Are you a history buff? Do you love taking your kids to open-air museums where they can really see history in action? Do you also love visiting national parks? Then Vermillionille and the Acadian Cultural Center are two places you must visit while in Louisiana.
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I don’t know about you, but when I’m traveling around the country, I love finding really cool open-air museums to see how life was lived in the old days. It’s been that way for me since I can remember. The first one I really remember going to was in Mystic, Connecticut. I’ve been hooked since.
Similarly, I love a national park. Whether it’s a full-on park, a historical park, or just a monument, they all have a couple of things in common that keep me hooked. For one, I love the visitor’s centers, talking to the rangers, seeing the exhibits, and of course, watching a movie or two in the theater. It’s such a great way to learn about the park and what to do.
On our Louisiana trip, we’d had so much fun doing swamp tours, tasting Tabasco products, taking a cooking lesson, eating all kinds of great Cajun food that we were ready for some history!
In Lafayette, conveniently right across the street from one another, are two of these places, Vermillionville and the Acadian Cultural Center. Both are fascinating, both different, and both completely worth a stop on your Louisiana trip.
In this article:
What is Vermillionville?
Vermillionville is an open-air museum highlighting the history of Southern Louisiana. It highlights the Acadian and Creole history of the area as well as the local native tribes and peoples of African descent.
It’s a glimpse into life in the late 1880s, and there are both storytellers and demonstrators to tell you all about the culture, the traditions, and the ways things worked.
Why You Should Visit
To say Vermillionville is an eye-opening education is an understatement. The docents, who seem to absolutely love what they are doing, are extremely knowledgeable about the history, both good and bad.
While we were there we listened to a number of history lessons; we talked with and had a spinning and weaving lesson; we had an accordion-playing folk singer entertain us with some toe-tapping songs; and we ate some examples of Louisiana cuisine.
We were set up on a guided tour, which may be the best way to go, but there are other ways to see the site.
You can walk around on your own, talking to the docents located in the houses and buildings, and you can read the placards lining the path.
Is it Good for Kids?
If you are taking children to Vermillion, the best way to see it is at your own pace. If they are like me, they will want to spend a little time coaxing the two donkeys up to the fence. They were so cute!
Luckily, the demonstrators or docents located in each building can easily adapt to their audience. I think most kids would enjoy it, especially eating lunch in the café and having some of their famous bread pudding.
Things to See at Vermillionville
There are about eleven significant buildings in Vermillionville, so it can take some time to walk around and see them all.
For me, the most significant buildings were the Chapelle des Attakapas, the schoolhouse, the weaver’s house, and of course the restaurant and souvenir shop.
Make sure you check the calendar before coming. Sundays are especially fun in Vermillionville as they host a cajun music and dancing afternoon that everyone will love.
If you are really interested in a guided tour, you will want to contact the museum prior to your trip. The minimum number of people is six, and there is a form to fill out. I would just contact them first, and ask them your questions. They’ll be able to get back to you.
Vermillionville address: 300 Fisher Road
Check their website and read all about all the things to do and see before you go.
What is the Acadian Cultural Center?
Part of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, the Acadian Cultural Center is another way to learn about the history of how the Acadians left Nova Scotia and settled in Louisiana.
The exhibits cover everything from life in the late 1800s from everyday life to fishing. They are bright and colorful, with many placards describing what you see.
Of course for me, the best part was seeing the movie of Acadian history. I think kids would really like it as well.
Other things happening at the center include ranger talks on Tuesdays and Saturdays and a Dulcimer Jam of Cajun music on Saturdays.
Don’t forget to read our 12+ Things to do in Lafayette to find out more about this incredible Louisiana city like what to do and where to stay!
I think the best way to see both Vermillionville and the Acadian Cultural Center is think about the heat. If it’s summer or a hot day, go to Vermillionville first, because you are outside most of the time walking between buildings.
Then make your way across the street and browse the museum as well as watch the video, which plays on the hour.
Whichever way you do them, these are two of the must-stops in Lafayette to find out a little more about Cajun culture.
Author Bio – Corinne is an avid camper and traveler. She’s been to all 50 of the US states and has four more Canadian provinces to visit. However, she’s not stopping yet. There’s always more to see of this great continent! Corinne loves local foods, getting outdoors, landscape photography, and road trips.