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New Orleans

Family-friendly Activities

Our most recommended New Orleans Family-friendly Activities

New Orleans: High Speed 16 Passenger Airboat Ride

1. New Orleans: High Speed 16 Passenger Airboat Ride

Embark on a high-speed adventure through the swamps and marshes just 35 minutes from New Orleans and experience the amazing scenery by airboat. Slow down or stop to take pictures and get a personal tour from your local captain. Avail of airboats with stadium-style seating so that the person in front does not obstruct your view. Be amazed as alligators come so close to the boat that you can stare into their reptilian eyes! Encounter magnificent birdlife, including bald eagles, pelicans, ospreys and owls. Every tour is unique and you never know what will be around the next corner! Reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour, propelled by a huge fan that blows air from the back of the boat in excess of 200 miles per hour. Ride in shallow water and access areas where traditional boats cannot go.

New Orleans: Mardi Gras World Behind-the-Scenes Tour

2. New Orleans: Mardi Gras World Behind-the-Scenes Tour

Discover Mardi Gras magic on a self-guided tour of Mardi Gras World, where artists and craftsmen have designed and built the oldest and biggest parade floats and attractions for each Mardi Gras season in New Orleans since 1947. Begin your tour by receiving your ticket in form of a bead necklace and watch a film which gives an overview of the history of Mardi Gras in New Orleans and the role Mardi Gras World plays in it to this day. Then, enjoy a slice of the traditional Mardi Gras cake, King Cake, before your self-guided tour leads you through the float den. Explore where Mardi Gras World artists work year-round to build spectacular, one-of-a-kind floats and props, with over 500 floats built and decorated each year. See how the various themed elements are created from scratch or are adapted from elements created for previous themes — from sculpting the elements, to finishing and painting them. There is even an electronic robot that can carve 3-D sculptures. Take photos with some of the finished pieces from various themes over the years, then tour the floats themselves. Get up closer to the floats than is possible during Mardi Gras parades, and find out how these amazing pieces come to life each year. See floats in various stages of completion as they prepare for the upcoming Mardi Gras as much as a whole year before. At the end of the tour, stay and take more pictures with any of the floats if you like. For your convenience, a complimentary shuttle service is provided from stops in Downtown; just call the number provided on your voucher for your nearest stop and to arrange pickup.

New Orleans: Swamp Zipline Tour with Transfer Option

3. New Orleans: Swamp Zipline Tour with Transfer Option

Travel to the banks of Lake Ponchartrain, in the quaint historic town of Frenier, to see the Maurepas swamp from a unique perspective. Suspended above it on this zipline tour, admire the animals of the swamp and the panoramic views. Start the day with a transfer from your hotel in New Orleans, if the option is selected. Upon arrival, meet your host who will provide safety equipment and instructions for the day’s activities. Use the lockers provided to store loose items. Begin the adventure from atop a 60-foot start platform. Marvel at the views of the magnificent Maurepas Swamp and Lake Ponchartrain. View the historic town of Frenier and the New Orleans skyline. As you traverse the course, take on five separate zip lines, two suspension bridges, and a one-of-a-kind spiral cypress tree staircase. The swamp zipline course is roughly a half-mile long, and it takes approximately 1.5 hours to complete. Become immersed in nature. As you soar through the course, you may see alligators, turtles, snakes, whitetail deer, wild boar, raccoons, opossums, armadillos, egrets, herons, and much more from the comfort and safety of the treetops.

New Orleans: Manchac Bayou Swamp Cruise with Optional Pickup

4. New Orleans: Manchac Bayou Swamp Cruise with Optional Pickup

Join this tour in the Manchac Swamp on a real life adventure for the whole family. Your local captains will take you on an exciting journey to explore Louisiana's abundant wildlife in the bayous of Cajun Country. Journey by boat, Cajun-style, for a tour through the heart of Southern Louisiana's swamplands. Your swamp boat will take you into the meandering bayous where you'll see moss-draped cypress trees, fascinating plant life, and the creatures who make their homes here. Listen to informative commentary as you sail into the bayou. Swamp creatures are used to seeing the tour boats, so you'll likely catch a glimpse of various birds, snakes, deer, and fish, and possibly even an alligator. As your boat drifts through the waterways, you will learn about the Louisiana Wetlands, the inhabitants of the swamp–particularly the life and habits of the American Alligator–as well as the unique history of the local Cajun town of Frenier.

