesday, from 4 PM-10 PM, kids under 10 eat free.

 

Wednesday:

Buffalo Wild Wings On Wednesday, from 4-10 PM, you can purchase a kid’s meal for only $1.99.

Firehouse Subs All day on Wednesday, for each adult meal purchased, you will receive one free kid’s meal. The deal applies to kids 12 and under.

Gatti Town Every Wednesay, kids 10 and under receive a free buffet meal with the purchase of an adult buffet meal.

Qdoba Grill: Every Sunday and Wednesday kids eat free.

 

Thursday:

Captain D’s: On Thursdays, you will receive two free kids meals (kids under 12) with each adult entree purchased. **Call before going to see if they are still honoring it.

 

Friday:

Piccadilly Kids 6 and under eat free all day long on Friday.

Shoney’s On Fridays, kids 4 and under will receive a free meal with the purchase of an adult meal.

 

Saturday: None

Steak n’ Shake is a national fast food chain that offers burgers, shakes and more. On Saturdays, kids can order one kids combo for every adult purchase of $9. The $9 cannot include drinks or shakes, just meal items.

Sunday:

Quaker Steak and Lube Every Sunday, from 11AM-3PM, kids under 10 will receive a free kid’s meal with the purchase of an adult entree.

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit Kids 12 and under receive a free kid’s meal with the purchase of at least $10 in food.

Qdoba Grill: Every Sunday and Wednesday kids eat free.

 

ACTIVITY # 9: 

PLAY AND CONTINUE LEARNING ALL SUMMER AT THE LIBRARY

library

Cost: $0 For The Entire Family

The library holds so many fond memories for us. We love to go to the library. I always make a deal with my littles when they want a new book. I tell them if they can’t find it at the library, that only then will we go to a bookstore. We haven’t had to go to the bookstore yet. There are so many resources available at the library from computer games and arts and crafts, to summer reading programs with competitions and prizes.

They have several free classes and art project events for children every day of the week, Monday-Friday. It’s a great way to keep them interested in learning all summer long. My kids always check out a ton of books when we go so that they can read and earn points for the Libraries Rock Summer Program. They have reading programs for teens and adults too, which you can view at the link below.

Program For Younger Kids:

http://main.ascension.lib.la.us/pdfs/2018%20YOUTH%20CALENDAR%20for%20print%20and%20web.pdf

You can view their calendar at http://main.ascension.lib.la.us/calendar/.

 

Check your local library for specific hours, but these are the general hours for Ascension Parish Libraries or call (225) 647-3955 to ask any questions.

M,W and F 8:30-5:30

T and TH 8:30-8

Saturday 8:30-12

Sunday Closed Except For Gonzales Location, Which Is Open From 2-6

 

Galvez: 40300 Hwy. 42, Prairieville, LA 70769
(225) 622-3339

Gonzales: 708 South Irma Blvd., Gonzales, LA 70737
(225) 647-3955

Donaldsonville: 500 Mississippi St., Donaldsonville, LA 70346
(225) 473-8052

Dutchtown: 13278 Highway 73 Geismar, LA 70734
(225) 673-8699

 

Learn more at http://www.myapl.org.

 

ACTIVITY # 10:

CHANNEL YOUR INNER KID AND GO ROLLER SKATING 

skating

Cost: $36 (Includes Skate Rentals) or $24 (If You Own Your Own Skates)

Beat the heat and burn some calories with the kids. Take your own skates or rent them for just $3. The admission price is $6 or $7, depending on the day, but you can stay for the whole 3-hour session, so it’s actually a pretty good deal. We take our own skates and eat before we go, so the whole trip only costs us $18 for the three of us. They will be super tired after this, so it’s a good way to get their energy out on a rainy or super hot day when playing outside is not really ideal.

Skate Galaxy

12828 Jefferson Hwy.

Baton Rouge, LA 70816

(Corner of Old Jefferson & Pecue Lane)

Phone: 225-756-2424

T, Th and Friday 9-12, 1-4, and 7-10

Wednesday 9-12, 1-4

Saturday 11-10 PM

Sunday 1-6PM

$6 to $7 for admission (everyone), depending on the day and $3 for skate rentals daily.

Learn more at: http://www.skategalaxy.com.

 

You just finished reading part 2 of 4. Click here to read Part 3 of 4, which details activities 11-15.

To read the other parts of this post, just click on the links below:

Part 1 (Activities 1-5)

Part 2 (Activities 6-10)

Part 3 (Activities 11-15)

Part 4 (Activities 16-20)

20 Cheap Family Friendly Things To Do In Baton Rouge (1-5)

Hey guys. As I was preparing for how to spend the next chapter of summer with my littles, I put together a great mixture of free, near free and mostly inexpensive summer activities for the kids and I to enjoy together. A lot of this stuff is off the beaten path, or you may just not know about it. I didn’t know about a lot of this stuff until I was trying to plan out our July. I thought I would share for anyone else who is running out of steam for budget friendly summer ideas to keep the family moving.

