Splash grounds, water parks, outdoor pools, sno-ball stands — all are beloved options for families trying to make it through another New Orleans summer. But there are always those days when summer storms strike or when the thought of another moment in the sun is just more than you can take. Fortunately, New Orleans has no shortage of ways for families to get out of the house, explore the city, get the wiggles out and still enjoy the oh-so-glorious wonders of air conditioning.
New Orleans Boulder Lounge
We may not have mountains, but we do have boulders — they’re just indoor and man-made. The New Orleans Boulder Lounge encourages children to literally climb the walls, even offering kids-only climbing hours every Sunday morning from 10 a.m. to noon, and discounted pricing (climbing and shoe rental together is $10 per child). Regular day passes are $16 for adults, $12 kids 12 and under. Rental shoes are required and are $4. The Boulder Lounge also occasionally offers Parents’ Night Out — evening three-hour climbing sessions and games. 2360 St. Claude Ave.
Penguin Ice Skating
With the closing of Leo’s ice skating rink in Baton Rouge in the spring of 2018, the closest ice skating rink to New Orleans was Lafayette — that is until Penguin Ice Skating opened last August in Kenner’s Esplanade Mall. While the 2,200-square-foot rink is synthetic, the added friction is actually easier for beginning skaters. The rink is open from noon to 9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. Admission and skate rental is $15 on weekends and $10 on weekdays. Esplanade Mall,1401 W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner
We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gym
A gym for kids of all ability levels, We Rock the Spectrum features a wide array of play structures, including swings, a trampoline, tunnels and a zip line. Plus, there’s an arts and crafts section that includes beading, painting and lanyards. Open play time is offered from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Open play is $12 for the first child, $10 for siblings. Esplanade Mall, 1401 W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner
Other Ways to Get Moving
Defy (formerly Sector 6), 62 Distributors Row; Sky Zone, 6509 Riverside Dr.. Metairie; Surge, 6930 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie.
Adventure Quest Laser Tag, 1001 Elmwood Park Blvd.; Area 51, 1539 Lafayette St., Gretna; Laser Tag of Metairie, 8855 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie.
Airline Skate Center, 6711 Airline Dr.; Skate Country Westbank, 1100 Terry Pkwy, Terrytown.
AMF All-Star Lanes, 3640 Williams Blvd., Kenner; Colonial Lanes Bowling, 6601 Jefferson Hwy., Harahan; Westside Bowling Lanes, 3715 Westbank Expy., Harvey; Rock ‘n Bowl, 3016 S. Carrollton Ave.
Big Easy Sportsplex, 800 Webb St.; Playmaker Indoor Sports Center, 6124 Jefferson Hwy., Harahan.
Monkey Room, 1501 Religious St.; Palm Tree Playground, 2011 N. Service Rd. E., Metairie; Luv 2 Play Metairie, 6851 Veterans Blvd., Metairie; Gym Rompers New Orleans and Metairie, 5212 S. Claiborne Ave.
Activities for Little Pnuts
Looking for some indoor fun in Lakeview? Little Pnuts Toy Shoppe and Party Boutique offers afternoon one-hour play dates for ages 5 and up ($15), family game nights with pizza and beverages ($15 adults, $5 kids), parents happy hours where parents can drop children age 6 and older off every Thursday from 5-7 p.m. ($25 first child, $20 siblings), and adults-only murder mystery and escape room nights ($25 per person.)
Explore the Universe
Audubon Louisiana Nature Center in New Orleans East
Using a new state-of-the-art projection system, the planetarium’s approximately one-hour programs range from Big Bird and Elmo exploring the night sky, to tours of the Mayan sky, to the history of the telescope and the incredible migration of butterflies. Open Wed.-Sun. from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $7.50 for adults, $6 for children. Audubon members receive $1 off. 11000 Lake Forest Blvd., New Orleans
Kenner Planetarium and Space Science Complex
Step inside a NASA International Space Station Prototype. Play around on a green screen and predict the weather. Learn about optical illusions. Dig for dinosaur bones. These are just a few of the exhibits at Kenner’s Space Science Complex. The same location also boasts a 50-foot dome screen that shows laser shows — like Laser Guitar Hero — as well as educational programs about the universe. Open Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Show tickets include access to exhibits and are $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and children. Tickets to just the exhibits are $5 for adults, $4 for seniors (60+) and $3 for children age 2-12. 2020 4th Street, Kenner
Big Easy Rollergirls
July 27 and Aug. 17, UNO Lakefront Arena
The whole family can enjoy the excitement of roller derby at a Big Easy Rollergirls game. Games feature a kids’ zone, half-time entertainment, concessions and the chance to get up close with the tough New Orleans women who play. General admission tickets are available in advance for $10 online, $15 at the door, children age 6-12 are $5, and kids under six are free!
