New Orleans with children
Images of Bourbon Street may keep New Orleans from being at the top of many families' vacation destinations, but the Crescent City is actually a great place to visit with the little ones.
Generations of children have grown up in New Orleans and they enjoy life there just as much as their elders do. There are lots of fun places and activities for tourist children to experience, even beyond the river boats, carriage rides, and sweet beignets of the French Quarter.
In New Orleans, travel can be part of the entertainment, as it involves options such as street cars and ferries that many other cities lack. If they capture your kids' imagination, consider integrating a ride with a visit to an out-of-the-way attraction, or just take a round-trip for the heck of it.
- Algiers Ferry is the more common name for the Canal Street Ferry. It runs from near the aquarium to the Algiers neighborhood and is free for pedestrians. Enjoy the views of the city from the Mississippi!
- Hop on a Streetcar. When your kids end up reading "A Streetcar Named Desire" in 11th grade English, they'll have something to relate to. There are 3 streetcar lines. One goes from Canal Street near the Quarter up St. Charles and S. Carrollton to S. Claiborne. Another goes along the river from Esplanade to the Convention Center. Third goes from Canal near the Ferry landing up to City Park Avenue, with a spur going along N Carrollton to Esplanade. That takes you to City Park in front of the art museum.
- Louisiana Children's Museum, 420 Julia Street, ☎ +1 504 523-1357. Tu-Sa 9:30AM-4:30PM, Su Noon-4:30PM. $7.50.
- Audubon Zoo, 6500 Magazine Street, toll-free: +1-800-774-7394. Tu-Fr 10AM-4PM, 10AM-5PM. A world-class zoo. The zoo also has a carousel and a free playground. $13.50 adult, $8.50 child.
- Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, 1 Canal Street (at the River), toll-free: +1-800-774-7394. Tu-Su 10AM-5PM. Recovered from Katrina, the aquarium is now helping the Gulf recover from the oil spill. Have your kids look for the turtles rescued from the Gulf. Contains IMAX Theatre. $18.50 adult, $11.50 child.
- Audubon Insectarium, 423 Canal Street (inside U.S. Custom House), toll-free: +1-800-774-7394. Tu-Su 10AM-5PM. A certain subset of the kiddie population will be in creepy-crawly heaven here. $15 adult, $10 child.
- LA State Museums, French Quarter. vary. State Museums in New Orleans, including a special Carnival exhibit in the Presbytere on Jackson Square.
- Rock 'n' Bowl, 3000 S. Carrollton Ave. (next to Ye Olde College Inn), ☎ +1 504 861-1700. Good place to bowl with the kids during the day.
- Mardi Gras World, 1380 Port of New Orleans Place, ☎ +1 504 361-7821. 9:30AM-5PM. Go on a behind-the-scene tour and see how Mardi Gras floats are designed. $18.50 adults, $13.50 children.
- Storyland, City Park. Tu-F 10AM-3PM, Sa-Su 11AM-6PM. This playground is inhabited by characters sculpted by some of the city's best Mardi Gras float makers. $3 for 36 inches or higher, free for the short ones.
- Pedal Boats, City Park (In front of the art museum, right near the streetcar stop.), ☎ +1 504 224-2601. An adult and up to 3 kids can navigate these boats on a half-hour ride around Big Lake. There's also a two-person pedal boat that won't fit under the bridge -- but is in the shape of a pelican!
- Gondola, City Park Big Lake (In front of the art museum, right near the streetcar stop.), ☎ +1 504 450-4400. W-Su 1PM-10PM. Evenings are the busiest times for couples, but perhaps your kids would like a taste of Venice in New Orleans earlier in the day. $5/person/15 min..
- Maple Street Book Shop, 7523 Maple Street, ☎ +1 504 866-4916. M-Sa 9AM-7PM, Su 11AM-5PM. This store has a wonderful kids' room.
- The Magic Box, 5508 Magazine Street, ☎ +1 504 899-0117. M-Sa 10AM-5PM. Specialty toy shop.
- Cafe du Monde, 1039 Decatur Street. You can try to teach your kids the word "beignet", but make sure you let them know they're going to get powdered, sugar-covered doughnuts, and they'll be on-board for CDM's specialty at this 100+ year-old landmark.
- Camellia Grill, 626 S Carrollton Ave, ☎ +1 504 309-2679. Breakfast all day, lunch items. Old fashioned counter service. Chili cheese omelet, yummy!!! pecan pie, cheesecake...worth the wait.
- Mulate's, 201 Julia St., ☎ +1 504 522-1492. Cajun food, and Cajun music starting at 7PM.
- Oak Street Cafe, 8140 Oak Street (Just off S. Carrollton Avenue), ☎ +1 504 866-8710. 6 am to 2 pm. Breakfast all day, lunch items, and a piano player. $5 - $10.
- 10 miles west of the Big Easy lies Kenner, with its Rivertown collection of museums, attractions, restaurants and shops.
- Do a Swamp Tour. Make arrangements with one of many tour companies. Westwego and Honey Island are good choices.