New Orleans, Louisiana is vibrant, unique, and full of fun, and there is plenty to see and do for visitors of all ages. There are many activities located throughout the city, so you are sure to find lots of options within walking distance of your vacation rental. Younger kids will get a kick out of the sea creature touch tank at the aquarium, while older kids will love seeing the city at night on a ghost tour. No matter what your age or interest, you will find something to enjoy here. Find your perfect vacation rental in New Orleans. Check out the most exciting New Orleans attractions.
1. Visit the Penguins at Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
Located on the Mississippi river, the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is a must-see for all families. Walk through the Caribbean Reef tunnel to see sharks and stingrays swim above you, then head over to be entertained by the sea otters and penguins. With a 2,600-gallon touch pool, an interactive Adventure Island play zone, and daily animal feeding times, there is plenty to here to keep even the youngest child occupied. Afterwards, walk over to nearby Audubon Insectarium to explore more than 9,000 species of insects. This museum is one of the country’s largest dedicated to insects, and young entomologists love checking out the spiders and butterflies.
2. Listen to Jazz at Preservation Hall
New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz, but many jazz clubs are for adults only. For a kid-friendly concert the entire family can enjoy, pick up tickets for a performance at Preservation Hall. This basic music hall has some of the best jazz in the city, with guests packing the wooden benches to hear traditional jazz from veteran musicians. Many local musicians play on the streets during the day, so make sure you stroll through the French Quarter to hear more music — especially along Royal Street.
3. Taste Beignets at Cafe du Monde
Begin your day with a sugary treat at world famous Cafe du Monde. Located in Jackson Square, not far from your vacation rental, this beloved institution has been serving powdered beignets since 1862. Be sure grab a seat on the patio so you can enjoy the activity in the square. Afterwards, wander through the streets to see musicians, street performers, and artists selling their work. Stop in the candy stores for more treats with a few praline samples, or save room for lunch so you can pick up muffulettas at Central Grocery Company.
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4. Go Behind the Scenes at Mardi Gras World
Who doesn’t love a parade? Some of the most colorful are in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, and for a behind-the-scenes look at the work that goes in to make it all happen, head to Mardi Gras World. Many giant floats are on display, including a 140-foot sea monster. Learn about the history of Mardi Gras, watch artisans creating new floats and try on some of the elaborate carnival costumes.
5. See Stories Come to Life at Storyland
Nestled in City Park, Storyland is the perfect place to take younger kids for the afternoon. Life-size figures throughout the playground bring kids’ favorite characters to life and provide hours of entertainment. Kids roll down Jack & Jills hill, climb into the whale with Pinocchio, or visit Captain hook on his ship. City Park also has plenty of attractions for adults and older kids, including a sculpture garden, amusement park, and mini golf course. Afterwards, stop by Morning Call for a beignet.
6. Get Close to Nature on a Swamp Tour
New Orleans is surrounded by wetlands, and the best way to learn about the landscape is to board a swamp boat for a guided tour. See the nesting grounds of native wildlife, such as turtles and egrets, up close; and, marvel as the guides try to lure in alligators with food. While on the tour, learn about what is being done to preserve the wetlands.
7. Ride a Steamboat Down the Mississippi River
Get out on the Mississippi River on a real paddle wheeler with a two-hour harbor cruise aboard the Natchez. This steamboat glides down the river, providing excellent views of the city. While on board, families enjoy authentic Creole cuisine while listening to live jazz music. Kids love visiting the Steam Engine Room to learn how the boat operates. If you prefer a shorter cruise, take a 10 minute trip on the Canal Street Ferry to Algiers.
8. See White Bengal Tigers at the Audubon Zoo
Kids of all ages won’t want to miss visiting with the animals at the Audubon Zoo. This zoo is home to more than 1,300, including a Komodo dragon and rare white alligators. Stop by to say hello to the tigers, then head over to the swamp during alligator feeding time to see them in action. The zoo is located in Audubon Park, which offers a peaceful oasis away from the city. For extra fun, take the historic streetcar from your vacation rental to the Audubon stop.
9. Join a Ghost Tour in the French Quarter
For a fun nighttime activity with older kids, learn about the city’s spooky history with a ghost tour in the French Quarter. Free Tours By Foot offer tours most nights, giving you a glimpse of the haunted side of New Orleans. There are many other tour options available throughout the day, covering topics such as voodoo, music, food, and history, so you can take younger ones on a tour during the day.
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