Get an early start to your day and head to Camellia Grill. The infamous New Orleans diner, beloved by locals and tourists alike, has replicated all of the greatness of the original Uptown location in a second location down in the Quarter. Be sure to try out the extra crispy waffles, or one of their deliciously overstuffed omelets, washed down with a chocolate freeze (Hey – it's vacation!). From there, you'll hop on the St. Charles Streetcar for a ride along the historic St. Charles Ave. Enjoy the breeze as you glide under the canopy of oak trees.
The Audubon Zoo is a world of its own - see exotic animals, reptiles, elephants and more. Walk through The Louisiana Swamp exhibit which is a re-creation of a 1930s swamp settlement equipped with a trapper's cottage, Spanish moss, white alligators and cypress knees. Also, be sure to check out Monkey Hill, one of the tallest points in New Orleans. Monkey around on the tree house and rope-bridge or sit, or in the warmer months, pack a swim suit, and pop by the Cool Zoo – a wet and wild splash park. Make sure to pay a visit to the Roman Candy Man, located near the Primate Exhibit, to grab a stick or two of his famous, hand-made taffy to snack on.
Its easy to spend hours in the zoo, so by the time you see it all, the kids might be getting restless for some lunch, especially if you didn't stop for a snack in the zoo. When you walk out the main entrance of the zoo, you will be on Magazine St. Straight ahead of you is Audubon Park, which is popular among locals and tourists, alike. You'll understand once you take a stroll under the canopies of oak trees. Stop in to the Audubon Clubhouse, where you can enjoy a leisurely (and delicious) lunch while gazing out at the beautiful oak trees that surround the Audubon Park golf course. Follow lunch with a leisurely stroll through the park back to St. Charles Avenue.
Feel like staying Uptown for dinner? Hop off the streetcar at Washington Avenue, and walk over to Magazine St. Stop by Pippen Lane to peruse high-end children's apparel and toys, or grab up some of the funky New Orleans-style t-shirts made specifically for little ones at Storyville Kids or Fleurty Girl. Once you've worked up a sufficient appetite, check out the home-style New Orleans cooking at family-friendly Joey K's. But be sure to save some room for dessert, as you'll definitely want to swing by Sucre, the whimsically fanciful sweet shop located a few doors down from dinner.
If your crew would rather catch dinner downtown, instead of getting off the streetcar at Washington Avenue, continue riding all the way back down to Canal Street, and head down to Decatur Street to the Crescent City Brewhouse, which serves up local brews (for mom and dad) as well as a full children's menu for the kids.
Still got a little energy left? Check out some of the fun and informative night tours offered around the Quarter. Young swashbucklers (and mini-history buffs) will enjoy Gray Line's Pirates to Patriots tour, which delves into the rich history of pirates in New Orleans, including the integral role they played in the Battle of New Orleans.
There are also a variety of tour companies that offer Haunted History tours. And although the subject matter is on the spookier side, ghost tours are as educational as they are entertaining, and make for a perfect end to a family-friendly evening.
|World War II Museum|
|The American Sector|
|Louisiana Children's Museum|
|Mardi Gras World|
Before you get going on your day, grab some breakfast at Mother'sor Ruby Slipper Café. Once you've fueled up for the day, head up to the National World War II Museum. The museum is a must-see for history buffs of all ages, and provides visitors with powerful images and extraordinary artifacts which bring to life the American Spirit, the courage, teamwork and sacrifice of the young men and women who won the war and changed the world. From the 1930s prelude to war, to the Normandy Invasion and the battles of the Pacific Islands, visitors trace America's role in the war and on the Home Front.
The soaring Louisiana Memorial Pavilion houses the museum's reproduction of the LCVP (Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel) or Higgins boat that carried thousands of Allied soldiers to the beaches of Normandy during the D-Day invasion of June 6, 1944; Other macro-artifacts featured in the rotating exhibits in the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion include a Sherman tank, numerous jeeps, a halftrack, and a WC-54 ambulance. The aircraft collection in the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion includes a C-47, an SBD Dauntless, a Spitfire, and a Bf109.
