Our RV travels have taken us through southwestern Louisiana on numerous occasions as we drove I-10 from Florida to Texas. Last winter we decided to check out Acadiana for ourselves and it did not disappoint.
Cajun Palms RV Resort just off Interstate 10 at Henderson (near Breaux Bridge) was one of three RV Parks we used as our home base during a three-week period.
Thirty dinosaurs are now headed to this St. Martin Parish upscale RV resort, including a life-size T-Rex and a brontosaurus taller than a three-story house and 70 feet long from nose to tail. Five can move their robotic heads and arms. An enormous dinosaur nest contains eggs with baby raptors bursting from their shells, reports theadvertiser.com.
Owner Lee Venable insisted the dinosaurs’ dimensions and skin be scientifically accurate when they were created in a Philippines factory. They are now on cargo ships headed to America and destined to become residents of Prehistoic Park, a $400,000 attraction Venable is building on 14 acres of forest.
“My first shipment of dinosaurs arrived in a Los Angeles port last week, so they’re going through customs inspections,” Venable said.
“The most expensive dinosaur was $24,000.”
Recent rain slowed construction a bit, but Venable still plans to open this May. Prehistoric Park represents the first phase in an entertainment complex Venable plans to build on 80 acres he owns adjacent to Cajun Palms RV Resort.
Eventually, attractions will include go-kart tracks, a man-made slow river about one mile long for tubing and rafting, a lake, a small stripmall of stores plus cabin and apartment rentals that he said will be ideal for young professionals and oil workers working in the area temporarily as well as vacationers.
A former Lafayette residential developer, Venable owns the 335-vehicle RV park near Breaux Bridge and hundreds of rental properties across Acadiana. He sold some rental properties to finance Prehistoric Park.
He carved a twisting, 2,600-foot path through the thick forest to locate the dinosaur park. Dinosaurs will be tucked in the foliage along the pathway with nearby plaques detailing how each behemoth ate and lived. Venable said he wants the park to be a popular school field trip destination where tickets will cost $5 per child.
“We’ll have a concession stand next door that serves pizza and sandwiches in case a family wants to use Prehistoric Park for their child’s birthday,” Venable told theadvertiser.com.
After the dinosaur park is completed, Venable said he plans to build two go-kart tracks next to it. One of the $5,500-per-vehicle go-karts he bought is displayed in the Cajun Palms RV Resort clubhouse as a coming attraction. Venable built a cardboard model of the complex with tiny toy cars and palm trees with artichoke tops as fronds.
St. Martin Parish President Guy Cormier believes Venable can turn that table top dream into a reality. Cormier frequently spends a weekend at Cajun Palms to relax.
“When Lee first talked about his plans for Cajun Palms, I second guessed everything he told me he was going to do,” Cormier recalled.
“But he made that RV park into a huge success with the sort of upscale amenities you find in a resort. Cajun Palms pays more to the parish in hotel and motel taxes than any other business.”
The RV resort includes a clubhouse with vaulted, beamed ceilings that non-RV owners often rent for weddings. The swimming pool contains a big plastic pirate ship for children to board and a gigantic purple-and-green dragon stretched across the middle of the water.
“We don’t have luxury condos or timeshares for tourists, but the RV travel market is booming and when I go to RV conventions anywhere in America, they know about Cajun Palms,” St. Martin Parish Tourist Commission Director Dona Richard said.
“If Lee builds it, they will come.”
Cajun Palms RV Resort
Cajun Palms RV Resort is a full service campground resort that features numerous traditional as well as high tech amenities.
Accommodations consist of over 300 deluxe RV sites and 25 cabins. RV sites have full hookups, 30- and 50-amp, 70+ channels of digital cable, and on-site water and sewer. Pull through and back-in sites have 20 feet of space between each concrete pad.
Location: 1-10 Exit 115 North .6 Miles
Address: 1055 North Barn Road, Henderson, LA 70517
Phone: (337) 667-7772
Please Note: This is Part 24 of an on-going series on Louisiana Cuisine/Travel Ideas
Goodbye joe, me gotta go, me oh my oh
Me gotta go pole the pirogue down the bayou
My yvonne, the sweetest one, me oh my oh
Son of a gun, well have good fun on the bayou
—Hank Williams, Sr.