City Park is paradise for kids, plain and simple. From wide-open outdoor spaces and playgrounds where your little ones can wander to thrill rides in the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park to exploring nature’s mysteries in the Botanical Garden or Couturie Forest, the park is a wonderland of fun and adventure for kids of all ages. If you’re looking for fun family activities and things to do with your kids in the park, you’ve come to the right place.
Book a field trip.
Educational tours of the Botanical Garden and field trips at Carousel Gardens Amusement Park are an excellent way to start exploring the park. For rates and additional details, visit the Field Trip page.
Your kids’ favorite fairytale characters are all here! Filled with more than 25 larger-than-life whimsical (and sturdy!) sculptures, this storybook-themed playground is the perfect place to romp – down the Dragon Slide, aboard Captain Hook’s pirate ship, into the mouth of a whale with Pinocchio, and more!
Take a fun ride at Carousel Gardens Amusement Park.
City Park’s amusement park has more than 15 fun rides for kids of all ages, including our historic carousel. This rare, hand-carved beauty is one of only 100 in the country! Check the Carousel Gardens page for height requirements.
Trek around Big Lake.
Big Lake may be dwarfed by nearby Lake Pontchartrain in size, but this area of the park is BIG on fun for the kids. You can rent paddleboats or bikes at the boathouse, roam around the track that circles the lake or hit the Louisiana Nature Trail. Don’t miss the Singing Oak, a musical tree filled with wind chimes tuned to the Pentatonic scale by artist Jim Hart.
Snack on beignets at Morning Call.
Witness the only blizzard you’ll ever see in New Orleans – a blizzard of powdered sugar swirling around your kids’ smiling faces as they dive into a plate of beignets, New Orleans’ famous French “doughnut”. Morning Call is open 24/7 and there are bathrooms on site in the Casino Building, where the restaurant is located. Also nearby: the giant Bacher Sundial and Bayou Metairie, a great place to feed the ducks. Cross the bridge behind the Casino Building to the old grove filled with great live oaks – a sweet spot for photos of the kids! (Remember to bring your foldin’ money – Morning Call is cash only.)
Hit the playgrounds.
City Park is home to two fun-equipped, wheelchair-accessible playgrounds. The Stanley Ray playground, located on Dreyfous Avenue near the Peristyle and Morning Call, has swings, slides, bridges and tunnels designed for children ages 2 to 5 years old. The Starbucks/Blue playground near Shelter One on Victory Avenue is geared up for older kids, ages 5 to 12.
Wear down their batteries.
Listen, we know that if we could harness a child’s natural, seemingly endless supply of energy, we could reverse global warming. In the meantime, take your active kids to Goldring Woldenberg Great Lawn or the Festival Grounds – areas with wide-open spaces to run, play, tumble, skip, fly a kite, you name it! The Great Lawn is a lush, open green space flanked by benches and four arbors featuring giant “porch” swings. You’ll find several shady spots and a one-mile paved track around the sprawling Festival Grounds, along with bathroom facilities nearby at the Reunion Shelter. Until we can tap into their energy source, we can at least help you wear it down and guarantee a good night’s sleep.
Explore the great outdoors.
Blow their little minds with a day of educational exploration around City Park’s awesome natural wonders.
* Plan a scavenger hunt in Couturie Forest with a list of common plants, insects, animals and objects to identify.
* Visit Laborde Lookout in the forest, the highest elevation point in New Orleans (created from leftover construction material from the building of I-610).
* Take the kids birding with our downloadable Birds of City Park guide.
* Explore the Botanical Garden seeing fossils, orchids, and a vegetable garden.
*Check out the downloadable scavenger hunt lists at the bottom of this page.
* Wander the Conservatory, a simulated tropical rainforest filled with indigenous flora and fauna of a tropical rainforest, including educational displays with geckos, tree frogs and snakes.
* Drop by the Botanical Garden’s Butterfly Garden – see how many colorful butterflies your kids can count!
Check the City Park Events Calendar.
There’s always something growing on in City Park for kids – from what’s in bloom at the Botanical Garden to fun, family-friendly festivals like the Big Bass Rodeo & Fishtival or the Spring Garden Show. Save the date on your calendar for City Park’s most popular annual events for kids: Ghosts in the Oaks, a two-night not-scary (but spook-tacular!) party with unlimited rides at the amusement park, trick-or-treating in Storyland, a pumpkin patch and more. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, Celebration in the Oaks lights up City Park with the south’s most spectacular holiday light displays – a New Orleans holiday tradition like no other. (Don’t miss the Children’s Celebration in the Oaks Preview Party, an exclusive preview of the lights before Celebration officially opens.)
Hang out with Picasso.
Give your kids their first taste of fine art – the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) is home to works by Picasso, Renoir, Matisse, Monet, and Georgia O’Keefe. NOMA also offers activities specifically for kids.
Wander the Sculpture Garden.
Just behind NOMA, the five-acre Besthoff Sculpture Garden contains more than 60 sculptures, set along the garden’s scenic footpaths.
Find furry, feathered and finned friends.
Sure, the City is known for its wildlife, but we’re not talking about Bourbon Street. City Park is home to creatures great and small. Make a game of it – how many animals can your child spot during a day in City Park? Turtles, fish, insects, frogs, hundreds of species of birds and more are here! Download our guides: Birds in City Park and Fish in City Park. You can also feed the ducks, geese and swans around the park; they’re always hungriest before noon.
Get on track at the New Orleans Historic Train Garden.
Your kids will ooh and aah over miniature streetcars and freight trains as they chug around a scale model of New Orleans, complete with famous landmarks like St. Louis Cathedral and informational stops in neighborhoods including the Marigny/Bywater area, Uptown and the Garden District.
Celebrate a birthday.
Hands-down, the most unique place in New Orleans to have your child’s birthday party, City Park offers fun, affordable packages for kids of all ages. Click to find out more about event space rentals for birthday parties in Carousel Gardens, Storyland, City Putt, the Historic Train Garden or a shelter in the park.
Putt a hole in one.
New in 2013, City Park’s City Putt is New Orleans only miniature golf complex! With two 18-hole courses (36 holes in all!) and private rooms available for rent, City Putt is an ideal destination for your child’s next birthday party.
Cool off at City Splash.
Stay tuned for details about City Park’s coolest new attraction: City Splash, a fun-filled water park, is set to open in 2015.