2021 Guide to Summer Fun in New Orleans

The 2021 Guide to Summer Fun in New Orleans With Kids 

There are so many things to do with kids in New Orleans this summer! Below are over 100 of our favorite ideas for every budget, interest and age for entertaining kids in New Orleans. A huge thanks to Drink 4D, KreweCar, and New Orleans Public Library for sponsoring this guide.

About our Summer Fun Guide Sponsors ::

Drink 4D

Stay hydrated this summer with 4DBased on the Northshore, our energy and vitamin supplement drink is the only all-in-one that does it all.

Drink 4D’s mission is centered around two common subjects: health and wellness.

Our company is always promoting living a healthy and active lifestyle. We provide clean energy, vitamins, amino acids, and electrolytes to each customer so that they can take on the day the right way. Our product is perfect for summer months when you really need the energy and hydration.


KreweCar

If you are looking forward to a summer of fun and adventure (and cocktails), make sure you sign Get to Summer Events Safely in New Orleansup with KreweCar. This membership-only ridesharing service was started by a local mom in need of a way to get her family to and from the airport and around town safely without lugging cumbersome car seats around and without having to forgo a glass of wine. This service is a step up from the rideshare services you are used to. KreweCar thoroughly screens all drivers. The vehicles are SUVs and are kept clean and sanitized. Rides are customizable based on your needs, and there is no surge pricing.


New Orleans Public Library

Libraries across the country host summer reading programs as a way to encourage reading as a lifelong habit, maintain reading skills that children and teens have achieved throughout the schoolSummer Reading Program New Orleans year, and increase interest in libraries, and because it’s just plain fun.

For the second year, SUMMER FUN at the New Orleans Public Library is going virtual. Join the Library for virtual programs, including visits with Audubon Nature Institute educators, a financial literacy series with Flyte Coaching, book clubs, online games, and more. Don’t forget to track your reading or your child’s reading for prizes using our reading tracker and BINGO card. Join in the SUMMER FUN by signing up at summerfun.nolalibrary.org beginning Monday, May 17th.


 

Now let’s get started, and be sure to show us YOUR New Orleans summer adventures by using the hashtag:

#NOMSUMMERFUN

Please note, we do recommend that you check each event/business website for the most up to date information.


New Orleans Summer Fun for the Whole Family

  • Head to Lakeside Shopping Center where there is something for everyone :: shopping, eating, and an awesome Kids’ Castle play area for the littlest members of your family. (As of 4/30/21  the mall is open, but the Kids’ Castle play area is not.)
  • Spend a day at City Park :: visit Storyland, the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, or play a round of miniature golf at City Putt. Rent a paddleboat for a ride across Big Lake or rent a bike from the boathouse to trek across City Park’s natural wonders. Wheel Fun Rentals has bikes available to rent including surrey bikes, cruisers and bikes with trailers. They also have different boat options including canoes, kayaks and even swan boats! And did you know you can enjoy an authentic Venetian gondola ride through City Park’s Big Lake? Check out NOLA Gondola for details! There is so much to explore at City Park for every member of your family. 
  • Ride the Street Car and hop off for some shopping and dining. Some of our favorite restaurants along the Streetcar line include Camellia Grill, Superior Seafood and brunch at the Columns Hotel
  • Explore the French Quarter :: eat Beignets at Cafe Du Monde, shop at the French Market, take a tour of the Cabildo Museum while enjoying the a/c and take a family selfie in front of Jackson Square. (As of 4/30/21  Cafe Du Monde is open for dining takeout and the French Market is open, with limited vendors slowly returning.)
  • Put on your bathing suit and check out one of the city’s hot spots for water fun. Cool Zoo is planning to reopen for the 2021 Summer, date TBD. (We encourage you to check each splash pad/water park as each one has their own individual Covid restrictions.)
  • Cool off in one of free public pools. Check your local recreation department website for locations and hours. 
  • Escape the heat by catching a movie at one of the local theaters. The Broad Theater and Prytania Theatres are open and ready for business.

