12 Things to Do in New Orleans With Kids

Updated On October 8, 2023

When you think of New Orleans, you may think it’s a great place for adults to cut loose.

Given its naughty reputation, you may wonder if it’s a kid-friendly destination.

The truth is that New Orleans has a lot to offer for the entire family.

It’s a great place to bring the kiddos.

Let’s take a look at the top things to do in New Orleans with kids.

Things to Do in New Orleans With Kids

French Quarter
French Quarter

1. Take a Tour of the French Quarter

Sure, Bourbon Street is known for its bars and nightlife, but there’s much more to the French Quarter.

A French Quarter walking tour will provide a few hours of fun, culture, and education.

You’ll learn about the history of New Orleans and the different cultural groups that call the city home.

You’ll see authentic homes from the 18th and 19th centuries, and learn about what life was like then.

You can also view famous landmarks, including the Mississippi River and the St. Louis Cathedral.

City Park
City Park

2. Visit City Park

You could spend days exploring City Park.

Enjoy one of the two put-put golf courses.

You can also rent bikes and boats.

Biking options include cruiser bikes, tandem bikes, and kid’s bikes.

You can also rent a Surrey, which allows the entire family to ride together.

You can rent a swan pedal boat or a kayak to enjoy the lake.

You’ll also find a botanical garden and a sculpture garden.

One of the most notable attractions in City Park is Storyland.

Characters from popular fairy tales, including Pinnochio and mother goose, come to life.

Children can play on captain hook’s pirate ship, or run through Pinnochio’s whale.

Louisiana Children's Museum
Louisiana Children’s Museum

3. Visit the Louisiana Children’s Museum

While you are in City Park, you’ll have to visit the Louisiana Children’s Museum.

It’s a great way to spark your child’s imagination.

On the first floor, you’ll find Play with Me exhibits, which are designed for toddlers.

Older children can experience nature hands-on with Dig Into Nature.

They can play on the sedimentation table, and learn about the local habitat with the Pirogue and Bayou exhibit.

Outside the walls of the museum, you’ll find plenty of nature activities.

Kids can make music, explore tunnels, and view the local wildlife through binoculars.

The Acorn Cafe has plenty of menu items, so you can have a meal while exploring the museum.

Before you leave, stop by the gift shop to pick up a souvenir or two.

Carousel Gardens Amusement Park
Carousel Gardens Amusement Park

4. Have Some Thrills at Carousel Gardens Amusement Park

City Park is also the home of the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park.

It offers a unique nostalgic experience.

You’ll find one of the oldest carousels in America here.

The park is small, with only 18 rides.

However, it offers Live Oak Ladybug Rollercoaster, a Ferris wheel, and bumper cars.

You can also take a mini train ride through the park.

There are plenty of rides that only require kids to be 36 inches tall, making it a great choice for the whole family.

Older children will love the Live Oak Ladybug Rollercoaster and Music Express.

Couturie Forest
Couturie Forest

5. Couturie Forest

The last attraction within City Park is Couturie Forest.

If you are a nature-loving family, you can’t miss this experience.

You can “get away from it all”, without leaving the city.

Within the forest, you’ll find Laborde Mountain.

This is the highest point in New Orleans, at 43 feet above sea level.

The forest is considered the best place for bird-watching in New Orleans.

The hiking is relatively easy, which makes it ideal for families.

You can see 8 different ecosystems within the forest.

Swamp Tour
Swamp Tour

6. Take a Swamp Tour

There are several ways to take a swamp tour.

You can take a boardwalk tour for free.

You’ll simply walk through the trails which go straight through the swamp via boardwalks.

This gives you a very close-up experience.

However, you’ll need to keep an eye out for snakes and gators.

Jean Lafitte National Park offers guided tours with a park ranger free several days a week if you want to learn more about the swamp.

You can also take one of the many guided swamp tours.

Most of these are by boat.

Some options, like kayaking or airboats, aren’t suitable for younger kids.

However, standard boat tours are suitable for all ages.

These tours can be short, lasting 1 to 2 hours.

Other options allow you to make a day of it and can take as much as 8 hours.

St. Charles Streetcar
St. Charles Streetcar

7. St. Charles Streetcar

The St. Charles Streetcar line began in 1835.

Today, it’s the oldest operating streetcar line in the world.

In addition to its historical significance, it’s a great way to see New Orleans.

Enjoy historic streets and massive oak trees as you ride the line.

The streetcar travels down St. Charles Avenue, through the Garden District, and ends at the edge of the French Quarter.

