For families looking for something to do, June is jam-packed. With water play, circus arts, gardening and fishing among the mix of summertime activities this month, families can get off the couch and have fun almost any day of the week. Here are some fun local options.
- Fontainebleau State Park offers a sandy beach on Lake Pontchartrain with lots of shallow water, ideal for young children, as well as a splash park area with water jets and fountains. Open daily from 6 a.m. Admission to the park is $1; free for kids 3 and younger and senior citizens. 62883 Highway 1089, Mandeville (504) 624-4443.
Families can cool off at the Spray Park at Lafreniere Park. With 13 water features, both in-ground and above ground, children 10 and younger can splash around after clambering all over the carousel adjacent to the Spray Park.
Open daily from noon to 7 p.m. $5 per person for a 90-minute session. 3000 Downs Blvd., Metairie. Call (504) 838-4389 for details.
At City Park, a simple — and free — brick plaza with water jets is a nice place for little ones to cool off after running through Carousel Gardens or hiking in Couturie Forest. It’s next to the Great Lawn.
Audubon Zoo’s Cool Zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. Kids of all ages can run, slide and splash around the jumping water spouts, alligator water slide, a spider monkey soaker and water spitting snakes. Spend the day in Cool Zoo for $8 for non-members and $6 for members. (Fee is in addition to zoo admission cost.)
On the West Bank, surf’s up at Bayou Segnette State Park’s wave pool and splash park. Experience what it’s like to jump or body surf waves at the lifeguard staffed pool area. The State Park is open daily from 6 a.m., Bayou Segnette Wave Pool is $10 per adult and $8 per child for day usage. 7777 Westbank Expressway, Westwego. Call (504) 736-7140 for information.
Kids can have a low tolerance for high culture, which makes paying full price for family museum admission questionable. But that doesn’t mean families can’t escape into the cool and thought-provoking environs of art museums for a short while.
At the New Orleans Museum of Art in City Park, children under 6 are free all the time. All Louisiana residents are admitted free on Wednesdays, courtesy of the Helis Foundation. Museum hours are Tuesday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fridays 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (when the Where Y’art event features food, music and kids’ activities) and Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Call (504) 658-4100 or go to noma.org.
The Contemporary Arts Center always offers free admission to young people up to 12th grade courtesy of the Helis Foundation, the Hearst Foundations and the city of New Orleans’ Edward Wisner Donation. And on Sunday, adult Louisiana residents get in free as well, thanks to the Helis Foundation.
Hours at the CAC are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; closed Tuesday. 900 Camp St. Call (504) 528-3805 or go to cacno.org.
Art and nature
The Sculpture Garden is a beautiful spot for people of all ages to enjoy art in a lovely natural setting of lagoons, fountains and ancient oak trees. The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, next to NOMA, is open seven days a week and always free. Hours are Monday -Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Call (504) 658-4100 or go to noma.org.
Circus Magic Night
Children can learn about the magic of the circus and what it takes to build the greatest show on earth as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey brings its show Built to Amaze! to the stage at the Smoothie King Center (formerly the New Orleans Arena) for Circus Magic Night on Thursday, June 26.
The event will benefit the Louisiana Children’s Museum. Pre-show entertainment starts at 5 p.m. with the main event starting at 7 p.m.
By admission. Visit www.lcm.org or call (504) 523-1357 for more information on individual and family ticket packages.
NOLA Locavore for kids
Throughout the month of June, New Orleanians are being challenged to eat local. Special activities for kids and families will help create awareness about where food comes from and what we are putting in our bodies.
Children between the ages of 4 and 12 can register online at www.nolalocavore.org to get more information plus a free T-shirt, or call (504) 296-9960.
On the first Saturday of the month, the Crescent City Farmers Market, 700 Magazine St. at Girod Street, offers the Marketeers Club for young people. Kids can try it out Saturday, June 7. Typical activities are learning to make “healthy pizza” and churning butter.
School of Fish
Experts from Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries will be on hand to teach children aged 9- to 16-years-old about tying knots, identifying fish, casting, fishing and boating safety. All participants will be given lunch and a T-shirt. These free half-day fishing clinics will be at the New Canal Lighthouse, 8001 Lakeshore Drive, on Tuesday June 24, and Wednesday, June 25, from 8 a.m. to noon. Call (504) 836-2238 for more information.
‘Kinder Garden’ at Longue Vue
On Saturday, June 14, Longue Vue House and Gardens, a 1930 mansion, museum and educational facility, is opening its garden free to toddlers 18-months to 3-years-old.
Get hands-on in the Discovery Garden, a fun and interactive space for children to explore through water play, planting, painting and worm digging. Children love roaming through the bamboo tunnel and herb maze, and can enjoy discovering the sundial.
The garden will be free from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at 7 Bamboo Road. Go to www.longuevue.com or call (504) 293-4722 for more information.