New Orleans is SO much more than Bourbon Street*, so if you have kids and you think that means NOLA has to wait, think again! There is no shortage of family friendly activities in the Crescent City! No matter your interests I guarantee you’ll find something that fits your bill… Parks, the zoo, the aquarium, those heavenly beignets I keep talking about as well as many other yummy treats, river boat rides, museums and so much more.
The Audubon Zoo
Having visited many zoos throughout the world I feel pretty confident when I say the Audubon Zoo in Uptown New Orleans is pretty great! We’ve been three times! Though with the amount of turtles located throughout the zoo they might want to reconsider the name… Maybe The New Orleans Turtle Zoo?!
The zoo has a wide variety of animals from around the world, but my favorite part of any zoo is the exhibit showcasing the local area and the Audubon Zoo does an especially great job of this with their Louisiana Swamp exhibit.
The zoo recently finished renovating the elephant enclosure as well as a few other areas and it’s really lovely! Beyond your typical zoo the NOLA zoo has a number of exotic animals including a white tiger and a white alligator.
The Audubon Aquarium is located on the Mississippi River just blocks from the French Quarter. Though I can’t say it’s the best aquarium I’ve ever been to, the kids have no complaints and the convenience of its location just can’t be beat!
In the mood for a run, a leisurely walk, or a picnic? Maybe a game of golf sounds good? Audubon Park located Uptown and adjacent to the Audubon Zoo is a perfect place for any of the above mentioned activities and many more!
Walking along you’ll find stately southern mansions, beautiful wildlife and unique foliage. For example on this most recent trip I learned about Cypress Knees! Who knew trees had knees?
The WWII Museum
The National WWII Museum is a relatively new museum located in the Warehouse District about a 20 minute walk from the French Quarter. In case you’re wondering…
Why The National WWII Museum is located in New Orleans:
Okay, now that we’ve answered that question.
I’ve always been fascinated by and taken in interest in WWII and I found this museum to be a wealth of knowledge. The information is in depth and includes first hand accounts and has an easy to follow flow with a lot of interactive exhibits. They’ve done a great job of not just telling you about the history, but immersing you in the settings as well.
I will say, that we’ve had to two occasions to visit this Museum, four years ago and earlier this month and the museum has been expanded multiple times since our first visit. I found that we needed quite a bit more time than we’d allowed for our most recent visit and there were key parts of the war that I felt were missing from the exhibit floors. There was no information at all about the concentration camps or their victims. It could be that with all the new buildings I was just unable to locate it, but the map wasn’t great, so I can’t be sure.
Simon is currently learning about Anne Frank in school and we had hoped there would be some focus on this part of the war. Still, he had a chance to learn about the war in Europe and the war in the South Pacific in chronological order.
Frenchmen Art Market
Looking for something to do in the evening? How about the The Frenchmen Art Market? Located just on the other side of the quarter in the Marigny District on Frenchmen Street the Market is open 5 might a week from 7 pm to 1 am and features local artisans of all kinds. We’ve visited a number of times and our boys enjoy the outdoor living spaces and chalk art while we take turns enjoying the artist’s booths.
So there you have it… If you were on the fence about whether or not NOLA is an appropriate place to visit as a family I hope I’ve helped change your mind. Looking for more fun ideas… Check out the Audubon Insectarium, ride the streetcar, take an evening tour of the city, or a boat ride along the river.
*Locals don’t hang out on Bourbon Street, so if your aim is to experience the real New Orleans… Bourbon Street is not it!