Kids are expensive and a day out with them can cost hundreds of dollars. I don't know about your family but we just can't spend hundreds every single weekend having fun and keeping busy. We need FREE or really really cheap things to do. That's why we put together this list of 40+ FREE things to do in New Orleans with kids sponsored by Cara Jouglard Photography.
Walk or bike along the Mississippi River. The levee path goes from the Todd Shipyard site in Algiers to the Huey P. Long bridge, however only the Algiers portion is lighted.
Arnaud's Mardi Gras Museum
Explore the history of Carnival at the Arnaud's Mardi Gras Museum. Open during restaurant hours seven days a week.
Audubon Nature Center
Located in New Orleans East, the nature center offers walking trails and hands on exhibits for children to learn about Southeast Louisiana wildlife. Walking trails are open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and the Exhibit Hall is open Wednesday-Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Planetarium is an additional fee.
Audubon Nature Institute
Orleans Parish residents can get free entry to various Audubon attractions including Audubon Zoo, Aquarium, Butterfly Garden and Insectarium and the Planetarium at the Nature Center, on Wednesdays with a valid ID. Attractions will rotate on a weekly schedule.
In addition, Orleans Parish residents with SNAP cards can gain free entry to all Audubon Attractions with a valid ID and their SNAP card. And New Orleans Library card holders can check out passes at the library.
Located on Magazine St. across from Audubon Zoo the park has a 1.8 mile paved looped, three playgrounds including the new inclusive Walnut St. Playground for kids of all abilities, the Whitney Young Pool and more. The park is perfect for an afternoon of picnics and fun.
Presented by Young Audiences of Louisiana and The Helis Foundation, Baby ArtsPlay offers playtime for young children and their caregivers that supports the child's physical, social and cognitive development while immersing them in New Orleans art and cultural institutions. Locations and times vary, see website for more details.
Barnes and NOBLE
Barnes and Noble Metairie and Westbank have story time that includes an activity on Saturday mornings at 11am.
Located in Marrero the visitor’s center is open from 9:30am-4:30pm Wednesday through Sunday and the trails can be accessed daily from 9am-5pm except on federal holidays and Mardi Gras Day.
BONNABEL BOAT LAUNCH
Located at the food of Bonnabel Blvd and the lake in Metairie. In addition to being able to launch your boats for a day of boating on Lake Pontchartrain, you can also fish, play on the playground and let your dog play in the dog park. The levees along the lake adjacent to the boat launch are perfect for biking and hiking.
1300 acre park in the the middle of New Orleans (Mid-City). The park is full of activities including biking/jogging/walking paths, awesome playgrounds and more.
CITY PARK BOTANICAL GARDENS
Louisiana Residents with a valid ID can get free admission to the City Park Botanical Gardens on Wednesdays from 10am -5pm. Kids will love being able to run and play in the gardens. They will also love watching the trains in the Historic New Orleans Train Garden.
CONTEMPORARY ART MUSEUM
Louisiana Residents with a valid ID can get free admission on Sundays from 11am-5pm. Located at 900 Camp Street
New Orleans, LA 70130-3908.
Take a nature walk right in the middle of New Orleans. This 60 acre forest in City Park has walking trails filled with native trees, scenic waterways and wildlife. Open during daylight hours.
20 acre park located along the Mississippi River in the French Market District with bike paths, a dog run and more. Open from 6am – 7pm.
Free concert and festival during the 1st week of Mardi Gras Parades in Jefferson Parish at Clearview Mall in Metairie.
Soak in the history and music of New Orleans while strolling the French Market in the French Quarter. Keep an eye on their calendar for free events throughout the year.
Take in the views along the river, stroll through Jackson Square while watching the street performers, go window shopping on Royal Street. The French Quarter is the best FREEBIE New Orleans has to offer.
The largest public observatory in the area, located at #1 Copernicus Lane (behind Gretna Junior High on Gretna Blvd). The observatory houses multiple telescopes and is the perfect place to view and learn about the night sky. Open Monday and Wednesday Nights from dusk to 11pm in the summer and dusk to 10pm in the winter.
Step back in time in this replicated village of the past with an ice house, blacksmith shop, and 1930’s gas station and more. Home to Movies and Music in the Park and Kenner’s Lundi Gras Celebration. Heritage Park is located in Kenner’s Rivertown and is only open to the public on Saturday’s from 11am-3pm.
Jazz Historic Park
Located in the French Quarter, the main visitors station is located at the Mississippi River levee on North Peters Street between Dumaine Street and St. Phillip Street. The park hosts monthly concerts with Johnette Downing plus other family friendly events throughout the year. Kids can also become junior rangers through the National Park Service's Junior Ranger Program.
