Kid-Friendly Experiences in New Orleans

Published June 1st, 2020 by Book NOLA

steel wool photography

New Orleans is home to some amazing tours and attractions! And while New Orleans does have a reputation as being a bit of a party city, there is no shortage of activities for tourists with children. We've listed some of the best New Orleans kid-friendly activities for families to enjoy while they're in town!

Surge: Surge is the premier trampoline park located in Metairie. This trampoline park is perfect for those rainy days in which you still want to get out and do something with the kids. Surge features a variety of attractions, obstacles p, and fun games for kids of all ages. You and the kids will be able to play dodgeball, practice flips on the massive trampolines, and there’s even a designated area for toddlers to bounce. The best part is, the kids burn lots of energy while having a good time, and they’ll be ready for a good night's sleep afterward!

City Park: City Park has always been a huge draw for both local and tourist crowds. It is a park frequented by running lovers, as well as families just out to have a nice picnic or stroll. One of the reasons why City Park is so popular is because it is the venue for several of some of the largest festivals held in New Orleans, and it also offers an array of fun activities:

  • Bike: Explore City Park on a two-wheel bike, or four wheels! Vendors in City Park allow for hourly bike rentals, with paths that take you from St. John’s Bayou all the way to Lake Pontchartrain. Additionally, they’ve got a large selection of bikes, which include kids bikes, tandem bikes, cruiser bikes, single and double 4-wheel surrey, etc.
  • Boats: Personal boats are not allowed in the City Park waters, however, there is the option to rent boats! Spend a quiet afternoon with the kids having a lazy float in the park’s bayous and lagoons. This is a nice opportunity for some quality time, and to get up close with the ducks, swans, and geese that inhabit the waters. Choose from single or double kayaks, canoes, or festive swan pedal boats, as you glide along the bayou!
  • Storyland: Storyland is a children’s amusement center located in City Park. Here, some of your kids' favorite animals and characters come to life in larger than life exhibits. Under the park's large, oak tree canopies, the kids can climb aboard Captain Hook’s pirate ship or venture into the mouth of Pinocchio’s whale. Revitalization to incorporate 4 new exhibits were undertaken in the fall of 2019 and now include Jack and the Beanstalk, Humpty Dumpty, The Tortoise and the Hare, and Boudreaux the Zydeco Gator, so be on the lookout for those!
  • Carousel Gardens: The Carousel Gardens is an amusement park in City Park, located not far from Storyland. It houses the last antique wooden carousel in Louisiana, as well as a host of other small rides and roller coasters, perfect for a sunny day out, and some kid-friendly fun!

Audubon: The Audubon Nature Institute is a non-profit which operates a host of museums and parks dedicated to nature. The Nature Institute actively works toward its mission to Celebrate the Wonders of Nature by providing guests with an experience of outstanding quality, and by exhibiting the diversity of wildlife at their locations. Highlighted below are just a few attractions that the institute offers for a great family activity day:

  • Zoo: Located at the back end of the park, is the Audubon Zoo. It is ranked as the number 8 zoo in the country and is a refuge for endangered animals. The zoo houses several exotic animals from around the world, and engages in daily animal presentations, chats, and feeds.
  • Aquarium: Another kid-friendly place to take the family, is the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, located on Canal Street. Found in the Mississippi River, the aquarium is ranked among the top 5 in the country and takes visitors on an underwater adventure. The Audubon Aquarium houses over 3,600 animals from over 250 species, including endangered species like the African penguin.
  • Nature Center: The Audubon Louisiana Nature Center can be found in New Orleans East, adjacent to Joe Brown Park. While you’re there, explore some of the nature walking trails, stop by the planetarium, and engage in some of the ranger chats, while learning about the best of what nature has to offer.
  • Insectarium: Located on Canal Street, the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium encourages you to lose yourself in the wonder of nature, as you explore North America’s largest museum dedicated to insects. Here you’ll learn about why insects are the building blocks to life, and why they are so important to our planet.

Children’s Museum: After years on Julia Street in downtown New Orleans, the Louisiana Children’s Museum has made City Park its new home. The museum was designed to be a social, cultural, and learning resource for children and families to increase literacy, and environmental education, through hands-on learning. Here, children can work on literacy through the use of Book Nooks and storytelling. They can learn about sustainability and the environment with Outdoor Adventures, Dig into Nature, and Move with the River galleries. Kids can even learn about culture, with the Follow That Food program, which introduces them to the spices and flavors of New Orleans!

Café Du Monde at City Park: After a day at City Park, filled with biking, boating, and exploring the Children’s Museum, few things are better than ending the day with some fresh beignets and hot chocolate from Cafe Du Monde at City park. Traditionally, beignets were fried fritters occasionally served with fruit. Today, however, they are square pieces of fried dough, slathered in powdered sugar! You can sample this delicious treat at the park in the Casino building, or one of their other locations in the city.

Backyard: Founded in 2014, the Backyard specializes in smoked meats and Louisiana beef, and is a casual family restaurant. Here, you can enjoy boudin balls, smoked chicken, hot dogs, and a hefty selection of smoked meats like brisket and pork. If your family happens to like sports, the Backyard has 9 flat-screen tv,s that are perfect for a casual lunch indoors, watching the game with the family. Stop by W Harrison Avenue, to sample some of their food, before hitting the road home!

Mardi Gras World: It can be said that Mardi Gras World is where Mardi Gras is made. Both locals and tourists have come to love and anticipated the outrageous floats seen during the Mardi Gras parades each year. When you visit this studio, you’ll be able to see how the massive floats are built from the ground up, dress up in elaborate costumes, and watch a historic video. Additionally, during your tour at Mardi Gras World, you’ll be able to indulge in a free slice of King Cake and can also order delicious New Orleans food, while observing the views of the Mississippi River. Be sure to bring your camera for a nice photo op as well, while you gain a deeper understanding of this renowned celebration.

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