New Orleans Swamp & Bayou Boat Tour

5. New Orleans Swamp & Bayou Boat Tour

Cruise through the Barataria Preserve and discover the beauty of South Louisiana in a custom-built swamp boat, as you float through a section of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park. Discover how the seafood from Louisiana’s waters provide a wide assortment of delectable local dishes! After a short motor coach ride across the Mississippi River, take a fascinating boat trip into the Louisiana swamps and Bayous. Native guides will reveal the mysteries of the swamps and bayous and you will get to experience the Cajun “Joie de Vivre.” Observe the nesting grounds of alligators, egrets, raccoons, nutria and many species of snakes. Some wildlife is more numerous during the warmer months of the year. Learn why the wetlands are disappearing due to coastal erosion and discover man’s effort to correct the damage it has done and to restore this vital habitat.

New Orleans Swamp Tour by Tour Boat

6. New Orleans Swamp Tour by Tour Boat

Drift slowly past 2,000 years of Louisiana history on this boat tour. Encounter the beautiful nature and wildlife of the swamp in the company of your expert captain guide. Set sail with your captain, a native of the Barataria Swamps with a background in alligator hunting, fishing and trapping. He will tell you all about the ecology of the swampland. You'll also learn about the culture and lifestyle of the Cajuns of the Bayou and see plenty of wildlife, including birds, snakes, turtles and alligators.  The boat passes calmly through beautiful, moss-draped trees and soft waterways for ample opportunities to take pictures. Enjoy an entertaining, educational and exciting tour with a relaxing view of this unique landscape. Note that in the winter, gators mostly hibernate, except to soak up some sun on warmer days, but your local tour can sometimes spot a sunbathing gator for you on the tour. 

French Quarter Walking and Storytelling Tour

7. French Quarter Walking and Storytelling Tour

Take a walking and storytelling tour through New Orleans' famous French Quarter. See famous landmarks and learn about local history as you make your way from the jazz fountain to Jackson Square, hearing fascinating stories along the way. The night before the tour, your guide will send an email with their photo, contact information, and directions to the meeting spot. The tour begins at the jazz fountain at the intersection of Decatur and Dumaine Streets in the historic French Market district. These are small-group tours, making for a more comfortable, customized experience.  After a brief overview of New Orleans history, your guide will lead you around the oldest neighborhood in the city, and point out the locations that have made New Orleans famous: St. Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square, and the Mississippi River - and lesser-known treasures such as the French Market, an almost 300 year old convent, and courtyards hidden behind the 18th and 19th century buildings. Your guide will also be an enthusiastic storyteller, and the stories about this neighborhood are like no other. Established as a French colonial outpost in 1718, its earliest inhabitants were the quirky, gritty, fascinating types who are still attracted to it today. Every block has a story which will be shared with you. The tour concludes in or next to Jackson Square, but it is by no means over. Your guide is full of recommendations for enjoying the neighborhood and the city further. When you finish the French Quarter tour, you will be energized to go out and explore this jewel of a neighborhood even further, and the knowledge you gained walking with your guide will only deepen your understanding of New Orleans, and  stay with you long after you have left its quaint streets and alleys.

New Orleans: Bayou Tour in Jean Lafitte National Park

8. New Orleans: Bayou Tour in Jean Lafitte National Park

Bring your cameras and adventurous spirits as you explore the Barataria Preserve of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. Meet your guide at the meeting point or at one of the 8 pickup locations in New Orleans (if transportation option is selected), and travel to the swamp. Tours pick up daily from convenient hotels at 8:30 AM, 10:30 AM, and 12:30 PM. You’ll be taken on a 1.5-hour pontoon boat ride around the waters of the area. Get the chance to spot alligators, local wildlife, and two other friendly creatures, Sunshine the Pig and Patrick the Possum.  Listen to stories and legends told by your informative local guide. Following the tour, enjoy a delicious Cajun lunch at a local eatery down the street, the perfect way to refuel. After lunch, you’ll be driven back to New Orleans and dropped off at the original meeting point or pickup location you have selected.

New Orleans Kids and Family French Quarter Walking Tour

9. New Orleans Kids and Family French Quarter Walking Tour

On the morning of the tour, your guide will meet you in Jackson Square and everyone will toss a penny in the fountain for good luck and put on some Mardi Gras beads. Your family will enjoy a local snack (the snack varies depending on allergies and seasonal availability) while your guide presents you with a quick, easy history of New Orleans (with pictures!). From Jackson Square, you will follow your friendly tour guide through the bustling, colorful streets of the French Quarter, as you learn about pirates, Mardi Gras, voodoo, jazz music, second-line parades, Creole cuisine and history. You will also learn about how kids and families lived in New Orleans in years past. Your children will be captivated by the colorful sights and sounds of this vibrant neighborhood and you will learn a few things and be able to ask your guide to make recommendations of other things to see and do in New Orleans. Along the way, your children will be able to stop and do at least one hands-on activity that New Orleans children love. Like the snack, the activity will vary depending on the ages and abilities of the children on the tour.  Towards the end of your tour, the group will decide on a special occasion and, each with your oun second-line handkerchief, have a traditional second-line parade to a favorite jazz tune. The tour ends in the French Market, where everyone will have one last chance to ask questions before you can eat and shop where New Orleanians have eaten and shopped for generations! Even parents and grandparents love this tour!