Jefferson Parish Library
The Jefferson Parish Library offers a ton of free events for children and families. From parties, to storytimes, to crafts and movie days, there is always something to do at the library.
JEFFERSON PARISH PLAYGROUNDS
With 16 parks on the Eastbank and 20 on the Westbank there is bound to be a Jefferson Parish Playground near you. Our favorites are Delta Playground on West. Metairie and Pontiff Playground in Old Metairie.
JOE BROWN PARK
Located in New Orleans on Read Blvd. Joe Brown has a playground, indoor pool that is opened year round, and open play basketball. The park also hosts a ton of outdoor activities such as camping, canoeing and fishing.
KENNER CITY PARK
Located at the corner of Loyola and Vintage. The park has two playgrounds, one that is handicap accessible, 1/4 mile walking track and shelter for picnics.
Located on the lakefront in Kenner. Laketown has playgrounds, fishing pier, a boat launch and more.
In addition to the park mentioned above, Kenner has playgrounds throughout the city that offer youth sports and a place for area kids to play.
KENNER SKATE PARK
Located on the corner of Loyola and W. Loyola at Wentwood Playground. The skate park is open from 10am to dusk daily and is a great place for kids of all ages to test their skateboarding skills.
Kids' Castle at Lakeside Shopping Center
Located inside Lakeside Shopping Center near the Food Court entrance, the Kids' Castle is for children under 51″ and offers a medieval theme soft indoor play area, a climbing castle, baby changing counters, family restroom, hand washing station and three nursing rooms. The Kids' Castle is open Monday through Saturday from 10am-8pm and Sunday from 12-6pm.
Located in Metairie off of Veterans Memorial Blvd, David Drive and W. Napoleon Blvd the park offers 2 playgrounds, a walking trail and green space to play and have fun.
Located at the southernmost end of Williams Blvd, you can see the power of the Mississippi River while walking or biking along the path at the top of the levee.
Located off Airline Hwy next to Baby Cakes Stadium, the park has a walking path, playgrounds, and a nature boardwalk. Open 5am-10pm daily.
Mini Art Center Open Studio
Located at 341 Sequin St in Algiers Point, the Mini Art Center offers Open Studio on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month from 12-5pm. Children and their families can creative and explore with fun art projects and activities.
NEW ORLEANS LAKEFRONT
The New Orleans Lakefront is great of play and picnicking with lots of green space, playgrounds and more.
New Orleans Library
The New Orleans Public Library offers a wide range of events such as storytimes, crafts, movies and more for children and teens. You can also get free passes to Audubon attractions with your library card.
NORDC runs 107 parks and playgrounds in the City of New Orleans and offers a ton of free family events and activities throughout the year.
NEW ORLEANS MUSEUM OF ART (NOMA)
Located inside City Park, NOMA offers free admission to Louisiana residents with a valid ID on Wednesdays from 10am-6pm.
Mardi Gras Parades
Ok I lied, this is the BEST freebie in New Orleans, not the French Quarter. The two weeks before Mardi Gras Day are filled with parades and fun, all of which is FREE.
OGDEN MUSEUM OF SOUTHERN ART
Located at 925 Camp St, Warehouse District, just off Lee Circle, the museum is free for Louisiana Residents from 10am-5pm on Thursdays.
Riverwalk Play Area
Soft swamped themed play area with foam climbing structures designed for small children located past the food court.
Located behind Audubon Zoo, The Fly offers playgrounds and green space for picnics and play with views of the Mississippi River. If you're lucky you may also catch a sighting of the giraffes that call the zoo home.
Located on Decatur St. in the French Quarter. Stop in for a sample of their sweet treats while watching them make pralines and other local candies.
St. Louis Cathedral
No trip to the French Quarter is complete without stopping to see the beauty of the cathedral up close and in person. Located behind Jackson Square in the French Quarter, the St. Louis Cathedral is open daily from 8:30 am-4:00 pm with Daily Mass being at 12:05pm.
St. Patrick's Day Parades
Catch veggies and other goodies at one of the New Orleans St. Patrick's Day Parades.
Wednesday at the Square
Concert Series with ten free concerts every Wednesday from March 20-May 22 from 5-8pm in Lafayette Square. Line up TBA.
Woldenberg Riverfront Park
Riverfront park located on the banks of the Mississippi River in Downtown New Orleans with lots of green space for playing and picnicking, a paved pathway for walking along the river and a fountain in front of the Audubon Aquarium that is perfect for playing in on a hot day.
What is your favorite FREE activity to do in New Orleans?