I have totalled up what each of these should roughly cost for a family of 4 (Mom, Dad and two children) below for your convenience. This list is even less expensive if you are a single parent, as I am since my divorce, because I only have one adult to pay for. That brings the cost way down for a lot of these activities. Regardless of the size of your family, the ideas below will give anyone affordable summer fun ideas that won’t leave you feeling financially drained.

I have tried to be as detailed as possible about each place, price, hours of operation, address and insider details to save you the time and hassle of having to look any of this up. If parents know anything during the summer, it’s that it’s pretty non stop. After a while, it gets pretty exhausting trying to come up with ideas to keep everyone entertained without breaking the bank, which is exactly why I am sharing.

I always try to make sure that we have a well rounded selection of activities from playing at water parks and hiking to volunteering to help the homeless and continue to develop reading skills, etc. You will see that mixture reflected below, because I really want my children to grow up to not need to be ‘entertained’ every single moment.

I mean that I want them to learn to find value in helping others, continuing to evolve as people, learning about new places, being outside in nature and of course, having fun, eating out and indulging in all that Baton Rouge has to offer.

If you know me at all in my ‘real life’, then you know that I am a bit passionate about protecting the environment. As such, I have taken the time to create links for each of the locations listed below. Whenever you see an address listed below, just click on it and you will be taken to a map where you simply enter wherever you are starting from. I took the time to do this so that you don’t have to write down the addresses or print them out. This will save you time and frustration when you have antsy children in your car who want to get going. Simply come back to this page, find your activity, click the address and be on your way.

One more thing. We live in Baton Rouge, so the specifics listed below apply to the Baton Rouge area, but 15 out of the 20 ideas below can be used wherever you live. Just read the idea and then look up your local resources. I hope this helps you guys out. I know we are going to be out and about in Baton Rouge in the next two months exploring all of these places and I hope we see you out there.

 

ACTIVITY # 1: 

BOWL FOR FREE AT DESIGNATED LOCAL BOWLING ALLEYS

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Cost: $0-$29.95 For The Entire Family For The Entire Summer + Shoe Rentals

As part of a national program, kids can bowl up to 2 games per day, all summer long for FREE. No, this is not a joke and yes you really can do this. My children and I do it all the time. If you visit the Kids Bowl Free site below, you simply sign up your children, find your local bowling alley and go have fun. You will have to pay for shoe rental, but it’s about $2 per child and you can purchase an unlimited shoe rental pass for the summer.

Adults and older children who want to bowl with their children have the option of signing up for a discounted rate family pass for $29.95. For that price, all children above the age of 15 and any family member adults (up to 4) may bowl two games all summer long for that one price. If you have ever taken a family of 4 bowling, you know that you will pay this for a single visit, so the $29.95 for 4 people, coupled with the little ones bowling for free, is an absolute steal!

In our local area, the participating bowling alley is:

Circle Bowl

8878 Florida Blvd

Baton Rouge, LA, 70815-4024

(225) 925-5471

 

Times When This Program Is Honored At Circle Bowl: 

12 PM – 5 PM Monday-Saturday

12 PM – 7 PM Sunday

 

Register your little ones and learn more at www.kidsbowlfree.com.

 

ACTIVITY # 2: 

GET INVOLVED IN A LOCAL CHURCH

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Cost: $0-$? For The Entire Family, Depending On What You Decide To Tithe To The Church

Most churches have fantastic summer programs and several events for children. Use this free time to get plugged in to a church family. Simply call the churches that you are thinking of visiting and ask if someone can greet you on Sunday and walk you around. They are always extremely helpful because they want your family to become part of their church.

Additionally, they have many family events and life groups that meet all summer long, so get out there and started building up your support network while working on your faith.

Most churches also participate in the Right Now Media program, which gives you access to thousands of Christian videos, Bible study programs and Christian shows for the kids and the whole family, all free of charge.

Simply go to Google and type in ‘local churches and whatever your religious preference is’ and then go church visiting until you find one that you and your family love. Once you have selected a church, ask them to give you a username and login to the Right Now Media program if they are a member church. They will get you signed up right away and you and your family can start enjoying this amazing resource.

Find your local church now at: https://www.google.com.

