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Jackson Square in New Orleans features a large white church in the background, with gardens in front of a busy street. Cars and horse-drawn carriages are in the street and street performers entertain tourists. Shutterstock

The 31 best things to do in New Orleans with kids

A family’s guide to the Big Easy

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Although tourists might think of New Orleans as a booze-soaked adult playground, locals know there’s so much more to the Crescent City. And people who had the privilege of growing up in New Orleans realize there’s no place more magical to spend the most magical time of one’s life. From Mr. Bingle to Storyland, from coffee milk to Carnival costuming, childhood traditions in New Orleans are as unique as the city itself.

Outdoorsy types will appreciate the city’s many parks and nature-focused destinations; families can kayak in the bayou or explore a larger-than-life storybook playground. And just because you're with kiddos doesn't mean you have to miss out on local culture. We've identified the best cemetery tours, jazz venues, and even bookstores for the under-18 crowd.

Behold, the 31 best places in New Orleans for families and kids.

Traveling to other cities with your kiddos? Don’t miss Curbed’s maps of the best family activities in Washington, D.C., Boston, Detroit, Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, New Orleans, Austin, and New York City.

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1. New Orleans Historic Train Garden

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5 Victory Ave
New Orleans, LA 70119
(504) 483-9386
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Tucked away in a verdant corner of City Park’s Botanical Garden, the New Orleans Historic Train Garden features replicas of streetcars and trains that wind around 1,300 feet of track. It’s an informative look at New Orleans’ history—all in miniature!

While the Train Garden is open during Botanical Garden hours, the trains only operate on Saturdays and Sundays. The Train Garden is also available for birthday parties.

2. Historic Carousel in City Park

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7 Victory Ave
New Orleans, LA 70124

Set under a collection of gorgeous, massive live oaks, City Park’s amusement park has 15 rides, including a gorgeous, hand-carved historic carousel that will impress even the most jaded adult.

3. Storyland in City Park

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7 Victory Ave
New Orleans, LA 70124

Filled with 25 larger-than-life sculptures modeled after storybook characters, this unique playground boasts a dragon slide, Captain Hook's pirate ship, and the whale from Pinocchio.

4. New Orleans Museum of Art

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1 Collins C. Diboll Circle
New Orleans, LA 70124

With works by Picasso, Renoir, Matisse, Monet, and Georgia O'Keeffe, NOMA is an oasis of fine art that can be appreciated by both parents and children alike. Kids will love story time, child-focused art workshops, and art classes.

Children are seated at a table doing arts and crafts. Courtesy of NOMA

5. Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden

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1 Collins Diboll Cir
New Orleans, LA 70124
(504) 658-4100
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Just outside NOMA’s front door, find the recently expanded Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, a collection of sculptures set among City Park’s oaks and lagoons. The three-acre expansion includes 27 outdoor artworks. Admission to the sculpture garden is always free.

A large round circle-shaped sculpture through which a grassy vista and modern building is visible. Photo by R. Alokhin.

6. Big Easy Bayou Kayak Tour

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3494 Esplanade Ave
New Orleans, LA 70119
(985) 778-5034
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Older kids will love paddling from neighborhood to neighborhood and learning about the history of Bayou St. John during a two-hour tour perfect for first-time kayakers. You might even see a bit of wildlife!

A body of water with several people in kayaks. Courtesy of Kayak-Iti-Yat

7. Backstreet Cultural Museum

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1116 Henriette Delille St
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 657-6700
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Get an up-close look at colorful second-line outfits, Baby Dolls costumes and Mardi Gras Indian suits in the heart of Treme at Sylvester Francis’ living tribute to African-American parading culture.

Photo by Barry Solow/Creative Commons

8. Drag Queen Story Hour

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913 Alvar St
New Orleans, LA 70117
(504) 596-2667
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New Orleans drag performers lead a monthly reading at the 9th Ward library, where kids and parents get an animated afternoon reading on the third Saturday of every month from some of the city’s celebrated drag stars. Storytime starts at 1 p.m.

