The Super Bowl is just around the corner, aiming to attract thousands of people to New Orleans. If you’ve never been to New Orleans, I think you’ll be pleased to know that there is so much more to do beyond Mardi Gras. An aquarium, insectariums, steamboat cruises and even amusement parks make for a perfect family getaway to New Orleans. Take a look at my five must-see attractions:
Enjoy the two-hour Harbor Jazz Cruise down the Mississippi River aboard New Orleans’ only authentic steamboat. You’ll hear historical facts and Dixieland music as you take in this lunchtime or mid-afternoon cruise. Or try the Dinner Cruise for beautiful sunsets. Kids under six ride free with a paid adult.
Tuesday through Sunday, pay a visit to the Audubon Insectarium for a daily cooking demonstration called Bug Appetit to sample exotic culinary creations prepared by resident bug chefs. Learn about insect courtship and life cycles in the Metamorphosis Gallery and discover the insects that have been central to the history of New Orleans.
Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World
Enjoy the magic and pageantry of Mardi Gras without the noise and crowds. Watch a short film on the history of Mardi Gras, then take a guided tour to see parade floats up close and even check out statues and decorations as they are being made by the creative artists. Stay for lunch at one of the only cafés with a view of the Mississippi River.
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
There’s more than sea turtles and sharks at this aquarium. Stop by for the Gulf Chat three times a week to learn about sea life, then discover the wildlife indigenous to the Mississippi River. Pop by Parakeet Pointe to see hundreds of colorful parakeets, and cap off your day with a visit to the Amazon Rainforest.
Carousel Gardens Amusement Park
You and your kids will love the antique carousel, one of only 100 antique wooden carousels in the country. You’ll also find a ferris wheel, bumper cars and a miniature train ride that tours the park. Then stop by Storyland, which sits adjacent to Carousel Gardens, featuring more than 25 larger-than-life storybook exhibits.
What are your favorite family activities to do in New Orleans? Let us know in the comments section below.
– Erin Gifford
Erin Gifford is a mother of four who shares family travel advice on her blog, Kidventurous, which was recently chosen as the Best Family Travel blog by Parents magazine. Her tips and advice have appeared on SmarterTravel.com, Travel Mamas, Parents, Poshbrood, Fat Wallet and more.