 

ACTIVITY # 3: 

EXPLORE ALL THAT BREC HAS TO OFFER (COMMUNITY PARKS AND RECREATION)

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Cost: $0-$15 For The Entire Family, Depending On What You Rent At The Parks

BREC (Recreation and Park Commission for the Parish of East Baton Rouge) is a finalist for the 2018 Gold Medal Award for Parks and Recreation, so if you are local to the Baton Rouge, LA area there is a seemingly endless array of options for the public to enjoy. Whether you enjoy running, hiking, swimming, tennis, fishing, horseback riding, bmx racing and so much, BREC has a park for you.

Don’t let the fact that you don’t have your own equipment stop you from getting out there. You can rent BMX bikes, cruiser bikes, canoes, kayaks and pretty much anything else that you can think of right there on the grounds at each park. Check find the activity that you are looking for and then click the page for that park and all of the rental details are on their website. Here is just an example of what three of our local parks offer:

 

North Sherwood Community Park

-Indoor Air Conditioned Track

-Indoor Gated Play Area

-Mini Rock Climbing Wall

*All Free

Address: 3140 N. Sherwood Forest Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70814

http://www.brec.org/index.cfm/park/NorthSherwoodForestCommunityPark

 

Perkins Road Community Park

-Skateboarding Ramps

-Running Track

-BMX Track

*All Of The Above Are Free

-Huge Rock Climbing Wall (*Minimal charge for this.)

Address: 7122 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70808

http://www.brec.org/index.cfm/park/PerkinsRoadCommunityPark

 

Greenwood Community Park

-Canoe/Kayak/Cruiser Bike Rentals

-Hiking Trail

-Waterfront Restaurant On The Grounds

-Splash Pad

Address: 13350 Hwy. 19, Baker, LA 70714

http://www.brec.org/index.cfm/park/GreenwoodCommunityPark

 

To learn more about BREC parks, visit http://www.brec.org/index.cfm/park/search-home

 

ACTIVITY # 4: 

GO GET SOME SUN AT SPLASH PADS, POOLS OR WATER PARKS

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Cost: $0-$150 For The Entire Family, Depending On Which Location You Select

I am going to list these in order from free to most expensive so that you can find the one that works for your family.

Free

If you are looking for free splash pads for the kids to just cool off at, check out this huge list of local gems where the kids cans enjoy some water play:

http://batonrougemoms.com/water-fun-baton-rouge-splash-pad-parks-pools.

 

$6 Per Person

If you are looking for a community pool, check out the Jambalaya Park Pool. For just $6 per person admission daily, it’s hard to beat. Hours are as follows: Closed on Mondays, Tuesday-Saturday 11 AM-6 PM and Sunday 1-6 PM through July 31st. After that, the pool’s hours change, so check their site or call them for updated hours towards the end of the summer.

Location: 1015 E Cornerview St, Gonzales, LA 70737

Learn more at https://jambalayapark.swimtopia.com.

 

$12 Per Person

This park is a great local alternative to Blue Bayou Waterpark. It is smaller and vastly less expensive. They have an amazing array of water activities from a surf zone and splash pads to a lazy river. You can not take anything in here (water, food, etc), so take money for the concession stand, but it’s a fun and inexpensive day of play. Get there early, don’t leave anything in the car because they do not allow you to go in and out. Still, all told between admission, food, drinks, and rental upcharges, a family of 4 could easily spend a day here for under $75.

Hours:

Monday-Thursday: 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

Friday & Saturday: 10 a.m.- 6:30 p.m.

Sunday: noon – 6:30 p.m

Admission Price:

12 Months And Younger: Free

Under 48” Tall: $10

Over 48 “ Tall: $12

Shockwave Wristband (Surfing Area): $5 Additional Per Day

Lazy River Tubes: $1 Per Day

Liberty Lagoon:

111 Lobdell Avenue

Baton Rouge, LA 70806

225-923-3202

Learn more at: http://www.libertylagoon.com/

 

$36 Per Person

Check Out Blue Bayou if you want a water park and an amusement park all rolled into one. They have amazing kids rides, a pretty scary rollercoaster and more tall water slides than you will be able to ride in a day. They also have a great wave pool and a lazy river. This is a great place to take the kids if you have a full weekend to spend here, as you will see below that you can go two consecutive days for the price of one, just not on a Saturday.

My recommendation is to go on a Saturday and then use your second free day on Sunday. When you get two day’s admission for the price of one day, it actually only works out to $18.50 per day, and that’s not too shabby for all that this park has to offer.

Admission Price:

$36.99 — 48″ and taller

$29.99 — 48″ and under

$29.99 — Senior Citizens (60 years of age and up)

FREE — 35″ and under

Blue Bayou does offer these 2 perks that may make the increased price worth your while:

DEAL # 1: COOL TIMES, COOL PRICING

MAY 25 – AUG 6; AFTER 3PM; MONDAY – FRIDAY, NOT INCLUDING HOLIDAYS OR SPECIAL EVENT DAYS.

