Plan Your Visit


The best way to plan your visit to Cameron Prairie or any of the surrounding refuges is to visit the Southwest Louisiana NWR Complex Visitor Center!


The best way to start your visit to the Southwest Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges (Sabine, Cameron Prairie, Lacassine or Shell Keys) is to visit the SW Louisiana NWR Visitor Center located at Cameron Prairie NWR, 25 miles southeast of Lake Charles on Highway 27. You will cross a boardwalk over a pond with fish, turtles and alligators to enter the self-guided Center. Once inside you will find information on each of the SW Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges by pushing buttons to start state of the art exhibits including theatrical shows featuring animatronic characters, Tante Marie and T'Maurice, who explain why these wetland refuges are important for wildlife and the people who live here. Tante Marie will also tell you about local culture, food, and music.

Other exhibits include a video visit to tiny, inaccessible Shell Keys NWR which was one of the first national wildlife refuges established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907. Children can operate a scale model of a water control structure for hand-on learning about marsh management. Natural habitat dioramas, impressive alligator displays, and a fiber optic migration exhibit are all available for your enjoyment. You can enjoy a short film about SW Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge recreational opportunities, wildlife, and management techniques in the Center auditorium.

A viewing platform is available behind the Center that overlooks the marshy habitat where numerous birds rest. The Pintail Wildlife Drive and boardwalk are just south of the visitor center about 2 miles on the left hand side. Depending on the time of year you visit, you may see wintering snow or white-fronted geese or ducks, year round resident birds or wildlife including alligators, or some of the numerous migratory birds that visit or pass through during fall, winter, or spring.

The Visitor Center and Pintail Wildlife Drive are located approximately an hour and a half east of Sabine NWR and a half hour west of Lacassine NWR.


Contact Information

Southwest Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge Complex
1428 Highway 27 
Bell City LA 70630

Visitor Center Hours

Monday-Thursday  7:30-4:00

Friday 7:30-3:00

Saturday 9:00-4:00