I drafted this post at the onset of summer. Somehow I blinked and it’s almost over?! The summer days are flying by as fast as my baby is becoming a toddler (insert emotional mom sob here). But I digress: check out this list of ideas for water fun while it’s still hot in NOLA and then throw on your sunscreen, pack your gear, and head out for a great time! Enjoy these last weeks of summer!
Splash Pad at Lafreniere: Geared to ages 10 and under, this Splash Pad is a great place to spend some time running around and staying cool. Complete with 13 water features, there is a lot of splashing to be done! The park is open Noon to 7:00 p.m. Admission is $5 for a 90 minute session, although to be quite honest, no employee has ever told me that my time was up or asked me to leave. I love this park specifically for the toddler set. It is just the right size so that you can see the whole thing and it is gated! Tip: No change is provided. Bring the exact amount for admission. The Plum Street Snowball stand is awesome to visit after you play!
Splash Pad at Fountainebleau: Louisiana State Parks’ water playgrounds operate 8:00 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, from April 1 through September 30. Please contact the park directly to confirm that the playground is open and/or for additional information.
The Cool Zoo: Further enforcing the fact that the Audubon Zoo is one of the greatest zoos around is the fact that there is a splash park within the zoo called “The Cool Zoo!” Put on your suits and head over for water slides, water cannons, and all kinds of cool fun! There is an additional admission price to the cost of the zoo itself, but in the heat of the summer it is very worth it. The Cool Zoo is a great place for kids of all ages. I even enjoyed my day there last summer when Weston was about 8 months old. Although we didn’t take part in too many of the activities, we ate lunch under a shade tree and splashed in a smaller area with some low key water shooting out of the ground. I have heard that the Cool Zoo can be kind of crowded! If you plan on spending the entire day there it might even be worth renting a cabana with another family for a special treat.
NORDC Pools: Did you all know that the City of New Orleans has local pools that are free and accessible to the public? It’s true! They also offer a whole host of swim lessons geared to different ages and abilities for FREE! Perhaps the most visible of these pools is the one in front of Audubon Zoo, but you can check the list to find the pool closest to you. Make sure you check to verify the hours the pools are open before heading out and please note that if the pool is filled to capacity, additional swimmers may not be allowed.
Ship Island: Looking to head out to a rustic island paradise? Ship Island might be what you are looking for. This island is 11 miles off the Gulf Shore and can only be accessed by boat or ferry. With nothing more than bathrooms on the island, you truly have to pack everything you need (picture packing for Mardi Gras in the heat of summer with no concessions available).
Spray Park at Jambalaya Park: This option is FREE! That’s right, a free spray park! This park is in Gonzales, Louisiana (best known to me because of the outlets) and is open 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. from Tuesday through Sunday. There is also a pool at this park that is public but charges an entrance fee of $7.00 per person. For more info, you can check out their Facebook page.
Mandeville Lakefront Splash Pad: This splash pad is located on the Lakefront next to the playground and near the harbor. This Northshore favorite is another 100% free activity.
Blue Bayou Water Park: If you are willing to make the trip to Baton Rouge you can get a two for one deal: you can visit the Blue Bayou Water Park, as well as the Dixie Landin’ Amusement Park, for the price of one. You can satisfy the thrill seeker in your family and then cool down in the water park. The Blue Bayou Water Park has over 20 features including the Racers, what they claim to be the fastest water racer in the world! My little guy is still way too young for this but I would love to hear more about it from any of you that have gone.
Gulf Islands Water Park: Another great option for a waterpark adventure, you’ll have to head East for this one to Gulfport, Mississippi. After about an hour and a half in the car you will find yourself sliding, splashing and swimming the day away. This water park features tube rides, a little pelican bay for the younger kids, a lazy river, a pool with a light spray of water, and the ever popular wave pool. There are cabanas and pavilions for rent as well as a host of fun summer events to check out.
Your Very Own Backyard: Sometimes you don’t even have to leave your own backyard to have a great time and stay cool. My “big” purchase this summer was a $19 water table from Big Lots. Trust me, it’s been well worth the $19. While this is where I should wow you with some pinterest worthy kid drive through I won’t. Let’s put everything else aside and admit it: you really don’t need more than a hose, some popsicles, and some sweaty summer smiles to have a good time!