When A/C isn’t enough, add ice cream. Wherever your adventures take you, rest assured there’s sweet relief nearby.
- Piccola Gelateria
- Ice Cream 504 (craft, small batch)
- Shake Therapy (milkshakes)
- Creole Creamery
- Insomnia Cookies (cookies, ice cream, frozen yogurt)
- Cookie Dough Bliss (edible cookie dough and ice cream)
- Creole Creamery
- Creamistry (liquid nitrogen ice cream)
- Ice Queen (ice cream and bubble tea)
- Sweet Handcraft
- Sucré French Quarter
- Kilwin’s New Orleans
- The Fudgery
- Amorino (gelato)
- Antoine’s Annex (coffee, pastries, gelato)
- Mister Apple Candy Store
Lower Garden District/CBD
- The Soda Shop (National WW2 Museum)
- Fat Boy Pantry (sandwiches and ice cream)
- Mac and Moon (Macaroons and rolled ice cream)
- Bittersweet confections (bakery and ice cream)
- Drip Affogato Bar (ice cream with a hot drip- like hot chocolate)
- Freezy Street (rolled ice cream) – also in Kenner, St. Claude and New Orleans East
- Angelo Brocato
Did You Know?
At Baskin Robbins — Uptown, Mid-City, New Orleans East — on the 31st of every month ice cream scoops are $1.70 (regularly $2.99 for one scoop) and you can get two pre-packed quarts for $7.99 (regularly two for $10.99).
Swim Indoors (no membership required)
NORDC: Treme Recreation Community Center
NORDC: Stallings St. Claude Recreation Center
NORDC: Lemann Pool (Treme)
UNO Aquatic Center
Canvas & Kids
Lil’ Yats Art & Play
The Shard Shop (art with glass pieces)
Enjoy a Museum, for Free!
Free on Wednesdays: NOMA, all Audubon attractions
Free on Thursdays: Ogden
Fun at the Library
New Orleans Public Libraries offer a wide array of summer activities, magic shows, including story times (bilingual too), LEGO clubs, drop in and play dates, family movies and Saturday morning cartoons. For more information, visit NOLALibrary.org.
Summer on Stage
My Fair Lady Student Edition
JPAS (performed by children age 7-17.) Tickets $15-$25
Rivertown Theater. Tickets $36-$40.
Tulane University Summer Lyric Theatre (performed by children age 12-16.)
Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical
Tulane University Summer Lyric Theatre. Tickets $28-$48.
GNOYO Summer Orchestra Performance
The Wiggles Party Time Tour
Orpheum Theater. Tickets $43.50.
Get Tickets Now for these Fall Shows:
Nickelodeon’s Jojo Siwa D.R.E.A.M. Tour, UNO Lakefront Arena. Tickets start at $67.
Paw Patrol Live, UNO Lakefront Arena. Tickets start at $25.
Cheap Family Flicks
Prytania Summer Kids’ Movie Series
All movies are Fridays and Saturdays at 10 a.m. Tickets are $6.50 and include a kiddie popcorn and drink of your choice.
E.T. The Extra Terrestrial
Wizard of Oz
The Lion King
National WWII – Kids’ Canteen
Children age 5-13 are invited to enjoy the museum’s BB’s Stage Door Canteen for a hands-on craft, snacks and a
kid-friendly WWII-themed movie. Children are free (online registration required) and accompanying adults are $7. Doors open at 10:30 a.m. Show is at 11 a.m.
Captain America: The First Avenger
Regal Summer Movie Express
Regal Grande Esplanade & GPX
(1401 W. Esplanade, Kenner)
$1 kid movies every Tuesday and Wednesday at 10 a.m. Portion of proceeds goes to the Will Rogers Institute.
(Both movies play on both days.)
Lego Movie 2, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Smallfoot, Secret Life of Pets
Lego Movie, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
Sing, How to Train Your Dragon 2
Penguins of Madagascar, Boss Baby
Kung Fu Panda 3, Lego Ninjago
Madagascar, Shrek 2
How to Train Your Dragon, Storks
AMC $5 Tuesdays for Stubs Members
All movies (except special events) are $5 for all levels of Stubs members (AMC Stubs Insider is a free membership.)
The Broad Theater– BYOB(aby) Screenings
This Mid-City theater partners with Asuka to provide sushi rolls and a baby-friendly flick every Thursday at 11 a.m. Movie titles are released one at a time.