Tuesday, July 8, 2008

TOP TEN: Fun Family Activities for Summer in New Orleans

Today we are taking you south with suggestions for exciting family activities in New Orleans!

by Barri Bronston
, author of the Lobster Kids' Guide to Exploring New Orleans

  1. Aquarium of the Americas – Visitors are invited to journey to the Caribbean Reef, the Amazon Rainforest and the Mississippi River, where they will be greeted by a host of deep-sea creatures, sea otters sting rays, sharks and penguins.

  2. Audubon Insectarium – Open for less than three months, this long-awaited museum invites children (and adults) to enjoy up-close encounters with termites, butterflies, crickets, ants and dozens of other insects. Offerings include an animated insect film and samplings of exotic – yes, even tasty -- insect cuisine.

  3. Audubon Zoo – Besides its exotic animals, natural habitats and lush gardens, this highly acclaimed zoo features a Louisiana swamp exhibit, live animal presentations along with the Endangered Species Carousel, the Safari Simulator Ride and the Swamp Train.

  4. City Park – One of the largest urban parks in the United States, City Park was practically wiped out by Hurricane Katrina. But thanks to the thousands of volunteers who have helped resurrect it, the park is buzzing once again. Among its attractions are Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, Storyland, the Botanical Garden and the New Orleans Museum of Art.

  5. French Quarter – Except for Bourbon Street, there are few places in the Quarter where families can’t wander. Check out the flea market, the Farmer’s Market, the Wax Museum, Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral. When you need a break, grab a table at CafĂ© du Monde and enjoy some sugar-laden beignets.

  6. Louisiana Children’s Museum – Explore and experience 30,000 square feet of hands-on fun. Among other things, kids can pilot a towboat down the Mighty Mississippi, create stunning works of arts and hoist themselves up a wall.

  7. Mardi Gras World – If you can’t make it to New Orleans for Fat Tuesday, take a trek across the Mississippi River for a behind-the-scenes look at the magic of Mardi Gras. The tour includes gigantic props, colorful floats and samples of king cake. After the tour, you’re invited to dress up in ornate carnival costumes.

  8. National World War II Museum – The 70,000-square-foot museum highlights the American experience during the WWII era with moving personal stories, historic artifacts and powerful interactive displays. At personal account stations, visitors can listen to the stories of war veterans. Check the calendar for band performances, war reenactments and children’s programs.

  9. Riverboat ride – Climb aboard an authentic 19th century riverboat and enjoy the sites and sounds of the Crescent City as you cruise up and down the Mississippi. You can choose between a two-hour harbor cruise or a jazz and dinner cruise.

  10. Streetcar ride – Three years post-Katrina, the St. Charles Avenue streetcar is finally back. During a ride from the Riverbend neighborhood to the Central Business District, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of Uptown New Orleans, including Tulane and Loyola universities, Audubon Park and some of the country’s most exquisite mansions.

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