New Orleans, the city where most go to lose their inhibitions on Bourbon Street only to wake up the next day searching their phones for photos hoping they’ll be able to recall the night’s events. Yea… That place! It has proven to be the perfect destination for those ready to celebrate their legality, get lost in Carnival (Mardi Gras as some call it) and simply be free (if only for a night). And though I have participated in all of the above, I am writing to tell you….. New Orleans is also a fabulous place to take your kids!
Okay Okay… I know you’re scratching your heads given the world’s most common understanding of what it means to be a tourist in this iconic city, but I am here to shatter those ideals.
My parents have been taking me to New Orleans since before I was legal, so I have known a very different side of this magical city my entire life. This was the weekend destination when my parents just wanted to get a breather from their 24/7 entrepreneurial duties. It was nothing to pack us up and go, so we went and we went often.
So here I am with my two kids (5 & 4 years old). I am thinking, “It’s time.” That is what led us to good ole’ New Orleans.
Furthermore, let me brief you on what this place has done for me and how I’m reliving the magic with my energy balls (the kids in the pics).
My mom has always told me that you can either do New Orleans daytime or do the night life. There is absolutely no way someone can do both. Well, it’s 2017 and they are making some strong expresso these days, so I most assuredly do not agree even though I still consider it very WISE advice.
So on this trip I did both. I was up at 7am with my kids, traipsing through the city then out on the town with a friend through the night. It was wonderful. I am still recovering (officially discovered a new definition for exhaustion).
Moving on, the first day was great. The kids entertained the bell men at the Royal Sonesta for half an hour before the manager was able to get our room situated. (Note to self, there are no adjoining balcony rooms).
This was a wonderful experience in the way that my kids were excited to just be somewhere new. They were full of wonder the moment they stepped into the breathtaking lobby. A sweet bell man took it upon himself to open up conversation with my kids, and then it was over. Within 30 minutes they were getting hugs, high fives and rides on the luggage carrier! My son, being the sunshine that he is, made one bellman tear up with his natural diplomatic nature. “Sir, Can I have a hug?” 🙂 That was a great start to a wonderful trip.
Once the rooms were cleared for our arrival, we simply dropped our bags and left. Outside of our hotel we grabbed a pedi cab (Kyle Thomsen: the driver and photographer in most of my pics –> shameless plug *Facebook him*) and went on an hour long adventure.
It’s always best to opt for a pedi cab than a taxi, being that if you tip them enough they will do just about anything for you… hence the awesome photos! Thank you, Kyle, for that!
So, we were off. We asked to stop periodically to get some good photos, show the kids “Repunzel’s castle” in Jackson Square and to get them sugary treats. It was cute! There is absolutely nothing like riding through the streets of New Orleans on a beautiful day. Even as a kid. The look, the feel of it all is magical in the sense that it’s like being in a different world.
New Orleans will be celebrating it’s tricentennial year in 2018. 300 years since it’s conception and it hasn’t lost any charm. Hearing the stories about the history, it does something to a child. It opens their minds to the idea that the world is much bigger than what they had imagined. There is something else out there. If it only took us just a few hours to get to this city, imagine the possibilities given the time to explore.
And that is all I want for my kids. I want them to know that they can explore if they so choose. It starts in the backyard and can span wherever their hearts desire.
I am the type of mom that would rather say “run” than “sit down”. I would rather them learn to talk than to have my peace and quiet. I give them every opportunity to taste freedom. Don’t get me wrong. I set boundaries and I enforce them dutifully. Some say I am pretty strict with my kids being that I hold to my word. I’ll let them talk, play and run; but when I say “sit” I expect obedience. I want to enjoy my kids and I give them every opportunity to enjoy themselves. The key for me is to raise kids that the world will appreciate one day.
I want them to be whatever they want to be, but I will show them the way that I value. Obedience, respect and honor accompanied by the freedom to think, that is what makes an amazing individual in my estimation. So, I try to instill those values in my children.
It seems to be working so I am going with it. Anyway, the first day was a success. Kyle allowed us to stop to run a bit in the streets. It was great!
We ended the night by Gabe tap dancing with some locals on the street and chatting it up with “Dwayne the Umbrella Guy” out of the open window to our restaurant. (Google Dwayne… he insists)
The next day was freezing. The seasons tend to change in a matter of a day down here in Louisiana. It doesn’t surprise me anymore, it’s just the wardrobe confusion that gets to me. So, it was cold. I allowed the kids to dress up as usual. Gabe was superman. Hannah was Jasmin. It was cute, but we will have to try this again on the next trip. Freezing weather isn’t the best when you’re trying to save the day from bad guys in a new city.
Regardless, we hopped on a horse and buggy and took off. It was enjoyable until the wind picked up. We did get to see Darth Vador in the street! That was everything!!
So we quickly decided to troubleshoot. My mom went her way and the kids and I went to the Children’s Museum. If you have kids, this is a must see in any city you’re traveling. Each place has it’s own take on what a Children’s Museum should be and it’s always fun! We spent so much time there, we ended up staying until the doors shut. We were all pleased.
From there the kids got to experience the wonder of playing in a hotel room. Some think this is terribly boring, but kids have an incredible imagination. I don’t believe in the iPad, Youtube life for young kids, so they are forced to dress up and figure out how to knock the boredom. They always do. I love witnessing the good ole’ fashion fun and they love having it.
The next day we headed home with our hearts full! The kids enjoyed themselves. My travel itch was scratched and my mom was happy to have shared a little adventure with her grandkids. All it really takes is a few days in a new place, a sense of adventure and the ability to let loose to truly experience the little joys a new city can offer.
So, though you may want to avoid a ride through Bourbon Street with your kids (unless your cool with the quick eye covering maneuvers) New Orleans is a great spot to take your children for a little adventure. There is wonder here. There is magic. You just have to open your heart to see it.