Family Friendly Things To Do In New Orleans

In February, I (along with a group of bloggers) got the opportunity to travel to New Orleans as an iRetreat Conference Ambassador. New Orleans is the host city for this year’s iRetreat Conference so we were there to learn more about the city and its offerings.

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Instead of flying, I decided to make it a road trip and take Mike and the kids with me too. They had never been to New Orleans either so we thought it would be fun to get to know the city together. I have to tell you that New Orleans surprised us in so many ways. Mainly in that New Orleans is way more than Bourbon Street. It’s a destination that families can and should visit. There’s so much to experience together. The food. The rich culture. The architecture. The city is literally alive with history and tradition and the people that call New Orleans home. We loved it so much that Mike and the kids are going back with me for iRetreat Conference and we added several days after the conference so that we can explore the city even more. So today I wanted to share a few activities that every family must-do while in New Orleans.

Go on the French QuarTour Kids Walking Tour: Lucas and a few other kids joined us for the tour and they all had such a wonderful time. The tour is very interactive and led by an experienced teacher who knows how to grab a child’s attention (and keep it).

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While the tour is definitely educational and teaches kids about the history of the city, it also has lots of funny and silly moments. For example, the kids couldn’t stop giggling when they were asked to reenact a courtship between a young man and a lady.

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Their mouths dropped when they were shown a small piece of coal and the guide explained that people used to brush their teeth with it. It was a lot of fun and by the end – both kids and adults – had learned so much! Tours are available for kids starting at ages 4 and up.

Spend and afternoon at City Park: This is one of my favorite spots in New Orleans. City Park is a park unlike any that I have ever seen. At 1,300 acres, it is massive. It also happens to be one of the oldest urban parks in the country. A few of my favorite City Park spots:  Storyland, is an enchanting kid’s playground with play structures that have literally been pulled from the pages of a fairytale. There’s also Carousel Gardens Amusement Park which features 16 rides and an antique wooden carousel.

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You can’t go to City Park without stopping by Morning Call for beignets and coffee. Quick Tip: Make sure to powder your beignet like a true New Orleanian by banging the sugar container on the bottom. No lightly sprinkling the powdered sugar on your beignets!

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City Park also has ancient oak trees that have grown so large they actually need crutches (one of these oak tress is over 800 years old).

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But even all of these things aren’t why I fell in love with City Park. It’s the feeling that I get when I’m there. It makes me feel like I’m a part of something that has been around for centuries. It honestly feels magical.

Visit Audubon Zoo: This zoo is fantastic for several reasons, but I honestly love it because it’s not overwhelming in size. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a large zoo at 58 acres and features a wide variety of animals. You’ll see elephants, bears, giraffes, monkeys, flamingos, snakes, alligators, a few animals that I never even knew existed, and much more.

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However, you can get through the zoo in a morning or afternoon. It’s the perfect activity for small kids like Amelia who need a nap after a few hours. Also, make sure to look for Gator Run – Audubon Zoo’s new lazy river! It wasn’t open to the public while we were there, but we were given a quick sneak peek. Gator Run has two sandy beaches and three water canons to spray people as they float down the river. There are spots for parents to sit back and relax on loungers while the kids play. It’s going to be a big hit this summer, I’m sure!

Take a stroll through The French Quarter:  Every street is alive with culture and music and the soul of the city – the people. Walking through The French Quarter is an experience in itself. People literally break out in song and dance. The sound of jazz and blues and folk music fills the air.

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And, you’re surrounded by beautiful architecture and buildings that have been around for centuries. It just makes me happy. You’ll also find lots of eclectic shops selling beautiful handmade goods, antiques, and of course, there’s the famous French Market. And, make sure to hop on one of the streetcars!

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Enjoy the Food: Yes, the food deserves it’s own category. New Orleans has an abundance of amazing restaurants to choose from. We literally ate our way through New Orleans and it was a truly divine experience. From crawfish to po’ boys to beignets and the best bread pudding of my life, eating in New Orleans was like being in foodie heaven. This is one of the best places to eat in the U.S.. Without a doubt.

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Additional Info:

For more information about New Orleans, make sure to check out neworleanscvb.com. For hotel accommodations, I’d recommend staying at one of the gorgeous hotels that are part of the New Orleans Hotel Collection. For this trip we stayed at the Dauphine New Orleans and we will be staying at the Hotel Mazarin (both part of the New Orleans Hotel Collection) when we go back in the summer.

If you’re thinking about visiting New Orleans and are an online influencer, the best time to visit is June 28-30 for the iRetreat Conference. I’ll be there and would love to see you there too! For more info, visit iRetreatConference.com.

What We Learned On Our 19 Day Family Vacation – Travel Tips

*This is part of a sponsored campaign. All opinions are my own.

We just got back from a very long trip – 19 days  to be exact. We went to Miami, Key West and California. We drove to Miami, which is a 12 hour drive from Atlanta, including stops. We flew to California from Miami, which is a 5 1/2 hour flight. All with two kids. One of those kids being almost 1 year old. We are crazy, for sure!

Checking in to our flight to California

Checking in to our flight to California

Surprisingly though, traveling with kids wasn’t that bad. I mean – don’t get me wrong – we definitely had some bumps along the way. For instance, on our way back from California we were waiting to board our flight when Amelia had a nuclear meltdown for several minutes. Everyone and I mean EVERYONE was staring at us. You know they had to thinking “OMG, I hope that baby is not sitting next to me on the plane!” For a brief moment, I wanted to cry, but then I just started laughing because seriously…what could I do? I couldn’t reason with a 1 year old. I tried my best to console her until she quieted down, but besides that – there wasn’t anything I could do.

For the most part though, everything went pretty smoothly and we had a great time! The key was preparation! Below are a few things that we learned along the way. Hope they help your family travel easier this spring and summer!

Amelia on the plane with daddy

Amelia on the plane with daddy

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  • When flying with a baby, I recommend booking her a seat even if she is young enough to be a lap child (2 and under). We didn’t do this so that we could save money and ended up regretting it. Amelia was very squirmy on the flight and it would have definitely been a better flight if she’d had her own seat (sitting on a carseat, of course).  If you can’t book your baby a seat, then make sure that you are sitting next to someone you know as a buffer from other people who your baby will inevitably want to grab at LOL.
  • Snacks, snacks, snacks! Whether you are flying or traveling by car, be prepared with lots of snacks! I don’t know what it is about food, but it can buy you a few minutes of sanity almost every time.
  • Pack small toys that you can pull out throughout your flight or road trip. It’s a good idea to have a few new things that will be exciting and hold their attention for longer periods (look in clearance or dollar bins).
  • For older kids, pack a portable DVD player, movies, iPad, iPod or other electronic gaming device, books, coloring and sticker books, etc.
  • If traveling by plane, make sure to get to the airport early so that you can get checked-in, check your bags, go through security and get to your gate with plenty of time. This will lower your stress level and start your trip off on the right foot! You don’t want to be running in an airport with kids in tow.
  • If traveling by car, get on the road as early as possible. We like to leave at 4 or 5 am so that it’s still dark and the kids will sleep for the first few hours.
  • Be flexible, stay positive, and know that kids will be kids. There will likely be bumps (read: meltdowns) along the way, but it’s ok! Breathe!
Lucas opening his Disneyland goody bag on travel day

Lucas opening his Disneyland goody bag on travel day

 

 

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For additional parenting tips and tricks, make sure to visit Playtex Baby Mom Trust!

 

What are your family travel tips and tricks?

 

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