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Jennifer Close

Littleton, Colorado

MY KIDS

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We are always looking for adventure around every corner. We travel as often as we can!

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John Lafitte Swamp Boat Tours

Lafitte Larose Hwy, Marrero, Louisiana

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  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Tweens (9-12)
Visited: April 2012 | Submitted: Aug 27, 2013 | I traveled with big kids (6-8) and tweens (9-12)

Learn more about the flora and fauna of the New Orleans swamp

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Jean Lafitte Swamp Boat Tours offers a glimpse into the Louisiana swamp. There are air boat tours but if you aren't comfortable with that, you can take a tour in a larger vessel. We opted for the swamp boat, rather than the air boat, and our guide was great. He was very knowledgeable about the different trees and plants. We learned some New Orleans history and how the swamp played an important role in the Prohibition movement. We saw alligators, birds of all types, and nutria. They aren't as big as the R.O.U.S. but you might be reminded of Princess Bride when you spot a nutria.

Tips for Families

If you are in New Orleans without a car, they provide transportation at an extra cost. They often have online specials so check the website before purchasing.

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Queen And Crescent Hotel New Orleans

344 Camp Street, New Orleans, Louisiana

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  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Tweens (9-12)

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Visited: April 2012 | Submitted: Aug 23, 2013 | I traveled with big kids (6-8) and tweens (9-12)

Basic hotel room away from the noise of the French Quarter

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Unless we find a deal elsewhere, this is typically the hotel we stay at when we head to New Orleans. It is opposite of the French Quarter, on the other side of Canal Street but it is close enough to use as a home base. We also like where it is located in relation to Decatur Street, which is where we often spend much of our visit with the family. The hotel room itself is standard but had enough room for our family of four. Parking is the one downside. It is over 30 dollars a night, which is typical in NOLA. During one of our stays, we had to wait almost three hours for our car. They double park the cars and our car was stuck above a car in which they couldn't locate the keys. They were eventually able to get our car out and offered some compensation. We were annoyed but everyone was kind and apologetic and we considered it extra free time to do some last minute exploring.

Tips for Families

You will have to pay for wifi if you need it during your stay.

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French Market Flea Market

French Market District, New Orleans, Louisiana

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  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Tweens (9-12)
Visited: April 2012 | Submitted: Aug 23, 2013 | I traveled with big kids (6-8) and tweens (9-12)

Pick up your souvenirs

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The French Market Flea Market seems to stretch for miles. Food, gifts, and all things New Orleans can be found on the numerous tables throughout the market. There are some items that you might find questionable for children to see so be aware of that before you go in. We picked up a wallet for my son and a necklace for my daughter. If you are looking for New Orleans souvenirs, you can find Mardi Gras beads masks and other items to stock up on. There are several eateries and the Farmer’s Market has all sorts of sauces and New Orleans fare to sample.

Tips for Families

The farther into the flea market you go, the better the pricing on items seems to be. You can try to haggle at this flea market if you would like.

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New Orleans Museum Of Art

1 Collins C. Diboll Circle, New Orleans, Louisiana

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  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Tweens (9-12)
Visited: April 2012 | Submitted: Aug 23, 2013 | I traveled with big kids (6-8) and tweens (9-12)

Don't miss the Sculpture Garden during your visit.

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We enjoyed our visit to the art museum but I do wish they had an exhibit that would have held my children's attention better. I remember that there was a Disney art exhibit many years ago but it was not part of the permanent collection so there was nothing like it while we were there. We have been taking my children to art museums since they were little so they knew what to expect but my kids most liked the Sculpture Garden adjacent to the museum. The Sculpture Garden has some great pieces. Our favorites were Love, Red Blue, the word love spelled out in bright red, and Spider, which is just that...a giant metal spider.

Tips for Families

If your children don't like art museums, this might be best to save until you can get away on your own.

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French Quarter Carriage Ride

1824 N Rampart St, New Orleans, Louisiana

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  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Tweens (9-12)
Visited: April 2012 | Submitted: Aug 23, 2013 | I traveled with big kids (6-8) and tweens (9-12)

Just take the carriage ride.

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Every time we go to New Orleans, we have avoided the touristy carriage rides. My daughter begs to go on a carriage ride every time and we finally gave in during our last visit. There was no line to take a ride and she was smitten with the horses. The carriage ride takes you through the French Quarter while your carriage driver gives a little bit of history and points out architectural interests. We were all most interested in the history of the Great New Orleans Fire where the priests did not allow the church bells to be rung as fire alarms. The ride and the history lesson were both entertaining and just long enough.

Tips for Families

Ask your driver any burning questions you might have about the French Quarter. Odds are they have the answer! Our carriage ride was just before sunset and we had some beautiful views.

