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Most people hear New Orleans and think Mardi Gras and all the debauchery that goes along with it. However, the city is full of history, culture, fantastic food and entertainment so don’t hesitate to visit New Orleans with kids. The downtown is fun to see on foot, and the kids will love riding the streetcars.
New Orleans is a city influenced by French, Spanish and African American cultures and cuisines, and the rich history of the area makes it a place where you can’t help but learn as you play.
Here are a few favorite family friendly activities in the Big Easy:
Jackson Square – Wander around and enjoy the street performers and get beignets at nearby Cafe du Monde.
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French Quartour Kids – fun kid-friendly tours of New Orleans to explore the nooks and crannies of the French Quarter.
Louisiana Children’s Museum – 30,000 sq. ft. of fun and exciting interactive exhibits include a climbing wall, art studio & mock cafe.
New Orleans Museum of Art – NOMA has a world class art collection and the kids will also love storytime, child-focused art workshops, and art classes.
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas – 15,000 sea life creatures, representing nearly 600 species – including mermaids! In November the Weeki Wachee Mermaids (and some pirates) will dive beneath the surface of the Great Maya Reef, which is home to stingrays and tropical fish.
Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium – this 23,000-square-foot museum is the largest free-standing American museum dedicated to insects.
Audubon Zoo – Considered one of the best zoos in the country, offering an exotic mix of animals from around the globe.
Louis Armstrong Park – enjoy the outdoor live music and dancing at Jazz in the Park every Thursday evening during the spring and the fall.
Big Easy Bayou Kayak Tour – a 2 hour guided kayak tour where you’ll paddle from one charming neighborhood to the next, all the while learning the history of the area.
Steamboat Natchez – Take a two-hour cruise along the Mississippi River and experience New Orleans’ beauty and French Quarter romance aboard the Steamboat Natchez Riverboat.
Swamp Tour with Cajun Encounters – an authentic experience of Louisiana history, culture, and wildlife (gators, wild pigs, nutria, snakes) led by local, licensed guides and boat captains who are passionate about sharing their love of Louisiana.
The Canal Street Ferry – also known as the Algiers Ferry, takes a 10-minute trip from the Central Business District across the Mississippi River and provides phenomenal views of the city.
Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World – tour the 300,000 square foot working warehouse where floats are made for Mardi Gras parades
Crescent Park – part of the French Market District, Crescent Park is a 1.4 mile, 20 acre urban park wrapping along the outside curve of the famed New Orleans “crescent” bend in the Mississippi River.
Walk the Garden District – you can do a self-guided tour of the beautiful historic neighborhood.
Storyland in City Park – Filled with 25 larger-than-life sculptures modeled after storybook characters, this unique playground boasts a dragon slide, Captain Hook’s pirate ship, and the whale from Pinocchio.
Historic Carousel in City Park – the City Park amusement park has 15 rides including a gorgeous, hand-carved historic carousel that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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With all the planning, scheduling and prep involved in the Carousel Sessions, sometimes I have to pinch myself when I’m finally there making pictures. And I have by far the best families to photograph! Thank you to everyone who helped make this weekend a success. I can’t wait to share more photos, but in the meantime here is my lovely daughter with the the flying horses. #neworleansfamilyphotography, #neworleanschildphotography, #peonynola, #cityparkcarousel, #nolafamily
Consider booking a family photo shoot while you’re there. The photo above was taken by Jennifer of Twirl Photography.
National World War II Museum – Experience an Immersive Journey Through WWII with exhibits featuring immersive environments, interactive multimedia experiences, and artifacts.
Preservation Hall – established in 1961 to honor one of America’s truest art forms – Traditional New Orleans Jazz, this is an all ages, non-smoking venue with shows starting from 5pm.
St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 – The oldest and most famous cemetery, the burial site of famed voodoo queen Marie Laveau & other historical notables in 18th- & 19th-century vaults.
Seasonal Family Friendly Events in New Orleans With Kids:
Mardi Gras with Kids – yeah, I know I said debauchery before, but these days the parades have outgrown the French Quarter and you can watch in the Garden District.
Visiting in May? Take your kids to Jazz Fest! Single day children’s tickets are available for purchase at the Jazz Fest gates for $5 for children ages 2 to 10. You’re allowed to bring water and snacks into the fairgrounds, so you don’t have to strong arm your kids into trying alligator pie.
Halloween in a city known for ghosts and vampires? Yes!