$17.99 — 48″ and taller

$14.99 — 48″ and under + Seniors

Free — 35″ and under

DEAL # 2: 2ND DAY FREE

If you pay the full daily admission price, and get your ticket validated before you leave that day, you may return the next day at no charge. May not be combined with other offers. Your 2nd Free Day may not be a Saturday.

Location:

18142 Perkins Rd E, Baton Rouge, LA 70810

Learn more at Blue Bayou https://www.bluebayou.com.

 

ACTIVITY # 5: 

TAKE THE KIDS TO SEE THE DRAG RACES AT STATE CAPITOL RACEWAY

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Cost: $40 For The Entire Family + Concession Food 

What kid doesn’t enjoy playing with cars, so imagine how much more excited they would be to go watch them in real life. Take hats and water and don’t forget the sunscreen as it gets hot standing there, but your kids will love a day at the track. They have so many different events and times, but this is a great way to spend a day with the little ones. Take ear plugs to protect their little ears, because it gets very loud. You can grab them at any Walmart for about $2.

They seem to always have a Friday Fun Race at around 5 PM, but check the link below for the current schedule before heading out there. When we went, they had a cute little concession stand with usual fare (hotdogs, nachos, sodas, etc) that were all reasonably priced. They do have a covered area where you can sit and eat before heading out to take your seats on the bleachers.

It does get soul crushingly hot during the day events, so take a lot of water and tons of people had umbrellas over their heads to take shelter from the brutal sun. You can take anything you want here; food, beer, whatever, which is kind of cool because if you want to make a day long event of it, you can take your own food. Obviously, if you are the one driving, it goes without saying that you should skip the beer. I had to put this in here as a disclaimer.

Usual admission prices are $20 for adults and kids 12 and under are FREE.

State Capitol Raceway

11436 Highway 190 West

Port Allen, LA

Phone: (225) 627-4574

Learn More At: https://www.statecapitolraceway.com.

 

You just finished reading part 1 of 4. Click here to read Part 2 of 4, which details activities 6-10.

To read the other parts of this post, just click on the links below:

Part 1 (Activities 1-5)

Part 2 (Activities 6-10)

Part 3 (Activities 11-15)

Part 4 (Activities 16-20)

How To Help Louisiana Flooding Victims

Good Morning Everyone,

I woke up this morning, checked the news, looked at the new predictions for flooding in Ascension Parish, and tried to wrap my mind around the worst flooding that I have ever personally seen. As I sit here writing this post, I am acutely aware that I am one of the lucky ones. As of the writing of this post, my neighborhood has not flooded. I still have a home, my pet is safe, my power is on, and I have cell phone service. These are things that I take for granted most days, but today, they are a luxury in many areas of Baton Rouge, Livingston Parish, and so many more parishes in the state of Louisiana.

Like everyone else, I pulled everything up as far off the floor as I could get it, packed a bag in the case of evacuation, and made sure to reach out to loved ones outside of the area to tell them where to look for updates in case the power or phone lines go down. As I was having this conversation, it occurred to me that I should put these many years of Red Cross training to good use and give a run through of some of the things that we are taught with respect to how to prepare for, sustain, and manage a disaster of this scale. I hope this helps anyone who is looking for this kind of information, and as many that will read this post, will  not do so until their lives return to normal, I hope that it may serve as a guide for how to stay prepared for future disasters. As we are in the middle of the actual disaster, I am listing the information out of order, but by priority as; High Priority Information, How You Can Help During A Disaster, then How To Help Before A Disaster (For Next Time) and finally, How To Help After A Disaster.

******Recent Request For The Addition Of This High Priority Information:

  1. Please visit FEMA Disaster Assistance to download the application for disaster assistance. Also, please be advised that FEMA has an app, which you may download directly to your phone and reach out to them there. I have been advised by FEMA that flood victims are experiencing long delays being able to access their website. They advised to be patient and continue trying.
  2. Please visit this FEMA Filing A Claim link to learn more about how to file a claim. This page walks you through everything.
  3. Since the writing of the blog post that you are reading, I interviewed a Baton Rouge gentlemen who works closely with FEMA. With the help of his interview, I was able to put together a short and clear plan for How To Apply For FEMA Disaster Assistance.
  4. I have created the following playlists on my YouTube channel titled ‘How To File A Flood Insurance Claim‘, What To Do With A Car With Flood Damage, and How To Handle Flood Water Damage and Clean Up . I have included all videos which I think are helpful to people who need this information. These are not my videos, but the videos of other content creators on YouTube. I have no affiliation to any of the companies listed in the videos. They are being provided solely as another source of information for local residents in need.

My apologies for inserting the information above there. It may seem out of place, but I was receiving a lot of request for the information. Ok, back to the task at hand.