Be sure to also stop by the Solomon Victory Theater for a showing of "Beyond All Boundaries," where visitors are literally transported to the front lines of battle through an incredible multi-sensory 4-D experience. The film, which is narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks and recommended for children over the age of 10, incorporates vintage B&W film footage with the latest modern cinematographic technology. It tells the tale of the Greatest Generation's journey from Pearl Harbor into the fire of epic battles to America's final victory in the "War That Changed the World" in the words of the veterans themselves. The exclusive production also features the voices of some of Hollywood's top stars.
When it comes time for a lunch break, swing by American Sector for an updated take on some of the most delicious staples of American cuisine. Another great lunch option on-site is the Soda Shop, which offers a tantalizing selection of sandwiches, not to mention a variety of sweet treats. Both restaurants are run by award-winning Chef John Besh, so the menu is as much foodie-friendly as it is family-friendly.
If your travel companions are too young for the World War II Museum (or if you're simply looking for another family-friendly museum close by), be sure to check out the Louisiana Children's Museum. The LCM features more than 30,000 square feet of hands-on, interactive exhibits that invite and engage children and families as they explore art, music, science, math, and health, and role-playing environments. Even parents will find their inner child again in this magnificent museum filled with imagination and wonder. Your kids will get to play and explore in the numerous exhibits. Kids can go shopping in the miniature grocery store to buy all the groceries they want or they can even be the cashier. At the WWL-TV Kidwatch let your kids creativity run wild as they role play. Watch them deliver the news as a meteorologist, news anchor, director or reporter. Kids can even learn the anatomy of an eye by stepping into giant eyeballs while learning about its function, impairments and visions.
Finish off your day of museum-hoppinh at Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras World, where you and your family will be able to experience the very place where the magic of Mardi Gras is created. Mardi Gras World is the largest float designing and building facility in the world. Here more than 80 percent of the floats that journey down New Orleans' streets during the Carnival season are designed and built. Begun in 1947 by float designer and builder Blaine Kern, Mardi Gras World provides visitors with the opportunity to don authentic Mardi Gras costumes and tour enormous warehouses filled with floats. During the tour, visitors learn about the many traditions surrounding Mardi Gras parades, balls and music, as well as the intricacies of float designing and building. And for a taste of Mardi Gras, king cake and piping hot New Orleans coffee are served.
Once you get back to the French Quarter, kill some time before dinner and take the kids to pick up a few souvenirs to remember their trip by. Make your way over to the corner of Toulouse and Royal St. to browse the New Orleans To Go store, which has great souvenirs for kids. Check out their t-shirts, Mardi Gras beads and masks, stuffed animals and more. You can also spend some time in the Riverwalk where there are tons of shops. If you have a sweet tooth, there is a fudge factory store inside.
When dinnertime rolls around, you'll no doubt want something casual and easy to finish off such an action-packed trip. If you crew is in the mood for Italian, grab a table at Mona Lisa, which features an impressive array of pizza and heaping pasta dishes. Or if you want one more meal of traditional Creole and Cajun fare, duck into Pierre Maspero's for a plate of red beans and rice, jambalaya, or a cup of gumbo.
As you can see, there is plenty to see and do with your family inside the city limits of New Orleans. But if you're ready for some more adventure outside of the metro area, then why not take a walk on the wild side with a Swamp Tour. Most companies pick you up at the hotel so you don't have to worry about getting lost on your way to the swamps. Travel Louisiana swamps by airboat or a pontoon style boat. Encounter another world filled with wildlife, moss, cypress trees and of course the alligators! Some tours offer customers a combination package that includes a swamp and plantation tour.
The South is often known for their magnificent and beautiful Plantation homes. Take a tour of these historic homes and learn about what the South was like in the old days. Step back in time to see how people used to live, what they would do, and how they became the owners of these plantation homes. Experience Southern Comfort at one of these popular plantations: Oak Alley, Houma House and San Francisco. For more information on what tours are recommended, please ask the concierge of your hotel.
Most of your day will be dedicated to seeing the swamp and plantation tours. After all that is said and done, why not take the streetcar or a cab to City Park. This park is the city's largest and has the biggest collection of mature live oaks in the world! You can take a boat ride, have a picnic, wander through the Botanical Gardens, or visit the New Orleans Museum of Art. City Park not only features gondola rides and paddleboats, but also allows kids to step into fairytales at Storyland, or ride the rides at Carousel Gardens Amusement Park.
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