It’s always a good idea to have a stockpile of indoor play options for those rainy weekends, but it’s even more necessary during the winter, when even in South Louisiana, we just might have extra chilly temps!
Sure, you could go to the movies, but if you want to allow the kiddos to explore, create, and/or burn off some energy in a comfortable, climate-controlled environment, here are some great choices in New Orleans and on the Northshore.
Adventure Quest Laser Tag (Elmwood)
This family fun center is jam-packed full of cool activities, like mini-golf, an arcade, bumper cars, a 6,000-square-foot laser-tag arena, plus their brand new outdoor Climbing Challenge and 5,000-square-foot, two-level Adventure Maze, where maze runners compete to beat friends, family, and the clock in a dash through the hidden check-points of confusion. They also have party rooms for birthday parties and special events, and a snack bar that includes pizza, salads, tons of other snacks, and even adult beverages.
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas (French Quarter)
Perched on the Mississippi River adjacent to the French Quarter, the aquarium is an excellent escape to another world. After walking through a tunnel that reveals the colors of a Caribbean reef, visitors can walk through a rainforest, check out some penguins and otters, feed parakeets, touch stingrays, visit the swamp, and marvel at sharks, sea turtles and lots of other animals in the 400,000 gallon Gulf of Mexico Exhibit. The aquarium also has its own food court, so you can make a whole day of it!
Audubon Butterfly Garden & Insectarium (French Quarter)
It’s located so close to the Aquarium that we seldom visit one without visiting the other. North America’s largest museum devoted to insects and their relatives, this place is full of fun, creepy-crawly interactive exhibits. There’s also a big-screen, high definition film, multi-sensory show, the Bug Apetit Cafe, where you can test your courage by tasting some chocolate chirp (as in cricket) cookies and other insect delicacies, and, of course, there’s the peaceful, Japanese-themed butterfly garden, complete with tons of colorful butterflies, koi fish, turtles and birds.
Bookoo Bounce (Elmwood)
This year-round indoor inflatable playground and party place is locally owned and operated. With 16,500 square feet of safe, clean, award-winning fun, it’s not only perfect for entertaining bored kids, but it’s also great for children’s parties and special celebrations of all kinds. They also have arcade games, they broadcast major network sporting events (including the Saints, LSU and Pelicans games) on their two big screen televisions, and walk-in play is available on weekdays and weekends.
Elmwood Kidsports (Harahan)
The Harahan facility offers an array of programs that combine fun and fitness for children ages 6 weeks to 13 years. One highlight is their Adventure Challenge. Designed for age 6-13 years, this two-story, indoor maze features 100 yards of slides, tunnels, ropes, balls and more. Parents can take advantage of the childcare program for kids ages 6 weeks to 5 years while they work out. There is a nominal fee for member, a two-hour limit per day, and reservations must be made in advance. The Parents’ Day Out program provides a worry-free day for parents while children 5 years and under who are able to walk enjoy fun and games, an obstacle course, Spacewalk, arts and crafts, our outdoor pirate ship playground, snacks and the Adventure Challenge.
Lakeside Kids Castle (Metairie)
Located near the Food Court entrance at Lakeside Shopping Center, The Kids’ Castle — for children under 51” — features medieval theme, a climbing castle, a hand washing station, baby changing counters, a family restroom and three nursing rooms. Monday–Saturday: 10am to 8pm; Sunday: 12pm to 6pm. Scheduled Cleaning Times: 2pm to 2:15pm & 5pm to 5:15pm
Louisiana Children’s Museum (Warehouse District)
Boasting 30,000-square-feet of space, this museum has tons of cool exhibits and programs for kids, plus a diverse set of activities that promote learning across many disciplines – from reading and math skills to architectural ideas and the nuances of grocery shopping – through interactive play. Children can take an active role in their own learning as they can test their strength with a cantilever, inclines, and ramps, learn what bones they use to ride a bike alongside Mr. Bones, or load up a cargo ship in the Little Port of New Orleans exhibit, among lots of other activities. The museum also offers regular storytimes and plenty of special events.