9. The Music Box Village

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4557 N Rampart St
New Orleans, LA 70117

This assembly of small, shack-like houses is part art installation, part musical instrument, and part playground. Each offers interactive fun for kids and adults of all ages, and the rustic, forest-like art garden doubles as a music venue and event space. Open hours for hands-on play are 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

A small house at the Music Box Village in New Orleans. Photo by Josh Brasted courtesy New Orleans Airlift

10. Louis Armstrong Park

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701 N Rampart St
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 658-3200
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This 32-acre park located in the Treme neighborhood is a good option for kids to explore near the French Quarter. You'll find picturesque green space, a sculpture garden, and paths aplenty.

11. St. Louis Cemetery No. 1

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501 Basin St
New Orleans, LA 70112
(504) 525-3377
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The St. Louis Cemetery was founded in 1789 and is the oldest burial ground of New Orleans’ most illustrious residents. There, you’ll find the gravesite of Voodoo queen Marie Laveau, as well as actor Nicolas Cage’s future tomb.

Book with Save Our Cemeteries to have an up close and personal look at an array of wall vaults and tombs just steps from the French Quarter—and don’t forget the sunscreen.

12. Crescent Park

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1008 N Peters St
New Orleans, LA 70116

This 1.4-mile, 20-acre urban park on the riverfront offers landscaped gardens, a dog park, walking paths, public restrooms, swings, and panoramic downtown views.

Don't miss the David Adjaye-designed Piety Street Bridge, a pedestrian walkway that rises above active railroad tracks to connect the river with the Bywater community.

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13. French Quarter Kids

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French Quarter
New Orleans, LA
(504) 975-5355
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Families with kids ages 4 to 18 can take an interactive tour of the neighborhood with French Quarter Kids and learn about ghosts, music, and local history.

Children play with toy swords on a street. There is a sign on a building in the background that reads: French Quarter Kids Tours. Courtesy of French Quarter Kids

14. Preservation Hall

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726 Saint Peter St
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 522-2841
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If you're looking for a kid-friendly jazz venue in New Orleans, this is it. The all-ages music landmark offers sets of jazz nightly—fyi, there's no food and beverage service—with some shows starting as early as 6 p.m.

Pro tip: Queue early and grab one of the benches; seating is first-come, first-served.

15. Faulkner House Books

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624 Pirates Aly
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 524-2940
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Tucked off an alley behind Jackson Square in the French Quarter, this adorable bookstore sells new and used books and has a small but well-stocked children's section.

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16. Jackson Square

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745 Decatur St.
New Orleans, LA 70116

Located in the heart of the French Quarter, Jackson Square is surrounded by gorgeous historic buildings, like the St. Louis Cathedral and Pontalba apartments. Kids love the spot for its street performers, people-watching, and delicious beignets at nearby Cafe du Monde.

17. Mardi Gras Museum of Costumes and Culture

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1010 Conti St
New Orleans, LA 70112
(504) 218-4872
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Installations throughout Carl Mack’s Carnival museum in the French Quarter highlight different parts of parade culture, from costume displays of past krewe royalty to Cajun Mardi Gras and walking groups and social aid and pleasure clubs. Play dress up in a rotating costume closet full of Carnival must-haves and fun finds. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

18. Steamboat Natchez

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400 Toulouse Street Wharf
New Orleans, LA 70130
(800) 233-2628
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This two-hour cruise along the Mississippi River uses a real steam-powered sternwheeler and provides great views of the city. Teachers can organize field trips geared toward younger and older students using the company’s resources, which include worksheets on topics ranging from the structure of a riverboat to local history.

19. The Canal Street Ferry

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101 Morgan St
New Orleans, LA 70114

Twice an hour, this ferry takes a 10-minute trip across the Mississippi River from the Central Business District to Algiers Point, and the $2 ride offers great views of the New Orleans skyline.

20. Confetti Park

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445 Pelican
New Orleans, LA

If you need to take a break in between exploring some of the historic architecture in Algiers Point, this unique community-centered playground is perfect for kids between two to five years old.

21. Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium

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423 Canal St
New Orleans, LA 70130

This 23,000-square-foot museum is the largest insectarium in the United States. Don't miss the butterfly garden, where a colorful butterfly might land on your child's shoulder.

22. Audubon Aquarium of the Americas

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1 Canal St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 581-4629
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With four major sea life habitats to explore—the Amazon, the Mississippi River, the Gulf Coast, and the Caribbean—this aquarium offers hands-on aquatic fun for kids of all ages.

Check out the penguins, Parakeet Bay, and the popular 2,600-gallon touch pool where kids can touch cownose rays.

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23. Louisiana Children's Museum

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420 Julia St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 523-1357
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The museum moved from its longtime Julia Street home into a new $47.5 million campus in City Park, featuring five interactive exhibits exploring the state’s natural environment, music, and culture. The new campus includes old favorites like the bubble wands and grocery store as well as new additions like a classroom floating above a lagoon and a fog sculpture by Fujiko Nakaya.

Aerial view of the new Louisiana Children’s Museum and surrounding lagoons Photo by Webb Bland via Mithun

24. National World War II Museum

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945 Magazine St
New Orleans, LA 70130

Older kids and adults will find this exemplary museum worth exploring. Exhibits examine America's contribution to the Allied victory in World War II, with a multi-sensory cinematic feature produced and narrated by Tom Hanks playing at the 4D Solomon Victory Theater.

25. Ogden Museum of Southern Art

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925 Camp St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 539-9608
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Located in the Warehouse Art District, the Ogden Museum showcases the art, history, and culture of the American South and has a few art projects and resources designed specifically for families. It also hosts a series of artsy summer camps for kids of all ages.

Children are standing near a table doing arts and crafts. Photo by Skip Bolen/Getty Images

26. St Charles Avenue streetcar

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1429 Saint Charles Ave
New Orleans, LA 70130

As the oldest continually operating street car in the United States, the New Orleans streetcar has been transporting locales—and thrilling children—since 1835. Head to the St. Charles line for views of the Garden District and New Orleans' many picturesque universities.

27. Ashé Cultural Arts Center

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1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd
New Orleans, LA 70113
(504) 569-9070
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The 6,600-square-foot arts facility hosts theater and dance performances, drumming and dance classes, storytelling, music and other events highlighting the city’s African-American performing arts community. It’s also home to New Orleans Youth Open Mic performances and an art gallery.

28. Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras World

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1380 Port of New Orleans Pl
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 362-8211
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Kids love the tour of this massive warehouse where they'll get a behind-the-scenes look at the artisans, LED-lit floats, and parade paraphernalia of Mardi Gras. Pro tip: Don't miss the dress up costume trunks.

29. Prytania Theatre

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5339 Prytania St
New Orleans, LA 70115
(504) 891-2787
Visit Website

At more than 100 years old, the single-screen theater in Uptown is a step back in time, with red velvet ropes, balcony seating and family-friendly screenings of hand-picked classic films.

A brick movie theater with colored string lights across its entrance is photographed at night.
The Prytania Theater
Photo by Josh Brasted/Getty Images

30. Audubon Zoo

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6500 Magazine St
New Orleans, LA 70118
(504) 861-2537
Visit Website

Consistently ranked as one of the top zoos in the country, the Audubon Zoo boasts more than 1,300 creatures ranging from rare white alligators to a komodo dragon. Older kids shouldn't miss the Safari Simulator ride, while the younger ones will love checking out the scenery on board the zoo's Swamp train.

During the warm summer months, check out Cool Zoo, a splash park with an alligator water slide, water spouts, and a lazy river. The splash park requires an additional ticket with your zoo admission.

A water fountain with several large sculptures of elephants.

31. Barataria Preserve Visitor Center

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6588 Barataria Blvd
Marrero, LA 70072
(504) 589-3882
Visit Website

This swampy nature preserve is only a half-hour drive from downtown New Orleans, but its cypress trees, turtles, wildflowers, alligators, and 200-plus species of birds make it feel light years away. Explore the boardwalks on your own, or have kids earn a badge with the park’s Junior Ranger program.

