New Orleans with Kids

New Orleans is a grown-up town in a lot of ways, but there are lots of activities to keep the kids interested, too.


Audubon Park. This beautiful Uptown park is the perfect place to let the kids run free for a couple of hours. At the lagoon complex, they'll find ducks and an impressive assortment of (sometimes squawky) migratory birds nesting on Bird Island. Several play structures throughout the park—the biggest is at the downtown lakeside corner of the park near St. Charles Avenue—provide places for kids to swing, slide, and climb. And a walk around the 1.8-mile paved jogging path is an ever-popular family pastime. (Uptown) City Park. There's plenty to do here for the younger set, including two free playgrounds—one with swings near the Peristyle, and another for older kids, just off Marconi Drive, with more challenging things to clamber on. Storyland, a fairy-tale theme park, is open year-round, and features a number of sculptures created by Blaine Kern Studios, the maker of Mardi Gras floats. The adjacent Carousel Gardens Amusement Park has low-impact rides, a miniature train that tours the park, and a beautiful 100-year-old carousel centerpiece. City Putt offers 36 holes of mini golf. (Mid-City)


Aquarium of the Americas. Loads of exotic sea creatures, a penguin exhibit, and an interactive area where kids can get their hands wet make the aquarium a favorite family destination. There's a fun museum shop and an IMAX theater next door. (The French Quarter: Riverfront) Audubon Insectarium. This amazing attraction features insects for everyone—from a beautiful exhibit on butterflies to gross-out fun with the "bug chef." (The French Quarter: Riverfront) Audubon Zoo. A well-designed showcase with animals from all over the world, the zoo also has a hands-on area for kids, where young volunteers show off zoo residents, and a petting area with friendly goats and other beasties. (Uptown)


Louisiana Children's Museum. This longtime Warehouse District museum recently moved to a large campus in City Park, giving kids even more room to learn, romp, role-play, and dabble in the arts. (Mid-City)

For Kids of All Ages

Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras World at Kern Studios. The city's most famous float-building family offers tours of their company's vast studio, where kids can try on costumes and watch the artists at work. (Warehouse District) Streetcars. You can't leave New Orleans without taking the kids for a ride on a streetcar, which you can also use to get to several of the sites listed here, including City Park (on the Canal Street line) and Audubon Park (St. Charles Avenue).

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