DURING THE CURRENT 2016 BATON ROUGE FLOOD: WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP? 

This article is not about what to do during a flood, so much as it is about how to help before, during, and after a flood. In the last section, we talked about how you can help before the disaster, so now let’s talk about what you can do during the disaster.

  1. Assuming that you are still in your home, try to stay off of the phone as much as possible. Phone lines are overwhelmed, so try to keep all conversations that do not need to be had to a minimum. Text if you have to, but keep the phone lines open for affected victims and emergency responders.
  2. This is an excellent opportunity to start going through your house, room by room, and identifying items that you may no longer need. All flood victims will have the same basic needs; food, shelter, and clothing. Go through your closets, your kids closets, your pantry, etc and pull out items which you are willing to donate. This can also include things like blankets, batteries, cleaning supplies, toiletries, and more. Bag these items up in like groups. For example, put all of the toiletries in one bag, clothes in another, etc. This way you can distribute it to the shelters that have a need for that specific kind of item. This will ease their work on the receiving end at the shelters, as they will not have to sort through your donation bag. Also, use bags not boxes. Bags are easy to break open, reuse, and dispose of. Boxes are bulky and can be hard to store or break down when there are a large amount of incoming donations.
  3. During a disaster, one of the most insidious problems is distribution of information. The responders are so busy trying to keep their heads above water, that they frequently do not have the time or assets available to them to declare their needs effectively. In our information age, this is becoming less of a problem, as we can communicate those needs on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Check the Facebook pages of your local churches, grocery stores, and the like to see if they are a receiving location for items of need, or if they are actual volunteer spots. This reduces the amount of phone calls that inundate organizations like the Red Cross during a disaster. You may even volunteer yourself to one of these locations to coordinate and receive donations if they have not set something up yet.
  4. You may check the local Red Cross Website. In the currently affected area, that is the Louisiana Red Cross. They will have a list of ways to volunteer and usually a list of declared needs. Additionally, you may sign up to volunteer at Volunteer Louisiana.
  5. Assuming that your roads are clear, and only if they are clear from your home to the store, to the shelter, and back. Please do not become part of the problem by driving into standing or moving water and then becoming a victim yourself. This will require that emergency personnel will have to come to your assistance, and they are already spread very thin during a disaster. You may go to the local dollar store, grocery store, or WalMart and purchase needed supplies; toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, sanitary items, bagged or boxed food, etc.

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6. Check on trending hashtags for up to the minute information. Some of the most helpful current tags are:

#flood, #louisiana, #batonrougeflood, #laflood, #batonrougepets, #lawx, #lousianaflood, #denhamsprings, #redcross, #batonrouge, #la, #ascensionparish, #AscensionOHSEP, #wafb

7. As of 8/15/16, the following information has been provided as places of need, or as places that you may donate or volunteer.

The Salvation Army: A makeshift Salvation Army command center has been set up at 4025 West Brookstown Dr. Volunteers are welcome to report to the Brookstown location to help with food service and more. To volunteer, or if you are in need of assistance, call (225) 355-4483.

Baton Rouge Area Foundation: BRAF has a relief fund that assists nonprofits responding to flooding across the state. People can make donations online at braf.org. Donations to the Louisiana Flood Relief Fund are tax deductible.

Rouses Markets: In partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank, Rouses Markets are accepting cash donations and donations of non-perishable food, cleaning supplies and toiletries. You can make donations at the cash register or online.

Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office: The sheriff’s office is accepting clean clothing for flood victims beginning Monday morning. All clothing should be bagged or boxed and can be delivered to the Sheriff’s Office training building at 819 South Broad Street.

Lamar Dixon Center: We need medical folks at shelter at Lamar Dixon. Specifically RN or EMT. They need help handling meds, etc.

Fellowship Church at 14363 Highway 73 in Prairieville:

Fellowship Church at Prairievillle (14363 Hwy 73) will be a drop off site for the shelter at Lamar Dixon again today. Please bring donations of toiletries, ladies hygiene products, baby formula and supplies, non perishable foods. We will update list of needs throughout the day.

**Just Added: Albertson’s Grocery Stores:

Effective 5PM this evening, Monday 8/15/16, all Albertson’s stores in the local baton rouge area (except the Denham Springs flooded store) will have a way for you to add money to your checkout to donate funds to the disaster relief.

American Red Cross: 

Give money to the American Red Cross. On this page, simply use the drop-down menu to earmark your money for the Louisiana floods. Or text LAFLOODS to 90999 to automatically send the organization $10. You may also call them at 855-489-2528 to volunteer.

United Way of Southeast Louisiana:

Donate to or volunteer with the United Way of Southeast Louisiana, which will provide flood victims with counseling, food and other items, here.

