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Having started out as the nation's first sugar plantation, then an urban park, and finally renamed in 1886 as Audubon Park in tribute to John James Audubon who painted many of his famed "Birds of America" in Louisiana, the 350-acre (141.64 hectares) Audubon Park and Audubon Zoo is a place one can truly and peacefully enjoy New Orleans's old-world charm: fountains, statues, gazebos, lagoons, giant oak trees, and the occasional horse-back riders and carriages. There are also a golf course, tennis courts, and a extremely popular 1.8-mile-long (2.8 kilometers) paved jogging track. Do walk along the outskirts of the park and be wowed by the historic buildings of Loyola and Tulane universities, as well as many elegant mansions.
Cajun Pride Swamp Tour is a fun and informative way to see a scenic swamp and wildlife refuge. You might see a whole zoo's worth of creatures including: alligators, bald eagles, waterfowl, owls, beavers, raccoons and even black bears. Tours generally last about an hour and a half.
About 50 miles from the bright lights and wild nightlife of Bourbon Street lies one of the best kept secrets in Southeast Louisiana. The Global Wildlife Center is this country's largest completely free-roaming wildlife preserve. It's an African safari in New Orleans' backyard. Visitors can take a short trip across Lake Pontchartrain for a guided wagon tour that gets up close and personal with some of the most exotic animals in the world, more than 900 of which call this preserve home. Kids and kids at heart can feed giraffes, bison, zebras, and camels in an experience of a lifetime.
It's just impossible to get bored of New Orleans' plush City Park. Sprawled over 1,500 acres, this welcoming oasis attracts hordes of people every day. You'll find lovebirds sharing some time together, children playing around, joggers doing their daily rounds and people absorbing the park's beauty. Camps, field trips and an amusement park are the facilities for children. Sports lovers can choose from golf, football, tennis and lots more. The park also provides the perfect setting for weddings, picnics, birthdays or other special functions. If you're a nature lover, you can volunteer to help protect this beautiful park.
When in town, take your kids out for an unforgettable fun-and-learn experience at this spectacular museum. Louisiana Children's Museum offers a toddler area and children's drama, dance, and puppet shows. There are also art and science exhibits, as well as hands-on math and physics exhibits, and a reproduction of a television studio. Many of the exhibits are geared toward learning through doing. This style of learning makes it fun for both parents and kids alike. This is a great rainy day field trip and a good place for anyone trying to get away from the "adult" aspects of the city.
In a world where the wooden carousel is nearly extinct, a century-old version is a sight to be seen and ridden. Under City Park's majestic oaks, the Hines Carousel continues to run after being painstakingly restored after hurricane Katrina. Children of all ages will enjoy a ride on the hand-carved horses of the last wooden carousel in Louisiana. After a spin on the carousel, ride the afternoon away on any of the other amusement rides in the collection including a Tilt-a-Whirl, Scrambler, Bumper Cars, and 40-foot Slide. Finish the day with a trip around the park in one of the open-air passenger cars of the Park's miniature train.
From the critter-filled swamps of Louisiana to the grasslands of Africa, you can explore some of the world's most intriguing habitats and the creatures that dwell within them at this world-class zoo. Rated one of the top zoos in the United States, Audubon Zoo New Orleans is home to a variety of nature's wondrous creations such as Louisiana Black Bear, Cougar, Bobcat, Macaw, Babirusa, and more. The marvelous aquarium houses beautiful moon jellies, clownfish, green sea turtle, and the much-dreaded piranha.
Consisting of six sites spread across New Orleans, this historic site pays homage to the pirateering legacy of Jean Lafitte, and the historical events that unfolded in his wake. The visitor center has historic walking tours of the French Quarter and also sets the scene for other historic sites in and around New Orleans. The extensive Barataria Preserve is part of the site, and is sheathed in a tapestry of marshes, swamps and dense hardwood forests, while the Chalmette Battlefield has been the ground of many historic battles and wars. Characterized by a string of teeming bayous and inextricable Cajun traditions, the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve is a stirring insight into the historical heart of New Orleans.
Mardi Gras World is where Mardi Gras comes to life with the creation of Mardi Gras floats. Here, you can catch the artists and builders of the world-famous floats hard at work. There is a gift shop where you can buy Carnival memorabilia, so you can say you have seen Mardi Gras and have something to show for it. Mardi Gras World is a fun trip for children, as a chest full of costumes affords them the chance to dress in true Carnival style. When in town, Mardi Gras World makes for an unmissable family attraction.
This New Orleans institution features rock 'n' roll while you bowl. Bowlers have a fantastically fun time as they dance to the sounds of zydeco and swing. The authentically gaudy bowling alley features swing on Tuesdays, zydeco on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and a mixed bag of performers on the weekends. Typical bar food and surprisingly good entrees are featured, as well as beverages both alcoholic and non. This fun spot also caters weddings and conventions.
Woldenberg Riverfront Park, a green oasis of 16 acres (6.47 hectares) stretches along the old Governor Nicholls Street wharf to the Aquarium of the Americas at Canal Street. This promenade is located in the heart of the city and is scattered with numerous works by local artists. It boasts hundreds of beautiful trees such as oaks, magnolias, willows and crepe myrtle. Sit on one of the many benches and view the city's busy port, second only to Amsterdam in tonnage.
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is a world-class aquarium with fascinating, state-of-the-art exhibits that allow visitors both young and old to experience underwater nature first-hand. Here, visitors can immerse themselves in the major marine and submarine habitats of North and South America, including the Caribbean Sea and the Amazon Rainforest. The aquarium also features thousands of fish, reptiles, and birds native to these habitats. Kids can especially enjoy the experience of looking at colorful fish and even touching some beautiful aquatic creatures such as sting rays.