By Christie Crawford
Don’t let those crazy Mardi Gras stories overshadow the fact that New Orleans is packed with family-friendly activities and attractions. Here are my top 10 places to stay and play if you’re traveling with the kids to my hometown of NOLA:
1 New Orleans hotels: Find “Kids Eat Free/Kids Stay Free” packages and refreshing pools at Holiday Inn Chateau Lemoyne and Hotel St. Pierre, both located in family-friendly sections of the French Quarter.
2 The Audubon Insectarium: Visit the largest free-standing museum in the country dedicated to bugs, bugs, and more bugs.
3 The Audubon Zoo: Ride the famous streetcar down to the zoo to visit the alligators at the Louisiana Swamp Exhibit or one of the many hands-on animal encounters.
4 Aquarium of the Americas: Rated one of the top 5 aquariums in the nation, this air-conditioned aquarium is a great place to spend the afternoons.
5 The Louisiana Children’s Museum: Located in the historic Arts District, kids of all ages will find the pint-size grocery store, the lunch café, or the life-sized tugboat irresistible.
6 Preservation Hall: Enjoy world-famous New Orleans jazz in a family-friendly environment where no drinking or smoking is allowed. Kids of all ages welcomed.
7 Jackson Square: Watch the street performers, musicians, and local artists at no cost. Take a French Quarter walking tour.
8-9 Moonwalk & Riverwalk: Across the street from Jackson Square is the beginning of the Moonwalk, a paved walkway along the Mississippi River that ends at the Riverwalk Marketplace Mall. Squeeze in some shopping and catch a ride on a riverboat.
10 Swamp & Bayou tour. Enjoy the stunning and serene surroundings of the natural environments. The guides live on the swamp and some even know the alligators by name.
Christie Crawford is a market manager for Orbitz, who loves sharing the history and culture of her hometown of New Orleans.