Jungle Gardens of Avery Island

P.O. Box 126
Avery Island, LA  70513
337-369-6243
www.junglegardens.org

Avery Island’s most spectacular feature was developed by the late Edward Avery McIlhenny, known as "Monsieur Ned" by his French speaking friends and associates.  Much of the world knows about TABASCO® Pepper Sauce, made for over 125 years on Avery Island, Louisiana.  Not as many people know that Avery Island is actually a salt dome that extends some eight miles beneath the earth's surface.  Or that the protruding "island" part of the formation is home to the world's most beautiful sanctuaries for the preservation and study of flora and fauna.

It was on Avery Island, where salt and pepper meet, that Edward McIlhenny helped save the snowy egret from extinction.  In 1895 when the bird was being hunted for its plummage, McIlhenny built an aviary on Avery Island and captured and raised eight wild egrets.  After they had raised their hatches and were ready to migrate, McIlhenny freed them.  The egrets returned the next spring and every spring since.  The egrets and herons return by the thousands to the rookery now called "Bird City".  Not surprisingly, Jungle Gardens is a birder's paradise, home to hundreds of species of resident and migratory birds.

McIlhenny did much more to ensure that feature generations had an ideal spot to enjoy and study the beauties of nature and to observe plants and flowers from around the world in his 200 acre Jungle Gardens.  The gardens are home to a large collection of camellias.  Thousands of plants represent some 600 varieties, including imports from Japan and France, as well as varieties that McIlhenny developed on Avery Island.  You will see acres upon acres of bright azalea flowers that carpet the landscape in the spring.  Massive live oak trees are prevalent throughout the gardens, along with brilliant wildflowers and groves of evergreens.  The Chinese Garden contains a Buddha sculpture dating back to 1000  A.D.

And then there is the wildlife.  White tailed deer know they have little to fear and much to eat here.  Rabbits hop across the roads before visitor's cars while alligators prowl the lagoon and Bayou Petit Anse.  Armadillos, possum, squirrels, nutris, raccoons, bobcats and other wildlife may also be glimpsed as you walk on the grounds.