Frequently asked questions about New Orleans Family-friendly Activities

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Family-friendly activities: Things to do in New Orleans with kids

You might be surprised at the many things to do in New Orleans with kids. The land of Mardi Gras and all-night jazz is also quite family friendly. Share the joys of people-watching from Café Du Monde over hot chocolate and beignets. Then take that sugar energy on a walk through the French Quarter. Older kids may want to take a ghost tour through the streets and above-ground cemeteries. And the whole family can enjoy Mardi Gras floats and King cake, or a cooking class to learn how to make traditional Creole and Cajun dishes.

City Park: Fun for the whole family

Something for everyone is not an exaggeration here. City Park is brimming with activities for the whole family. Enjoy golf courses, tennis courts, botanical gardens, lakes, and more for the perfect day out. Now, for the kids: The Train Garden enchants the little conductor in everyone. Storyland is a maze of sculptures from nursery rhymes like Humpty Dumpty and fairy tales like Cinderella. Carousel Gardens has over 15 amusement rides, from classics like the Tilt-a-Whirl to Slime Buckets. And for those who like a little flair with their golf, there’s City Putt. This mini-golf course takes players on a mini-tour of New Orleans with each hole.

Strollers are welcome and recommended around the park. Some attractions cost extra for entry, and you should check schedules ahead of time, especially during the rainy season. Depending on where you go in the park, you may want to keep a changing mat with you. The visitor’s center and most attractions have food and drink for sale.

New Orleans Museum of Art: Discover art, inside and out

Follow the history of New Orleans through art at NOMA. Paintings travel through time from the Renaissance to modern Louisiana. Artifacts from Africa and Central and South America may remind kids of things they see today. They can see how memories were kept in lockets and the importance of glassware before plastics with the decorative arts. Then they can join in the act by creating their own works of art for the family’s private collection. But not before taking a walk outside in the sculpture garden, where massive installations give creativity an extra breath of fresh air.

You can bring a stroller inside and store umbrellas and bags at a coat check. You must check any large bags. Food and drink are not allowed inside, but you can purchase drinks from the café. Baby changing facilities are available.

Mardi Gras World: See behind the scenes of the festival

Even if you’re not in New Orleans during the Mardi Gras Festival, you can still enjoy it year-round, only with fewer people around. Together with the kids you can meet the artists and see how they build the colorful floats that take part in the parade. You can also dress up in costumes and take lots of selfies. To make your experience even closer to the real thing, you’ll get a slice of King Cake. Your family can join a tour of the Mardi Gras World where you will learn about its creation, the history of the festival, and how much preparation goes into it.

Remember that you can order a free shuttle to the Mardi Gras World, so you don’t have to worry about getting there on your own.

Louisiana Children’s Museum: Kids can play everywhere 

As its name states, the Louisiana Children’s Museum is for kids. From toddlers on up, there are indoor and outdoor activities to distract, intrigue, and educate. They can get wet wandering around the mighty Mississippi, watching life along the river. Or they can learn some cooking skills. Maybe they’ll be able to make you something tasty when you get home! Outside, they can make music with steel drums or just run around the tunnels and play. Finally, they can take a ride on the floating classroom and learn about the wonders of water.

Children of all ages are welcome, although older teens may not find the activities very engaging. Strollers are welcome, with parking areas available as well as storage lockers for bags. Outside food and drink aren’t allowed, but there is a café.


Other Sightseeing Options in New Orleans

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What people are saying about New Orleans

The tour was great, we saw at least 15 alligators and also different birds. Our tour guide was a cool guy and he told us a lot of interesting things about the swamps and animals.

A perfect tour, If you’re seeking just a short walking tour that covers an all round introduction on New Orleans and its rich history

Great activity outside of the city. Rocky was my guide and extremely knowledgeable and informative about the area.

Captain Ernie was the BEST tour guide. I high recommend if you visit Louisiana to do a swamp tour!

We really enjoyed our boat ride. Highly recommended