LA 14 to LA 329S, 7 miles

In five distinct coastal areas in south-central Louisiana, massive salt domes poke up through the marshlands surrounding Vermilion and Cote Blanche Bays. Locals refer to these curious protrusions as “islands.” The most famous of the five is Avery Island, the birthplace of TABASCO® brand Pepper Sauce. The island has been family owned for more than 180 years.

Louisiana naturalist Edward Avery (“Ned”) McIlhenny, the son of TABASCO® inventor Edmund Avery McIlhenny, converted his private estate on the island into a horticultural wonderland named Jungle Gardens. He decorated it with exotic botanical specimens from around the world. Concerned about the then-endangered Snowy Egret, he also protected and enhanced the island's wading bird rookery, which came to be known as ""Bird City.""

Most tourists visit Avery Island to tour the Tabasco® Factory and Museum or to dine at the site’s restaurant. However, most birders come to visit Jungle Gardens. There is a three-mile driving tour around the garden’s 170 acres, terminating at Bird City. Customized bird tours for individuals and groups are available upon request.

Habitat at Jungle Gardens ranges from upland and bottomland hardwood forests to cypress swamps. The entire site is dotted with mature live oaks and palms as well. These park-like woodlands are most active during spring and fall migration when thrushes, orioles, warblers, tanagers, and grosbeaks from throughout eastern North America parade through, en route to their breeding or wintering grounds. Among these species are Summer Tanager, Blue Grosbeak, Hermit Thrush, Swainson’s Thrush, Louisiana Waterthrush, Orange-crowned, Pine, Prothonotary, Worm-eating, Golden-winged, and Blue-winged Warblers, along with Baltimore and Orchard Orioles.

Being so close to Cote Blanche Bay, seabirds such as American White and Brown Pelicans, Caspian and Forster’s Terns, and Laughing Gull are frequent flyovers.

Bird City is the final stop for the Jungle Gardens tour. Between late winter and early summer, many waterbird species can be viewed from the observatory, including Anhinga, Neotropic Cormorant, Great Blue, Little Blue, Tricolored, and Green Herons, Great, Snowy, and Cattle Egrets, along with White Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, and Common and Purple Gallinules. The bird species total here stands at a healthy 166.

Avery Island is amenity-rich with its various points of interest, ample parking, a county store, walking paths, and restrooms and water. The site is partially handicapped accessible.

Drinking Fountains
Gift Shop
Gravel Trails