Zeta Phi Beta:

Check out the Louisiana State University’s Zeta Phi Beta sorority’s GoFundMe, which is aiming to raise $10,000 and disburse it to students impacted by the flooding, here.

Receiving Centers in New Orleans:

For nearby residents, such as New Orleans, there are many receiving areas that have been set up to collect items of need. Please click here for a link to New Orleans area collection centers.

8. As of 8/15/16, the following information has been provided as a vital need: There is a critical need for families who can provide a foster home for pets during this disaster. Please contact Capital Area Animal Welfare at (225) 752-5801. 

The question is “How can I help flood victims in Louisiana?” Let’s back up for a few minutes though before we answer that question to try to minimize the chances that you ever become a victim, and how to mitigate damages in the event that you do. If you are displaced from your home, it is a lot easier on both you and emergency personnel if you have some of your basics covered. If you have to go to a shelter, it’s devastating enough. It’s a medical emergency if you have to go without your medicine. During a flood, emergency personnel and first responders are overwhelmed, so do what you can to minimize your needs during the disaster.

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WHEN FLOODING IS A POSSIBILITY IN OR AROUND YOUR LOCAL AREA:

The question is “How can I help flood victims in Louisiana?” Let’s back up for a few minutes though before we answer that question to try to minimize the chances that you ever become a victim, and how to mitigate damages in the event that you do. If you are displaced from your home, it is a lot easier on both you and emergency personnel if you have some of your basics covered. If you have to go to a shelter, it’s devastating enough. It’s a medical emergency if you have to go without your medicine. During a flood, emergency personnel and first responders are overwhelmed, so do what you can to minimize your needs during the disaster.

  1. Find out what local resources are available to you to fill sandbags for your home. Get a list of at least two, and preferably three, in case the others are inaccessible due to heavy use or flooding. If you think that your place may flood, go and fill sandbags and protect your home. If you wait until you are certain, you will likely be far too late. Those sandbags can hold back water that would otherwise freely flow into your home, so it’s just good practice to surround your home and stop yourself from becoming another flood victim. It goes without saying that some will be unable to protect their homes regardless of all of their best efforts, but you should still try until you know that you have exhausted your options.
  2. Have enough drinking water on hand. If you live in Louisiana then you are all to familiar with a ‘boil water advisory’, which you should be able to do, but if you lose your power that option will be lost with it. Make sure you have enough bottled water and food (non perishable) available to eat so that you, your family, your animals, and potentially additional family members or friends who may come to you after losing their homes are covered. Do not stock up on things which require electricity (meats, cheeses, etc.), as you have no promise that you will have power during the disaster. You do not want to go to the grocery store and find empty shelves, so you should always have a ready supply of non perishables in your home.

Grocery Stores Empty

  1. Assemble your valuables, your real valuables; passport, ID, medicine, two days worth of clothing, toiletries, phone charger, a small blanket, flashlight (or a flashlight app on your phone), multi purpose tool, knife, batteries, a radio, etc. Please take the number of your insurance agent and your policy number with you if at all possible. You will need this to begin the claims process. You will also want to bring a small amount of food with you; protein bars, pop tarts, dry nuts, and water. You may displaced for several hours during an evacuation. The lines will be long at the shelters, and you will be cold, wet, tired, and emotionally shaken. You do not need to add hungry or thirsty to the list. Take enough to get you through the first 24 hours if possible. Click here to read the Red Cross Evacuation Bag List list.
  2. Put all of your valuables in gallon sized ziploc bags and squeeze out all of the air. Roll clothes up tightly before placing in bags to conserve space. If you have to evacuate by boat and your bag slips off into the water, your items will remain dry if you have them bagged up in the ziplocs. Plus, these zip loc bags serve as a wonderful way to carry and store items that you will be provided once you are at the shelter.

Evacuation Bag During Flooding

5. Put your items in a backpack, not a bag that you carry by hand. When you are evacuating, you may need both arms to be pulled off of a roof, car, etc, and you should not have that terrible situation complicated by also having to struggle with a bag. Put it on your back so that you may move around hands free. This also frees your hands up at the shelter where things are crowded and space is tight. Inside of a shelter, you will be fumbling with paperwork, possibly your children, and you do not need your personal belongings complicating the matter. Additionally, it keeps items up off of the floor which reduces the possibility that someone could trip on your bag or accidentally take your bag and move it out of the way.  In other words, do not skip this step.

Evacuation Backpack During Flood Louisiana6. Always have cash in your evacuation bag. Do not carry all large bills. During disasters, ATM’s go down, and business may or may not have money couriers coming in. In other words, they may not have change to give to you, and you may not be able to get money from the bank. Trust me when I tell you that I have seen someone pay $20 for a gallon of water, because it was all that he, or anyone around him had. If you need water, and the clerk doesn’t have change, you have to hand over what you have. Do yourself a favor and have at least $50-$100 in $1 or $5 bills. You may already be taking a bath due to the flooding, and you don’t need to take a financial bath too. Save yourself the trouble and make this a part of your evacuation bag.

