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New Orleans – Things to do as a Family By Elaine Calloway

While New Orleans is often labeled a party city, she also has activities for the family. If you’re planning to travel to New Orleans with the little ones, there are many things to see and do.

Some of my favorites include:

1. The Audubon Zoo. Located in historic Uptown, Audubon Zoo showcases animalsin outdoor environments that let the little ones see the animals and get some exercise walking the grounds. There are often kid-themed events on weekends, and you can spend as much time seeing the many categories of animals as you like. Website:
2. The Aquarium of the Americas. Located near the Mississippi Riverfront adjacent to the French Quarter, this is an ideal activity for anyone staying right in the Quarter. Large tanks of aquatic life make this spot a must-see for kids and adults alike. Website:

3. A paddle-wheel cruise along the Mississippi River. Tickets and boarding are right near Jackson Square in the Quarter. Our family did a daytime cruise that lasted twohours, but there are night dinner cruises as well. Plenty of food and drink are on the boat, photo opportunities abound, and the captain even let my young stepson at the time look at the engine room. The Mississippi River is the heartbeat of New Orleans, and this is a great way to enjoy the water and see the riverfront. Website:
4. City Park. Located in Mid-City, one of my favorite areas, the park hostskid-friendly activities all the time. There are train rides, many playgrounds, and abundant space to run and play under the live oaks. For those parents needing a pick-me-up while keeping the young ones busy, head to the front area of the park and enjoy a cup at Morning Call coffeehouse. Parents can drink coffee while watching the kids play on the adjacent playground.

Elaine Calloway grew up in New Orleans and can still do a decent  Cajun accent on request. She writes paranormal romance and fantasy,  setting these stories in iconic cities such as New Orleans. Book One of  her Elemental Series will be out on 2/1/2013. Visit her website,, for more information.


Mary Preston - January 18, 2013 - 3:34 am

A paddle-wheel cruise along the Mississippi River would be a must for me. I have this image from books I have read.

Marilyn Baron - January 18, 2013 - 6:09 am

Very interesting post. I never associated these activities with New Orleans. Thanks for pointing them out. Good luck with the new book.

Debbie Kaufman - January 18, 2013 - 8:38 am

Hey Elaine,
I love seeing the family things you can do in New Orleans. The reputation outside of town leaves people like me thinking party city, but of course that can’t be completely true. After all, people with families live there. Thanks for busting my preconception out of the water :) Now if I take the gbabies to the gulf, I’ll know we can all enjoy New Orleans as a side trip :)

[…] course! New Orleans never disappoints. Read my guest blog here for suggestions on family […]

Elaine Calloway - January 18, 2013 - 9:30 am

Hi Mary,

Thanks for commenting today. Yes, the riverboat cruise was fabulous. You can get a great view of the docks, the skyline, the bridges, etc. My stepson was 10 or 11 when we went down there, and I think that was his favorite activity (especially since he could take a peek at the engine room and all its moving parts!)

I’ve always wanted to try the evening cruise for a romantic getaway, but the daytime cruise lasts 2 hours and is ideal for the family.

Elaine Calloway - January 18, 2013 - 9:33 am

Hey Marilyn,

Thanks for commenting :) Yep, New Orleans isn’t all party & French Quarter, though that is what she is often known for.

I did the zoo as a teenager all the time. The grounds were HUGE. You could walk a good 3-4 miles by the time you see everything. And I just discovered on my last trip to New Orleans that there is the Morning Call coffeehouse in City Park. That is now where I go to write :) The park was always lovely, but didn’t have any place for restrooms or refreshments. Now there’s coffee, wifi, bathrooms, and a beautiful view of the live oaks :) *sighs with content*

Thanks again for commenting!

Elaine Calloway - January 18, 2013 - 9:36 am

Hey Debbie,

See? I told you that you’d like this post :)

It’s very true what you say–the city’s reputation is that of mainly adults and party-hearty activities. But having grown up there, I can definitely tell you there’s things for the young ones and teens to do :)

The aquarium is one of my fave spots to cool off if I’m there during high humidity, and they’ve also built an IMAX next to it. I haven’t seen the IMAX yet but will one of these trips :)

Oh, and if you’re a history buff, there’s also the WWII museum. It has expanded over the years to include the Pacific area, D-Day, etc. My hubby loves all the history stuff, so we’ve taken several trips there, too.

