Gator Chateau in Jennings, Louisiana is a must do ‘touristy’ stop if you are traveling I-10! Right off of the interstate (exit 64), in the Louisiana Oil & Gas Park, this small, nondescript building holds the key to some great vacation/roadtrip photos… Gators that you can actually hold and take your picture with! For Free!
Gator Chateau is a gator rescue shelter that is run by the City of Jennings Tourism. The gators here have been rescued from various situations, and some are kept at the shelter long-term for their safety, while others are rehabilitated and eventually returned to the wild.
When you enter the small lobby, you will find a sign on the wall letting you know what sized alligator you can hold based on your age.
Because these gators are not restrained in any way (like their mouths taped shut), adults can old larger gators than younger kids can.
Education is the main focus of the Gator Chateau, and while you are there, the ‘gator docent’ that is staffing GC will be happy to answer any questions that you have about alligators. Madelyn was our docent, and she was super knowledgeable, as well as very patient to let ALL of us hold gators! lol.
Madelyn shared all sorts of information about habitat, eating habits, and even told us that there are an estimated 2 million (yes, MILLION) gators in Louisiana alone!
The gator that Daniel is holding in the above photo is about 3 years old, while the gator that Jake has below is just a year.
The little baby ones were us girls’ favorites!
Gator Chateau is also home to a resident Alligator Snapping Turtle, named Pierre, that was rescued years ago. People down here still eat them.quite.often. lol. Since alligator snapping turtles gain approximately 1 pound per year of life, the one residing at the chateau is estimated to be 77 years old!
While the location was quite unassuming, we thought it was a great stop!!!
The chateau is located in a lovely park, next to a large pond. It is a great location for a picnic lunch!
Right next door to the chateau builing is the Jeff Davis Parish Visitor’s Center (parishes are the same as counties, but it sounds cooler!). The visitor’s cneter was closed for a staff meeting during our visit, but a peek through the windows revealed a small gift shop with fun gator related souvenirs as well as a exhaustive supply of destination and adventure brochures! Also, the visitor’s center is a staffed location, so it’s the perfect stop to ask the locals what to do and where to eat in the area!
Also located in the Louisiana Oil & Gas Park are great shade trees for resting under while you watch the kids run off all that energy that has been building during the drive! The will love the fabulous playground just a few steps to the west of Gator Chateau…
where we stayed far too long, and where our kids chose a pine cone fight (there weren’t any other kids there 😉 ) over eating lunch and saved their food until we were driving again!
We have never seen these strange teeter-totter-ish toys (below) before! They would move up and down like a snake with the weight of the kids running over them. It was all the kids played with once they tried them out!
So, the Louisiana Oil & Gas Park? It was a hit with The Tribe! We loved the free price tag, there were several different activities to do (and something to do no matter the weather!), and we even found it to be rather educational (roadschool win!)!
About Gator Chateau:
*Open year-round, 9 to 5, Monday thru Saturday
*Set aside approximately 15 minutes for visiting the gators
*Bring your own camera! The chateau does not provide photos.
*Visiting in the summer? Feeding time is at 3:30 on Fridays, May through September
If you want to learn more about the LA Oil & Gas Park, along with other activities in the area (there is an rv campground RIGHT next door to the playground and park), visit the Jeff Davis Parish Tourism website where you will learn about all sorts of fun local activities!