7. Make sure that you have enough food in a ziplock bag ready to go for your animals, as you can not guarantee that your receiving shelter will have this need covered. Also, please remember to pack any medications that your animal requires.

8. Similar to number 7 above, please make sure that you take ample baby formula and diapers to sustain your babies for at least 24 hours, as this is a need which is always a challenge during a disaster. Again, remember any medications that your baby may need.

9. Make sure that you have registered your pet’s chip if they have one. Should you be separated from you pet during the flood, this is a way to guarantee that you will be reunited. If you do not remember who makes your chip, simply call the Capital Area Animal Welfare Center at (225) 752-5801. When you read them your chip number, they will be able to tell you who it is registered to.  Please register these chips. If your pets do not have chips, please make sure that they have a collar on with your current information on it. If you have pets, print out the Pet Emergency Preparedness Plan, written by Sirena Madden of  Happy Trails and Wag’n Tails. She has been in the ‘dog care’ business for over a decade and has seen it all. She gives you a lot of valuable pointers that could easily be overlooked.

10. Fill up your car or truck. This is because the gas pumps in your area may be submerged under water. Additionally, gas trucks may be unable to get into your local area to refill the pumps. You will need to be able to drive for various reasons before, and especially after, the flood, so make sure that you have already taken care of this for yourself and your family members.

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**All Flood Photos Couresy of Local Realtor Kristina Smallhorn (aka. YourRealEstateWhisperer)

11. Make a contact and evacuation plan. The Red Cross and your local news station (for example, here in Baton Rouge it is WAFB Baton Rouge News) will post constant updates about where you should evacuate to in the event of a disaster. Additionally, they will post local numbers of resources that you may find yourself in need of. Call 911 in the event of an emergency. If you can not get through to 911 for evacuation, please contact GOHSEP (Governer’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management) at (225) 925-7500.  Have your local power company’s phone number handy. Where I live, that company is Entergy Power Company. You may contact them at 800-542-2668. If you do not have the chance to shut off your power, call the electric company to do it. Many people forget how frequently people are electrocuted both during and after floods as a result of active power at a disaster site. **Important note, NEVER go into a basement where there is standing water to shut off the breaker box. If you have to stand in water to reach it, just call the power company to shut it off.

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Lastly, make sure that you have one contact outside of the area that you appoint as your family’s ‘point of contact’. You do not want to rely on others that are in the affected area, as they may be suffering catastrophic losses themselves and be unable to provide assistance. You simply text or call your loved ones and make sure that they know who your point of contact is. Then, as things develop, you may simply tell one person, and anyone who wants to check on you may call them. You will have your hands full dealing with your situation, the phone lines will be inundated or shut down, and you may not have access to a place to charge your cell phone. For all of these reasons, text (preferred to reduce phone line overload) the one person and let them do the talking for you. You may of course always post to Facebook, but that can take up a lot of your time trying to answer questions from everyone. It’s best to just focus on where you are in that moment, and let someone with a clear head manage that for you. Please also instruct that person to relay to family/friends that they may check the Red Cross Safe and Well Locator System for updates. Whenever you enter a shelter, one of your first stops will be at a table where you will be asked to fill in this form so that you may be checked in safe.

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Receiving Area for Displaced Flood Victims

If you take care of those 11 tasks, then you will have helped yourself and your family. In so doing, you have already exponentially reduced the amount of resources that you will require during a disaster, and that is a massive contribution to relief efforts.

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AFTER THE DISASTER: 

People are trying to get back to ‘normal’ and you want to help. Here are some ways that you can contribute that may seem less obvious.

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  1. Offer to watch children at the local church, as many people will struggle with childcare issues during clean up.
  2. Buying school supplies will be much appreciated. Though this is not an immediate need during a disaster, it will quickly become one when schools reopen and victims of the flood do not have school supplies for their children.
  3. Register for a course from the Red Cross about Emergency Preparedness . This way the next time that there is a disaster, you will have a wider skill set to offer to your local community members in need.

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4. Talk to your employer about using unused sick days or leave. Many large workplaces, like the federal government, allow people to give unused leave to others. Contact your HR representative and ask if you can donate some of your unused leave to people affected by the flood.

Yes, there are a million other ways that you can provide assistance, but this post was meant to encourage you to be creative, get out there, and get connected. We all want to help others in need. It’s a basic human desire. It’s what makes this country great. It what makes me proud to call Louisiana home today.

