Palm Tree Playground owners Eric and Heather Hays spent the first four years of their children's lives moving around the country. In spots where the weather wasn't great for playing outside, they explored the local indoor playgrounds. Inspired by the cool places they visited, the family founded Palm Tree Playground once they settled down in New Orleans. Their playground incorporates the best features of the many playgrounds they visited including small play equipment for babies and toddler, and a big-kids soft-play structure with spiral slides and a contained ball arena. An attached surf-and-snack shack sells morsels and soft drinks, but families can bring their own lunches and enjoy them in the cafeteria too.
Twenty-four high-end gaming computers, 13 Xbox 360s, and one 70-inch LCD TV. ICE Computer Cafe has everything you need to spend a night gaming. When parents want a night to themselves, they can take their kids to ICE Computer Cafe to play dance and karaoke games on the TV or challenge themselves to beat their high scores on Internet and Xbox games. An onsite repair shop fixes bugs in computers and consoles, and a full-service café offers frozen coffee, smoothies, and snacks.
Let the name fool you—BooKoo Bounce is all about bouncing. The 8,300-square foot climate-controlled indoor playground boasts ten inflatable attractions spread across two arenas. Primarily designed for ages 2–11, the hop-friendly attractions range from an inflatable basketball skill game and Batman-themed slides to obstacle courses ripe for crawling and racing.
While their young ones play, parents can relax in a lounge area where a pair of high-definition televisions stays tuned to the latest in major sports.
With its imposing, slate-gray façade, the 170-year-old U.S. Custom House may be the last building in which you’d expect to hear the delighted squeals of children. But behind the steely columns, the building erupts into 23,000 square feet of colorful displays and fluttering, scuttling insects, courtesy of the Audubon Society and Insectarium. In the Asian garden, hundreds of butterflies dodge shafts of sunlight to alight on tropical ferns and the shoulders of young visitors. And at the Insects of New Orleans gallery, visitors can ogle the pink katydids, cockroaches, and lovebugs that contribute to the city’s heritage.
These bug-filled displays are all part of the insectarium’s mission to conserve Louisiana’s indigenous species and inspire stewardship in its visitors. While adults can sate their curiosity with the vast array of exotic species, curators gear many displays toward young guests by making them lighthearted and interactive: the Field Camp’s entomologist answers questions about how to collect bugs or break up flea-circus strikes, and at Bug Appétit, chefs dole out insect-filled delicacies to adventurous palates.
During the two-day Winter Art & Antiques Show, avid antiquarians can stare down their fill of stone-faced 19th-century cameos inside the stately Greek Revival edifice of the Old U.S. Mint, where 18 dealers will hawk art and antiquities from the 17th through mid-20th century. An auction gives bargain hunters ample opportunity to pick up an ornate silver tea service for a beloved Earl-Grey-sipping aunt or Starfleet captain, while connoisseurs of antique knowledge can absorb free lectures on restoration or native Louisiana art. Since most objets d'art are inedible, the classic Southern fare at Café Reconcile will quiet rumbling stomachs before their reverberations crack any delicate china.
Starting at the elegant white columns at the New Orleans African American Museum, the Tremé walking tour shepherds groups of up to 23 wanderers through the culturally significant neighborhood. For two hours every Monday, Friday, and Saturday, guests traipse through 300 years of richly saturated history, learning more effectively than sipping the contents of a blender full of history textbooks. Patrons tread across original handmade bricks that cover the ground in parts of one of the oldest African American communities. They also meander through Congo Square and St. Augustine Church as the knowledgeable guide sprinkles in anecdotes about the rise of jazz, creole architecture, and the New Orleans civil-rights movement.