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1. New Orleans Historic Train Garden

5 Victory Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119

Tucked away in a verdant corner of City Park’s Botanical Garden, the New Orleans Historic Train Garden features replicas of streetcars and trains that wind around 1,300 feet of track. It’s an informative look at New Orleans’ history—all in miniature!

While the Train Garden is open during Botanical Garden hours, the trains only operate on Saturdays and Sundays. The Train Garden is also available for birthday parties.

5 Victory Ave
New Orleans, LA 70119

2. Historic Carousel in City Park

7 Victory Ave, New Orleans, LA 70124

Set under a collection of gorgeous, massive live oaks, City Park’s amusement park has 15 rides, including a gorgeous, hand-carved historic carousel that will impress even the most jaded adult.

7 Victory Ave
New Orleans, LA 70124

3. Storyland in City Park

7 Victory Ave, New Orleans, LA 70124

Filled with 25 larger-than-life sculptures modeled after storybook characters, this unique playground boasts a dragon slide, Captain Hook's pirate ship, and the whale from Pinocchio.

7 Victory Ave
New Orleans, LA 70124

4. New Orleans Museum of Art

1 Collins C. Diboll Circle, New Orleans, LA 70124
Children are seated at a table doing arts and crafts. Courtesy of NOMA

With works by Picasso, Renoir, Matisse, Monet, and Georgia O'Keeffe, NOMA is an oasis of fine art that can be appreciated by both parents and children alike. Kids will love story time, child-focused art workshops, and art classes.

1 Collins C. Diboll Circle
New Orleans, LA 70124

5. Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden

1 Collins Diboll Cir, New Orleans, LA 70124
A large round circle-shaped sculpture through which a grassy vista and modern building is visible. Photo by R. Alokhin.

Just outside NOMA’s front door, find the recently expanded Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, a collection of sculptures set among City Park’s oaks and lagoons. The three-acre expansion includes 27 outdoor artworks. Admission to the sculpture garden is always free.

1 Collins Diboll Cir
New Orleans, LA 70124

6. Big Easy Bayou Kayak Tour

3494 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119
A body of water with several people in kayaks. Courtesy of Kayak-Iti-Yat

Older kids will love paddling from neighborhood to neighborhood and learning about the history of Bayou St. John during a two-hour tour perfect for first-time kayakers. You might even see a bit of wildlife!

3494 Esplanade Ave
New Orleans, LA 70119

7. Backstreet Cultural Museum

1116 Henriette Delille St, New Orleans, LA 70116
Photo by Barry Solow/Creative Commons

Get an up-close look at colorful second-line outfits, Baby Dolls costumes and Mardi Gras Indian suits in the heart of Treme at Sylvester Francis’ living tribute to African-American parading culture.

1116 Henriette Delille St
New Orleans, LA 70116

8. Drag Queen Story Hour

913 Alvar St, New Orleans, LA 70117

New Orleans drag performers lead a monthly reading at the 9th Ward library, where kids and parents get an animated afternoon reading on the third Saturday of every month from some of the city’s celebrated drag stars. Storytime starts at 1 p.m.

913 Alvar St
New Orleans, LA 70117

9. The Music Box Village

4557 N Rampart St, New Orleans, LA 70117
A small house at the Music Box Village in New Orleans. Photo by Josh Brasted courtesy New Orleans Airlift

This assembly of small, shack-like houses is part art installation, part musical instrument, and part playground. Each offers interactive fun for kids and adults of all ages, and the rustic, forest-like art garden doubles as a music venue and event space. Open hours for hands-on play are 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

4557 N Rampart St
New Orleans, LA 70117

10. Louis Armstrong Park

701 N Rampart St, New Orleans, LA 70116

This 32-acre park located in the Treme neighborhood is a good option for kids to explore near the French Quarter. You'll find picturesque green space, a sculpture garden, and paths aplenty.