New Orleans Summer Fun for the Littles:

  • Ready to learn to swim? Here’s our handy guide to swim lessons.
  • The Kids’ Castle at Lakeside mall is the perfect place to beat the heat with your littles and it’s free! (As of 4/30/2021 the Kids’ Castle remains closed.)
  • Rock out to musical instruments and bond with your littles through online Kindermusik with Madeline (all classes are virtual at this time).
  •  Looking for free enrichment to enjoy with your child, then head to one of New Orleans public libraries to read some books and enjoy story time.  Check your local branch for story time and hours of operation. 
  • Let your little one reach for bubbles and take a ride on a parachute at a Gym Rompers class where they can explore childhood through both independent play and group engagement. The Summer 2021 session begins on June 1st at both their Uptown and Metairie locations.
  • Visit The Louisiana Children’s Museum and enjoy the variety of indoor and outdoor hands-on play and learning areas. LCM is reopening on May 29th with timed-entry tickets that must be reserved in advance.
  • For the really hot weeks, head to an indoor play place like NOLA Kidsground, The Monkey Room and Luv 2 Play. (As of 4/30/2021 NOLA Kidsground and Luv 2 Play are open-make reservations online).

NOLA Summer Fun for the Bigs (School Age Kids and Beyond):

  • Enroll in a summer camp or program (fun for all ages, schedules, and budgets).
  • If you want to be a real MVP, take your crew to Adventure Quest Laser Tag where you can ride bumper cars, play laser tag, and battle it out in the arcade. (As of 4/30/21  Adventure Quest is open.)
  • Bowl a STRIKE at one of the city’s bowling alleys. Colonial Lanes, Fulton Alley, Westside Lanes, and Rock N Bowl
  • If you’re really trying to get the energy out, then a trampoline park is a great destination and New Orleans has lots of options. Visit Defy, SkyZoneAltitude and Surge
  • Relive all of your best childhood memories at Airline Skate. 
  • Make a custom piece of jewelry with your kiddo at The Bead Shop. (As of 4/30/21  the shop is open at limited capacity.)
  • Get your craft on at NOLA Craft Culture and make something together! 
  • Enjoy the mystery and challenge of a local escape room such as The Escape Game or Clue Carre
  • Make a one of a kind piece of pottery at Posh Paint Pub. (As of 4/30/21 they are closed but will reopen on May 24th).
  • Play some arcade games at Dave & Busters
  • Have messy fun with no cleanup at The Makery 504! They have crafty projects, classes and events for all ages. Check their calendar for all the fun.

New Orleans Summer MSY Love:

  • Take a stroll along Julia Street to check out the art galleries.
  • Take a Swamp Tour and see if you can spot an alligator. (As of 5/29/20 Cajun Encounters is open.)
  • Shop the Crescent City Farmers Market and stock up on supplies to make your favorite New Orleans recipe. (As of 4/30/21  all Crescent City Farmers Markets are offering different options for each market, please check here for more details..)
  • Marvel at the creativity of our locals and purchase something for yourself or loved one at the Palmer Park Art Market. The market takes place on the last Saturday of each month from 10AM – 4PM.
  • Enjoy the Sculpture Garden at City Park. The garden is open and is following these guidelines.
  • The Music Box Village is made up of structures such as phone booths, houses, and Japanese pagodas that play music.  It’s a hands-on experience during public hours, and hosts musical concerts as well. (As of 4/30/21 the village will remain closed for the Summer 2021 season.)

New Orleans Summer MSY Eats:

  • Put the kids to bed for 30 seconds, then run in and tell them it’s time to get in the car and go get ice cream :: we particularly love Creole Creamery.
  • Even the name Picnic Provisions and Whiskey screams summer. Come enjoy a casual family dinner of summertime fare, and some outdoor games for entertainment. 
  • Saturday mornings are made for donuts. District Donuts is currently offering takeout and delivery so you can enjoy their assortment of gourmet food and beverage options.
  • You can’t let the summer pass without eating a Snoball. Head to Hansen’s for a truly historic and delicious New Orleans treat. 
  • Summer is synonymous with burgers, right? Check out some of our favorites :: Cowbell (re-opening 4/30/21 for outdoor patio dining and takeout), Company Burger and Camellia Grill
  • It’s iced coffee season! There are so many options, visit one of New Orleans local coffee shops!
  • Enjoy a beer at one of New Orleans family friendly breweries (as of 6/24/21 all breweries are open.) :: Urban South, Port Orleans, Second Line Brewing, NOLA Brewing, Parleaux and Faubourg Brewing Company.

