During Mardi Gras in New Orleans you frequently hear the Meter's song "I went on down to the Audubon Zoo and they all asked for you. The monkeys asked. The tigers asked. And the elephant asked me too." Whether you are visiting new Orleans at Mardi Gras or any other time of year. You should make time to visit the Audubon Zoo.
1. Family Friendly Fun
If you are traveling to New Orleans with Children, the Audubon Zoo is a must see. This living museum is consistently recognized as one of the best in the country. Originally built for the 1884 World Exposition in Audubon Park, this New Orleans Landmark offers exotic animals in natural habitats and hands-on experience in a lush garden like setting. The zoo is open Thursday to Monday from 10 am to 5pm. Tickets are $24.95 for adults and 19.95 for children ages 2-12 and seniors 65+. Reservation Times and Tickets are available on the Audubon Zoo Website.
2. Louisiana Swamp Exhibit
This award winning Exhibit offers insight into the the swampy, wetland habitat surrounding New Orleans. You can walk above an alligator filled pond with raccoons and and black bears climbing in the trees above you. Egrets and Pelicans are attracted to this man-made wetland.
The Louisiana Wetland Exhibit is home to the extremely rare albino alligator. You can walk through a series of life size dioramas that depicts life for the early settlers of the Louisiana Wetlands.
3. Monkey Hill
Monkey Hill was created as a depression era WPA project to show children what a hill looks like. It is the highest point in New Orleans at 28 feet above sea level. It has been expanded into a children’s play area shaded by 200 year old Oak trees. Children of all ages love running up the hill and then rolling back down or sliding down the giant tunnel slide.
4. You Can Ride the Street Car to the Zoo
The Audubon Zoo is located between Audubon Park and the Mississippi River. There is abundant free parking for visitors arriving by car. Another fun option is to ride the St. Charles Street Car to Audubon Park and walk through the park to get to the Zoo.
5. World of Primates
There is nothing more fun than watching the monkey's swing from tree to tree chattering at their co-inhabitants and visitors. These large open air exhibits showcase multiple species of primates from tiny Spider Monkeys to large red bottom Orangutans. There is even a place to get your picture taken with a Gorilla Statue.
6. Sea Lion Pool
Built in 1928, the beautiful colonnaded Sea Lion Pool is at the center of Audubon Zoo. These playful creatures delight visitors with their swimming prowess. Check the daily schedule to see when feeding times are or just listen for their barks as the zoo keepers approach their pool.
7. Jaguar Jungle
A recent addition to the Zoo is the Jaguar Jungle and Mayan Life Exhibit. Anteaters, colorful Macaws and Saba Bats illustrate jungle life, where the Jaguar is the king. Kids can dig for "archeological treasures" and walk through the Bat House experiencing the jungle at dusk.
8. Cool Zoo, Play Area, and Carousel
Summers got a lot cooler when the Zoo added the Gator Run lazy river and mini water park. There is a separate, $10 ticket for the Cool Zoo. It is only open in the summer months. The animal carousel, zoo train and play area is open year round for youngsters to enjoy. There is an additional charge for the carousel and train.
9. African Savanna
The African Savanna allow you to get up-close and personal with Lions, Giraffes, Zebras and Hippos. The Lions recently had cubs. You often find them scampering around the grassy enclosure as their parents dose lazily in the shade. In the summer months, the hippos can often be found in the large pond in their enclosure.
Some of my most treasured memories are if the days that I have spent enjoying the Audubon Zoo with our children when they were young and our grandsons. Our tradition includes getting a stick of Roman Candy, the New Orleans version of homemade taffy, at the end of our visit.
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We found some delightful places to stay through them.
Ritz Carlton, New Orleans - Splurge Worthy
Roosevelt Hotel - Historic Luxury
Royal Sonesta, French Quarter - Best Location Luxury
Place d'Armes - Best Location Budget Friendly