Audubon Nature Institute

March 7, 2013 by

Local Recommendations, Sightseeing, Things To Do, Top Attractions

Meet gorillas and have other incredibly close encounters in Audubon Zoo. Photo courtesy of Mark Gstohl via Flickr.

Meet gorillas and have other incredibly close encounters in Audubon Zoo. Photo courtesy of Mark Gstohl via Flickr.

The Audubon Nature Institute is a family of museums and parks located in New Orleans, Louisiana. Consisting of The Audubon Zoo, the Aquarium of the Americas, Audubon Park, the Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, the Audubon Insectarium and others, they represent New Orleans’s connection with its environment and are a world-renowned, award-winning group of exceptional exhibits.

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Audubon Zoo is probably the best-known of the bunch, and this highly acclaimed, award-winning zoo has plenty of exhibits with a fun, family-friendly environment located uptown New Orleans, by Riverbend Park. Lions, white tigers, playful elephants, sea-lions, sun bears, alligators, and many others await you at this fun-filled day at the zoo. Pet some sheep and goats, ride a camel, buy some Roman candy. Send the kids to play on Monkey Hill – New Orleans highest natural point. The Audubon Zoo is so large, however, that it is easy to get lost, but just stick to a plan and you’ll be fine. Best visited on a day when the sun isn’t quite so hot, the Audubon Zoo is a treat for the whole family.

The Aquarium of the Americas is another crowd pleaser. This awesome aquarium is recognized as one of the leading aquariums in the United States. With wall-to-wall glass enclosures and floor to ceiling viewing ports, a visit here is the closest you can get to thousands of species of exotic fish without actually getting wet. And speaking of getting wet, there’s also an aquarium petting zoo where you can feel the bristly skin of a shark, the spines of a sea urchin, and several other oos and ahs that the kiddies can play with. Personal favorite? The Jellyfish exhibit. These eerie spectacles float in stasis in an otherworldly exhibit that both calms and excites.

The Audubon Insectarium is located downtown, on Canal and is actually a butterfly garden and insectarium. Fill yourself and your children with the wonder of the miraculous world of bugs. Both beautiful and creepy (literally), this is fast becoming a wonderful addition to the already lauded Audubon Nature Institute.

-Hudson Hornick

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