9 Day Itinerary in NOLA

Feb 17th, 2015, 07:55 PM
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9 Day Itinerary in NOLA

We are visiting New Orleans end of March over the spring break for 9 days. At first we thought this would be too much time in the area but the more we plan it out, it looks like this may work out. Looking for advise on the following tentative plan. We are a mid-30ish couple with a 5 year old. The first five days we will be staying in Metairie and keeping a rental car. The last four days we will be in downtown at Canal and Decatur. Aside from day trips we do not want to plan more than a couple of attractions in a day

Day 1 - Arrive at noon. Visit City Park & NOMA sculpture garden
Day 2 - Day trip to Laura plantation tour, Oak Alley (only grounds not tour) and Cajun Pride Swamp tour
Day 3 - Audubon Zoo and WW 2 Museum (would this be too much for one day?)
Day 4 - Day trip (need help with this one. Should we head to a beachtown like Bay St louis or to one of the Cajun countryside regions like Jean Lafitte Wildlife Preserve or Houma or perhaps Breaux Bridge which seems to be a tab bit further away for a day trip)
Day 5 - Day trip to Global Wildlife Center at Folsom and Abita Springs
Day 6 - Return Car. Transfer to downtown. Open day for exploring the french quarters
Day 7 - Cemetery tour, Audubon Insectarium
Day 8 - Open day for exploring Jackson Square area
Day 9 - Audubon Aquarium, IMAX, Creole Queen tour
Day 10 - Open morning. Afternoon flight
shoonye is offline  
Feb 17th, 2015, 08:22 PM
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The National World War II Museum deserves at least 3 - 4 hours, which may be too much after having spent several hours at a zoo in the morning.

Note: Very few 5-year-old children are going to be interested in the WWII Museum at all and definitely not for the 3 - 4 hours that you need to devote to this museum. If you both want to see the museum, I suggest switching off when you are in the French Quarter. For example, Parent 1 can take the child to the Insectarium while Parent 2 goes to the WWII Museum. Then Parent 1 can go to the WWII Museum when Parent 2 take the child to the Aquarium.
longhorn55 is offline  
Feb 18th, 2015, 11:08 AM
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Jackson Square and the French Quarter are neighbors. You don't NEED two open days for them but you can certainly take your time puttering about.

Don't overestimate the size of New Orleans - the Quarter is not that large, the Marigny and Jax Square/French Market are hard by it and you can walk the whole area in an afternoon or so even with a hobbit in tow.

And go to Southern Candymakers on Decatur (two stores - one near the Marriott, one near the French Market) for pralines, not Aunt Sally's. If the kid's energy is flagging, it'll wind him/her up good.
BigRuss is offline  
Feb 18th, 2015, 12:15 PM
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Second BigRuss. I enjoy Jackson Square but, even with a 5 year old, there's not much more than an hour or two of diversion.
Hobbert is offline  
Feb 18th, 2015, 01:36 PM
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Thanks for the input. Longhorn like your idea on splitting up although the young lady does like museums a lot and listening to stories around what she is seeing. I wanted to leave a couple of days to just wander around and explore the area or save them for something unexpected but would love suggestions on other specific things to do that could be added on to those days. Any help with the Day 4 day trip?
shoonye is offline  
Feb 18th, 2015, 04:35 PM
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Would strongly suggest you have a look at the recent thread on safety in New Orleans before you finalize your plans.

Apparently areas that were once considered safe no longer are.
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 19th, 2015, 08:13 AM
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I envy you that you will have so much time to devote to New Orleans and surrounding area. We've been twice recently with our family for a total of 5 days and not nearly done everything we want to. With regards to what nytraveler mentions above, yes, use caution as in any big city, but you should not be scared of visiting. Our last trip was only six weeks ago, and we felt perfectly safe. We walked a LOT and never felt unsafe. Just use common sense and you will be fine. There are always MANY people about in the tourist/hotel areas. Enjoy!!
kansasmom is offline  
Feb 19th, 2015, 02:47 PM
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Thanks ny traveler for the caution and Kansas mom for the reassurance ;-)
shoonye is offline  
Feb 19th, 2015, 02:56 PM
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here is the thread nyt refers to . . .

janisj is online now  
Feb 19th, 2015, 04:24 PM
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When you go to City Park, be sure to visit Storyland. This was always one of my favorite places as a child, and they rebuilt/updated it after Katrina.

I agree that a 5-year old probably won't enjoy the WWII museum. Either save it for another visit, or do as longhorn55 suggested and switch off.

Also - check out the Louisiana Children's Museum. It's an excellent facility, with activities for all ages. I had a few of my kids' birthday parties there.

I have not been to the Global Wildlife Center (altho it's just a few miles from where I live), but I have heard it's very good. And if you get hungry in Abita Springs and are tired of local fare (yeah, it happens) - check out Mama D's for some fabulous pizza.

