The ‘Big Easy’ isn’t just for grown-ups! A family vacation in New Orleans, LA (or NOLA as the locals call it), offers plenty of fun things to do in New Orleans with kids. Experience the lively, yet laid-back culture from a family version of Mardi Gras and French Quarter to a swamp tour, there is something here for the whole family. Here are 5 family activities to get you started:
Audubon Zoo, Aquarium and Insectarium – These are actually three separate activities run by the Audubon Nature Institute. The Zoo features many animal favorites including African savanna natives as well as a Dinosaur Adventure. Ride the Swamp Train or cool off at the Cool Zoo splash park, one of NOLA’s top water parks. At the Aquarium, walk through the Caribbean Tunnel and be surrounded by tropical fish, feed hundreds of free-flying parakeets, and climb to the top of a tree in the Amazon Rainforest for a bird’s-eye-view. Speaking of birds, or bird food, rather, the Insectarium is more than a super-cool butterfly garden. Although it is that, too. It’s a great place to learn all about bugs and how to cook them. Seriously, there’s a Bug Appétit area where the chef creates dishes that taste good even though they have bugs in them.
Family Gras: This family version of Mardi Gras takes place at the same time as the regular Mardi Gras, but without the topless body-painting. Held on Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Jefferson Parish, this event offers free outdoor concerts by family-friendly acts, both national and local. Part of the fun is dressing in costumes. Different nights have different themes, so check the website before you go.
Cemeteries: Thanks to the popularity of monsters in the toy aisle a la Monster High Dolls and LEGO Monster Fighters, you may have a little one that is fascinated by the mildly macabre. The cemeteries in New Orleans are all above-ground ornately carved tombs, making them hauntingly beautiful. It’s also an interesting way to talk about science in the forms of sea level and engineering and construction.
Riverboat Tours: Being a river town and situated at the mouth of the mighty Mississippi, a ride on a paddle-wheeled river boat is a fun way to step back in time. Learn a bit about New Orleans history while admiring lovely scenic views.
Honey Island Swamp Tours: Whether you call it a bayou, bog or swamp, see live alligators and other wildlife in their native habitat on this swamp tour geared for families. Keep an eye out for Bigfoot as there is a rumor one may live in this area. 😉