Audubon Nature Institute

#11 in Best Things To Do in New Orleans
Audubon Nature Institute picture
Audubon Nature Institute
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Key Info

6500 Magazine St.

Details

Parks and Gardens, Zoos and Aquariums Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
3.9scorecard
  • 4.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 3.5Atmosphere

Families on vacation should make some time to visit the Audubon Nature Institute. This massive facility is home to a zoo, an aquarium, and butterfly garden and insectarium, not to mention the Entergy Giant Screen Theater (included with aquarium admission) and a golf course. Special kid-friendly exhibits feed curious minds while allowing little ones to get up close and personal with their favorite furry (or scaly or slimy) friends. You can also watch daily feedings or sit in on numerous lectures and films about the environment. Don't miss the gigantic sharks, tarpon and rays in the 400,000 gallon Gulf of Mexico exhibit at the aquarium and the newly expanded Jaguar Jungle exhibit in the zoo, where you can not only see jaguars, but bats, tree frogs, poison arrow frogs and much more.

Recent visitors said that the zoo is well-maintained and is a great family outing. Other visitors call the insectarium impressive and informative. Most also recommend getting ticket combo packages.

Located on the southern edge of Audubon Park west of Uptown, the aquarium and Entergy Giant Screen Theater are open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The insectarium is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Meanwhile, the zoo welcomes visitors Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Recent visitors highly recommend purchasing the Audubon Experience Package (approximately $44.95 for adults and $34.95 for kids ages 2 to 12), which offers one-time admission to all four major attractions, including the zoo, the aquarium (and theater), the butterfly garden and the insectarium. Another way to save is to purchase a combo ticket for the aquarium and zoo and theater ($39.95 for adults and $29.95 for kids ages 2 to 12). Individual prices and upcoming events are listed on the Audubon Nature Institute website.

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Frenchmen Street
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#1 Frenchmen Street

If you want an authentic New Orleans experience more removed from the touristy areas of Bourbon Street and the French Quarter, head to the lively Frenchmen Street. A popular spot for locals, Frenchmen Street is a four-block stretch of live music, bars, restaurants, night clubs and art galleries. Here, not only will you find fewer crowds (albeit not by much), but you'll also encounter cheaper eats and drinks, and better music – it's kind of like Bourbon Street's hipper, trendier cousin. If you don't consider yourself a night owl, the Palace Market (open daily 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.) is a shopping haven where locals sell homemade art and jewelry.

Recent visitors agreed that a trip to New Orleans isn't complete without stopping by Frenchmen Street. Some even suggest skipping the more crowded and touristy Bourbon Street and instead meandering along Frenchmen Street where you'll find live music, specifically jazz, and great bars. Travelers and locals alike love The Spotted Cat, Three Muses and d.b.a thanks to their extensive beverage selections, fun atmospheres and, of course, talented musicians. "Frenchmen Street is what Bourbon Street used to be ... it's about four blocks of more laid-back, old-style jazz clubs. Nothing fancy to them, very local with great music. A much more laid-back area to stroll from bar to bar and listen to music," said Isabelle Van Bockel, a concierge at the JW Marriott New Orleans for 10 years.

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