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Best Parks in New Orleans

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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 340-acre 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 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.

The Barataria Preserve is a sprawling nature preserve spread over 23,000 acres (9307 hectares) of untouched marshland, swamps, forests, bayous and other habitats. Take a trip to this beautiful preserve and walk along the trails where you can catch a glimpse of a wide variety of wildlife in their natural habitats, including alligators, snakes, opossums, rabbits, spiders, turtles, insects and more than 200 bird species.

Thanks to the generous donations from Sydney and Walda Besthoff, New Orleanians and visitors to the city can enjoy art-in-the-park at Besthoff Sculpture Garden. The nearly five acres that make up the sculpture garden in City Park are home to 57 large-scale works of art. The sculptures, situated among the park's large oaks and Southern magnolias, vary greatly in style and represent a range of classic and modern artists. Additionally, the Besthoff Sculpture Garden is free for all visitors.

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.

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.

Louis Armstrong Park, made of grassy knolls and lagoons, is named after world-famous musician and native son, Louis Armstrong. His statue, by Elizabeth Cartlett, is near the brightly lit entrance on the outer boundary of the French Quarter. Ironically, Armstrong was not allowed to play in the now well-known clubs during his career. Other landmarks including Congo Square and the Morris F.X. Jeff Municipal Auditorium surround the park.

Woldenberg Riverfront Park, a green oasis of 20 acres (8.1 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.

Lafayette Square is a public park that welcomes one and all. Designed by Charles Laveau Trudeau, it is renowned for the marvelous art work and sculptures installed here, such as statues of Henry Clay and Benjamin Franklin. Owing to its proximity to the government offices like USGSA Public Building Services, US Appeals Court, National Labor Relations and Federal Reserve Bank, it is packed with office workers during lunchtime. Lafayette Square also hosts concerts on a regularly that includes the popular Wednesday at the Square and Harvest the Music concert series.

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