Touchstone Wildlife and Art Museum
Location: Haughton, Louisiana (3386 Highway 80)
When to visit: Open Tuesday – Saturday 10 am to 4:30 pm most of the year (From Oct. through Feb., open Thursday – Saturday)
Cost: $5 ($3 for kids)
Time needed: 30-60 minutes
Art, taxidermy, and little bit of Star Trek and Civil War history are all on display at the Touchstone Wildlife Art Museum, a truly odd but fascinating facility located 20 minutes outside Shreveport.
Founded in 1981, the Haughton, Louisiana museum welcomes photography and charges only $5 per adult and $3 per child, so it’s affordable for everyone.
On display are more than 1000 specimens, mostly zoo animals donated after they died. The animals are placed inside display cases painted to look like their natural habitats.
Sights from the Touchstone Wildlife and Art Museum
If you’re into slithery creatures, you’re in luck! Check out this impressive collection of snakes on display. They look just like the rattlesnakes I saw in Roosevelt National Park. Fortunately, these ones are behind glass, and they’re not moving.
Check out the giraffes, warthogs, and other African safari wildlife in this display. This scene looks exactly like what I saw when I visited Botswana! Except that in the wild, the animals are a bit further apart. Here, they are condensed into a small space for the sake of creating a compact exhibit.
This snow leopard once lived in a zoo. It’s one of the rarest cats on earth today, and it’s magnificent to see up close. This is one creature that I haven’t seen in person. Few people have!
What do bighorn sheep and Star Trek have in common? Nothing at all, actually, except that they exist side by side in this display at the Touchstone. Just like the bighorns I saw in Rocky Mountain National Park.
There are several displays like this that might make you scratch your head. But again, it’s only five bucks, so it’s worth stepping inside to check out this unique museum.
The Unusual Second Floor
Head to the second floor of the Touchstone Wildlife and Art Museum for more stuffed creatures plus a wide variety of displays that aren’t necessarily related to animals.
These exhibits include Confederate money, Civil War weapons, Native American arrowheads, and Creationism, which the museum’s late founder promoted in later in life after previously supporting evolution.
If the taxidermy collection inside isn’t quirky enough for you, step out back behind the building, where the museum keeps live deer in a pen. The Touchstone Wildlife Art Museum is weird and affordable, so there’s no reason not to visit if you’re near Haughton.
The museum doesn’t have much of a website, but it does keep its oddball hours updated on the site. So if you plan to visit, be sure to make sure your schedule fits in with the facility’s current operating hours.
As of 2021, from March to September, the Touchstone is open from Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 4:30 pm. It’s closed Sunday and Monday.
However, in the winter, from October to February, the Touchstone is only open Thursday through Saturday. Same hours, 10 am to 4:30 pm.
For more interesting attractions in the area, see the Louisiana alligator ziplining in Greenwood, or the National Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Keithville.