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Steamboat Natchez Mississippi Tour

2 Canal St # 2500, New Orleans, Louisiana

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  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Tweens (9-12)
Visited: April 2012 | Submitted: Aug 23, 2013 | I traveled with big kids (6-8) and tweens (9-12)

A nice way to take a break from walking around the city

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When we cruised on the Steamboat Natchez, we chose to take the early afternoon Jazz cruise. Though the menu looked good, we opted to forgo the meal. We made sure to eat beforehand. We spent the time listening to the band play and walking around the riverboat. It is a nice and relaxing way to take a break from walking around the city and we loved the brief reprieve from the humidity. Be sure to sit outside for part of the trip. Listening to the steamboat calliope was by far the best part of our visit. My younger daughter did lose interest once we explored the steamboat and I was glad to have a notepad and crayons with me. She spent the time drawing pictures of what we passed.

Tips for Families

If cruising on the Steamboat Natchez isn't in the budget, try to catch a mini concert of the calliope. While it is docked before departures, you can usually hear the sounds of the calliope.

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Louisiana Children's Museum

420 Julia St, New Orleans, Louisiana

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  • Little kids (3-5)
  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Tweens (9-12)
Visited: April 2012 | Submitted: Aug 23, 2013 | I traveled with little kids (3-5), big kids (6-8) and tweens (9-12)

My 5 year old was the perfect age for our visit

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When we visited, my five year old thought she was in heaven. I think this is a great age to visit the museum. My 8 year old spent a lot of time wandering around and looking at things but I noticed he wasn't participating in many activities. I think he might have been just a bit out of the age range for enjoying the Children's Museum. Everywhere you look, the brightly colored walls and hands-on exhibits are inviting to the kids. The bubble room is where we spent the most of our time. Though my 8 year old didn't find a lot to do, he really enjoyed working at the drafting table and designing his own home in the Home Architecture exhibit.

Tips for Families

Admission is charged for both children and adults. The museum is about a 15-25 minute walk from the French Quarter. Public parking is available and starts around $5.

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Audubon Insectarium

423 Canal Street, New Orleans, Louisiana

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  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Tweens (9-12)
Visited: April 2012 | Submitted: Aug 23, 2013 | I traveled with big kids (6-8) and tweens (9-12)

Butterflies in Flight exhibit is the Insectarium's crowning glory!

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The Insectarium is part of the Audubon Institute and will take you the least amount of time to get through compared to the zoo and the aquarium. Our visit was just over an hour in length and that was because we spent the majority of our time in the Butterfly Garden. Watch the butterflies flit around you and if you stand still long enough, one might even land on you! There is something magical about butterflies and children watching them. While my daughter and I preferred the butterfly exhibit, my son loved the creepy crawlies and there are plenty to look at. The Terminex Immersion Theater is fun and puts you in a multi-sensory bug experience. One of my kids was not a fan and wanted out of there as soon as possible. If you have a child who doesn't like 4D experiences, they might not enjoy this. If you have always wanted to try a buggy meal, you can do that here. We didn't taste any bugs on our visit, though!

Tips for Families

The Insectarium and the Aquarium are close enough to walk to and visit in the same day but they are not situated next to each other. If you are going to go to both Audubon attractions, consider purchasing a combo pass to save money.

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Audubon Aquarium of the Americas

1 Canal St, New Orleans, Louisiana

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  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Tweens (9-12)
Visited: April 2012 | Submitted: Aug 23, 2013 | I traveled with big kids (6-8) and tweens (9-12)

Easy to navigate but be prepared for crowds

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The Audubon Aquarium is one of our favorite aquariums to visit. The aquarium is easy to navigate and doesn't feel as crowded as it probably is. The exhibits are set up so that children of all ages can have something to enjoy. When you enter the Amazon Rain Forest exhibit, you feel like you are stepping into the rain forest. Don't miss the penguin feedings while you are there. The Stingray Touchpool was very crowded while we were there so we ended up having to skip it. If this is important to see, go there first! The last time we visited, we went during the school day. It was packed with numerous school groups on a field trip. If school is in session, you might want to go first thing in the morning or wait until later in the day.

Tips for Families

If you are planning to visit the Audubon Zoo and Insectarium, consider purchasing a combo pass to save money. Plan to spend at least two hours exploring the aquarium.

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New Orleans City Park

1 Palm Dr, New Orleans, Louisiana

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  • Little kids (3-5)
  • Big kids (6-8)
Visited: April 2012 | Submitted: Aug 20, 2013 | I traveled with little kids (3-5) and big kids (6-8)

Storyland is a bit of nostalgia

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There is a lot to do in City Park but our favorite attraction was Storyland. Storyland will remind you of your childhood or reading nursery rhymes and stories to your young children. For $3 per person, you can spend time letting your kids run around and play on the structures. There are over 20 storybook sculptures that include Captain Hook's ship, Cinderella's pumpkin carriage and more. The kids can climb, slide, and run some energy off while you play with them or watch them from the bench. My children, 5 and 7 at the time we visited, loved it but my 5 year old had the most fun. Some of the sculptures show some wear and tear but it gives it character.

Tips for Families

Much like our other playground visits, both of my children were ready to leave after about 45 minutes. Bring a bottle of water and maybe even a picnic lunch to eat on the grass outside of Storyland.

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