Skyzone Trampoline Park (Metairie)
This indoor trampoline park provides wall-to-wall aerial action. Their special programs and attractions include the Foamzone, Freeclimb, Sky Hoops, Ultimate Dodgeball, Warrior Course, and more. They also offer multiple birthday party packages, and they proudly support many charitable organizations, causes, and schools within our community.
Children’s Museum of St. Tammany (Mandeville)
This interim facility, located adjacent to Kids Konnection playground on Koop Drive in Mandeville, serves toddlers through early childhood age children with special programming for older kids, too. They welcome walk-in visitors, as well as school field trip attendees, story time visitors and birthday party guests. Themed activities are centered around creative play, art, and STEM, plus there is an adjacent playground.
Elevation Station (Covington)
This indoor trampoline facility boasts over 30,000 square feet of indoor sports and family entertainment. Highlights include giant jump areas, an obstacle course, gladiator pits, and dodgeball and basketball courts. There’s a even a Kid Zone with a host of options for jumpers ages six and under, and six spacious private event rooms to host special events. Plus, family and friends can view the entire facility from a second-floor viewing tower, which has comfortable lounge areas and big-screen TVs.
Kids & Family Arena (Mandeville)
This family-owned and operated business houses 15,000 square feet of fun, which is always open for drop-in play, but also hosts birthday parties and other celebrations. The huge space contains 13 inflatables that allow kids up to about sixth grade to jump, slide, and play football and basketball to their hearts’ content. There’s also a ball pit and small play area for the smaller kids and toddlers. Up front, there’s a large arcade play center with over a dozen games for when the kids need a breather. Admission is good for the whole day, so visitors can leave and return, as needed.
The Little Gym (Covington)
This gym for little ones offers age-appropriate classes for kids ages 12 and under. They range from parent/child development classes for infants and toddlers to gymnastics and sports skills classes to the WonderKids Club, an enrichment program that features arts & crafts projects, story time, and creative play with LEGO DUPLO bricks. The facility is also equipped to handle birthday parties, and they host parents’ night out and camps during the summer and other school breaks.
Louisiana Children’s Discovery Center (Hammond)
Until the Children’s Museum of St. Tammany opens in 2018, the LCDC remains the only children’s museum currently operating in the I-12 corridor. Located in historic downtown Hammond, the facility is designed for kids 10 and under, and it offers over 30 different hands-on, interactive exhibits and programs. Some of the many highlights include bubble stations, a versatile art center, a construction zone, and an area that challenges balance and dexterity, plus addresses nutrition. There are also special events, educational activities, and extracurricular programs that offer an even wider array of activities to engage older kids and teens, as well. Birthday party packages are also available.
Mandeville Sports Complex
Mandeville Sports Complex offers the residents of Mandeville and the surrounding communities affordable fitness and fun programs for children and adults of all ages. This one-stop club for the entire family features a fitness center, competitive and recreational gymnastics and cheerleading, summer & holiday camps, after school care, birthday parties, swim lessons, kids fun nights, and more.
Safari Quest Family Fun Center (Hammond)
Pretty unique to the region, this mostly indoor adventure facility’s main draw is its 3,000-square-foot, multi-level, neon-lit laser tag arena with an observation deck for spectators. They’ve also got human hamster balls, coconut climbing trees, an arcade with the latest video games, and their newest feature — a really cool ropes course, which is suspended high above the floor (they have safety harnesses, so it’s totally safe and fun to watch!). Thatched tiki huts and jungle gardens play into the safari motif, and there are four party rooms available to rent for special occasions.
X Fusion Family Arena (Covington)
This family-owned facility offers a range of fresh options for fun fitness activities. All ages are welcome to rock climb, run the obstacle courses, take a daring zip line ride, and even try out their Gladiator Zone, which simulates American Gladiator courses. They also host home school P.E. classes, birthday parties, and summer/holiday camps. Walk-in times are by appointment.