There is just something about New Orleans, Louisiana. Once you visit that beautiful city along the Mississippi River, it becomes a part of you. New Orleans is a city that you can’t help but want to return to. My husband and I have been making a trip to New Orleans at least once a year since we were in college. Now, we make the trip at least once a year with our children (though the trips are decidedly different than those college trips many moons ago!). New Orleans has so many family friendly activities to keep everyone busy that there is no way to possibly see them all in one trip. These are a few of our family favorite spots in New Orleans.
Check out the animalistic side of New Orleans
We always start our New Orleans adventure with a visit to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. After visiting aquariums all over the United States, this is one of our favorites. At the aquarium, you will see all sorts of marine life including sharks, turtles, sea otters, and our personal favorite, the white alligators. You can purchase tickets to visit the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas but if you know you will also visit the Audubon Zoo and the Insectarium, be sure to purchase the Audubon Experience Package which will save you some money. We usually couple a visit to the aquarium with a visit to the Insectarium. Both are manageable in a day and are within walking distance of each other. At the Insectarium, the kids will be amazed at the many bugs and butterflies. The Audubon Zoo is something that we usually skip because it is just too hot when we are in New Orleans, but we recently payed the zoo a visit and were amazed at how much it had grown since we had children. At the zoo, you will see a number of animals including elephants, lions, tigers, birds, and jaguars. There is a petting zoo and a Louisiana Swamp exhibit where you will see alligators and bears. The newest addition to the zoo is the Cool Zoo where children can cool off in the splash park.
Life is a fairytale
Storyland in City Park is one of our favorite stops in New Orleans. I love it because it is inexpensive fun at only $3 a person and my kids love it because they think it is one of the coolest parks they have been to. Slides, climbing structures and more are all based on favorite fairytales. There is Captain Hook’s pirate ship, Jack & Jill’s Hill, a dragon slide and more! Adjacent to Storyland is Carousel Gardens Amusement Park where for an additional cost you can take a ride on the City Park’s antique carousel as well as many other rides.
Get your swamp on!
We don’t think a trip to New Orleans would not be complete without a swamp boat tour. There are several swamp boat tours located about twenty minutes outside the city which are definitely worth the drive and price tag. Jean Lafitte Swamp Tours offers a close look at the swamplands that surround New Orleans. You will learn about the bayou’s history and plant life and if you are lucky you will see some of the wildlife including alligators and nutria.
The Louisiana Children’s Museum is a nice way to get out of the humidity for a few hours. The kids will love running around and exploring the museum. All of the exhibits are hands on and encourage learning through interactivity. Children can pretend to be chefs in the kitchen, act like Mommy and Daddy and pretend they are picking something up at the grocery store for dinner, or learn about home safety in the Safety Zone. We spent several hours at the museum and if we didn’t have other plans, my kids would have played all day!
Where to eat
When you are ready for a meal, there are so many wonderful restaurants to choose from. We like Mother’s Restaurantbecause they serve breakfast all day. My kids are not fans of the spicy Cajun food that I love so much so it is great that I can get an order of Crawfish Etouffee for me and an order of pancakes for them at the same place! For dessert, stop by the legendary Café du Mondefor world famous beignets or wander a little further down Decatur Street to Aunt Sally’s where you can sample delicious pralines.
Although New Orleans might not be your first choice for a family friendly vacation, we think it should be! Do you have any family favorite activities in New Orleans? Share with us in the comments section.