New Orleans is the perfect place for LGBTQ families to not only enjoy incredible culture and cuisine, but also some serious fun. From carriage rides through the Quarter and Drag Queen Story Hour to the Children’s Museum and the Cool Zoo, finding something fun to do isn’t the difficult part–it’s choosing what to do first. But don’t worry, because this handy cheat sheet will help you put together an itinerary your whole krewe will love.
A Carriage Ride through The French Quarter
One incredible thing about New Orleans is there’s a story around every corner – especially ghost stories. If your kids love a good spooky tale, head to Jackson Square, where you’ll find horse-drawn carriages ready to take you on an enchanting ride through the historic Quarter. Be sure to find a driver who is well-versed in the city’s haunted lore, then prepare to let your imagination run wild.
Drag Queen Story Hour
What is Drag Queen Story Hour? It’s exactly what you think it is – drag queens reading stories to children in libraries, schools and bookstores. Drag Queen Story Hour is absolutely amazing. There is a recurring Drag Queen Story Hour at New Orleans Public Library, but lots of other local places host story hour, too. Find the next event on the NOPL calendar.
Insider’s Tip: If you have a child that loves to dress up, this is the perfect opportunity to break out their brightest and most colorful accessories.
Storyland At City Park
There is so much going on at City Park that you could fit an entire weekend of fun without going anywhere else. There’s mini golf, playgrounds, a sculpture garden, paddle boats, tandem bikes, the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, the New Orleans Museum of Art and Storyland. Storyland is a wonderland filled with things for children to climb and ride, all centered on characters from their favorite stories, including Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan and more. Just a few feet from Storyland is the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, which promises thrills for guests of all ages.
Fun Fact: The carousel at Carousel Gardens Amusement Park opened in 1906, but some of the animal figures date back to 1885.
The Louisiana Children’s Museum
The new and improved Children’s Museum, which opened in early 2020, is a local favorite for parents and kids. Children love the interactive exhibits and the tiny grocery store that’s stocked with everything from bread to crawfish (and working registers). They have wonderful weekly and monthly programs at the Children’s Museum too, so make sure to visit their website to see what’s new and upcoming.
Insider’s Tip: Visit the Dig Into Nature exhibit for a hands-on exploration of local animals, plants and their habitats.
Spring and Summer in New Orleans can be rather warm. And after exploring the zoo, there’s no better way to cool off than at the Cool Zoo, a waterpark located inside of Audubon Zoo. Tickets cost $10 and get you access to a 750-foot lazy river and inner tubes perfect for kicking back and cooling off. You can even rent your own cabana for lounging and relaxing while the kids enjoy the splash pad.
Insider’s Tip: Leave your floaties at the hotel. The Cool Zoo supplies life jackets.
Ice cream at Creole Creamery
Creole Creamery is like an old-time ice cream shop loaded with homemade flavors that will delight the whole family. From red velvet cake and nectar cream to lavender and hibiscus, you may just find your new favorite flavor. Beware, your kids may demand an extra scoop or two.
Insider’s Tip: Instead of individual orders, get one big Tchoupitoulas sundae (eight scoops and eight toppings) for the family to share.
Every year during Pride, the city comes alive with events and activities, and many of them are family-friendly. Local breweries and businesses host family days which include music, crafts, sno-balls, drag performances, and more. Check the annual event calendar for programming that will delight the entire family while teaching compassion and inclusivity.
Insider’s Tip: Try an LGBTQ French Quarter tour to learn more about the city’s queer history and culture.
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
The New Orleans Audubon Aquarium has been rated one of the top five in the country, and once it’s easy to see why. The aquarium sits alongside the Mississippi River and invites visitors to meet more than 3,600 animals from aquatic, arctic, and rainforest habitats. One of the newest attractions is Shark Discovery, which features a shark and ray touch pool. This is a perfect destination for anyone seeking a break from the heat that is as educational as it is entertaining.
Insider’s Tip: If you visit the aquarium during Pride month, you’ll see some of your favorite animals celebrating in rainbow style.