It’s summer in New Orleans and time for the dreaded “I’m BORED” chants to start daily. However, entertaining kids gets expensive. This is why we put together this list of FREE & CHEAP Summer Fun in New Orleans, sponsored by Ursuline Academy Camp U. Entertain the kids and save money – it’s a WIN WIN in our book
FREE and Cheap Museums In New Orleans
New Orleans Museum of Art
(New Orleans): Free admission for Louisiana residents every Wednesday. Kids under 6 are FREE every day! The Sculpture Gardens are FREE every day and make for some nice photos too!
(New Orleans): Free admission for Louisiana residents every Thursday. Children under 5 are FREE every day!
Contemporary Arts Center
( New Orleans): Free admission for Louisiana residents on Sundays – kids through Grade 12 are FREE everyday!
Historic New Orleans Collection
(New Orleans): Exhibitions are free to the general public every day! HNOC charges $5 to take a guided tours (free for members)
Audubon Nature Center
The newest edition to the Audubon family of attractions, located in New Orleans east. The Nature Center brings us back to our childhood. Walking trails and nature exhibits in the museum area teach children all about the wildlife that calls our area home.
Music Box Village
Hands on music village with an art garden suitable for all ages. Open Saturdays and Sundays in June from 10am-7pm. Suggestion donations are $12 for adults, $5 for kids and Louisiana Residents are pay as you wish.
Newcomb Art Museum welcomes parents and small children on the second Saturday of each month for guided tours from 10:30-11am.
The largest public observatory in the area, located at #1 Copernicus Lane (behind Gretna Junior High on Gretna Blvd). The observatory houses multiple telescopes and is the perfect place to view and learn about the night sky. Open Monday and Wednesday Nights from dusk to 11pm
ARNAUD’S MARDI GRAS MUSEUM
Explore the history of Carnival at the Arnaud’s Mardi Gras Museum. Open during restaurant hours seven days a week.
Family Block Party
After hours access to the National World War 2 Museum with special experiences for all ages. on July 26th from 5:30-9pm. Adults $10 | Kids 18 and under FREE . Purchase Tickets
DIY Summer Fun in New Orleans
Home Depot FREE Kids Workshops:
On the 1st Saturday of Every Month, get your kids (Ages 5-12) involved in building on a small scale – no skills required! Workshops at most Home Depot locations! You must pre-register as space is limited.
Kenner Recreation Department:
The City of Kenner’s Recreation Department has a variety of craft and DIY classes for children and parents, all for a inexpensive price. Best part is you don’t have to be a Kenner resident to take the classes.
Learning Express of Metairie
Learning Express has various free craft events for kids through out the summer at the Metairie store.
- Build A Sailboat – June 8th from 4-5pm for ages 4+
- Butterfly Craft – June 13th from 11:30am-12:30pm for ages 1.5 – 5.
- Ice Cream Craft – June 27th from 11:30am-12:30pm for ages 1.5-5.
New Orleans Parks and Playgrounds
There are many local playgrounds in and around New Orleans offering green space to let the kids run – and many have nice playground equipment too – so take a drive and try out a different one! The kids will have fun trying something new!
(Metairie) – The Spray Park (located near the Carousel) has 13 water features – 5 in-ground, 5 above ground and 3 water cannons. Open daily all summer from noon to 7 pm – Cost is $5 per person (exact cash required) for 90-minutes of water play. Children 10 and under. There is a fun playground for little ones to burn off some energy before naptime too!
Duck Pond in Lafreniere Park
One of my kid’s favorite activities! Feed the ducks, turtles, nutria, and whatever else you may find swimming in the water that day! Bring a water as it gets hot out there – I also suggest a snack for the kids unless you want them to eat some stale bread too!
Located next to Zephyr’s Field, LaSalle has a wildlife trail, playground and jogging/walking path. Bonus, it’s very shady!
Veterans Memorial Park
(Williams & W. Metairie in Kenner) – A perfect setting for many family photos on the old-time wagons and near the waterfall feature, they also have a playground for the kids to run around and burn off some energy.
Kenner City Park
(Loyola & Vintage in Kenner) Lots of green space and a playground for the kids! A handicapped playground is on site as well.
Jean Lafitte Barataria National Park
FREE self-guided tours daily or Ranger guided Wetlands Walk at 10 am Wednesday-Sunday
Not only is the park full of playgrounds and a hiking trail to explore, the City Park Botanical Garden is free to Louisiana residents on Wednesdays. You also can’t beat the price for a Season Pass to the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park and Storyland, it’s only $165 for a four-person family pass and includes admission to Storyland and unlimited amusement park rides every day!
City Park Sculpture Garden
Learn about art and get some sunshine while you’re at it. Toddlers can learn shapes and colors while older children can learn about the styles and techniques used to create some of the most breathtaking pieces.
