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Little Kids in the Big Easy: Family Attractions in New Orleans

New Orleans Storyland

Storyland in New Orleans; all photos by Jill Martin Wrenn

When you hear New Orleans, you think “let the good times roll” not “let the strollers roll.” But Jill Martin Wrenn, family traveler extraordinaire (you may remember her guest posts about ItalyBirmingham, England, and Disney World during Thanksgiving), just spent the weekend there with her three kids and found that there’s plenty for little ones — and their parents — to enjoy in the Big Easy.

family attractions new orleansFrom streetcars to sugary treats, New Orleans has a lot to offer children.  I saw a side to the city that I didn’t know existed when I visited with my three kids, ages five, three and one.

New Orleans Childrens Museum

Hands-on fun at the Louisiana Children's Museum

I was inspired by photos of Angelina Jolie, touring the city with her brood.  Even if our budget isn’t quite as high as hers, having only three kids — instead of six — seemed relatively manageable in comparison.

Our nearly eight-hour drive from Atlanta went as smoothly as possible, thanks to iPad videos, minimal traffic, sunny weather and several well-timed stops at McDonald’s.  The Star Wars toys included in the Happy Meals provided us with opportune bribes for our three-year-old.

We arrived at our hotel in the evening, then spent our first morning at the Louisiana Children’s Museum.  It has activities for all three kids’ age groups, including a story time with a very friendly reader, who delighted my five-year-old when she said: “The weather in New Orleans is crazy!”

It was certainly unpredictable.  During the first week of March when we visited, the temperature touched 80 degrees on our first full day, making us wish we had brought shorts.  It then fell to 55 degrees with rain on our last day, leaving us regretting that we had left behind our coats.

Louisiana street car

New Orleans Canal Streetcar

We went a bit farther afield on our second full day and visited City Park, about half an hour by streetcar from downtown.  The bright red color of the Canal Street line resembled a fire engine, so our three-year-old son was impressed. But the length of the ride took its toll, and the kids got a bit antsy by the end. In fact, our one-year-old threw up.

But once we walked into City Park, past the massive oak trees, and fed ducks in a pond beside the New Orleans Museum of Art, our son had recovered.  We walked through the park to Storyland, a playground that showcases an array of fairytales.

New Orleans Museum of Art

New Orleans Museum of Art

Our kids climbed on Captain Hook’s pirate ship, slid down a dragon slide and posed with statues of Snow White and the Three Little Pigs, while I chatted with a mom we had just met about New Orleans restaurants that welcome the younger set.

She, like many locals we encountered, was proud of her city, and happy to share tips — especially for navigating the French Quarter, the area known for its revelry, with children.  She warned us that the restaurant where we had planned to dine that night had white tablecloths.  That sounded a bit too formal for our group, so we opted for a more casual option.

Where did the Wrenns find family-friendly dining? Read about the kid-friendly restaurants they found in New Orleans, which the adults loved too!

 

 

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