If you’re ever down the Gulf way, take a peek at my old hometown :)

Maxine Davis - January 18, 2013 - 10:38 am

Elaine, Ohhhh, I want to go there – now. Have been to the zoo. It is fabulous. Now if I could just take that cruise. I’ve heard it’s great. I will have to talk to you some time. I have a setting for a future book . . .

Caroljane Foster - January 18, 2013 - 11:17 am

Great Blog, Elaine!
NOLA has so much to see and things to do. I always wanted to take one of the New Orleans cemetary tours. Spooky!

Is your new book Water’s Blood, set in New Orleans??

Keep up the entertaining and informational blogs!!


Elaine Calloway - January 18, 2013 - 11:58 am

Hey Maxine,

Thanks for commenting :) Oh yes, New Orleans is the perfect setting for a book! I often set my stories there, or in Savannah. The city is rich with history and iconic things, not to mention a wide variety of people and places :)

Thx again!

Elaine Calloway - January 18, 2013 - 3:10 pm

Hey Carol Jane!

Thanks for stopping by :)

Yes, my Book 1 of the paranormal (Elemental) series is set in New Orleans. I wanted an iconic city for the setting, plus being the Water Elemental’s story, New Orleans seemed the perfect place. The city is surrounded by water on all sides – lakes, rivers, etc.

thanks again for commenting, and look for WATER’S BLOOD to come out on Feb 1st!!!

Sia Huff - January 18, 2013 - 3:36 pm

Hi Elaine,
New Orleans is on my bucket list. Hubby been several times on business but I’ve had home & kids duty. He raves about NO, so I hope I get ti go soon.
I’m guilty of believing it’s an adult town. I’m with Marilyn, I’d love to travel on a paddle boat. Probibly because I’ve seen Show Boat one too many times.
Thanks for sharing your home town with us.

Elaine Calloway - January 18, 2013 - 4:12 pm

Hey Sia,

Thanks for commenting. Trust me, you’re not alone in thinking New Orleans is only an adult town. Granted, you don’t want to take 10 year olds to walk certain French Quarter Streets, and the nightlife in the Quarter & at the casinos is by all means adult only.

However, there are many great things to see and do. I hope you get there someday! You can also leave for Bahama/Caribbean cruises from the NOLA port. I haven’t done that yet, but some people do a few days in the city, then go on a cruise to the Bahamas. Ideal thing!

Susan Carlisle - January 18, 2013 - 7:27 pm

I’ve been to a number of these places but the park is something I’ve not done. I’ll add it to my list for the next time I visit.
Thanks for the great info.

Elaine Calloway - January 19, 2013 - 9:27 am

Hey Susan,

Thanks for commenting. Yep, everyone has their favorite little areas, and I do like many historic parts of the city. But the City Park area (in Mid-City) is “home” to me. I went to high school near there, learned how to drive in the park itself, and I love the architecture, the bayou, and all the live oaks.

At Christmas, they light up all the oaks and have “Christmas in the Oaks” for several weeks during December. You can walk thru or drive thru, a great way to see all the color and get the ambiance of the park :)

Sandy Elzie - January 19, 2013 - 4:01 pm

I haven’t spent much time in New Orleans, but what I remember the most was the quaint stores & restaurants.

Patricia Stafford - January 20, 2013 - 8:19 am


I am so glad you are doing this! I am looking for a particular swamp tour I took nearly 20 years ago. If anyone can help me out I would love it. It was a small tour that included a city & cemetery tour by van that dropped me off at the swamp tour. It was a small pontoon-like boat and we went into the swamps and bayous. Then we actually stopped in the bayou to eat red beans and rice at a home. It wasn’t fancy – it was down to earth real Cajun tour. I don’t remember their name – but I had been told it was the best tour. Their flyer was on orange paper with typeset print,not flashy and glossy. If they still exist – I so want to take my family on their tour.

Pam Asberry - January 20, 2013 - 2:33 pm

I had no idea there were so many family-friendly activities in NOLA, Elaine! I think my son and I should plan a trip soon!

[…] Part One was on Food & Drink in New Orleans. Part Two was on Things to do as a Family in New Orleans […]

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