Make time to play in Louisiana: Bird watching, motorsports, hockey

Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge

Nearly 35,000 acres of Southwest Louisiana sitting on the edge of Grand Lake and containing a 16,000-acre freshwater marsh is designated the Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge. Ducks and geese by the hundreds of thousands make good use of Lacassine at peak periods in the winter and spring and it’s been noted as one of the nation’s top waterfowl habitats. Herons, egrets, roseate spoonbills and many other kinds of birds including raptors such as golden eagles, various hawks, owls and vultures live here. Landbound critters abound, too.

The best way to enjoy Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge is to start at the Southwest Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge Complex in nearby Bell City.

Southwest Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge Complex, 1428 Highway 27, Bell City, 25 miles southeast of Lake Charles, www.fws.gov, @USFWSRefuges

NOLA Motorsports Park Louisiana

Does a little vroom vroom make your heart go pitter-patter? NOLA Motorsports Park Louisiana, about 20 minutes north of New Orleans, offers the opportunity to drive really fast on a professional-level 1.8-mile racetrack and on a .3-mile kart track. You can drive your own vehicle on the park’s track during scheduled Open Track days and the year-round Xtreme Xperience can put you behind the wheel (or in the passenger seat) of cars you’ve probably only dreamed of like a Ferrari 458 Italia or Lamborghini Huracán LP610-4. NOLA Motorsports Park also has a full schedule of races and special events. 11075 Nicolle Boulevard, Avondale, 504-302-4875, nolamotor.com, @NOLAMotorsports

Shreveport Mudbugs

The Shreveport Mudbugs reemerged last year as a North American Hockey League expansion team after a $1.5 million upgrade at the Hirsch Coliseum. Hopes are high for the Mudbugs this season, which has them skating through March 2018. Public skating is open on weekends at George's Pond ice rink. George's Pond/Hirsch Coliseum, 3207 Pershing Blvd., Shreveport, 318-636-7094, www.mudbugshockey.com, www.georgespond34.com, @EncompassSport