Kids’ Castle at Lakeside Shopping Center
Indoor playground with a midevil theme and climbing castle for children under 51 inches tall. The castle is open Monday – Saturday from 10am-8pm and Sunday from 12-6pm and is located near the food court enterance.
Riverwalk New Orleans
Soft New Orleans themed play area located inside the Riverwalk.
Walk or bike along the Mississippi River. The levee path goes from the Todd Shipyard site in Algiers to the Huey P. Long bridge, however only the Algiers portion is lighted.
Located on Magazine St. across from Audubon Zoo the park has a 1.8 mile paved looped, three playgrounds including the new inclusive Walnut St. Playground for kids of all abilities, the Whitney Young Pool and more. The park is perfect for an afternoon of picnics and fun.
BONNABEL BOAT LAUNCH
Located at the food of Bonnabel Blvd and the lake in Metairie. In addition to being able to launch your boats for a day of boating on Lake Pontchartrain, you can also fish, play on the playground and let your dog play in the dog park. The levees along the lake adjacent to the boat launch are perfect for biking and hiking.
Take a nature walk right in the middle of New Orleans. This 60 acre forest in City Park has walking trails filled with native trees, scenic waterways and wildlife. Open during daylight hours.
Step back in time in this replicated village of the past with an ice house, blacksmith shop, and 1930’s gas station and more. Home to Movies and Music in the Park and Kenner’s Lundi Gras Celebration. Heritage Park is located in Kenner’s Rivertown and is only open to the public on Saturday’s from 11am-3pm.
JOE BROWN PARK
Located in New Orleans on Read Blvd. Joe Brown has a playground, indoor pool that is opened year round, and open play basketball. The park also hosts a ton of outdoor activities such as camping, canoeing and fishing.
Located at the southernmost end of Williams Blvd, you can see the power of the Mississippi River while walking or biking along the path at the top of the levee.
Located behind Audubon Zoo, The Fly offers playgrounds and green space for picnics and play with views of the Mississippi River. If you’re lucky you may also catch a sighting of the giraffes that call the zoo home.
FREE and Cheap Family Activities and Events in New Orleans
Airline Skate Center
Kids Skate FREE all summer long (ages 13 and under)! Must register in advance – select dates/times vary.
The Patchwork Players present “Sleeping Beauty” and “Snow White” on various dates through out the summer at the Rivertown Theater. Cost is $10 per person. Purchase tickets here
Chick Fil A Kenner Kids Nights
Moms Demand Action Wear Orange Day
Community event to help end gun violence with a bounce house, games, kids activities, popcicles and fun at AL Davis Park (2600 LaSalle St. , NOLA) at 10am on June 8th.
Kids Day at Pottery Barn Kids
Enjoy a free Tatro playspace and kids will receive balloon animals on June 8th from 11am-5pm at Pottery Barn Kids in Lakeside Mall.
Family Equality Day
Performances, crafts, kid activities, resources for LGBTQ+ families and more at Longue Vue House and Gardens on June 9th from 10am – 1pm. Register here
Lego Duplo Event
Duplo building event for ages 3-5 at the LEGO Store in Lakeside Mall on June 21st from 6-8pm. Registration required – call store to register.
Baby and Child Expo
Family friendly event with activities for children where parents can learn about pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and parenting on June 29th from 10am-2pm.
Wet and Wacky Water War
Children ages 2-18 can compeete in colorful, messy water based challenges at Vintage Church in Metairie on June 29th from 1:30pm-5:30pm. Registration is required.
Kids Summer Event
Kids can make their own pizza and a 4th of July Craft on June 30th at 2pm at Empty Nest Cafe and Bar. Cost is $10 per child.
Back to School Giveaway
Free school supplies for children in k-5th grades, live entertainment, refreshments and more at the Hispanic Apostolate (2525 Maine Ave, Kenner) from 10am-noon on July 13th.
Baby Bull Bash
Dress your toddler in white and red for Baby Bull Bash with the Crescent City Crushers, this neighborhood “bull run” is in celebration of the San Fermin in Nueva Orleans bull run on Junly 14th from 10am to noon at Delcazai Park. After the run there will be free refreshments, crafts, games and more fun.
Healthy Blue Back to School Giveaway
Free school supplies for disabled children in grades K-5th on August 3rd from 10am – 1pm at We Rock the Spectrum in Esplanade Mall. Registration required
Family Friendly Activities In The New Orleans French Quarter
Tour the French Quarter
(New Orleans): Yes, the French Quarter can be KID-FRIENDLY! I suggest leaving before dark and maybe staying off Bourbon Street though! Just stroll along Royal Street and listen to the bands playing in the streets – get a little shopping in too!
Ride the Street Car
(St. Charles – Canal St – or the Riverfront) Cost is $1.25 (have exact change) and children under 2 are FREE. Great way to cruise the streets of New Orleans with the windows down!
