Big Easy Family Adventures

New Orleans

New Orleans has long been known as a playground for adults, from the bars on Bourbon Street to the voodoo tours that light up the night. But families looking for a fun vacation in the Crescent City will discover quite a bit that’s perfect for any age and taste.

One of the best ways to get a feel for this historic city is through a French Quatour Kids walking tour. Designed with small folks in mind, these walks, which cater to kids ages four to 18, wind through the city’s streets in small groups, your guide offering rich details about New Orleans Music, bizarre but true facts about Louisiana’s bayous, and other subjects. There’s even a twilight tour that offers just enough spookiness to be intriguing, but not enough to cause scares. Tours run 90 minutes and are offered nearly every day.

Older children will love the National World War II Museum. With its movies, permanent and rotating exhibits, it’s easy to spend a whole day at this massive complex. There’s a terrific interactive component to the museum, allowing guests to select a service man or woman to “follow” on their tour of duty as you go through the exhibits. Stops along the way tap into these true stories, and you’ll find out what happened to whoever you pick at the end of the exhibits. The Road to Berlin and The Road to Tokyo spaces are richly detailed and have a host of great artifacts. The museum has a cafe, and there’s an option to purchase tickets to a USO-style show.

Hugging the Mississippi River is the Audubon Aquarium and Audubon Insectarium, which offers multiple exhibits that showcase sea life and things that fly and crawl, along with spotlights on Louisiana’s particular ecosystems. The two experiences are in the same complex, making it easy to explore both. Kids can check out bees and butterflies, create their own bug and much more. In the aquarium, there’s a Mayan Reef exhibit, an opportunity touch stingrays and check out sharks, among other activities.

No stop to New Orleans is complete without beignets, the puffy, powdered fried dough that is synonymous with the city. Over in the French Quarter, grab them at Cafe du Monde, an iconic spot that’s open 24/7. You can also grab them at Cafe Beignet on Royal Street and The Vintage on Magazine. Muriel’s restaurant, in Jackson Square, is the kind of spot kids and adults will love. There’s a special children’s menu, with pasta, chicken and shrimp choices, and a free scoop of ice cream for those who clean their plates.

There’s no shortage of hotels in the Crescent City, and families are sure to find something at every budget. From high rises like the Sheraton New Orleans on Canal Street and the Hyatt Regency New Orleans on Loyola Street to historic choices like the Hotel Monteleone and Bienville House, your Big Easy home base puts you in the heart of the action.

It’s no secret that grownups will find lots of love in New Orleans, and for a nearby citybreak, it’s hard to beat when it comes to finding family-friendly activities.

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