This post was written by the Experimental Mommy in partnership with the Louisiana Children’s Museum. All opinions are 100% my own.
When my kids were younger, we spent so many days exploring the Louisiana Children’s Museum on Julia St. in New Orleans. When I heard they were not only relocating after 31 years but constructing an entirely new building, I was worried that some of the charm and whimsy of the old location would be lost. I mean, those beautiful blue doors? How could they be replaced?
Fortunately, I got a sneak peek tour of the brand new Louisiana Children’s Museum (now located in New Orleans City Park at 15 Henry Thomas Drive), and I am here to tell you that there is nothing to worry about. It is amazing in every way.
Situated on 8.5 acres, every detail is well planned and impeccably executed from the architecture centered around the arc of the sun in order to conserve energy to the windows that block the heat while not obstructing the gorgeous views. It is easy to see the influence of not only children in the museum design, but the influence of parents AND grandparents, too! Artwork by local children adorns almost every wall and quotes from grandparents make the decor very warm and cozy.
The Louisiana Children’s Museum features five fun and interactive exhibits allowing parents to engage with their kids in new and exciting ways including Play with Me; Follow That Food; Dig Into Nature; Make Your Mark, and Flow with The River.
For museum visitors 4 and under, the Play with Me exhibit features adorable nooks to encourage literacy, a Sensory Lagoon (think giant waterbed), and plenty of active toys. New Orleans natives will be happy to hear some museum favorites remain (and newly re-imagined) such as the Bubble exhibit and the Grocery Store located in the Follow that Food section. My favorite part of “Follow that Food” is the Mr. Okra van complete with actual recordings of Mr. Okra advertising his goods in the streets of New Orleans.
As a scientist, I have had the opportunity to work on coastal restoration projects right here in Louisiana, so I could not have been happier to see the “Dig into Nature” and “Flow with the River” exhibits teaching children about the importance of our environment and how the Mississippi River effects and shapes our community.
Other new museum additions include a life-sized interactive checkers board superimposed with an aerial view of New Orleans. As you move the checker pieces around the board, children are treated to the sounds you might hear in that particular area of the City. For example, placing the checker piece on the Superdome will start the “Who Dat” chant which is music to just about any Saints fan’s ears.
Kids are certain to love the water play area in “Flow with the River!” The 100 foot long mighty Mississippi River model is fully interactive and tells the story of the river’s journey from the Twin Cities all the way to the Port of New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico. Did I mention the kids can even work in the Port and learn how goods are processed?
All of this play makes for some hungry kids (and parents)! Acorn NOLA, a Dickie Brennan & Co. cafe, will serve breakfast including French Truck coffee, lunch and dinner and will be accessible to the public as well. The menu includes traditional kids’ favorites including chicken tenders and grilled cheese, but also many items for the more sophisticated palate. I was impressed with the selection and price points, too.
Before leaving, make sure to check out the Fog Display which runs for 5 minutes every hour. It’s so fun to walk through and a great way to cool off in the New Orleans heat!
Ready to check out the Louisiana Children’s Museum? The Grand Opening will be on August 31, 2019 at noon! The museum will be accessible for a $14 admission rate and will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Birthday parties will still be available and will begin booking in the next few weeks with museum Members receiving first priority.
Looking for more activities in New Orleans City Park? Check out our experience at Celebration in the Oaks!