These days, children are stuck inside without very many places to explore, but luckily, New Orleans is full of activities for lifelong learners. Lessons in history, science, music and art lurk around every corner and can be experienced with a visit to a museum or attraction. Gather up the kids and take a field trip to one of the following below. But before your visit, please remember to mask up and reserve your tickets online.
New Orleans is full of history, and the options for learning are endless. Children can learn about the city’s history by visiting the Cabildo and Presbytère, the buildings located on either side of the St. Louis Cathedral. Walking tours are a great option for diving into haunted history, black history, music history and all the other histories of New Orleans. The Lower Ninth Ward Living Museum is a great place for children to learn about one of New Orleans’ historic neighborhoods before and after Hurricane Katrina. For a little bit of national (and international) history, children will enjoy the larger-than-life exhibits of The National WWII Museum.
As for art museums, New Orleans is plentiful, but in-person exhibits tend to be geared to adults. One new attraction that the kids are sure to enjoy is JAMNOLA, a permanent pop-up celebrating the art, music and culture of New Orleans. With the accompaniment of an adult, children can weave their way through various exhibits full of colorful murals, optical illusions and touch-free sensory experiences. For some hands-on crafting, children can let their inner artist shine with a visit to Artist Journey Allen Gallery & Painting Studio. Make a reservation in advance for your session.
Lions, flamingos and Zion the penguin are waiting to welcome every child to the Audubon Zoo and Aquarium. Timed entry tickets allow for social distancing and plenty of space for the kids to enjoy meeting the animals. Both attractions could be a day-long field trip in itself, so be sure to plan accordingly. The New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, which showcases the history of medicine in Louisiana, is currently open for self-guided tours. The walking trails of the Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, with all of their rustic scenery and native Louisiana wildlife, are open and just waiting to be traversed.
Children who aren’t the biggest fans of math will be surprised by how much they learn in cooking class. They’ll use mathematical operations to multiply, divide and otherwise follow or modify a recipe. Plus, it never hurts to pick up the basic life skill of cooking at an early age. The Southern Food & Beverage Museum regularly hosts special cooking classes for children.
One of the best resources in the city for both children and adults is the New Orleans Public Library system. Currently, most of the 15 branches are open for 45-minute reservations and contactless materials pick up and drop off. The library also hosts virtual learning sessions to keep the kids engaged.
The music never stops in New Orleans, but the iconic venues that one would normally visit are currently closed. Take a trip to the New Orleans Jazz Museum, where children will delight in interactive exhibits and multigenerational educational programming.
New Orleans has plenty of spots for outdoor activity, including walking, biking, kayaking and recreational sports. City Park is one of the best spots in the city, where young children can play in Storyland and older children can weave their way through the bike paths or take to Big Lake by boat. They can even go for a round of mini golf at City Putt. Bayou St. John offers kayaking, and many rental spots have small and tandem kayaks suitable for children. The Fly at Audubon Park has plenty of greenspace for recreational sports, and various parks are perfect for strolling with the kids.
For virtual experiences and more, check out these New Orleans boredom busters for kids.