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The Best Things to Do with Kids in New Orleans

The Best Things to Do with Kids in New Orleans

When you think about New Orleans, the first things that come into mind are likely Mardi Gras, amazing pubs, and the spectacular nightlife. It really is a theme park for adults! But the truth is, the Crescent City has much more to offer its visitors, including little ones. NOLA is drenched in history and character, which makes it a fantastic place to discover with the whole family.

So, if you’re planning an exciting getaway with the whole crew, we’ve narrowed down the best family-friendly things to do in New Orleans.

Savor Beignets at Café du Monde and Pralines at Aunt Sally’s

New Orleans is the capital of foodies. If tasting delicious meals is your family’s idea of fun, you’ll certainly have a good time here. 

So, what should you try while adventuring around the city? There are plenty of yummy treats to enjoy, but we suggest starting with beignets. The little pillows of fried dough are best enjoyed at Cafe Du Monde – one of the Big Easy’s most iconic cafes. Next, stroll down to Aunt Sally’s for our favorite pralines, another classic NOLA treat!

Go on a Swamp Tour

Exploring swamps may not be something you envision doing on your vacation, but discovering South Louisiana’s swampy, buggy wetlands really is something you have to do! However, the swamps can be a bit tricky to navigate, especially if you’re visiting for the first time. That’s why it’s best to book a swamp tour. Your little ones will be thrilled to see alligators roaming in the Bayou! While we definitely recommend an airboat for your swamp tour, for very young explorers there are pontoon boats for a gentler ride. 

Those who don’t want to splurge on a tour can always walk the boardwalk at the Barataria Preserve. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of gators there. 

Enjoy New Orleans’ City Park

Did you know that City Park is larger than New York’s Central Park? That’s right. A botanical garden, mini-golf, fun hiking trails, and the New Orleans Museum of Art are just a few examples of what awaits you there. There’s even a Cafe du Monde! And the best bit? It even has alligators!

If you don’t mind a good adrenaline rush, stop by the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, which includes a Ferris wheel, a tilt-a-whirl, bumper cars, and, most importantly, a 1906 carousel that seems straight from a movie.

Foster Creativity and Learning in the Louisiana Children’s Museum

Speaking of parks, nestled in the heart of City Park lies the Louisiana Children’s Museum. Offering over 56,000 square feet of indoor space on 8.5 acres, the museum offers children a place to explore their creativity and learn about New Orleans culture and geography. 

You won’t regret visiting exhibits such as the sprawling Move the River. This 100ft long water immersive water play station is designed to introduce children to the locks, dams, drainage systems, and ports of the mighty Mississippi River. With fun activities for all ages, this is one experience your entire family won’t soon forget.

Go to Where they’re all Asking for You – the Zoo! (and Aquarium)

Ranked the #7 best zoo in the country, Audubon Zoo is sure to keep the kids both entertained and learning about unique animals. Located on a stretch of Magazine Street near the lively shops and cafes and just behind Audubon Park, your family can enjoy exciting educational exhibits and close-up animal encounters. Featuring animal exhibits such as the award-winning Louisiana Swamp and the Mayan Jaguar Jungle, there is no lack of fun and exciting things to do here for all ages!

After the Zoo, you can take the nearby St. Charles streetcar downtown and hop off at the last stop on Canal St to cool off at the newly expanded Audubon Aquarium and Insectarium. As a consistent top 5 Aquarium in the country, your family won’t be disappointed by the magical experience! We love it so much that we’ve even crafted a guide to ensure you can easily plan your visit. 

Explore the Magical Mardi Gras World

Experiencing Mardi Gras would be magical for both adults and kids. But if you can’t make it to the actual festival, don’t worry! You can always plan a visit to Mardi Gras World and get a peek into what makes the celebration so special. In fact, the 300,000-square-foot warehouse is where the majority of the amazing carnival floats are built.

You can learn more about New Orleans’ oldest tradition while your kids get the chance to dress up in real Mardi Gras costumes. Doesn’t that sound great?

Walk Around the French Quarter

A vacation in New Orleans is definitely incomplete without time spent in the city’s most famous neighborhood, the French Quarter. And although the Vieux Carré has a reputation for being the party central, it’s also filled with relics and well-preserved architecture that dates back centuries. Since there is so much to do and see, wandering around its chic cobblestones will be an exciting adventure for the little ones, too.

You can walk to the French Market and sample local delicacies. Spend some time at Jackson Square, which is well known for its street performers. And, of course, pay your respects to the mighty Mississippi River in person!

Get Spooked on a Ghost Tour

Did you know that New Orleans is sometimes referred to as the most haunted city in America? The Crescent City is filled with stories of ghosts, vampires, Voodoo, and more. If you aren’t afraid to come face to face with NOLA’s haunted history, there are numerous ghost tours available. Just make sure you choose one that’s led by a local guide. Exploring the French Quarter’s notoriously haunted spots is much more fun when you can hear all the mystical stories!

Final Thoughts

New Orleans is an experience-driven city with plenty of amazing things to do for both little and adult visitors. Whether you’re here for a fun-filled weekend getaway or just a short day visit, there’s no doubt you’ll always have something exciting to do. It’s true what they say – NOLA really is a living museum filled with stunning landmarks, beautiful gardens, and fascinating museums around every corner.

If you’re looking for family-friendly accommodation, we have many amazing options! Have a look at our full list of vacation rentals in New Orleans here. And if you have any questions about making the most of your NOLA experience, you can always reach out to our team here.


  1. What are the age ranges for children that would most enjoy the family-friendly activities mentioned? 

New Orleans’s family-friendly activities cater to a wide range of ages. The swamp tours and parks are great for school-aged children, while Mardi Gras World, the French Quarter, and Louisiana Childen’s Museum offer entertainment for both younger children and teenagers.

  1. Are there any special tips or recommendations for visiting these attractions during peak tourist seasons?

During peak tourist seasons, such as Mardi Gras or the springtime, it’s best to plan visits to popular attractions early in the day to avoid crowds. Booking tours and tickets in advance can also save time and ensure you don’t miss out on any must-see experiences due to capacity limits.

  1. How accessible are these attractions for families with young children or those requiring special accommodations? 

Many of the attractions in New Orleans, like City Park and the Audubon Zoo, are designed to be accessible to families with young children or those needing special accommodations. These locations often feature stroller-friendly paths, rest areas, and convenient facilities, but it’s a good idea to check the official websites before you visit.

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