flamingoesThe Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans should be on your itinerary whether you are traveling solo, with your family or on a romantic trip.  At least that is this Southern Traveling Mom’s opinion!  It is no secret that we love New Orleans.  We try to make the trip at least once a year and the fall is one of our favorite times of year to visit.  Even though we have been a number of times, we always add to our itinerary a visit to the attractions that are part of the Audubon Nature Institute: the Audubon Zoo; Audubon Aquarium of the Americas; and the Audubon Insectarium. 

The Audubon Zoo gives visitors a close look at many different animals.  The exhibits are very family friendly.  It is always frustrating to me when my kids have to be picked up to see something.  It is a zoo…the kids should be able to walk around and see the exhibits without sitting on my shoulders!  We stood the longest time watching the Asian elephants in the Asian Domain.  The Embraceable Zoo was my daughter’s favorite spot because kids can pet goats and sheep as well as see a pot bellied pig.  We talked about that guy the whole way home!  Don’t miss the Louisiana Swamp Exhibit where you will see black bears and alligators.  If you get to the zoo right when it opens, stop by the Flamingo Exhibit at the front entrance.  When they let the flamingoes out, they put on quite a show!  It is a fun way to start your visit!

Even though we have visited aquariums all over the United States, the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is one of our favorites.  I love the setup of the aquarium.  We have visited the aquarium during popular holidays and during times were it was packed full with school field trips but we never felt like it was too crowded.  Attached to the aquarium is an IMAX theater that shows movies all day.  Our favorite is Under the Sea because it is quite fitting since we are at the aquarium!

The Insectarium is perfect for every little one that loves creepy crawlies!  Even if you don’t, you will still have fun exploring the insectariums.  Don’t let the dark walkway into the Underground Gallery keep you from exploring.  The kids loved to act like they were bugs living underground.  The Terminex Immersion Theater will keep you on the edge of your seat…literally!  Spend some time in the Butterflies in Flight exhibit and watch the butterflies float around the air.

While it is entirely possible to visit all three in one day if you have to, we usually like to visit the zoo one day and the aquarium and Insectarium another day.  This gives us plenty of time to explore and spend extra time at the exhibits that we loved.  You can purchase individual tickets for each attraction or you can get a significant savings by purchasing a package.