Where To Take the Kids This Fall
Whether you're in the mood for a day trip or a quick break from the house, here are a few ideas for you and the family.
Summer is ending, but Louisianians are lucky to live in a warm climate where they can squeeze out a few more weeks of summer weather. It's a good time for a family day trip, so we've got a few ideas for you and the kids to shake off the summer cobwebs, whether you want to take a drive or stay near New Orleans.
Lafitte: Lafitte’s Barataria Museum and Wetlands Trace
At Lafitte’s Barataria Museum and Wetlands Trace, families can learn more about the unique wetland atmosphere of Louisiana and hear first-hand accounts of the 200-year-old story of the town of Jean Lafitte from both longtime residents and a surprise guest. Honoring the community of fishers and trappers that live and work in the village of Lafitte’s Barataria, this recently opened museum provides visitors with a mile-and-a-half tour through a cypress swamp, a 30-minute multimedia presentation and a museum exhibition that includes talking alligators and pirates.
For more information, visit the website or call (504) 689-7009.
Breaux Bridge: Cajun Country Swamp Tours
According to swamp tour guide Butch Guchereau, “you never know what is going to happen" on a Cajun Country Swamp Tour. These environmentally conscious, two-hour tours put visitors right in the middle of all the beauty and excitement that nature has to offer. For children who might be nervous about riding in a boat, wearing a lifejacket or seeing alligators, Guchereau has noticed kids often calm down once the tour starts. Family friendly adventures are offered year-round by appointment. For the end of summer, Guchereau suggests planning for 8 a.m. or 5:30 p.m. to avoid the heat of the day.”
For more information, visit the website or call (337) 319-0010.
Baton Rouge: Highland Road Park Observatory
Children interested in the science of the skies will appreciate a visit to the Highland Road Park Observatory of Baton Rouge. The HRPO offers telescopes practically every weekend of the year for a free-admission sky viewing, and has been doing so since 1997. The “state-of-the-art, professional-grade optical observatory” hosts many events, such as lectures and marshmallow roasts but many other programs are for children or families, including the upcoming fall festivities of the annual Spooky Spectrum event held on the Saturday before Halloween.
For more information, visit the website or call (225) 768-9948.
Baton Rouge: USS KIDD Veterans Memorial and Museum
A family tour of the USS KIDD Veterans Memorial and Museum can be both educational and exciting for children or parents interested in American history or just wondering what life on a war ship would be like. A visit to the Baton Rouge landmark offers an in-depth look at the WWII Fletcher class destroyer. Maury Drummond, executive director of the USS KIDD, describes the tours as “incredibly ‘hands on’ because visitors can climb on bunks in the berthing areas, try on military helmets and operate some of the ship’s equipment.” Not only are there daily tours but (the more adventurous) guests also have the ability to spend a night on this United States Ship. “Campers are able to get an in-depth ship tour, visit some behind the scenes areas such as the engine room, conduct a scavenger hunt, observe a HAM radio and a flag demonstration," Drummond says. "They are also able to sleep in the bunks that sailors used back in WWII.” For the guests that wish to only spend a day at the USS KIDD, be sure to also visit the Veterans Memorial Wall, the Hall of Honor and all the other displays honoring service members and distinguished Louisianians.
For more information, visit the website or call (225) 342-1942.
New Orleans: New Orleans Museum of Art
If you don't have a full day to devote to a trip, let your kids stretch their creative muscles at the New Orleans Museum of Art. NOMA's Elise Solomon says the museum has “presented a wide variety of programs for children for many years, helping children create deep connections to art that will stay with them throughout their lives.” Many programs, such as the art classes held with “Studio KIDS!” are only for children between the ages of 5 and 12, but other programs are made especially for families. "We love to see families experience art together," Solomon says. "Many programs provide an opportunity for family interaction while exploring the galleries or creating art.” One of those programs, called “StoryQuest”, allows families to go on a scavenger hunt throughout the museum after listening to a story. Friday Nights at NOMA are also family friendly. Not only will “StoryQuest” and “Studio KIDS!” continue throughout the fall but NOMA will also be adding Holiday Camps in November and December. The cost for registering a child is $25 for NOMA members or $30 for non-members.
For more information, visit the website or call (504) 658-4128.
Kenner: The Museums of Rivertown
Rivertown of Kenner is alive and well despite what Planetarium Coordinator Heidi Glorioso describes as “the frequent misconception that everything has closed." "The closure of certain facilities has allowed for a more focused redevelopment of the remaining attractions," Glorioso says. "Our popularity is rebounding and attendance grows with every new event held.” Bring the kids to the Planetarium and Space Science Complex which Glorioso promises “have undergone major upgrades in the past two years and offer the most up to date information on astronomy, space science and the like.” The air-conditioned theatre boasts a 50-foot domed screen, 118 stadium style seats and an entrance to the Space Science Complex where “visitors can practice weather forecasting with green screen technology or walk through a full scale mock up of the International Space Station," Glorioso says. Featuring something for the history buffs as well, Rivertown offers LaSalle’s Landing, a peak spot to view ships crossing the Mississippi River. The fun continues into the holiday season with Kenner’s Magical Christmas Village in December where the historic Heritage Park creates a winter wonderland for the guests.
For more information, visit the website or call (504) 468-7231.