New Orleans Summer Outdoor Adventures:

  • Get moving at a favorite local park :: team favorites include Audubon Park, Lafreniere Park and City Park
  • Get up close and personal with the wildlife at the Audubon Zoo. (As of 4/30/21  all guests including members must make reservations in advance.)
  • Float down the Bogue Chitto River. At the Bogue Chitto Tubing Center, you can choose your means of transportation- tube, canoe, or kayak. 
  • Rent a kayak for some water adventure with Bayou Paddle Sports in Mid-City or Canoe and Trail Adventures on the Northshore. 
  • Go fishing. You can catch and release in City Park or rent a boat from one of the many local fishing charters.
  • The Barataria Preserve offers a taste of Louisiana’s wild wetlands. Take a self-guided tour on their boardwalks and dirt trails or enjoy the exhibits in their visitor center. (Resuming 5/1/21 Wetlands Walk will take place 10AM every Wednesday through Saturday)
  • Bring a picnic dinner and catch a gorgeous Louisiana sunset at The Fly on the Southshore or Sunset Point from the Northshore (bonus points for this spot where you can spend the afternoon fishing before catching a beautiful sunset).
  • Go camping at a park, or have a backyard camp-out at home.
  • Spend the day at Fontainebleau State Park and enjoy their trails, beach or explore the lake on kayaks or canoes. You could even rent a cabin or reserve a camp site and stay the night. 
  • Explore 10 acres of cultivated gardens at The New Orleans Botanical Gardens

New Orleans Summer Worth the Drive:

  • Take a day trip to Avery Island home of Tabasco! Visit the factory or restaurant. Take a guided bird tour or take a self guided tour through the Jungle Gardens. Are you a foodie? Then sign up for one of their cooking classes or guided culinary tours through Cajun country. (As of 4/30/21 the factory is not doing public tours.)
  • Head to Mississippi for the day and stop at Coastal Ridge Farm to pick Sunflowers and Pearl River Blues Berry Farm to pick blueberries. (Both farms are currently closed as of 4/30/21.)
  • Take a drive to Mississippi to visit the Infinity Science Center and tour the Stennis Space Center. (Grand re-opening 5/29/21)
  • Enjoy an animal encounter at Global Wildlife. This wildlife sanctuary, located in Folsom, LA, includes zebras, giraffes, camels, and more! Feed these free-roaming animals located on over 900 acres of farmland from your own guided wagon ride. 
  • Looking for something to do in the Hammond area, then take a look at our handy guide.
  • Share a day at the lake making memories at White Sands Lake Day Beach. Enjoy an aqua park, boat rentals, volleyball and more. (2021 season begins 5/1/21)
  • Located a short ferry ride from Mississippi’s coast, you can find some of the last undeveloped barrier islands in America at Ship Island. Now booking Dolphin Cruises
  • Spend a day at the Mississippi beaches. Choose from Waveland, Bay St. Louis, Long Beach or Gulfport, all are within a 90 minute drive and offer your family hours of free Summer fun. Each beach offers free public access complete with bathrooms, outdoor showers for rinsing off, and free parking. Pack a lunch or check out one of the restaurants in the area. 
  • Pack the family up and take the short trip out to Sugar Roots Farm to pet the animals, ride horses, and taste some of the deliciousness produced on the farm. (The farm is currently open.)
  • Want to swim with the dolphins? Pet Stingrays? Kiss a sea lion? Take a drive to Gulfport, Mississippi to make special memories at Ocean Adventures Marine Park.
  • Scale the colossal Climbing structure at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center
  • Knock Knock Children’s Museum in Baton Rouge was named “Louisiana Museum of the Year” last year. (As of 4/30/21 the museum remains temporarily closed but has plans to reopen in June.)
  • Visit Gulf Islands Waterpark for a day of water fun in the sun. (The park re-opens for the season on 5/22/21)
  • Swim over to Blue Bayou Waterpark located in Baton Rouge. (Park reopens on 5/22/21 for the summer season)

New Orleans Summer Learning Fun:

  • New Orleans is home to the #3 museum in the country according to Trip Advisor! Our WWII Museum is a must-see attraction that really can’t be missed if you live in this city. They offer children’s programming, a wonderful camp, movies in their Stage Door Canteen and volunteer opportunities for  children aged 13-17. (The museum is currently open at limited capacity.)
  • Check out the Ogden Museum for art exhibits and events for kids, click here for their programs for kids! 
  • Sign your little one up for the New Orleans Public Library‘s reading challenge and Summer Fun Program. (The library is currently closed to the public but is offering contact-free resource pickup.)
  • Instill a love of reading and literacy in your children while you sing songs and play games together in New Orleans READ program.
  • The Backstreet Cultural Museum celebrates  New Orleans’ masking and processional traditions.  It houses a large collection of Mardi Gras Indian costumes and even gives children a chance to learn to sew the costumes themselves. 
  • Learn all about Insects at the Insectarium and then walk over to the Aquarium and enter an underwater world full of penguins, stingrays, and seahorses. (As of 4/308/21 the Insectarium remains closed and the Aquarium requires advanced ticket reservations)
  • Visit the St. Tammany Children’s Museum and build your own rollercoaster. (As of 4/30/21 the museum is open but requires advanced ticket reservations.)

New Orleans Summer Sports and Fitness:

  • The New Orleans Boulder Lounge is New Orleans premier indoor climbing facility.  They offer kids only hours on Sunday morning and youth climbing teams for children aged 5-12. (The lounge is currently open but requires pre-booked sessions)
  • Sign your littles up for Soccer Shots at one of their many New Orleans locations. For children ages 2-8. 
  • Take a bike ride along the scenic Tammany Trace that spans from downtown Covington, through Abita Springs, Mandeville, Lacombe and ends in Slidell. 
  • Summer means slowing down and taking some time to breathe. Lolo’s Youth Yoga specializes in Children’s yoga. 
  • Go for a run along Crescent Park, a beautiful urban park along the riverfront. 
  • Enjoy hitting some balls at Big Easy Sportsplex
  • Do a warrior style obstacle course at NOLA Muscle Park.

New Orleans Summer Date Night (or Date Day): 

  • Hit the town and enjoy a show at Saenger Theater. (As of 4/30/21 the theater remains closed, but on their website you can view a few events still taking place this summer.)
  • Take a cooking class at the New Orleans School of Cooking. Book a demonstration class or hands-on class.
  • Go for a wine tasting at Pontchartrain Vineyards. You could even make a night of it and stay at the Southern Hotel, then enjoy brunch at Hambone the next day. 
  • Spend the evening painting the town at an adult class with Painting with a Twist. As of 4/30/21 all  the area locations are open and also offer kits for pickup so grab one and do a date night at home.
  • Looking for a location that gives you all the laid-back romance vibes, then Bacchanal Wine is the perfect place to spend some one on one time with your love. Good food. Good Wine. Great Ambiance. (As of 4/30/21 Bacchanal is offering curbside pickup and yard dining with reservations.)
  • Leave your cell phone in your bag and spend the night catching up over doberge cake, champagne, and board games at the Bakery Bar. If you are in the Metairie/Kenner area, check out their newest location in Rivertown at Debbie on the Levee
  • Spend an evening out listening to music on Frenchmen Street. (Please check individual jazz clubs for updates.)

New Orleans Summer Fun at Home:

  • Make homemade popsicles.
  • Plant a vegetable garden.
  • Have a water balloon or squirt gun fight.
  • Roast marshmallows for s’mores.
  • Have a lemonade stand.
  • Build a fort in your living room.
  • Let the kids cover themselves in shaving cream in the backyard then hose them off.
  • Send letters or pictures to friends and family.
  • Make root beer floats.
  • Play in the sprinkler.
  • Make tie dyed t-shirts.
  • Make homemade ice cream (use this easy ice cream in a bag if you don’t have an ice cream maker).
  • Do some youtube kids exercise videos. We particularly like Cosmic Kids Yoga and Moovlee.

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Mary is a caffeine addicted boy mom to Noah, Liam and Luke. This “stay at home” mom can typically been found cruising in her minivan, jamming to Beyonce with a Starbucks in hand on her way to carpool or after school activities. Mary has been married to her high school sweetheart since 2007. She is a founder of Delivering Hope NOLA and the Vanessa Wolff Scholarship Fund at her Alma Mater. Mary is passionate in the local preemie community and has been heavily involved with the March of Dimes since her sons Liam and Luke were born premature.

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