I'll do a little more thinkging and see if I can come up with more suggestions.
Grcxx3 is offline  
Feb 19th, 2015, 04:51 PM
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Thanks for the link janisj and for the tip on childrens museum Grcxx3. I think we will skip the WW2 museum.

Does anyone think the mardi gras world is worth visiting? From the description it didn't sound appealing but wanted an opinion

Also looking for some more suggestions on the day 4 below

Day 4 - Day trip (need help with this one. Should we head to a beachtown like Bay St louis or to one of the Cajun countryside regions like Jean Lafitte Wildlife Preserve or Houma or perhaps Breaux Bridge which seems to be a tab bit further away for a day trip)
shoonye is offline  
Feb 19th, 2015, 05:23 PM
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I haven't been to Mardi Gras World - so can't give you an answer on that. Maybe someone else can help.

As for day 4 - can you live it open and see how things go? If the weather is nice and warm - a day trip to the beach (Bay St Louis) would be nice, but it won't be much fun if it's cold or rainy. And - once you're here - you might see/hear of other things that might be of interest.
Grcxx3 is offline  
Feb 21st, 2015, 01:40 PM
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Thanks Grcxx3. I was reading some more and there are recommendations for biloxi versus bay st louis although there seems to be gambling there which we have zero interest in. But is it a nice destination to visit otherwise and perhaps even spend a night?
shoonye is offline  
Feb 21st, 2015, 07:23 PM
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I think kids might like the WWII Museum. For example, the planes hanging down.

Maybe going to music at night will be difficult with kids, but I think there are some places where this might work. For example, the Sheraton has music (I didn't try it, so can't comment further). A smoky bar is probably unworkable, obviously (although I think smoking in bars might be phased out now).

I always love getting on boats, and kids often like them too. I see you have some boat time listed, but just wanted to emphasize it (both for swamp tours and on the Mississippi).

Kids might like the streetcar and taking a pedi-cab.
WillTravel is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2015, 05:59 AM
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Hi shoonye -

Well it looks like we will be in NOLA at the same time! DH and I are visiting w/ our two teens late March for spring break as well. We will have four full days so I am really cramming things in. We have a lot of the same things planned as you.

The two things we have planned that you don't are Mardi Gras World and a ride on the St Charles Streetcar.

I lived in New Orleans as a kid and have since visited Mardi Gras world with Dh. I thought it was neat, but just okay - probably since I've experienced REAL Mardi Gras many times and I didn't think it was that exciting to see the floats just sitting there. Dh, however, having never been to Mardi Gras, thought is was really fantastic. You see a film about Mardi Gras then get to walk around and look at all of the floats. He thinks our kids would really like it since they have never seen floats like that before, so we are going.

The reason we are doing St Charles streetcar is that it gives you a chance to ride on the streetcar (which is unique) and you get a glimpse of the Garden District. We are thinking of getting off for a treat at Sucre along the route.

Oh, one more thing - we are going to try to go for a ride on the Natchez riverboat. Just something I did all the time as a kid, and I love the calliope and just rolling down the river on a real paddle

Last time were were in NOLA, DH and I did an airboat tour through Airboat Adventures, and it was fantastic so we are going with them again, just fyi.

We are also touring Laura and just eating lunch at Oak Alley. I don't think they let you on the grounds without paying for the tour, but they have a nice little restaurant (po boys, gumbo, etc) where you can eat without paying for anything other than your meal.

When I lived in New Orleans as a kid, if we wanted to go to a beach nearby we always went to Biloxi. Now this was a long time ago, so take it for what it is worth. The water is very calm since it is on the gulf.
snowrooster is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2015, 04:18 AM
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Thanks much for the extra tips.

WillTravel - we are in fact staying at the sheraton so we could spend an evening or two there itself. Our daughter actually really likes boat tours and particularly alligators. We are doing the paddlewheeler cruise on the mississipi and a swamp tour. In fact we may add another swamp tour in a different part (south of NO) given our daughter's interest in alligators.

Snowrooster - the streetcar sounds like a good idea will definitely add that. We did look at the mardi gras world and debated if it would hold our interest or not. I've kept that as a backup if we want to do something other than just hang around on an open day.

We have also identified our Day 4 plan now. The one spot which didn't come up on the forums is the infinity science center at the Stennis space center. My daughter and I are both space enthusiasts so this is a no brainer for us and given at that point we will be half way to Biloxi, our plan is continue and spend a night there and return the next evening.
shoonye is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2015, 12:57 PM
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Snowrooster, we'll also be there with a teen at the end of March. Would you mind sharing your plans? You obviously have an insider's view. Thanks.
Marija is online now  
Mar 2nd, 2015, 01:57 PM
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The Infinity Science Center is relatively new (just the past few years). I didn't even know it was there until I drove by it a few weeks ago.

Glad you found something for Day 4. Sounds like a great place to visit.
Grcxx3 is offline  
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