I hope this article helped you in some way. Please share with your friends and family on social media, and post any additional needs or comments below to help others.

In closing, I want to take a moment to thank all of the emergency responders, volunteers, news crews and more who have given so generously and placed themselves in harm’s way to save others. Thank you for spending this time with me. Stay safe. Have an open heart. Give back.

With gratitude,

Raphaela Laurean

 

 

Blackhawk Helicopter Crash in Florida: We Wait

Good Morning Everyone,

I woke up today, like any other day, and checked my phone before reaching for my water bottle. It was every military wife’s worst nightmare. There was a CNN Update and it read ’11 Missing after Blackhawk Helicopter Crashes in Florida’. I couldn’t even breathe for a minute. My throat felt tight and I felt the tears welling up inside of me. Anyone who reads that kind of a thing will feel deeply saddened, but for military members and their families around the world this kind of news is devastating.

I want to remain hopeful, as the news is only reporting that they have found debris. They say that the 11 are presumed dead, but nothing is confirmed. My thoughts switch immediately to the families of these service members. What are they going through right now? They sit, and they wait, because that’s all that they can do. They are powerless and broken at the same time. The thoughts that race through your mind are is it my Marine?, is it my Soldier?, if it’s not, do I know their wife, their children?

They wait for a knock on the door that they know will likely come. They know what they will see and it will be like some terrible nightmare, but it will happen in their homes. Those uniformed men and women will come. These brave people have to deliver that kind of news with honor and dignity, and they have to be very strong while they are delivering the worst news imaginable.

They will say those words that no one wants to hear. They will tell you that today your life is changed forever. They will be the people whose words confirm your deepest fears. They will be the fingers that walk up and put their thumb and index finger over the flame of hope that still burned inside of you when you heard about this crash. They will put out your hope. They will confirm that your loved one was among the missing, and is now confirmed dead. They will confirm your terrible thought, you are now a widow.

You will have to deliver this news to your children, and you will have to be strong until family arrives to help you because you likely do not live near your family. You live at your spouse’s duty station, and that is almost always no where near home. The families of these service members will receive this news. The moms and dads, sisters and brothers, and friends will all hear this devastating news today. That brave service member who everyone assumed was safe, because they were in the states, is gone. No one is prepared and so it hits you on an entirely different level.

The words will come, then the tears, denial, grief, the funeral, and then life will just go on for everyone else. Your story will not be in the headlines anymore, but your life will still go on. Your broken, gaping hole in your life will just have to keep moving forward. You will have to be a single parent, a widow, and people will talk about your ‘deceased spouse’ whenever you leave the room. That is your new life.

You may be wondering why I am writing such a post. The answer is simple. I am a military wife, and today all military wives are heartbroken. We wait together. In these moments, we make no distinction between branches of service. We all feel the same thing today, sadness. We are reminded today that we have to stand together, or we will fall apart. We are all asking ourselves what we can do to help, because those ‘sisters’ of ours are going through the worst day of their lives. We are reminded that tomorrow that knock could be on our front doors.

I have sent my husband on many deployments; Iraq and Afghanistan repeatedly. He flies Cobra Helicopters for the Marine Corps, so this crash hits me on a very personal level. We all feel this false sense of security when they are stateside that they are safe, and today is a reminder that this is a lie that we tell ourselves so that we can sleep at night. What else do you do? How else could you kiss your service member goodbye in the morning to go to work and know that you may not see them again? Service members, police officers, firefighters and probably others that I am overlooking right now, we all share that common thread.

Let us stand together today as military wives, husbands, family members, and patriots and support these families. No amount of money can ever put their dad in their living rooms on Christmas ever again. No amount of money can walk their daughter down the isle on her wedding day, or teach a son to grow up to become a good man like his daddy was. Lastly, no amount of money can hold those wives tonight as they realize that their spouse will never lie next to them again, never. They are gone.

I asked myself what I would want if it were my door that was getting knocked on today, and I would want a memory. It wouldn’t be about money, or help, because those things will come as a natural progression of this event. I would want a memory. I would want something that I could watch with my children, play at holidays, and share with my grandchildren about the man that was lost, the person we buried, my husband. That is what I would want.

The reason this occurred to me was as a result of the recent movie ‘American Sniper’, which is of course a heartbreaking account of one family’s loss. The reason this movie was so moving to me was not just how it documented the life of Chris Kyle, but how it offered his children a look at their father. They will have something to show who he was, how he was loved, and how he was mourned.

The next time you see a service member, be sure that you are mindful that they, and their families make sacrifices every day to prepare to defend the freedom that you enjoy. Our families are prepared, though perhaps not ready, to pay the ultimate price as patriots and supporters of this wonderful country that we live in.

With a very heavy heart and the utmost respect,

Raphaela Laurean