Formerly the plantation of Etienne de Boré, the father of the granulated sugar industry in Louisiana, this large, lush stretch of greenery is between St. Charles Avenue and Magazine Street, continuing across Magazine Street to the river. Designed by John Charles Olmsted, nephew of Frederick Law Olmsted (who laid out New York City's Central Park), it contains the world-class Audubon Zoo; a 1.7-mile track for running, walking, or biking; picnic and play areas; Audubon
Park Golf Course; tennis courts; a swimming pool; horse stables; and a river view. Calm lagoons wind through the park, harboring egrets and other indigenous species. The park and zoo were named for the famous ornithologist and painter John James Audubon, who spent many years working in and around New Orleans.
Audubon Zoo. Consistently ranked as one of the top zoos in the nation, the Audubon Zoo presents a wide array of animals in exhibits that mimic their natural habitats. The Louisiana Swamp exhibit re-creates the natural habitat of alligators, including rare white alligators (technically leucistic gators), nutrias (large swamp rodents), and catfish; alligator-feeding time is always well attended. Among other highlights are the Reptile Encounter, Komodo Dragon exhibit, and a white Bengal tiger. Several attractions are available for additional ticket fees, including a zoo train tour that departs every 30 minutes from the swamp exhibit, a Dinosaur Adventure exhibit with moving dinosaur replicas, and the Safari Simulator Ride. "Cool Zoo," a splash park featuring a 28-foot white alligator slide, bubbling fountains, and splash zones is set aside for toddlers and young children. (Cool Zoo is open daily April–Labor Day, then weekends only through September; separate admission is $8 for non-members and $6 for members.) 6500 Magazine St., 70118. www.auduboninstitute.org. $17.50 adults, $12 children 2–12, $13 seniors; combination ticket for zoo and Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, $36 adults, $25 children, $22.50 seniors. March 1-Labor Day, Tues.–Sun. 10–5; Sat.-Sun. 10-6. Sept.-Feb., Tues.-Sun. 10-4.