Audubon Aquarium in New Orleans, Louisiana

High-fiving stingrays at the Audubon Aquarium. (Jeff Strout/Audubon Nature Institute)

Things to Do With Kids in New Orleans

By Douglas Brantley on 05/27/15, updated 05/22/17
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Bourbon Street is known worldwide as an adult playground. But what is there for kids to do in New Orleans? Plenty. Here we’ve compiled a fun-filled hit list of eight great family-friendly destinations—from make-believe fantasy worlds to real-life animal safaris—for Crescent City visitors with grown-ups in tow.

No one stimulates a child’s wild side quite like the Audubon Nature Institute, which operates numerous kid-centric attractions throughout the city, in addition to Uptown’s Audubon Park and Woldenberg Park in the French Quarter. Tickets may be purchased individually for each venue, or bundled in a thrifty “Audubon Experience” package that allows entry to all and is valid for 30 days following your initial visit.

Audubon Zoo

(©Audubon Nature Institute)

Attractions

Audubon Zoo

This world-class facility just keeps getting bigger and better. In addition to 58 acres of animal exhibits, Audubon offers kids plenty of play space with its wet and wild splash park and new “lazy river” run. Also new to the zoo, the four-story “Kamba Kourse,” guaranteed to make them sleep like babies.

Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium

(©Audubon Nature Institute)

Attractions

Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium

Home to more than 50,000 creepy crawlers and 70 multi-sensory exhibits designed to broaden small minds on the important role bugs play in daily life. Junior entomologists craving something unique will get their fill in the “Bug Appetite” area, which satisfies hungry imaginations with high-protein snacks like “chocolate chirp” cookies.

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas

(©Audubon Nature Institute)

Attractions

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas

Penguins and sea otters and leucistic alligators—oh, my! Kids are encouraged to take part in daily feedings at this award-winning aquarium, and to go deep with the new “Great Maya Reef” exhibit, which features a 30-ft.-long underwater tunnel that allows them to get eye-to-eye with stingrays, yellow snapper and other liquid assets.

Louisiana Children's Museum

(©Louisiana Children's Museum)

Attractions

Louisiana Children's Museum

“Hands-on” is the key phrase here. The “Little Port of New Orleans” exhibit allows small fries to pilot huge simulated barges down the Mississippi, while the “Kid’s Café” caters to budding chefs. Elsewhere kids can shop in a pint-size grocery store, design their own home and get a new perspective on things through a giant eyeball.

Mardi Gras World

(©Mardi Gras World)

Activities

Mardi Gras World

The bigger-than-life Carnival creations in this 400,000 sq.-ft. warehouse are sure to get young imaginations moving. Here Paul Bunyan rubs shoulders with Jack and the Bean Stalk, Napoleon mingles with King Kong, Elvis cavorts with giant mermaids. A tour of the compound also provides an educational overview of Mardi Gras traditions.

Global Wildlife Center

(©Global Wildlife Center)

Attractions

Global Wildlife Center

Spread over 900 acres in nearby Folsom, this natural-environment park offers safari tours in customized covered wagons, from which groups feed antelope, bison, camel, giraffe, zebra and more, while learning the importance of conservation. For more one-on-one time, book a private Pinzgauer tour, which accommodates up to nine guests.

City Park

(©David Lancaster)

Attractions

City Park

One of the Crescent City’s most popular spots for children. From Storyland, a fairy tale-themed playground populated by classic children’s book characters, to City Putt, a miniature golf course with local history lessons at each hole, there’s a lot to keep them active. Go a few rounds on the century-old wooden carousel.

French Quartour Kids

(©Shawn Fink)

Activities

French Quartour Kids

These guided walking tours take children on a time-travel journey back to the 1800s. Outfitted in vintage undergarments, former grade-school teacher Jill Dresser brings local history to life while navigating the French Quarter. Her fun and informative excursions, geared to ages 5-13, also reward parents with a mini vacation of their own.

Map of Things to Do With Kids in New Orleans