Things often work out in unexpected ways, like being in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. This was never in our plans when we decided to tour the country, it just kind of worked out that way. The Carnival celebration of Mardi Gras is often portrayed as being more of an adult type of celebration. People getting crazy, drinking, and other un-family friendly activities are what many people associate with Mardi Gras. These things probably do happen, but the Mardi Gras we experienced was not like that at all. It focused on parades, families, crowds, and good times being had by all. It is really about the floats and their themes. These floats are so cool and so well designed, it’s hard to believe they put so much work into them just for this one celebration. The parades were awesome and the throws were crazy, it’s like no other parade we have ever experienced.. They throw out so much stuff (not just beads)! We left after only seeing one of the parade krewes because we had bags full of stuff, it was so incredible. The kids were having so much fun trying to get the good loot that we couldn’t help but let them. All the people on the floats (krewes) wear costumes and masks or paint their faces. It was an amazing experience to be there and I am so glad that we somehow ended up being a part of it.
We also spent some time wandering around the French Quarter. It was an interesting place. The buildings definitely have a French design quality. It’s very artsy with many art galleries and musicians everywhere. We wanted to try beignets (a French square doughnut covered in powdered sugar) so we found a little cafe where we could order some it was a little to touristy for us, but they were very good. The children’s museum was nearby so we walked there to let the children play for a while. This was not the best children’s museums we have visited by far, but it still had some interesting things to offer. Being on the Mississippi river it was only fitting they had the little port exhibit where the kids dressed up like a ship captain and drove the ship. There was a restaurant set up where they enjoyed taking orders and preparing food for mom and dad. It was nice, but not as educational as others we have been to. We always enjoy seeing and doing new things and this was no exception.
Many of the big cities we visit have big parks with lots to do. New Orleans was no different. They keep it simple by just calling it City Park. Within the park is a place called Storyland. It is made up of different story book pieces that kids can play on, in or around. The favorite for the kids was the fire breathing dragon slide, but I was partial to the three little pigs houses, one built of sticks, one built of straw………and you know the rest. It was cute and the kids enjoyed themselves. Another feature within the park was a sculpture garden. It was free to go in and walk around. It ended up being much larger than it looked when we first walked in. It was really cool, and had a ton of interesting sculptures. There were bridges to walk over and we even saw some people taking a boat ride down the little river. Of course we also had to let the kids play at the playground, but there was a really cool tree for climbing so that’s where they spent most of their time. Miles made friends with some boys and played football with them for a while. It was a fun time and a great experience had by all in New Orleans.
Here are links to the places we visited if you are interested:
Mardi Gras New Orleans
Louisiana Children’s Museum
New Orleans Visitor Information
New Orleans City Park