Family-Friendly Fun in New Orleans

Courtesy of Steamboat Natchez
By AAA Travel Editor Laurie Sterbens
July 09, 2018
When you think of New Orleans, images of raucous bars and late-night revelry may be the first to come to mind, but the Big Easy offers plenty of attractions that are fun for the whole family.
Shark tank in aquarium
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Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
1 Canal St.
(504) 581-4629
A 30-foot tunnel takes you beneath the surface of the Maya Reef to a mysterious underwater city where exotic sea creatures swim. Piranhas, rays and an anaconda await you in the rain forest, while sharks, rays and an endangered sea turtle inhabit the giant Gulf of Mexico exhibit. Watch penguins and sea otters play and feed the budgerigars in Parakeet Pointe, and don’t miss the rare white alligator in the Mississippi River exhibit.
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Red and black butterfly
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Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium
423 Canal St.
(504) 581-4629
In this AAA GEM® attraction, you can walk through a garden where colorful butterflies float among the flowers and learn what it's like to be an insect expert in the jungle—or your own backyard. You’ll find the biggest and baddest of the insect world in the Goldring Hall of Fame. If you’re feeling brave, head over to Bug Appetit, where you can sample dishes that chefs create using insects.
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Bench in Audubon Park in New Orleans Louisiana
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Audubon Park
6500 Magazine St.
(504) 581-4629
This park is packed with features for all ages, including jogging trails, riding stables, tennis courts, a golf course, baseball and soccer fields and three playgrounds, all surrounded by stately oak trees, some more than 200 years old. Find a spot in the shade in the Riverview area, known as “The Fly,” where you can enjoy a picnic lunch with a spectacular view of the Mississippi River.
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Flamingo close-up
Dennis Burns/iStockphoto.com
Audubon Zoo
6500 Magazine St.
(504) 581-4629
Located within Audubon Park, this attraction is home to a variety of creatures from alligators to zebras. Kids can ride the Swamp Train or a carousel, navigate a ropes course or escape the heat in the Cool Zoo splash park.
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Carousel Horse
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City Park
Esplanade Ave. & N. Carrollton Ave.
(504) 483-9402
You’ll find two AAA GEM attractions—the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden—at the entrance to City Park, but there is much more to explore here. The Botanical Garden holds a hidden treat: the Train Garden, with miniature replicas of streetcars and trains from the city’s past. Step into your favorite tales in Storyland, then ride the rides in the Carousel Garden Amusement Park. Rent a boat and paddle among the swans on Big Lake, rent bikes and explore miles of paths or wander the trails in the Couturie Forest, where you may see up to 40 species of birds.
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Audience viewing a 3D movie
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Entergy Giant Screen Theater
1 Canal St.
(504) 581-4629
Nature and wildlife adventures are larger than life at the Entergy Giant Screen Theater, which features a 4k digital projection system and state-of-the-art multidimensional sound. It's next door to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, so you can easily visit both in a day.
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Alligator
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Jean Lafitte Swamp & Airboat Tours
6601 Leo Kerner Lafitte Pkwy.
(504) 689-4186
Don’t miss the opportunity to view alligators and other wildlife in their natural habitat amid the moss-draped cypress trees of the Jean Lafitte National Park and Preserve. Experienced guides will share Cajun swamp lore as you view the fascinating flora and fauna from the comfort of a swamp boat, or, for the more adventurous, a thrilling airboat ride.
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Children playing with color blocks in Louisiana Children's Museum in New Orleans
Christopher Futcher/iStockphoto.com
Louisiana Children's Museum
420 Julia St.
(504) 523-1357
More than 30,000 square feet of fun, interactive exhibits will have your family exploring art, health, music, math and science. Scale a rock-climbing wall, enjoy story time, create a work of art and discover what New Orleans life was like in the 1790s. Learn what it’s like to be a safety inspector, a boat captain or a cook in the Kids’ Café.
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Floats at Mardi Gras World in New Orleans Louisiana
AAA/Lisa Hendren
Mardi Gras World
1380 Port of New Orleans Pl.
(504) 361-7821
This attraction offers a kid-friendly way to experience the city's renowned festival. Learn the history of the event, see the enormous studio where artisans design amazing parade floats, try on Mardi Gras costumes and even have a taste of king cake, which isn't easy to find if you’re visiting outside of Mardi Gras season.
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Steamboat Natchez near bridge in New Orleans Louisiana
Courtesy of Steamboat Natchez
New Orleans Steamboat Company
400 Toulouse St.
(504) 569-1401
Travel back in time to the steamboat era aboard this authentic paddlewheel boat for a lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch cruise along the Mississippi River. The casual buffet offers something for everyone and is accompanied by live jazz music and spectacular views of the city.
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