Family-Friendly NOLA: Things to Do This Summer

Entertaining the kids during summertime is no small challenge, but New Orleanians are blessed with having a variety of family-friendly attractions to explore. Because of growth of the tourism industry, both the Audubon Institute and City Park have made major expansions that local families can enjoy. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite old and new activities for children below. Whether you’re visiting town or having a staycation, keep this list on hand for the inevitable summer grumble of kids everywhere: “I’m bored!”

Audubon Institute

The Audubon Institute is a family of several parks and museums spread throughout New Orleans, all aimed at highlighting the beauty and importance of nature. Kids will learn about animal and plant life at Audubon Institute’s many entities in a way that doesn’t feel like learning – it just feels like fun. For example, the Aquarium features stingray feeding; the Entergy Giant Screen Theater screens 3-D nature films; and the zoo features a lazy river that loops around the premises.

ropes course kamba

The Kamba Kourse ropes course at the zoo allows kids to test their fitness and agility high above the ground using safety gear. (Photo courtesy Paul Broussard)

Aquarium of the Americas

Entergy Giant Screen Theater

Audubon Zoo

Cool Zoosplash park is always a favorite with kids – especially because of the Gator Run Lazy River, a twisting, turning pool with a real sand beach in the middle.

Audubon Park

 Bird IslandAudubon Butterfly Garden & Insectarium

City Park is one of the largest (the 6th-largest, to be exact) public parks in the United States; it’s also the country’s 7th most-visited public park. With about 1,300 acres of space, the park is a wonderful place to explore during the summer or at any time of year. Golf lovers can enjoy the game in all shapes and forms at City Park. There’s a traditional golf course and even one for disc golf. An on-site dog park called City Bark is also located within the park’s acreage, so you can bring the whole family (pets included) on your next visit. Rent boats to paddle through the park’s bayou, and enjoy beignets any time (day or night!) at Morning Call. In addition to these fun activities, check out some of City Park’s more popular things to do – especially for families.


 StorylandNew Orleans Museum of Art is home to an expansive permanent collection of artwork plus a range of exciting exhibitions. On Wednesdays, the museum offers free admission for Louisiana residents.

Sculpture Garden

The Besthoff Sculpture Garden is a free component of NOMA located just outside the museum. Take a leisurely stroll through this landscaped garden as you admire contemporary sculptures that showcase a variety of artistic styles.

city putt

City Putt features two 18-hole courses that have themes based on New Orleans and the state of Louisiana. (Photo courtesy NOLA Defender)

City Putt

City Puttis a 36-hole mini golf complex that features two separate themed courses. The Louisiana Course is a nod to culture from around the state while the New Orleans Course hones in on iconic themes of the city. Parking is free and a round of golf at this all-ages course is $6 for children ages 12 and under and $8 for ages 13 and up.


  • Take the kids to Satchmo Summerfest in and around the Old U.S. Mint from August 5-7
  • Treat the family to an iconic New Orleans meal at a discounted price at participating COOLinary restaurants during the month of August
  • Help your kids compete in the #BeaTourist contest, where locals take pictures of their favorite New Orleans tourist attractions for a chance to win a weekly prize
  • Head to the Orpheum Theater on Mondays for free movie screenings. There’s also a special double-feature of Frozen and Minions for kids on Sunday, July 31