5 Things You NEED to Do in Alexandria, Louisiana

Alexandria is located in Rapides Parish right in the heart of Louisiana. They’ve even taken that name to heart, adopting their central location as the city’s slogan, The Heart of Louisiana. Beyond being known for their important historical and cultural significance to Central Louisiana, the city is also well-known for their ability to put on a good time! We’ve gathered a list five things you need to do in Alexandria.

Explore the Alexandria Zoological Park

The Alexandria Zoological Park has a surface area of 33 acres and is home to over 160 species of animals. It has been a staple attraction in Central Louisiana since it opened to the public in 1926. Animal-lovers and zoo-goers alike can experience and learn about the more than 500 animals that the zoo is home to.

Since 1986, the Alexandria Zoological Park has been an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The zoo was honored by the AZA in 2015 with the “Quarter Century Award” for its efforts in maintaining the highest standards in animal care, welfare, management, conservation, and much more. The commitment to conversation the zoo has is put on display throughout the year as it participates in several conservation initiatives including Party for the Planet and Species Survival Plans.

Admission into the zoo costs $7.50 for adults and $5.50 for children ages 4-12 and it is located at 3016 Masonic Drive. For more information on the Alexandria Zoological Park, check out their website.

Holi Fest Color Festival in Alexandria, Louisiana

Holi Fest

Holi is a Hindu spring festival celebrated in India, also known as the “festival of colors” or the “festival of love.” It’s also celebrated around America as a festival of “Unity in Diversity,” and the Holi Fest in Alexandria is one of the most brightly-colored festivals of them all. The festival has been running for six years, and their goal is to bring everyone together without any distinction of sex, race or status. To celebrate this, people gather together in Downtown Alexandria to throw colored powder called “gulal” or colored water on each other to break down barriers so that everyone looks the same.

There’s a 4K Walk-Jog-Run, Indian music, dancing and authentic Indian food! The event is free to attend, but the 4K Walk-Jog-Run costs to enter, and the event proceeds go to the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program for the Rapides Children’s Advocacy Center. You can’t beat having fun and giving back at the same time!

Image result for alexandria red river festival

Alexandria Red River Festival

The Alexandria Red River Festival, formerly named the “Alex River Fête”, is another really big festival in Alexandria! While the former name might sound strange, it’s actually a combination of Alexandria, the (Red) River and Fête, which is a French word meaning festival.

The festival gets kicked off with Dinner on the Bricks, an event that showcases locally-owned restaurants’ and caterers’ menus. Then the large festival starts popping! During the weekend-long event in May, everyone gets to enjoy plenty of smaller Fêtes, and there’s something for everyone!

Head over to the Classic Car Fête if you’re really into retro wheels. Got an itch for local arts and crafts? Stop by the Art Fête! There’s even a Kids Fête with activities for your children!

Alexandria Museum of Art in Louisiana

Visit the Alexandria Museum of Art

Looking to get your art fix? Head over to the Alexandria Museum of Art (AMOA). The museum has plenty of pieces on display from prominent local artists and they regularly change out their exhibitions, so there’s always something new to see.

Beyond having art on display, the museum regularly puts on amazing community events! Their community art projects allow new and seasoned artists to work together to create public art installations. They also have an Illuminated Procession that brings the community together at night twice a year to light up the art walk with lanterns and luminaries of every shape and size! They normally have one in the spring and one in the fall.

They regularly host workshops that get families together to work on fun art projects, too. AMOA doesn’t stop there at fun community events—they also put on the annual Louisiana Dragon Boat Races during AlexRiverFete!

Louisiana Dragon Boat Races at AlexRiverFete

Louisiana Dragon Boat Races™

While a bunch of teams racing each other in dragon boats down in Louisiana may seem a little strange at first, the Louisiana Dragon Boat Races are actually an event that thousands of attendees look forward to every year! Yep, this AMOA event is one you don’t want to miss!

These races are an all-day event during the Alexandria Red River Festival. There are three rounds of fast-paced, exciting action, and the packed crowd is cheering for their favorite team! Each competing team takes their place right on the Red River in Alexandria, and there is a little smack talk, but it’s all in good fun! If you look closely, you can even see the dragon boat drummers dressed up for the occasion, wearing everything from sparkly tutus and war paint to full on character costumes like Joker from Batman.

In-between the races is the Kaminari Taiko Drummers Concert and the Drummer’s Style Show, which bring an extra splash of Japanese culture to the event! If you’re looking for something really fun to do in Alexandria, the dragon boat races are really a sight to see! Want to learn more about the Louisiana Dragon Boat Races? Read about them on the city of Alexandria’s website.

How many of these have you done? Let us know your favorite Alexandria event!

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