Audubon Zoo, NOLA (that’s New Orleans, Louisiana ;) )…

During our 2 weeks in Louisiana, we were able to spend 5 days at the Bayou Segnette State Park near New Orleans.  A couple of those days were spent visiting New Orleans.

One of the days that we went into NOLA, we stopped at the Audubon Nature Institute’s Zoo.

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Located in what is now the city of New Orleans, the location of the zoo used to be a plantation…

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The Audubon Nature Institute is unique in that it encompasses 3 different locations within the city to offer 4 different experiences:  the Zoo (and there is also an IMax at this location!), an Aquarium, and, a newly opened Butterfly Garden and Insectarium…

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We spent a beautiful day at the zoo.  The weather was perfect for walking around and checking out the great exhibits they have here.  Just after you get through the gates and into the zoo, there is this lovely waterfall featuring 3 elephants…

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It was the perfect place for a photo of the kids!

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While we were at the zoo, there was a staff member that had a tortoise out on the grass near the elephant fountain.  The tortoise had lost a leg to a lawnmower, and someone had brought it to the zoo for rehab.  It’s doing great, and has adapted very well to having only 3 legs (he was pretty fast in his escape! LOL!)…

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Then it was off to tour the grounds and check out all the animals…DSC_0090_090 - Copy - Copy

We got to the aviary just in time to see them feed the birds.  The enclosure has a lot of undergrowth, and once they started to feed the birds, they just kept coming out, more and more of them…

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It’s a neat habitat they have built here.  Lots of undergrowth, many tall trees, a pond, and even a waterfall, which was a favorite…

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The kids enjoyed watching the birds being fed.  And I got a new appreciation for those working in a zoo; and all I have to say about that is parents, please, please, teach your children manners (and I must say the staff were saints – I would not have been so tactful to such spoiled brats! LOL!).
The feeding was interesting – one of the zoo staff would throw food to some of the larger raptors, and they would catch it mid-air.

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Eli!  Look!  An oversized prairie dog town!
OK, these are really capybara, the largest rodent in the world.

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The zoo has elephants, but right now their habitat is being rebuilt, so it’s sectioned off – you can get get a peek at the work in progress at little peep holes provided…  🙂DSC_0034_034 - Copy (2)There were jaguars in Jaguar Jungle…

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Loved the ring-tailed lemurs…DSC_0085_085 - Copy - CopyWhen I first walked by this little hill, I honestly could not figure out what the draw was (over visiting the animals).  There were parents and kids running up and down this hill, over and over, laughing, and obviously enjoying their time on the grass.

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I was puzzled why this little hill was so popular!  Until I came to this sign…

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The things that we take for granted!!!  Like hills and slopes!
New Orleans is a very FLAT city!  And kids here don’t get the opportunity to roll down or run down a hill!  I had never even considered that kids could go through life without ever getting to play on a slope!  Apparently others thought that would be an awful experience to go without also, because 1933, this 27.5 foot tall incline was built so the NOLA youth could experience rolling down a hill!  <3

All that walking and watching made us hungry…
There are nearly a dozen places to get lunch or a snack at the zoo!  We weren’t sure what our choices would be since we were first time visitors (plus, we are frugal tourists 😉 ), so we took our lunch!  It was rather a last minute thought, so we dug in the freezer for 2 logs of venison summer sausage, and grabbed 2 pounds of cheese and a box of Club crackers (nutritional, I know – they did have 100% juice if that makes you feel better).  And we took over a table and a bunch of chairs in the middle of the zoo (it wasn’t busy 😉 )…  the boys put their pocket-knives to work to cut up lunch for us.  😀
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I might as well admit that, as a mom of a big family (that doesn’t feel big), we sometimes wil do something with the big kids, and then just figure that we’ve done it – kind of forgetting that the littles haven’t had all those same experiences.  (and don’t even go off on me about this – there are a gazillion things that the littles have gotten to do that the bigs didn’t – it all evens out in the end)…anyway, apparently cotton candy is a memorable experience.  When one of the littles saw someone else with the spun sugar, they commented that they had never had it.  Really?  (not like I was going to lose sleep over it or anything)  Beth snuck off and brought back cotton candy for her brothers and sisters.  Sweet. (her and the sugar 😉 )…the kids had to force feed Caleb to get him to try it (LOL!) and then they probably wished they hadn’t because he then demanded more than his fair share!  Molly was with me – yuck. 😉
and everyone else loved it…DSC_0070_070 - Copy (2)There is the cutest restaurant right in the middle of the zoo, called the Zoofari Cafe – it’s like a cafeteria, and offers both traditional park fare, and some healthier options.  You can’t see the chairs real well in this pic, but they all have cutouts of different animals.

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The kids love the brightly colored parrots and macaws!DSC_0146_146 - Copy

Funny as it may be, our favorite place in the zoo was the Louisiana Swamp area!  We’ve really fallen in love with this state!  The swamp area has a swamp in it (surprise, surprise), and there are otters and alligators, raccoon, and lots of other local animals.

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The area has big shade trees with their spanish moss,
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And there is a fun gift shop right in the middle that has this tank of baby alligators – you can get a fun view of them from this interior observation tube…DSC_0162_162 - Copy and right next to the gift shop is a fun eatery called the Cypress Knee cafe!  All things cajun, they serve gumbo, etouffee (ay-two-fay 😉 ), crawfish and meat pies…  definitely a must stop if you enjoy the swamp!
The girls spied this cutie sunning himself next to the pathway, and HAD to get a picture with him.  🙂

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 And yes, Peanut is always like that – she is my hundred-mile-a-minute, too-smart-for-her-britches, dramatic tomboy (who loves frilly skirts and dress up shoes).  🙂

When you visit the zoo, be sure to keep track of your path via the map they give you at the entrance – it’s easy to miss the reptile house, which would have been quite catastrophic for our tribe (at least for our littlest gypsy!) Caleb is obsessed with snakes lately.  He LOVES them and gets so excited when he sees one.
The reptile house here is a good one – there are dozens of exhibits with all sorts of snakes, some local, others from all over the world.  Caleb was a happy camper here!!!

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In the reptile house, they even have a 2 headed gopher snake.  He was hiding in a corner, so while we got to see him, we didn’t get any fabulous pictures to share.  He was donated to the zoo in 2009 by Nicolas Cage (I’m just wondering why Nicolas Cage would have a 2 headed snake! LOL!).
There were even lizards and odd reptiles like these Texas Blind Salamanders… DSC_0201_201

We loved our visit to the NOLA Audubon Zoo!  The grounds are extensive enough that if you are visiting with children, you may want to spend an entire day there!  The grounds are have nicely paved paths, and nearly the whole thing is ADA accessible.
The Audubon Nature Institute offers memberships that get you into ALL 3 locations (zoo, aquarium, and insectarium, with discounts on the IMax, carousel, train, and others).

DSC_0205_205In NOLA, or going through on I-10?  It’s a must stop!
Kids and a good Zoo – is there a much better way to spend a day?  😀

Lilla Rose

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Comments

  1. THANK YOU for such a great trip through the zoo! You all looked like you had a fabulous day! I’m so glad the weather was ‘nice’ for you, because it’s down to 19 degrees in northeast Texas right now! B

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