You might never imagine that New Orleans could be a place for kids if you've just experienced the typical adult scene with strip clubs and drunks on Bourbon Street. But New Orleans can be of city for families if you just avoid Bourbon Street. There's so much to do around town and there are organized attractions or just soaking in the cities rich and vibrant culture.
You can expose your children to the live music. Some bars do not let in under 21 and most live music can happen in bars. But don't worry kids are welcome in the Preservation Hall which is a jazz venue that attracts fans from all over the world. The sets are short so even younger children can have a great time. There is also Street music on Royal Street during the day and you can find other music on Jackson Square. You can stroll down Frenchmen Street after five and you will find on street corner brass bands playing great tunes. Depending on the timing of the year you can check out free concerts on Wednesdays and Thursdays in Lafayette Square and Armstrong Park, which are suitable for any young child.
On the lake Pontchartrain you will find plenty of family attractions, which is a world away from the crazy New Orleans. The global Wildlife Center is the North Shore's answer to Disney's animal kingdom. It is an eco-friendly 900-acre predator free animal Park that can offer 90-minute covered wagon tours and you can view 40 species, 2700 animals which live in the park. You will see giraffes, antelope, Father David dear, and bison on your Louisiana Safari and you can even feed the critters from an open air safari like vehicle. There is so much to do for a family on this side of the lake you may need to stay overnight or at least two nights.
This is located on the banks of the Mississippi River in the French quarter and the aquarium offers visitors a chance to pet stingrays or feed exotic birds and look at sharks in a 40,000-gallon Gulf of Mexico exhibit all, which simulates ocean life under an oil rig. You can see the many colors of the Caribbean reef and a walk-through title and you will always be entertained with Penguins and sea otters. It is home to more than 10,000 aquatic animals from all over the Americas but it also houses an IMAX theater. The tickets are $40 for adults and $27.50 for seniors or kids 2 to 12. You can bundle your entire package with the zoo, aquarium, IMAX Theater and Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium.
This is a 16-acre Haven of green foliage located between the French Quarter and the Mississippi Woldenberg Riverfront Park. It is a perfect place to unwind. You can check out interesting public art, a Riverside Promenade, many musicians and festivals that will offer an unforgettable New Orleans experience. You can stroll through the park on Moonwalk path for great views of the busy port or the Greater New Orleans Bridge and the Toulouse Street Wharf. You will find many characters and panhandlers so if your kids are used to this aspect of city living you will need to address this in advance.
This is often called the heart of New Orleans and it is full of energy and activity. The Square faces the Mississippi River and is directly in front of the St. Louis Cathedral. It is in the shadows of the Andrew Jackson statue, which was erected for his illustrious performance during the Battle of New Orleans. You can find street artists painting during the day and jazz musicians singing by night. The gardens are perfect for a picnic a leisurely stroll. This is one of the best sites in the French quarter for its festival in April with a local restaurant set up food stands and serve delicious cuisine and the New Orleans musicians will entertain for free.
This is the largest green space in New Orleans and it boasts 1300 acres, which features outdoor art, great sports facilities, the New Orleans Botanical Garden and the New Orleans Museum of Art. They are all surrounded by the lagoons and sprawling green lawns. On the lake there you can rent paddleboats and the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park has antique wooden carousels in a Ferris wheel, miniature trains, music express and bumper cars. There is a story land with the Mother Goose theme playground where children can enjoy meeting three little pigs, Cinderella's pumpkin, the Cheshire cat and Snow White. The entire family will enjoy boating; biking or picnicking under the many Spanish moss draped oak trees.
There was much noise when new operators took over this formerly free ferry in 2014. It is still though only two dollars to take the scenic ride and the kids will ride for free. The right across the Mississippi only last five minutes and you can be in an air-conditioned fairy, which will offer spectacular views of the New Orleans skyline. It is particularly striking it dusk and the city lights began to twinkle. Once you arrive in Algiers which is a quaint neighborhood founded in 1719 you can walk the tranquil, tree lined streets and find charming Creole cottages and Greek revival mansions and then you can grab lunch at a local cafe or sit along one of the bars which line the Point.
This is a prominent mode of transportation in the Crescent City. You can travel through the middle of the major street such as St. Charles, Canal and Carrollton. The streetcar is an affordable method of transportation and you can soak in the sights. $1.25 will get you on board and if you have a streetcar operator that acts as a pseudo-tour guide you will be fortunate as they point out important landmarks. The streetcar itself is historical in the city. It is the oldest continually operating street railway system in the entire world and is moved around city dwellers since the 19th century.
This butterfly garden and insectarium is located in the U.S. Custom House on Canal Street. It is the largest North American Museum that has been dedicated to insects. Both children and adults will enjoy learning about the insect's contributions to the vast diversity of the earth and what giant roaches do for the world will still be up for discussion. The Butterflies in Flight exhibit re-creates a Japanese inspired gardens and you will see free flying butterflies of many species. Don't miss the bug Hall of Fame because you don't want to miss the largest cockroach in the world. Make sure to check out the gift shop with the kids can buy any kind of buggy snack for their trip back home.
The Audubon Zoo is located in uptown New Orleans and it's a great place for families to visit. It is owned over 2000 animals and is open year-round from Tuesday through Sunday and seven days a week during the summer. You can learn the eating habits of the Komodo dragon under the Louisiana son and find a Cool Zoo, which is a small-scale waterpark complete with an alligator waterslide. This it was across the street from the park and adjacent to The Fly, which is a great place to relax and picnic while viewing the Mississippi River.
Whenever you are hands-on and learning that is the best way to have fun especially at this spunky children's Museum. Kids are encouraged to discover a world of wonder through 30,000 ft.² of learn by doing exhibits. You can head upstairs where there are role-playing rules at the Little Winn Dixie, which is a grocery store complete with dairy cases and cashiers. There is a kid's cafe for budding chefs to be, an optical shop and an art studio for creating. They might be enjoying while learning how to ride a bike or load a cargo ship in the Little Port of New Orleans exhibit. Children always take an active role in their own learning. The museum was fun for kids and geared for children from toddlers to age 12.