The Big Easy is one of the most recognizable cities in the entire country. You'll find a unique culture and quite a few unique offerings here that no other place can match. When you embark on New Orleans family vacations, you won't have to look far to find new and exciting experiences that the whole family can enjoy. Once you've found the best kid activities in New Orleans, it's easy to plan an itinerary that has attractions your family will love. Explore all the top family attractions in New Orleans and discover how you can create the perfect vacation adventure to this legendary city.

Top kid activities to do in New Orleans

1. New Orleans Historic Train Garden

The New Orleans Historic Train Garden is a popular corner of the botanical garden in the city park where you'll find scale replicas of trains and streetcars. In total, you'll find about 1,300 feet of track, all showcasing these miniatures in action, along with a fascinating look at the history of New Orleans. Keep in mind that while you can see this train garden any time the botanic garden is open, the miniature trains are only operating on Saturdays and Sundays, so you'll have to visit during the weekend to see them in action.

Among the massive oak trees of City Park, you'll find the Historic Carousel. It's the oldest ride in the amusement park area, dating back to 1906. Some of the animal figures on this carousel are even older, with the oldest dating back to 1885. All the animals on the carousel were carved and painted by talented artists, with some even boasting faux gemstones for an extra bit of flair. They get repainted every year or 2, and those repaintings are still done by hand. Most of the animals are horses, but you'll also find a lion, a camel, and a giraffe.

3. Storyland

Storyland is a top New Orleans kids' activity featuring an impressive installation that kids will enjoy as they explore massive sculptures modeled after their favorite storybook characters. You'll find a model of Captain Hook's pirate ship along with the hill from Jack and Jill and a whale kids can walk into the mouth of. Keep in mind that all of these features aren't merely sculptures but rather designed as part of a playground that kids can interact with as they like. You and your family will find 20 sculptures in total that are all designed to feel larger than life and encourage your child's imagination.

4. New Orleans Museum of Art

When your family vacation to New Orleans includes a visit to the New Orleans Museum of Art, you'll find a wide variety of different works on display that will delight kids and adults alike. This museum features incredible works from legends like Renoir, O'Keeffe, Monet, and Picasso, among others. Paintings are common, of course, but you'll also find pottery and sculptures as well. Don't forget to check out the temporary exhibits to see a focused display of certain kinds of art. Kids even have access to special features when they visit, including art workshops designed for children and storytime covering the fascinating history of certain popular artists.

5. Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden

The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden is an impressive collection of artwork that is set up among the lagoons and trees of City Park. Across more than 3 acres, you'll find more than 90 works covering a wide different array of artistic styles. Some are artistic interpretations of animals, while others are more abstract. You'll even find a few optical illusions among the collection that are sure to delight kids. Plus, the vibrant greenery in the area adds a serene and relaxing atmosphere to the experience.

6. Backstreet Cultural Museum

If you want to dive into the local culture during your family vacation in New Orleans, there's nothing quite like the Backstreet Cultural Museum. Here, you'll find an array of exhibits on display covering local Mardis Gras history and African American parading culture in general. For the most part, the exhibits here feature intricate historical costumes, but you'll find photos and other memorabilia from Mardis Gras celebrations of times past. You can explore at your own pace, or you can accept the help of a knowledgeable tour guide to take you through the museum.

7. Music Box Village

The Music Box Village is a fun collection of small shacks that are as much a giant playground as they are a giant musical instrument. When you and your kids visit this art installation, you can explore a wide variety of interactive shacks that are designed to let visitors make music as they see fit. The architecture of the little houses is designed to be inherently musical and to emulate the iconic culture of New Orleans. Be sure to check out the local calendar to see when artists are here to show off their works and their capabilities.