The French Market:
Open 7 days a week, 365 days a year! Tour the Farmer’s Market/Flea Market area (starts near Ursuline and Decatur in New Orleans) – open every day for browsing, shopping, and eating! They have lots of events, including kid friendly activities so check their calendar before your next trip!
ALL ABOARD! My kids love to watch the big steamboats on the water…but that costs a lot! So board the Algiers Ferry (docks near the Aquarium on Canal St) and for $2 a person you have very happy kids – and a very happy mom! It is also a nice break from walking around especially with a nice breeze! We simply ride across to Algiers – and then ride right back to New Orleans! Note: You do have to pay $2 each way!
Woldenberg Rivefront Park Splash Pad:
Located in front of the Aquarium of the Americas this is a great place for children to have fun and cool off on a hot summer day.
Soak in the history and music of New Orleans while strolling the French Market in the French Quarter. Keep an eye on their calendar for free events throughout the year.
JAZZ HISTORIC PARK
Located in the French Quarter, the main visitors station is located at the Mississippi River levee on North Peters Street between Dumaine Street and St. Phillip Street. The park hosts monthly concerts with Johnette Downing plus other family friendly events throughout the year. Kids can also become junior rangers through the National Park Service’s Junior Ranger Program.
Located on Decatur St. in the French Quarter. Stop in for a sample of their sweet treats while watching them make pralines and other local candies.
ST. LOUIS CATHEDRAL
No trip to the French Quarter is complete without stopping to see the beauty of the cathedral up close and in person. Located behind Jackson Square in the French Quarter, the St. Louis Cathedral is open daily from 8:30 am-4:00 pm with Daily Mass being at 12:05pm.
20 acre park located along the Mississippi River in the French Market District with bike paths, a dog run and more. Open from 6am – 7pm.
Summer Classes In New Orleans
Kenner and Jefferson Parish Recreation Departments offer summer classes for all ages for a reduce fee. Classes include dance, acting, tumbling, art and more. New Orleans Recreation Department also has lots of activities to keep the kids entertained all summer!
Baby Arts Play!
Free engaging play passed classes full of activities for small children and their caregivers. On various days through out the summer at the following locations: Longue Vue House and Gardens, Newcomb Art Museum, New Orleans Jazz Museum, NOMA and Ogden Museum of Southern Art. More information and registration
Storytime, activities, and a healthy snack for ages 18 months – 4 on the 3rd Wednesday of each month in the City Park Botanical Gardens from 10-11am. Cost is $3 per child.
Chevy Youth Baseball Camp
Boys and girls of all skill levels ages 5-14 and special needs participants of all ages can work on softball and baseball skills at this free clinc on June 7th and 8th from 9am-noon at the Shrine on Airline. Register here
Sprouts: Louisiana Land
Activities for ages 18 months – 10 that include planting seeds, arts and crafts, storytime and more at Longue Vue House and Gardens on June 29th from 9:30-10:30am. $5 for non members | FREE for members.
Playmakers Tot FREE
Free class to check out Playmakers TOT classes for ages 1.5 – 6 on June 29th from 10-10:45am at Playmakers South in Harahan. Children need to wear tennis shoes and bring a water bottle.
Summer Reading Programs In New Orleans
Jefferson Parish Library:
Barnes and Noble:
New Orleans Public Library
NOPL also has a summer reading program as well as summer activities too.
Did we miss any free or cheap summer activities? Let us know in the comments!
About Ursuline Academy – Camp U: A Camp for Every Girl
2635 State Street, New Orleans, LA 70118; 504-861-9150
Ursuline Academy presents “Camp U: A Camp for Every Girl.”
Camp U offers four camp styles for girls to mix and match – allowing them the opportunity to explore their interests and talents.
At Ursuline, girls find the confidence to challenge themselves beyond academics and explore who they want to be. Camp U offers just that!
Rising Toddler 3 through 7th grade will have the chance to explore everything from STEM to soccer, singing to ceramics, and acting to sewing.
Camp Invention, the only nationally recognized, non-profit summer enrichment program for kindergarten through 6th grade, empowers girls to take on fun challenges that emphasize STEM, creative problem-solving, collaboration, and entrepreneurship through innovation.
Camp Create offers a variety of fun classes in art, acting, singing, cooking, decorating, baking, sewing, creative writing, cross stitch, piano, music, ceramics, sports, swimming and more!
Camp Starstruck lets shining stars have fun while gaining valuable performance skills. Campers will play “improv” games, learn about stage makeup, and rehearse for the finale, Cinderella.
Camp of Champions offers athletic camps, led by both district and state-winning coaches, as well as former college athletes, and includes volleyball, softball, basketball, running, cheer, tennis, and soccer.
These camps offer helpful extras like before and aftercare, as well as lunch programs – allowing you to choose exactly what fits U!
For more information, visit www.uanola.org.