24 hours in New Orleans with kids
Yes, internet. You read that correctly. Most people don’t consider New Orleans a top pick for kids. I am one of them. The last time I was there for business, I saw an ice cream truck parked on Bourbon Street mid-morning next to an establishment with a lingerie clad lady trying to entice customers inside. Calling her a lady is generous.
But when you live in the house that testosterone built, and their favorite team is playing at the Superdome, you just go with it. I am the Queen of pretending I really wanted to vacation somewhere just because of a sporting event. Although we flew in the day of the game, we couldn’t get a flight out the next day. So here it is, 24 hours in New Orleans with Junior (13), Duke (11) and Bo (10).
We stayed up so late at the Superdome the night before, that we didn’t make it out of the hotel until around noon. Since we were staying close to canal street, we bought day tickets to the streetcars and took a ride towards Canal Street. First stop, the Aquarium. If you see a line to get tickets and get in, walk over to the Imax theater entrance, as they can sell you a ticket too. They also offer a AAA discount. My kids enjoyed all of the exhibits. With sting ray touch tanks, sharks, piranha, birds, and much more everyone found something they loved.
If your family wakes up earlier than we did, you can check out the Insectarium. It is a short walk from the Aquarium on Canal Street. We’ve heard great things, but food was calling us, so we had to skip it.
No trip to New Orleans would be complete without beignets. Our description to the boys was that they were something like a sopapilla, but not hollow, and with tons of powdered sugar. So, we walked to the famous Cafe Du Monde. Not surprisingly, the line was pretty long. When lines are long we divide and conquer. Hubby and Junior stood in the line to get the goodies to go. Which meant that Duke, Bo, and I, took a seat in Jackson Square and watched some awesome street performers. Needless to say, the boys are still talking about how great the beignets were, so mission accomplished.
It was a cold day in New Orleans, so given the choice of walking around, or a carriage ride with a blanket, the boys chose the carriage ride. It was a great overview of the quarter and a little of the surrounding area. It took about 30-45 minutes and the driver/guide even let the boys feed the mule a carrot at the end. Historic information as well as stars homes, are covered on this tour. Afterwards, we took a brief walk down Bourbon Street. With kids, I would definitely recommend doing this before dark. We did stop at Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo. We quietly gawked at the alligator feet, voodoo dolls, and interesting talisman objects.
Just off Jackson Square, we stopped at Maskerade, a must stop for all families in New Orleans. They carry handmade masks that are used during Mardi Gras, weddings, Halloween, etc. Everytime I have visited there with and without kids, the staff has let us try on as many things as we wanted, and laughed right along with us. We laughed so hard, my stomach hurt when we left.
For dinner, I wanted an old New Orleans restaurant that my boys would enjoy. Haunted restaurant with a table for a ghost? Sign me up!! Muriel’s Jackson Square Restaurant really delivered. They were very accommodating when we showed up 20 minutes early, and they very courteously asked the boys to remove their hats at the table. They do have a kids menu, and I didn’t feel underdressed in jeans, either, although we were there at 6pm.
The restaurant has a resident ghost that wreaks havoc unless he has a table set with wine and bread each night. The waitress took the boys to see the table, set in a very nice stairwell, and even gave them a look at a special event room that the staff considers the most active place for the ghost. We definitely had some great dinner conversations to go with our fantastic meal. On an earlier visit to this restaurant at a corporate event, I did have a wine glass that kept moving at the table. Stories like this are very common, but I’ll leave it to you to decide what to believe.
At this point it was a dark and growing increasingly cold. So we walked along Chartes street towards the hotel, so we could at least pass by another historic restaurant and bar, Napoleon House. It’s been around since 1797!! The old peeling walls, really add to the historic appeal of this restaurant and bar. We’ll have to save that one for the next visit.
So if you find yourself in New Orleans with kids, know that you can have a great time and avoid too much debauchery. As we headed to the airport the next morning, I had to explain why the graveyards in New Orleans are so different. But that’s what travel is all about, right?