Offbeat Exploration: 7 Unique Museums Near New Orleans

New Orleans offers many free festivals and historic sites to explore, but there are also plenty of off-the-beaten-path places worth visiting just outside of the city limits. Many surrounding attractions are perfect for a day trip, located just a short drive from our French Quarter neighborhood.

Read on for 7 unique museums near New Orleans worth the trip!

Louisiana's Old State Capitol Building in Baton Rouge.

Louisiana’s Old State Capitol building is also known as the “Castle on the River.”

Louisiana’s Old State Capitol

100 North Blvd, Baton Rouge, LA
Approximate driving time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

The government-building-turned-museum houses an array of artifacts and interesting exhibits centered around the state’s beginnings and unique cultural offerings. Inside the castle, you’ll find a stunning spiral staircase which winds up to the old house and senate chambers. Above the spiral staircase? A rainbow-colored stained glass dome, which glows brightly during a sunny day.

Whitney Plantation

5099 Louisiana Highway 18, Wallace, LA
Approximate driving time: 1 hour

While there are numerous plantations within a short drive from Bienville House, Whitney Plantation is notable for being the first plantation museum that focuses specifically on the experience of slavery. The museum offers guided tours (which are required to view the exhibits) and shares first-person slave narratives to help visitors gain a better understanding of what Louisiana’s enslaved people endured.

Wedell-Williams Aviation & Cypress Sawmill Museum

118 Cotten Road, Patterson, LA
Approximate driving time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

This unique attraction in the tiny town of Patterson, Louisiana actually offers two museums in one. The Wedell-Williams Aviation Collection celebrates the Golden Age of Aviation, with airplanes and memorabilia from two of Louisiana’s aviation pioneers. Next door, the Cypress Sawmill Collection explores the history of the cypress lumber industry in Louisiana.

Admission to both exhibits is free, but check your calendar before you make the drive, as the museum is closed on Sundays, Mondays, and state holidays.

INFINITY Science Center Museum

INFINITY is NASA’s official visitor center for the Stennis Space Center. (Photo via

INFINITY Science Center

1 Discovery Circle, Pearlington, MS
Approximate driving time: 1 hour

The INFINITY Science Center is a part of NASA’s Stennis Space Center, which has been in operation since 1961. INFINITY dedicates itself to educating its visitors on the wonders of space, science, and ocean exploration. Visitors can explore the center’s STEM exhibits, take guided bus tours, or partake in captivating projects. It’s a great place to bring children of all ages.

Abita Mystery House

22275 LA-36, Abita Springs, LA
Approximate driving time: 1 hour and 15 minutes

If you’re a fan of the strange and unusual, you must make a side trip from New Orleans across Lake Ponchartrain to the Abita Mystery House. The exhibits range from folk art to vintage arcade machines to hybrid taxidermy animals. This quirky roadside attraction is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. except for major holidays, and admission is $3 per person for ages 3 and up.

Kentwood Historical and Cultural Arts Museum

204 Avenue E, Kentwood, LA
Approximate driving time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

The small town of Kentwood’s biggest claim to fame is being the hometown of pop star Britney Spears. The Kentwood Historical and Cultural Arts Museum pays tribute to the diva with exhibits featuring a recreation of Britney’s childhood bedroom and a miniature replica of the pop star’s stage from the “Dream within a Dream” tour. This unassuming museum is located inside a residential house, and you must ring the front doorbell to enter. Admission is free, but the hours of operation can be sporadic, with the museum typically closing by 3:00 p.m. We suggest you call the museum at 985-229-4656 before making the drive to confirm that it will be open.

The Walter Anderson Museum is dedicated to the preservation of Walter Inglis Anderson's work.

The Walter Anderson Museum first opened its doors in 1991. (Photo via Facebook)

Walter Anderson Museum of Art

510 Washington Avenue, Ocean Springs, MS
Approximate driving time: 1 hour and 30 minutes


The Walter Anderson Museum of Art was created to preserve the life and works of celebrated American artist, Walter Anderson. Today, the museum features an array of rotating exhibits featuring Anderson’s diverse portfolio, as well as traveling exhibits and live programming. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for members of the armed forces, and $5 for children.

Plan your New Orleans vacation.

Our centrally-located French Quarter address gives you easy access to some of the region’s most fascinating museums and attractions. Book your stay in our recently renovated hotel and explore everything the Gulf South has to offer today!