What are good activities for a toddler in New Orleans?
August 24, 2016 11:37 AM   Subscribe

I am visiting New Orleans to see some family with my two year old, so I'm looking for activities or places (touristy or otherwise) that would be good for family outings with my son. I'm open to anything, though parks and museums are probably the best bet. Even places just to spend an hour or two would be great.
posted by fdhidalgo to Travel & Transportation around New Orleans, LA (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Depending on your kid's personality (and your own), my experience visiting family with a 2 year old basically meant "find the nearest playgrounds" and maybe find a restaurant to eat at all together. Site seeing was marginally OK at best and "I hate my life and my spouse and we are terrible parents and this sucks" at worst, mostly because my expectations were that I'd get to see sites and explore them at my leisure. The terrible situation was at a zoo that was FREE, but all my then 22 month old wanted to do (and did) was splash in puddles.

Your mileage may vary, of course, but the best moments were more laid back playground visits or short walks to an interesting park.
posted by jillithd at 11:54 AM on August 24, 2016

Response by poster: Thanks for the general advice, but I'm looking more for specific recommendations in New Orleans. Should have been clearer
posted by fdhidalgo at 12:07 PM on August 24, 2016

The zoo in NOLA is wonderful. Bring a swimsuit or clothes that can be splashed in. There's a great big park next to the zoo, which is also wonderful.
posted by heathrowga at 12:16 PM on August 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

New Orleans city park has both paddle boats and interesting kinds of bike rentals that could fit well with a toddler.

If you're willing to drive a bit the swamp tours could also be interesting but not sure how your toddler might feel about gators.
posted by Karaage at 1:58 PM on August 24, 2016

A beignet for breakfast if you can handle the sugar rush, then a horse-drawn carriage tour around the French Quarter, then head to the Audobon Zoo. The Aquarium of the Americas is also good.
posted by waffleriot at 2:01 PM on August 24, 2016

The Louisiana Children's Museum is great!
posted by Corinth at 2:26 PM on August 24, 2016

Best answer: They have something called the Audubon Experience pass thing that lets you into the zoo, the aquarium, the movie theater attached to the aquarium and the Butterfly Garden for less than buying those tickets individually. http://audubonnatureinstitute.org/tickets/all-tickets The Creole Creamery is delicious delicious ice cream. City Park has an amusement park with a train you can ride. http://www.neworleansonline.com/directory/location.php?locationID=1918
posted by edbles at 2:54 PM on August 24, 2016

Children's Museum, Sculpture Garden in City Park (also other activities and nice nature-walking nearby), Aquarium, Audubon Zoo, maybe Mardi Gras World?
posted by milqman at 4:18 PM on August 24, 2016

My two-year-old had a lot of fun at the aquarium, and the insectarium was a hit. Storyland was weird and perfect for a toddler. He liked listening to bands in the square, liked the river (we don't live close to one), and beignets (Morning Call is our preference, in City Park so it's fun).
posted by Pacrand at 4:56 PM on August 24, 2016

Best answer: The classic things to do as a kid growing up in New Orleans are all pretty great to do as visitors, as well.

Formative childhood memories for me include the Audubon Zoo (especially playing on Monkey Hill, which is probably akin to jillthd's "went to the zoo and all the toddler wanted to do is stomp in mud puddles", but is also an iconic NOLA kid sort of mud puddle stomping), Children's Museum, Aquarium of the Americas, and Storyland. Woldenburg Park is a very pleasant stretch of open space along the river near the CBD and French Quarter for general running around, and it includes the area where the big Mississippi River steamboats dock. (An excursion on a steamboat might also be cool if your toddler is into boats.) I haven't been yet, but I know there's a newish museum dedicated to insects in town which is specifically aimed at little kids.

The Spanish Fountain near the Riverwalk was also a solid choice for "toddler can't handle this shizz" when I was little and we had to go run some kind of CBD errand.

In addition to beignets, if you don't get this kid a snowball (assuming it's not January or something), you're doing it wrong.

Swamp tours are great, but probably beyond the scope of a toddler. Also, the remoteness means that unless your particular toddler is VERY into wildlife, if the kid has a meltdown you're SOL. Also, both the Zoo and Aquarium offer Louisiana native wildlife exhibits, so it's not like you won't be inundated with that stuff if you do other kid-friendly activities, anyway.
posted by Sara C. at 5:06 PM on August 24, 2016

Just FYI, the aquarium, the insectarium and Woldenberg Park/the riverfront are all about a five minute walk apart. City Park would make a great day too- Morning Call for beignets for breakfast (they have live music on some (maybe all?) weekend days) and then Storyland and/or paddle boats or bikes!
posted by MadamM at 7:21 PM on August 24, 2016

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