Southern Louisiana prides itself in being a Sportsman’s Paradise, with incredible animals roaming our flat, swampy lands and vast varieties of marine life in the Gulf of Mexico. One of our hidden gems is the Global Wildlife Center, north of New Orleans in Folsom. At GWC, adults and children alike can experience the up-close interaction with animals such as giraffes, zebras, llamas, kangaroos and bison.
Global Wildlife Center is a 900-acre free roaming area for over 30 species, totaling over 4,000 animals. It is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, so they aren’t federal or state funded. They maintain their property and care for the animals through admission and the feed they sell to the generous visitors who come to experience what GWC has to offer.
They offer two different tours, which include the Private Pinz tour and the Safari Wagon tour. The Private Pinz tour is a one-hour tour with an intimate private experience. The up-close encounter promises to get one close enough to the animals to allow them to be fed, touched and even have “selfies” taken! The safari wagon tour is a one-hour and 15-minute educational tour. That tour is a great way to bring large groups to GWC, because the wagons can hold up to 160 people depending on age and size.
Recently, I took my family on a tour and what lingered most in my mind was how instinctual the animals are with one another and even with the people. Also, one of the anecdotal stories really hit home with me in the wake of the disasters that sit very heavily on the hearts of all of us who feel we are a part of New Orleans. GWC is high and dry most of the time. During Katrina, they only sustained menial damage from wind, although they did lose 1,000 trees during the storm. The flooding closed roads around GWC but they weren’t affected by flooding on the property. The giraffes were put up in their barn in case of flying debris, but the rest of the animals were left on the property to ride out the storm.
These animals had an innate instinct that told them to get to the highest and driest part of the property. Together, they formed a nature barrier wall with each other. Every species gathered together and held strong on Lake Field until the storm passed. Not one animal was lost due to the storm and, in fact, some of the expectant mothers had their babies due to the different atmospheric pressure changes.
Global Wildlife Center is Louisiana’s very own safari, and in addition to being educational and fun for adults and children, it’s a great way to experience animals in their natural habitat.
Just the Facts:
Global Wildlife Center
26389 Louisiana 40, Folsom
GWC is open seven days a week, year-round. Tickets are sold on a first-come, first-serve basis and aren’t sold in advance, online or over the phone. Tour times are posted one week at a time and are updated every Friday. Reservations can be made in advance for Private Pinz tours or groups of 25 people or more.