701 N Rampart St
New Orleans, LA 70116

11. St. Louis Cemetery No. 1

501 Basin St, New Orleans, LA 70112

The St. Louis Cemetery was founded in 1789 and is the oldest burial ground of New Orleans’ most illustrious residents. There, you’ll find the gravesite of Voodoo queen Marie Laveau, as well as actor Nicolas Cage’s future tomb.

Book with Save Our Cemeteries to have an up close and personal look at an array of wall vaults and tombs just steps from the French Quarter—and don’t forget the sunscreen.

501 Basin St
New Orleans, LA 70112

12. Crescent Park

1008 N Peters St, New Orleans, LA 70116

This 1.4-mile, 20-acre urban park on the riverfront offers landscaped gardens, a dog park, walking paths, public restrooms, swings, and panoramic downtown views.

Don't miss the David Adjaye-designed Piety Street Bridge, a pedestrian walkway that rises above active railroad tracks to connect the river with the Bywater community.

1008 N Peters St
New Orleans, LA 70116

13. French Quarter Kids

French Quarter, New Orleans, LA
Children play with toy swords on a street. There is a sign on a building in the background that reads: French Quarter Kids Tours. Courtesy of French Quarter Kids

Families with kids ages 4 to 18 can take an interactive tour of the neighborhood with French Quarter Kids and learn about ghosts, music, and local history.

French Quarter
New Orleans, LA

14. Preservation Hall

726 Saint Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116

If you're looking for a kid-friendly jazz venue in New Orleans, this is it. The all-ages music landmark offers sets of jazz nightly—fyi, there's no food and beverage service—with some shows starting as early as 6 p.m.

Pro tip: Queue early and grab one of the benches; seating is first-come, first-served.

726 Saint Peter St
New Orleans, LA 70116

15. Faulkner House Books

624 Pirates Aly, New Orleans, LA 70116

Tucked off an alley behind Jackson Square in the French Quarter, this adorable bookstore sells new and used books and has a small but well-stocked children's section.

624 Pirates Aly
New Orleans, LA 70116

16. Jackson Square

745 Decatur St., New Orleans, LA 70116

Located in the heart of the French Quarter, Jackson Square is surrounded by gorgeous historic buildings, like the St. Louis Cathedral and Pontalba apartments. Kids love the spot for its street performers, people-watching, and delicious beignets at nearby Cafe du Monde.

745 Decatur St.
New Orleans, LA 70116

17. Mardi Gras Museum of Costumes and Culture

1010 Conti St, New Orleans, LA 70112

Installations throughout Carl Mack’s Carnival museum in the French Quarter highlight different parts of parade culture, from costume displays of past krewe royalty to Cajun Mardi Gras and walking groups and social aid and pleasure clubs. Play dress up in a rotating costume closet full of Carnival must-haves and fun finds. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

1010 Conti St
New Orleans, LA 70112

18. Steamboat Natchez

400 Toulouse Street Wharf, New Orleans, LA 70130

This two-hour cruise along the Mississippi River uses a real steam-powered sternwheeler and provides great views of the city. Teachers can organize field trips geared toward younger and older students using the company’s resources, which include worksheets on topics ranging from the structure of a riverboat to local history.

400 Toulouse Street Wharf
New Orleans, LA 70130

19. The Canal Street Ferry

101 Morgan St, New Orleans, LA 70114

Twice an hour, this ferry takes a 10-minute trip across the Mississippi River from the Central Business District to Algiers Point, and the $2 ride offers great views of the New Orleans skyline.

101 Morgan St
New Orleans, LA 70114

20. Confetti Park

445 Pelican, New Orleans, LA

If you need to take a break in between exploring some of the historic architecture in Algiers Point, this unique community-centered playground is perfect for kids between two to five years old.

445 Pelican
New Orleans, LA

21. Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium

423 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70130

This 23,000-square-foot museum is the largest insectarium in the United States. Don't miss the butterfly garden, where a colorful butterfly might land on your child's shoulder.

