New Orleans is known for its rich culture, food, music, and festivals. The city has a unique blend of French, Spanish, African, and American influences. There are plenty of fun things to do in New Orleans with kids from museums to parks, and even a zoo.
If you want to see New Orleans in its full glory you should consider visiting the city is during Mardi Gras or Jazz Fest. Both events have lots of activities for kids. If you’re looking for fewer crowds and a more low-key visit then make sure you visit when it’s not Mardi Gras season. Mardi Gras season starts at the end of January and lasts until the beginning of March. During this time there will be many parades and parties going on all over the city. It can get very crowded so again, if you’re traveling with children and want a more relaxing trip then try to plan your trip around these dates.
Is New Orleans worth visiting with kids?
New Orleans is a great place to visit with kids. It’s not only a beautiful city, but it also has many interesting attractions and activities that will keep your children happy and entertained. I recently took my 11-month-old daughter on our first solo trip and we really enjoyed exploring the city together!
Here are 10 fun things to do in New Orleans with kids:
Visit the Aquarium of the Americas – This aquarium features thousands of fish species that visitors can view up close. The aquarium has over 8 million gallons of water and holds more than 30,000 animals at any given time. You can touch them or feed them if you like! This is a great activity for kids of all ages.
Take a tour of the Garden District -The area around Jackson Square is filled with beautiful homes built by wealthy families during the late 19th century. Many of these homes are now museums that feature exhibits on the history of the neighborhood. One of the best things about the Garden District is the smell of jasmine flowers wafting through the air.
Go to Audubon Zoo – This zoo was founded in 1874 as the world’s first urban wildlife sanctuary. Today, it houses more than 1,500 animals representing 200 different species. The zoo sits within the Audubon park and you can see the giraffes from outside the zoo if you aren’t into doing a full zoo visit.
Visit The French Quarter – This is by far the most famous part of New Orleans. You can see the old buildings, enjoy live music, eat delicious food, and shop. There are so many things to see and do here, and there is no better way to spend a day than wandering around this historic area. We took a stroller and while it was absolutely the best way to get around, the sidewalks are not smooth so make sure you’re stroller can handle more uneven surfaces.
Visit the Tree of Life in Audubon Park — This is one of the oldest living organisms in North America. The tree was planted in 1896, and today it stands at nearly 100 feet tall. The tree is made up of two giant sequoia trees joined together. It’s located near the entrance of the park and it’s absolutely stunning. If your child is a little older there are some great spots for them to climb, or you can just sit back and relax while you watch them explore.
Walk along the Mississippi River— A walk along the river offers a unique perspective of the city. You can see the skyline from miles away and hear the sounds of boats passing. The Mississippi River is home to many birds including herons, pelicans, egrets, osprey, ibis, ducks, geese, swans, and gulls.
Get Beignets from Cafe du Monde — Cafe du Monde is the original location of beignets (French donuts) in New Orleans. They have been serving their signature dish since 1927. I love going here for a sweet treat along with some killer people watching. My favorite thing about this spot is that they also serve iced coffee. I mean who doesn’t like an iced coffee after eating all those sugar-filled pastries.
Ride the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar — New Orleanians take advantage of the streetcar system because it makes getting around town much easier. The line goes through the French Quarter and stops right by Jackson Square where you can hop off and explore. Riding the streetcar is not only a great way to get around but it’s also just a simple and fun activity for kids in the city.
Learn about Hurricane Katrina — One of my favorite places in New Orleans is the Louisiana State Museum. It has so much history on display and it’s fascinating for kids. Kids will learn about what life was like in New Orleans before and after the hurricane. As a former teacher, I’m always looking for ways to provide experiences for my children that allow them to learn about wherever we are traveling. Learning about Hurricane Katrina is a more somber experience than what people may typically look for during a vacation, but again I think it’s crucial that we take time to teach our children about important events in world history.
Ride the Canal Street Ferry — The Canal Street ferry is a free ferry boat that runs between Canal Street and City Park. It takes approximately 10 minutes to cross over to City Park. There are several attractions in City Park such as the Aquarium of the Americas, carousel, and playground.
One of the biggest reasons I think New Orleans makes a great trip destination for kids is because of the overall history, culture, and food. There are so many different activities to keep kids busy while exploring the city.
Children learn best when they can actually experience things firsthand. New Orleans provides an incredible amount of learning opportunities for children of all ages.
Here are 3 quick ideas for expanding your learning while in New Orleans
History – The history of New Orleans is rich with stories about its founding, the Civil War, Jazz music, and the development of modern-day technology. New Orleans was part of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and played an integral role in the American Revolution. You can tour the homes of famous historical figures including Marie Laveau, Louis Armstrong, and Andrew Jackson.
Music – New Orleans is home to the largest concentration of jazz musicians in the United States. From traditional jazz to funk, there’s something for everyone!
Food – New Orleans is famous for its cuisine. You can find everything from Creole dishes to Cajun favorites. And if you want to try something new, you can even sample local specialties like po boys or jambalaya.
What would you say is one of the most interesting aspects of New Orleans? Why?
I love how diverse New Orleans is. There are so many cultures represented throughout the city. This diversity allows me to see the beauty of other countries and their customs. I feel like this helps us grow as individuals and become more tolerant of others.
How does New Orleans compare to other cities you have visited? What are some differences?
New Orleans is very unique compared to other cities I’ve been to. I believe that is why it is so popular among tourists. The architecture, food, and culture are unlike any other. The city really has a soul to it that is hard to explain. We enjoyed our visit and would absolutely go back!