Audobon Park
Audobon Park

8. Audobon Park

You can reach Audobon Park from the St. Charles Streetcar line.

Nestled within the heart of the city, the park offers a break from the hustle and bustle of New Orleans.

Audubon Park Lagoon features Ochsner Island, which is better known as Bird Island for good reason.

You can spot several species of Egrets and Heron, as well as the Double-crested Cormorant making their home on the island.

There’s also a jogging path, which allows you to bike, walk, jog, or skate through the park.

Audobon Stables allows you to rent a horse for the day and offers riding lessons as well.

You’ll find three playgrounds, tennis courts, a golf course, and a pool within the park as well.

Audobon Nature Institute
Audobon Nature Institute

9. Audobon Nature Institute

While you are in the Audobon Park area, stop by the Audobon Nature Institute, which features several attractions.

At the Audobon Zoo, you’ll find more than 2,000 animals in natural habitats.

You can see lions, orangutans, elephants, and the Swamp Exhibit, which features native animals.

During the summer, enjoy the Cool Zoo.

Take a lazy river ride, get soaked with sprinklers, and ride the alligator water slide.

You’ll see some of the most popular animals at the zoo while you make your way through the wet and wild attraction.

The Audobon Aquarium features penguins and the Great Maya Reef Tunnel with coral reefs and a variety of fish.

Kids love the Shark Touchpool, which allows you to get up close, and even touch, sharks.

The aquarium is rated as one of the top 5 in the country.

You’ll see aquatic life from the Caribbean and the Amazon in addition to local wildlife.

The Audobon Insectarium allows you to learn about insects, which are essential to life on Earth.

You’ll find “scary” insects like spiders and centipedes.

You can also visit the Butterfly Garden, which features a multitude of free-flying butterflies.

They may even land on you when you visit.

Tour the Garden District
Tour the Garden District

10. Tour the Garden District

The Garden District is historic and beautiful.

It’s easily accessible from the St. Charles Streetcar line.

You’ll find plenty of southern charm with classic New Orleans mansions complete with white picket fences and wrap-around porches.

If you choose a guided walking tour, you can learn about the area’s history and view some impressive architecture.

Some tours also include Lafayette Cemetery No.1.

This may seem like an odd place to visit, and it certainly isn’t for everyone.

However, the cemetery features incredible mausoleums or above-ground tombs, and it’s steeped in history.

Famous author Anne Rice drew inspiration for Interview with a Vampire and her Mayfair Witches series from the cemetery.

Creole Cuisine
Creole Cuisine

11. Check Out Creole Cuisine

While you are in New Orleans, you must enjoy some Creole cuisine.

Creole foods blend New Orleans’ cultures, including French, Spanish, African, Indian, and Southern U.S. flavors.

Creole dishes are often known for being spicy, but plenty of options are kid-friendly and mild.

Most restaurants offer a kid’s menu with standard offerings like burgers and chicken strips, but step out of your comfort zone and have everyone try something new.

Brennan’s is a great way to experience the flavors of New Orleans.

The restaurant’s building has been many things over its lifetime, including a bank, and a private home.

In 1946, the pink mansion became one of the best restaurants in New Orleans, and it’s still going strong.

Brennan’s offers more than a meal.

It offers a unique experience.

Global Wildlife Center
Global Wildlife Center

12. Global Wildlife Center

If you are a nature lover, you can’t miss the Global Wildlife Center.

It’s an eco-friendly park with more than 900 acres teeming with wildlife.

There are more than 40 species, including giraffes, antelope, and bison.

You’ll have a safari-like experience as you tour the grounds in a covered wagon.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Should I visit New Orleans with the kids?

As you can see, there are many things to do in New Orleans with kids.

The city is kid-friendly, and everyone is sure to have a good time.

Can kids go to Bourbon Street?

Despite being kid-friendly, there’s one area of New Orleans that you’ll want to avoid if you are bringing the family.

Bourbon Street is considered for adults only.

As the name of the street suggests, drinking is the favorite activity on Bourbon Street.

Is the French Quarter safe for kids?

The French Quarter is safe and family-friendly, as long as you avoid Bourbon Street.

However, once the sun sets, the French Quarter becomes more adult, so it’s best for daytime activities.

Can kids go to Mardi Gras?


Kids can have a great, and even magical, experience at Mardi Gras.

You’ll want to avoid Bourbon Street, but most areas are very family-friendly.

The parades and celebrations offer a variety of floats, food, and music.

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