8. Louis Armstrong Park

At Louis Armstrong Park, your family can enjoy a relaxing green space near the French Quarter that functions as a nice break from the hustle and bustle of one of New Orleans's most popular areas. Within this park, you'll find several sculptures, including one of the man himself with his signature trumpet in hand. Additionally, this park features duck ponds, so your kids can enjoy seeing and feeding these adorable little creatures among the vibrant greenery. Finding the park is quite easy. All you have to do is look for the iconic arched entrance.

9. Crescent Park

If you're looking for outdoor family attractions in New Orleans, Crescent Park has much to offer. It's 20 acres in size and located directly on the riverfront, offering plenty of space and stunning views. You'll find several walking paths and even a dog park, so you can bring your furry friend along for the trip. Swings are available for the kids as well. Don't forget to check out the Piety Street Bridge. This iconic aspect of the park is completely pedestrian and offers a convenient way to cross the active railroad tracks that pass through here.

10. French Quarter Kids

You'll find plenty of ways to explore the French Quarter on your family vacation in New Orleans, but if you want your kids to have a tour that's as educational as it is fun, French Quarter Kids has got you covered. This guided tour is led by local teachers who show off the history and culture of this iconic neighborhood. You'll find quite a few different kinds of tours available, including one based on New Orleans's golden era of the 1830s, a teenage-centric tour, and a twilight tour that focuses on local ghost stories while still being kid-friendly.

11. Preservation Hall

While you'll find plenty of jazz halls in New Orleans, Preservation Hall is one of the most kid-friendly options in the city. This venue offers sets of jazz performances every night, with some starting around 6 pm, so kids won't have to stay up late to enjoy them. This jazz venue functions on a first-come, first-served basis, so make sure you arrive a bit before the show is set to start. Grab a bench up front, and your family can enjoy a stunning performance with an exceptional view that you and your kids will love.

12. Faulkner House Books

Faulkner House Books is a popular bookstore in town known for its massive selection of fine literature. When you're traveling on a family vacation in New Orleans, you'll be happy to see just how extensive the children's section at this bookstore is. Whether you're looking for children's books or something more appealing to adults, all you have to do is consult the person behind the desk. They'll use their book-whisperer abilities— and their vast and deep knowledge of all sorts of literature— to recommend something that you're sure to love.

13. Jackson Square

When your family visits Jackson Square, you can enjoy New Orleans family fun in the beating heart of the French Quarter with pristine and well-kept greenery surrounded by stunning historic buildings. The Pontalba apartments are especially alluring, but this is also where you'll find the St. Louis Cathedral. Your kids will particularly enjoy the street performers here that put on fascinating and entertaining shows for passers-by. Plus, you'll find several cafés around offering coffee and sweet snacks for the kids to enjoy. Cafe du Monde is especially popular in this area, thanks to its baked goods.

14. Mardis Gras Museum of Costumes and Culture

Mardis Gras is an essential part of the New Orleans experience, and you can learn all about it at the Mardis Gras Museum of Costumes and Culture. The parade culture is on proud display here with a variety of costumes showcased alongside memorabilia from past parades and social aid events. Visitors can even dress up in items from a rotating costume closet that lets you fully experience what it's like to not only see these parades but to be a part of one as well. It's easy to enjoy this museum no matter when you're in town, as it's open every day.

15. Steamboat Natchez

When you take a cruise along Steamboat Natchez, you'll find family fun in New Orleans that everyone can enjoy. This historic steamboat tour ventures out on the Mississippi River with a steam-powered sternwheeler offering unique views of the city you won't find otherwise. While the trip is relaxing for adults, kids can enjoy the various sites and workshops highlighted along the ride. Not only can they learn about the city and the region's history, but your kids can also learn about the actual structure of a riverboat, including general engineering tips that apply to a wide variety of different machines in life.

16. Confetti Park

If you're looking for New Orleans attractions for kids who are especially young, Confetti Park is one of the best destinations in town. This park has a playground that includes spaces specifically designed for especially young kids. Generally, kids aged 2 to 5 are best for this park, though you'll find plenty of stuff for kids up to 12 years old to do as well. Under the shade of the cypress trees, you'll find picnic tables with painted tops, ready for a game of chess or checkers.

17. Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium

The Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium is one of the largest insectariums in the entire country. Among its 23,000 square feet, you'll find a wide variety of bug species, all safely stored away to remain welcoming toward those who are curious yet cautious about small insects. The butterflies, however, freely fly throughout the garden area, and you shouldn't be surprised if one takes the time to land on your shoulder. There are thousands of butterflies in the garden, and the vibrant colors on their wings can make the garden feel like a rainbow of fluttering.

18. Audubon Aquarium of the Americas

When you visit the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas on your New Orleans family vacation, you'll be met with a plethora of marine life from all over the world. This aquarium highlights 4 major habitats, including the Amazon, the Caribbean, the Gulf Coast, and the Mississippi River. Most of the highlights are centered on marine life around the New Orleans area, but you can see more exotic species as well. Kids tend to especially enjoy the penguins and the touch pool, where they can interact directly with manta rays. In total, you and your family can explore more than 250 species of fascinating creatures.

19. Louisiana Children's Museum

The Louisiana Children's Museum is an ideal family attraction in New Orleans where you and your family can explore 5 primary interactive exhibits centered around the state's culture and natural environment. Your little ones can learn the journey their food takes before getting to their plate, and they can physically dig through the dirt to learn how the natural ecology of Louisiana works. Additionally, you'll find an exhibit focusing on the mighty Mississippi and an outdoor area. If your kids are 4 years of age and younger, there's a special section just for them that they can explore.

20. National World War II Museum

The National World War II Museum is packed full of artefacts and exhibits showcasing America's contribution to World War II. This includes displays of uniforms and even full-size planes. Among the exhibits, you'll find sections showcasing the Pacific Theater, D-Day, and the road to Berlin. When your kids visit, they'll particularly enjoy the cinematic feature that offers a 4D experience narrated by the legendary Tom Hanks. One of the more interesting sections of the museum showcases a selection of artwork produced by people involved in World War II.

21. Ogden Museum of Southern Art

When you visit the Ogden Museum of Southern Art on your family vacation in New Orleans, you can explore the rich culture and artistic creations of the American South. While plenty of masterworks are on display, your family can enjoy a group experience actually creating art. Several artsy summer camps are available, of course, but you can come in simply for a few hours of fun if you like letting your kids test out their creative abilities using a wide variety of art materials. The entire process is designed to simultaneously let kids express themselves while working together with others.

Discover the best family restaurants in New Orleans

22. The Backyard

If you're craving classic American comfort food, look no further than The Backyard. At this laid-back restaurant, you can enjoy American favorites like burgers, soups, chicken wings, and deviled eggs. There's also a creative array of cocktails you can try during your visit. Your kids, on the other hand, will have no problem finding something that they'll love. The kids' menu here includes hot dogs, burgers, chicken bites, and grilled cheese sandwiches, all served alongside fries or tots.

23. The Velvet Cactus

When you visit The Velvet Cactus, you can enjoy a family-friendly atmosphere in an enclosed outdoor patio area. On the menu, you'll find several Spanish-inspired dishes like chilaquiles, fajitas, and more. Plus, you can try a variety of margaritas. Meanwhile, your kids will enjoy a special menu of tacos, nachos, and burritos. Of course, chicken strips are available as well, so even the pickiest of eaters can find something they'll like. The best part is that it's all relatively affordable, so it's a great stop for budget family vacations in New Orleans.

24. Muriel's

At Muriel's, you can enjoy an authentic taste of New Orleans with plenty for your kids to enjoy as well. Located in a historical building, the atmosphere here is opulent, decadent, and, apparently, haunted. On the menu, you'll find high-end, contemporary Creole cuisine that includes shrimp and grits, gumbo, turtle soup, and much more. Meanwhile, your kids can enjoy chicken tenders, pasta alfredo, fried shrimp, and plenty of other options.