Home News-Free Shreveport Aquarium Hosts 3rd Annual Paddlefish Festival, March 6

Shreveport Aquarium Hosts 3rd Annual Paddlefish Festival, March 6


Shreveport Aquarium will be hosting its third annual Paddlefish Festival on Saturday, March 6 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The event will feature guest speakers, competitions, animal interactions and more. The celebration ends with a paddlefish send-off, where the newly reared paddlefish are transported off-site and released into the Caddo Waterways.

Highlights include:

Enjoy animal feedings and interactions
Enter the recycled art contest and win prizes
Participate in fun games and crafts
Hunt for fossils and gems in Red River Treasure Mine
Learn from educational displays and speakers
Say goodbye to the paddlefish as they head out to Oil City be released into their new home (maps available on site for those who want to take part in the 4 p.m. release)


Since 2017, Shreveport Aquarium, in partnership with Caddo Lake Institute, has been rearing and releasing this threatened freshwater species to help repopulate Caddo Lake.

“What’s really unique is getting the public involved. It is actually the kids who do the release at Caddo Lake,” Destiny Garcia, the aquarium’s general manager, said, “It’s one thing to read about conservation efforts on a website or in the news. It’s another to watch them take their first swim into native waters.”

The American Paddlefish dates back over 300 million years, nearly 50 million years before dinosaurs first appeared. Paddlefish were once common in Caddo Lake, but populations almost completely disappeared in the 1970s after the construction of the upstream dam at Lake O’ The Pines. Overfishing, habitat destruction, and pollution have contributed to the species’ decline in other areas of the US. Through extensive habitat restoration and historic agreements with the Corps of Engineers, Caddo Lake is now prime habitat to restore this prehistoric species.

American Paddlefish once ranged in almost every river in the Central and Eastern United States but due overfishing, habitat destruction and pollution their current range has been reduced to just the Mississippi and Missouri River tributaries and Mobile Bay drainage basin.

National American Paddlefish Day is a recognized and certified day on March 9 of each calendar year. Shreveport Aquarium submitted the application in 2018 and was awarded the certification for this national day to bring awareness to the plight of the 300 million year old species.

Garcia said, “The Louisiana wetlands and their unique species are of global environmental importance. Getting to contribute to its diversity and health is an honor.”

The event is free with admission to the aquarium. Aquarium admission is $15 for ages 13+, $12 for ages 3-12 and free for ages 2 and under. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, tickets are limited and must be purchased online in advance. Season pass holders will have priority entry.

Shreveport Aquarium is located at 601 Clyde Fant Parkway. For more information visit www.shreveportaquarium.com

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