423 Canal St
New Orleans, LA 70130

22. Audubon Aquarium of the Americas

1 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70130

With four major sea life habitats to explore—the Amazon, the Mississippi River, the Gulf Coast, and the Caribbean—this aquarium offers hands-on aquatic fun for kids of all ages.

Check out the penguins, Parakeet Bay, and the popular 2,600-gallon touch pool where kids can touch cownose rays.

1 Canal St
New Orleans, LA 70130

23. Louisiana Children's Museum

420 Julia St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Aerial view of the new Louisiana Children’s Museum and surrounding lagoons Photo by Webb Bland via Mithun

The museum moved from its longtime Julia Street home into a new $47.5 million campus in City Park, featuring five interactive exhibits exploring the state’s natural environment, music, and culture. The new campus includes old favorites like the bubble wands and grocery store as well as new additions like a classroom floating above a lagoon and a fog sculpture by Fujiko Nakaya.

420 Julia St
New Orleans, LA 70130

24. National World War II Museum

945 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Older kids and adults will find this exemplary museum worth exploring. Exhibits examine America's contribution to the Allied victory in World War II, with a multi-sensory cinematic feature produced and narrated by Tom Hanks playing at the 4D Solomon Victory Theater.

945 Magazine St
New Orleans, LA 70130

25. Ogden Museum of Southern Art

925 Camp St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Children are standing near a table doing arts and crafts. Photo by Skip Bolen/Getty Images

Located in the Warehouse Art District, the Ogden Museum showcases the art, history, and culture of the American South and has a few art projects and resources designed specifically for families. It also hosts a series of artsy summer camps for kids of all ages.

925 Camp St
New Orleans, LA 70130

26. St Charles Avenue streetcar

1429 Saint Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130

As the oldest continually operating street car in the United States, the New Orleans streetcar has been transporting locales—and thrilling children—since 1835. Head to the St. Charles line for views of the Garden District and New Orleans' many picturesque universities.

1429 Saint Charles Ave
New Orleans, LA 70130

27. Ashé Cultural Arts Center

1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70113

The 6,600-square-foot arts facility hosts theater and dance performances, drumming and dance classes, storytelling, music and other events highlighting the city’s African-American performing arts community. It’s also home to New Orleans Youth Open Mic performances and an art gallery.

1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd
New Orleans, LA 70113

28. Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras World

1380 Port of New Orleans Pl, New Orleans, LA 70130

Kids love the tour of this massive warehouse where they'll get a behind-the-scenes look at the artisans, LED-lit floats, and parade paraphernalia of Mardi Gras. Pro tip: Don't miss the dress up costume trunks.

1380 Port of New Orleans Pl
New Orleans, LA 70130

29. Prytania Theatre

5339 Prytania St, New Orleans, LA 70115
A brick movie theater with colored string lights across its entrance is photographed at night.
The Prytania Theater
Photo by Josh Brasted/Getty Images

At more than 100 years old, the single-screen theater in Uptown is a step back in time, with red velvet ropes, balcony seating and family-friendly screenings of hand-picked classic films.

5339 Prytania St
New Orleans, LA 70115

30. Audubon Zoo

6500 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70118
A water fountain with several large sculptures of elephants.

Consistently ranked as one of the top zoos in the country, the Audubon Zoo boasts more than 1,300 creatures ranging from rare white alligators to a komodo dragon. Older kids shouldn't miss the Safari Simulator ride, while the younger ones will love checking out the scenery on board the zoo's Swamp train.

During the warm summer months, check out Cool Zoo, a splash park with an alligator water slide, water spouts, and a lazy river. The splash park requires an additional ticket with your zoo admission.

6500 Magazine St
New Orleans, LA 70118

31. Barataria Preserve Visitor Center

6588 Barataria Blvd, Marrero, LA 70072

This swampy nature preserve is only a half-hour drive from downtown New Orleans, but its cypress trees, turtles, wildflowers, alligators, and 200-plus species of birds make it feel light years away. Explore the boardwalks on your own, or have kids earn a badge with the park’s Junior Ranger program.

6588 Barataria Blvd
Marrero, LA 70072