New Orleans is a diverse city, one that can function as a great host for anything from bachelor parties and conventions to weekends with the family. The Big Easy has two major parks that can be easily accessed by streetcar. Since the majority of tourists stay downtown, grab the family and hop on the Canal (Red) streetcar towards the famed City Park.
City Park is one of the largest and most visited urban parks in the country. It has something for just about anyone. Get a feel for what the park has to offer by walking around for a bit under the giant oak trees that provide shade and a glimpse back to the good ole' New Orleans days.
Go explore lagoon wildlife! — Photo courtesy of Infrogmation
Renting a paddle boat or canoe to explore the park's ponds and lagoons is a great family activity. The rides last an hour and can be paid for by cash or card. If you have to wait a bit for a boat to open up, toss a frisbee around on the spacious park acreage. For the more adventurous, kayak and paddle boards can be rented from third parties to use in the bayou channel across the street.
Entrance to City Park children's area — Photo courtesy of Infrogmation
If traveling with younger children, you must plan to visit Storyland and/or the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park. Storyland brings children's books to life with 25 giant replications of scenes from stories like Peter Pan and Jack and Jill. Carousel Gardens contains an original operating wooden carousel that is on the National Register of Historic Places. They also have bumper cars, a ferris wheel and a train to take you around the park in style. Admission to either is only $3 (you then pay on a per ride basis).
New Orleans Museum of Art — Photo courtesy of Alaskan Dude
For a more cultural activity that will most likely impart some knowledge, visit the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) located right at the park entrance. This is a three-story gem of a building that houses great works from Renoir, Picasso, etc., as well as tons of work from local artists. They also routinely participate in internationally traveling exhibits (the King Tut and Chinese Soldier type things).
If the parents have been catering to the kids for the whole day, why not buy those rascals an ice cream bar or two while you go hit a bucket of balls at the City Park Golf Course? No one says you can't enjoy yourself too.
City Park in itself could provide a weekend's worth of activities for a family, as there are numerous other exciting things to take in here. When visiting New Orleans with family, remember the parks are always your friend.