Updated for 2015 :: check out this list of ideas for water fun while it’s hot in New Orleans. Throw on your sunscreen, pack your gear, and head out for a great time! New Orleans is hot, but we may as well enjoy it!
Places For Water Fun in and Around New Orleans
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 7:00pm. 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!
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.
The latest attraction in the Cool Zoo splash park, Gator Run, offers a new way to chill out at Audubon Zoo. Just like Cool Zoo, the water flowing in the lazy river can be heated when necessary. Admission to Cool Zoo, including Gator Run, is $10 for Audubon Nature Institute members and $12 for non-members, plus Audubon Zoo admission. Pay-One-price wristbands are $12 for Audubon members and $15 for non-members, offering admission to Cool Zoo and Gator Run and unlimited access to Audubon’s Dinosaur Adventure, train rides and carousel rides on the day of the purchase. Rafts are included in the admission price for Gator Run. Anyone under 48 inches will need a life jacket supplied by Audubon Zoo. No outside food or beverage is allowed in Cool Zoo or Gator Run. Visitors can bring their own towels or purchase them at the Cool Shop. Admission to Audubon Zoo is $18.95 for adults, $13.95 for children 2-12, and $14.95 for seniors 65+. Audubon Nature Institute members are admitted free of charge. Audubon Zoo, 6500 Magazine St., is open Monday through Friday, 10:00 am to 5:00pm; Saturday and Sunday, 10:00am to 6:00pm through Labor Day.
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.
Mandeville Trailhead :: Enjoy the free splash pad at the Mandeville Trailhead!
Ormond Spray Park :: The Ormond Spray Park is located at 1901 Ormond Boulevard in Destrehan. Hours of operation: 1:00pm – 6:00pm Tuesday through Sunday during the summer season; the spray park will be closed on Mondays for maintenance. Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Height restriction: children 62 inches or under are allowed entry.
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.
Buccaneer Bay Waterpark :: Located on the beach in Waveland, Buccaneer is in a natural setting of large moss-draped oaks, marshlands and the Gulf of Mexico. Head to the waterpark to cool off during the brutal Louisiana summers! The park is open daily throughout the summer season from 10:00am-6:00pm through Labor Day. Per the website :: grab an innertube and ride 6 foot waves in Pirate’s Lagoon wave pool, speed down one of two giant waterslides, play with the little ones in Lil’ Smuggler’s Cove kiddie pool, or just relax by the pools in a lounge chair. Season Passes are available.
Bayou Segnette Wave Pool :: Just a 30 minute drive across the Mississippi River from New Orleans, tons of fun awaits your family :: boating, fishing, camping, canoeing, hiking, picnicking, playgrounds and, of course, swimming in the wave pool. Pools are open Memorial Day weekend to August 1 and closed Mondays and Tuesdays for maintenance, except for holiday Mondays. When pools are open on a holiday Monday, the pools will be closed for maintenance on the Tuesday and Wednesday following the holiday Monday. From August 1 through Labor Day, pools will be open on modified schedules. Please check with the individual parks for specific days and hours of operation.
Thibodaux Municipal Pool :: New in 2017, this Thibodaux Splash Pad brings more than 2,500 square feet of fun with 24 separate water features, including sprinklers and fountains, synchronized to perform a show-like experience.
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 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!