Because my readers know that I am in the New Orleans area, I am constantly being asked questions like: What can we do in New Orleans with our family? Is it safe for the kids? I can’t bring my kids to the French Quarter can I? The misconception that New Orleans is 365 days of Mardi Gras is untrue. Traveling with your family to New Orleans is not only doable but it is a must! You know me & you have seen my family. We are like friends! Not only have I walked the French Quarter with my family numerous times, I have also been there in the evening with them AT NIGHT!! This is the part where you passed out and fainted right? In all seriousness, I normally leave the French Quarter with my 2 school aged children by 9-10p.m & we are more than safe.
Family Travel in New Orleans is very educational. The history that surrounds the city & our state is very impressive. Diversity & culture is the cornerstone of what New Orleans is about. Diversity is so important to me as you may know I have a multicultural family. So when we travel anywhere I am always looking for elements to point out that educate my school aged children and feed their curious minds. Today I am tackling some of MY top locations or ideas for an Educational New Orleans Experience
Educational New Orleans Experience
1. Audubon Nature Institute
Audubon Nature Institute consists of Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, Entergy IMAX® Theatre, Audubon Park & more. Nature is the key element of the Audubon Nature Institute which provides an educational resource to visitors through entertainment & hands on learning experiences. My children have always loved visiting the 10 museums & parks that are associated with the Audubon Nature Institute. I have yet to have my children ( 13 & 9 years old) tell me they are “too old” for the zoo or the aquarium. In fact, I notice that they gravitate to elements that they did not noticed when they were younger.
2. Eco- Swamp Tours
I know you are thinking this is so cliche’ but in truth taking your family on a swamp tour gives families an inside look to our eco-system & the importance of ecology. When I was younger, I went on a eco-tour that is still vivid in my mind. The wetlands of South Louisiana is an untouched treasure that help keep our ecosystem in order while providing additional beauty to our area.
3. City Park
Storyland & Carousel Gardens Amusement Park are perfect for younger children but don’t forget that New Orleans Museum of Art and Sculpture Garden are also located in City Park. My daughter who is now a teen adores NOMA. She recalls visiting NOMA & the botanical gardens with my mother & I many times. Now that my mother is not well, those moments of clarity are very close to her heart. Together, we would spend the afternoon in various exhibits while she gave us a long-winded interpretation of what each painting and exhibit meant to her. Once we left the New Orleans Museum of Art we would head over to enjoy a picnic lunch, play in Storyland for a bit before we rode the trolley back to our car.
4. City Tours
A great way to visit New Orleans is by participating in a city tour. Whether your family is interested in a history tour, culinary tour, riverboat tour or even haunted tour (I have older children so they would love this) you can walk your walk throughout the city, take a double decker bus, carriage ride or even a Riverboat tour away from learning how important New Orleans is to our Nation’s history.
5. Take the Beaten Path
Do your research or bring an experienced travel guide (family, friend or professional) to help locate New Orleans’s greatest travel treasures that are not in the local travel guide. Not only can you save money by spending 1-2 days by visiting the area this way but you can also unearth a gem of a learning experience. My husband loves to take the kids (especially if I am away traveling or working) to have
Popeye’s a picnic lunch in attractions like Fort Pike or Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. Costs or free or only a few dollars per person.
While you are visiting with your family, don’t forget to visit other family friendly locations like: Louisiana Children’s Museums, Steamboat Natchez, The National WWII Museum, Mardi Gras World, St. Louis Cathedral, The Cabildo, Longue Vue House and Gardens, Mahalia Jackson Theater of the Performing Arts, Fort Pike and a long list of others that I did not mention above.
Traveling with your family should be more than roller-coasters & watersides. Educational travel can leave a lasting impression on your children so make sure New Orleans is your Education Destination. What has been your most educational travel destination for your family?