Are you planning a family trip to New Orleans, Louisiana? There are lots of things to do for both adults and children that will be fun for all. If it is your first time visiting New Orleans be sure to plan your itinerary before you arrive and add a variety of fun things to do.
New Orleans is famous for partying on Bourbon Street, Mardi Gras and for being the home of the New Orleans Saints. The city also has its share of nice shopping malls. If you will only be in New Orleans for a couple of days to a week, you may have to put some visits off for another time.
You may want to take in Bourbon Street one evening with your wife if you have another adult or older teen along to babysit for you. You probably will not want your smaller children to see some of the sites that are common after dark on Bourbon Street. With that being said, you have been warned!
Here are a few of my suggestions of places to visit with children in New Orleans during the day (in no particular order):
The Audubon Zoo is part of the Audubon Nature Institute. It started out as a park that was renamed in 1886 to Audubon Park after the popular artist John James Audubon, who painted many species of Louisiana birds. The park featured one cage at the time that became so popular that the city was compelled to build a full scale zoo. Audubon Zoo today is one of the best in the United States and houses all kinds of animals, amphibians, sea life, and avian species.
Audubon Zoo overs 58 acres of land with habitats built for the animals that mimic their natural environments. The zoo houses animals from North and South America, as well as animals from other countries. You will get to see the albino tigers and also some albino alligators.
The Children’s Zoo is also a popular feature for the little ones. During the summer months the Audubon Zoo has a “Coo Zoo” where the kids can splash away and cool down.
Audubon Aquarium of Americas
The Audubon Aquarium is open seven days a week, as is the Audubon Zoo. The Audubon Aquarium is located very close to the Mississippi River and near the French Quarter. The Audubon Aquarium will be enjoyed by the entire family as it is filled with adventures. Children will be able to go along on an interactive commercial fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as see many different species of fish and other sea life. They will learn about extinct sea turtles that Audubon rehabilitates and releases back into the wild, get to watch otters and penguins as they play with each other. You will also get to observe different species of sharks. The parakeet flight is another enjoyable exhibit, as children are allow to feed them.
Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium
Your children will love the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium as they will be using all five of their senses as they discover new things. The Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium are located in the U.S. Custom House, which is a federal building with special guidelines. It is just a few blocks away from the Audubon Aquarium. Please be aware that there are certain restrictions on entering the U.S. Custom House which include not entering with any kind of firearm, mace, pepper spray, knives or anything with a sharp edge or point. All bags, including purses and backpacks are subject to being searched. The Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium are open seven days a week from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day.
The Audubon Butterfly Garden is designed to resemble an Asian Butterfly Garden and contains thousands of beautiful butterflies. At the insectarium, you will get to see all kinds of insects and make a trek through the Louisiana swamp to see what kinds of insets live there.
The IMAX Theatre is the perfect activity for a rainy day or afternoon. The IMAX Theatre is located next to the Audubon Aquarium and is open seven days a week with shows starting every hour on the hour from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The screen at the IMAX is the largest one along the Gulf Coast, measuring 5-1/2 stories tall. The theatre is equipped with high tech sound which paired with the huge screen makes you feel like you are living “in” the movie. Each show involves nature in some way and visiting the IMAX is a great way to learn about Louisiana and the unique culture of the deep south and the people that live along the bayous of Louisiana.
You may have noticed that the title states “Part 1” at the end. I will be adding more suggestions of places for families to visit with children in Part 2, as this article was getting rather lengthy.
The Audubon Institute
Personal experience from growing up in Louisiana