There is no excuse for boredom in New Orleans; there is almost always something going on — a parade, street party or outdoor concert. For those days when there isn't something special, here are some options for keeping kids amused, active and interested in the world around them.
Art/ History/ Music
Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras World
1380 Port of New Orleans Place, (504) 361-7821; www.mardigrasworld.com
See Mardi Gras floats up close on a tour of the legendary float-making business and learn about the artistry and technology involved in staging a Carnival parade. The guided tour includes the screening of an exclusive Mardi Gras video and a refreshment break with king cake. The facility also includes a restaurant with a view of the Mississippi River. Open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. (Closed Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter and Mardi Gras). Admission $19.95 adults, $15.95 seniors and students with college ID, $12.95 children ages 2-11, children 2 and younger free.
The Cabildo, Louisiana State Museum
701 Chartres St., (504) 568-6968; www.crt.state.la.us/museum/properties/cabildo.aspx
Built in the late 1700s for the municipal government, this National Historic Landmark was the site of the Louisiana Purchase transfer in 1803 — the table used for the occasion is on display. The Louisiana Supreme Court issued the landmark Plessy v. Ferguson decision while housed there. The Marquis de Lafayette lived at the Cabildo when he visited the city in 1825, and the building at one time served as a prison. It now houses a comprehensive exhibit about Louisiana's early history. Open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Closed holidays. Admission is $6 adults; $5 seniors, students and active military personnel; free for children 12 and younger.
French QuarTour Kids
(504) 975-5355; www.frenchquartourkids.com
The company provides hourlong walking tours in the French Quarter designed for kids. The Port, the Pirates & All the Rest! tour retraces Louisiana's history — and the role its location and geography played. The Creole Kids Tour explores 1830s New Orleans, including how children lived, what people wore, etiquette of the time and more. The tour includes a visit to the courtyard of the Hermann-Grima House. Admission to the adjoining museum is available at a discount. Tours are offered Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Admission is $12 per person (cash only), free for children 5 and younger. Children must be accompanied by an adult (one per four kids). Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve Laura C. Hudson Visitor Center 419 Decatur St., (504) 589-2636; www.nps.gov All ages The visitor center in the French Quarter houses exhibits and murals illustrating the importance waterways like the Mississippi River have played in the formation of Louisiana and its culture. Other exhibits and interactive displays focus on plants and animals in the area, food, culture and festivals. Ranger-led walking tours of the French Quarter start at 9:30 a.m. Children's author and musician Johnette Downing performs at the visitor center once a month. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (except Christmas and Mardi Gras). Free admission.
National World War II Museum
945 Magazine St., (504) 528-1944; www.nationalww2museum.org
The renowned museum has everything children love: tanks, planes, guns, love stories, movies, fashions, video-taped stories, the themed American Sector restaurant, the Stage Door Canteen's song and dance venue, movies and more. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission $22 adults; $19 seniors 65 and older; $13 children kindergarten-12th grade, students with college ID and active military with ID; children 5 and younger free.
New Orleans Museum of Art
City Park, 1 Collins C. Diboll Circle, (504) 658-4100; www.noma.org
Admission is free for Louisiana residents on Wednesdays. In addition to permanent and changing exhibitions of paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, Faberge eggs and more, the museum hosts programs for children and families including art classes for children ages 5-12 and Where Y'Art Fridays (5 p.m. to 9 p.m.), which features performances, art activities and more. The programs are free with regular museum admission. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday. Admission $10 adults; $8 seniors, active military personnel, university students with ID; $6 children 7-17 years old; children 6 and younger free.
Old U.S. Mint
400 Esplanade Ave., (504) 568-6993; www.crt.state.la.us/museum/properties/usmint
This building began producing coins in 1838 and continued (with some lapses) until 1909. It now houses the Louisiana State Museum's New Orleans Jazz Club Collections, the Louisiana Historical Center and a performing arts center. Check the website for events such as music and yoga classes, frequent music offerings and the free Satchmo Summer Fest. Open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Closed holidays. Admission $6 adults; $5 seniors, students and active military personnel; children 12 and younger free.
The Presbytere, Louisiana State Museum
Jackson Square, 751 Chartres St., (504) 568-6968; www.crt.state.la.us/museum/properties/presbytere
All ages Mardi Gras is always exciting for children, and the permanent exhibit Mardi Gras: It's Carnival Time in Louisiana provides eye candy and fun, tracing New Orleans' parades and Carnival balls from their beginnings to today. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Closed holidays. Admission is $6 adults; $5 seniors, students and active military personnel; free for children 12 and younger. Admission includes other exhibits in the museum.
726 St. Peter St., (504) 522-2841; www.preservationhall.com
All ages Policies barring drinking and smoking make this legendary traditional jazz club kid-friendly and gives youngsters a rare chance to hear jazz being performed as it was in its early decades. The intimate nature of the club gives the audience a close-up of performing jazz musicians. Open 8 p.m. daily (shows start at 8:15 p.m.). Admission $15.
Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden
1 Colin Diboll Circle, City Park; www.noma.org
Stroll through a 5-acre garden with walking paths, pedestrian bridges and reflecting pools. Help your child find the 60 sculptures by European, American, Israeli and Japanese artists that are on display throughout the garden. A free audio tour is available. Open 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. daily and 10 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. Friday. Free admission.
Amusements/ Rides/ Games
Carousel Gardens Amusement Park
City Park, 1 Palm Drive, (504) 483-9383
Home to one of only 100 wooden carousels remaining in the U.S., the amusement park is open seasonally, starting with weekends in March. It has rides, a 40-foot slide, a Ferris wheel, Tilt-A-Whirl and kiddie rides. Minimum height for rides is 3 feet. The park just added a third miniature train — the Black and Gold — to take passengers on a 2-mile ride through City Park. Open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. From May 28-Aug. 11, hours are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission $3, children under 3 feet free; ride tickets are $3 each or $17 per person for unlimited rides. Check website for dates and times.
11075 Nicolle Blvd., Avondale, (504) 302-4875; www.nolamotor.com
Minors must be accompanied by an adult
This large complex for riding go-carts, motorcycles and race cars has miles of tracks in a variety of configurations, a 7-acre paddock, state-of-the-art safety features, dining facilities and vehicle rentals. Open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Call for costs and track availability.
1001 Filmore Ave., (504) 483-9398; www.equestfarm.com
Ages 4 and older
The equestrian center at City Park offers riding lessons, camps and field trips and hosts birthday parties. Show riders train at Equest, which also boards privately owned horses. Group rides are available by appointment. Hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Contact the stables for prices.