Glad to hear you’re comin’ down this way. As a proud parent of three and two-thirds littles (7, 4, 2, and due July 7th), I can assure you that there’s plenty to do in our fair city that’s fun for both big and little people.
In no particular order:
Beignets at Cafe DuMonde. Essentially fried-dough heaped with powdered sugar. Don’t wear black, don’t try to keep the little person (LP) clean. Walk to the back window so the LP can watch them make the beignets.
Across the street and down-river from Cafe DuMonde are Progress Grocery and Central Grocery. It’s a toss up as to which makes the best Muffaletta (sp??) sandwich in New Orleans.
The Aquarium of the Americas at the foot of Canal Street is worth a visit. Call ahead to find out when they feed the fish in the big tank, and arrange to go then. Our L.P.'s think it’s great fun to watch them feed the sharks. Also at the foot of Canal is the IMAX theatre.
From the Aquarium, you can take the John James Audubon on a cruise upriver to Audubon Zoo. Be sure to let the L.P. play on Monkey Hill and buy him a Roman Candy from the horse-drawn cart near the sea lion exhibit. If I were you, I’d buy a one-way ticket on the JJA, tour the zoo, walk across the street and stroll through Audubon Park to St. Charles Avenue and ride the streetcar back to Canal Street. It’s a long day, but a favorite.
Near the F.Q. is the Louisian Childrens’ Museum. If you have a childrens’ museum in your home town, don’t bother (it’s good but not THAT good). Of course, it’s air-conditioned, which is nice.
Also, not too far from the F.Q. and on the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line is Bravo’s Italian restaurant. They serve great Italian food. Bonus: the LP can sit at the pizza bar, play with some pizza dough, and watch the chefs make pizza in the wood-fired pizza oven.
There is a kid-sized amusement park in City Park with a small roller-coaster, tilt-a-whirl, bumper cars, etc. Call ahead to make sure that it’s open and not reserved for a private party.
Also at City Park is Story Land, which has some kid-sized Mother Goose-inspired play structures.
For great, '50s-style diner food, go to the Camellia Grill at Riverbend (where St. Charles Avenue ends and South Carrollton Avenue begins). Cash only, no reservations. Breakfast is their specialty. Call ahead to find out when they open and get there early to beat the crowd. Go on a weekday if possible.
Near the Camellia Grill is Williams Plum Street Snowball Stand. From Riverbend and going towards the lake on S. Carrollton, turn right on Plum; go three blocks. Nothing like a big cup of flavored, sugared ice to slake the heat!
Try Mandina’s Restaurant at 3800 Canal Street for an authentic, New Orleans neighborhood restaurant meal. Get the turtle soup appetizer and the creole catfish if they’re serving it. Again, cash only, no reservations. Go early.
After supper, go up to North Carrollton Avenue, turn right, go one and a half blocks to Angelo Brocato’s Italian ice cream parlor (it’s on the right side of N. Carrollton). They hand make their gelatos, ices, pastries, and candies. Yum.
We’ve found that the D-Day Museum while good, is a bit graphic for our little people. YMMV, however.
Ditto on Eve’s suggestion for the Gumbo Shop.
Lastly, have fun!