Louisiana: New Orleans, Away for the Holidays - Family Fun with Free Movies, Dinosaurs, and Free Music.
New Orleans sparkles during the holiday season with a month long celebration which includes thousands of twinkling lights, caroling, tasty treats, shopping specials, a parade, and a “Zoo Year” celebration. Here’s the scoop.
I like events spanning more than 24 hours so NOLA’s annual holiday celebration is one of my favorites. Technically because I include the January festivities it is more than 31 days of fun starting with holiday shopping in the unique shops of the French Quarter. Share music & beignets.
During the month of December enjoy the family-friendly atmosphere on the patio next to the park in the heart of the French Quarter. The park, dedicated to the great musicians of the city – past and future, welcomes holiday shoppers and city visitors with a place of comfort and live music. Within the park are much-photographed statues of famous musicians and Café Beignet, serving beignets, meals, and beverages. Wait for it!
On special dates there will be visits from Santa and music from local choirs. (Musical Legends Park and Cafe Beignet 311 Bourbon Street New Orleans, LA. (504)587-0724 www.cafebeignet.com) NOLA Offers 31 Days of Christmas.
French Quarter shops will be offering an eclectic array of events and specials including: trunk shows, artist appearances, authors’ signings, traditional holiday treats, special discounts, and a lively holiday atmosphere. Bonus points: Complimentary Pedi-Cabs will enable shoppers to easily travel between participating merchants throughout the French Quarter. (500 Port of New Orleans Place New Orleans, LA (504) 561-8927)Free holiday movies.
This year NOLA’s Downtown Development District and Riverwalk will present two weekends of free outdoor holiday movies. Enjoy hot chocolate, scrumptious Southern treats, and the beautiful Mississippi River. Wait for it! The first 50 families at each showing will receive free fleece blankets! Enjoy "A Christmas Carol."
Thi sholiday season the Southern Rep is producing the holiday classic starring John “Spud” McConnell as Scrooge. The Contemporary Arts Center is featuring a timeless classic- Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. (Southern Rep at the Contemporary Arts Center, 900 Camp Street New Orleans, LA. (504) 522-6545 or www.southernrep.com) Meet dinosaurs on vacation.
What six-year-old child doesn't want a dinosaur for Christmas? The New Orleans Zoo is home to several new dinosaurs that are part of the fascinating Dinosaur Adventure which enables participants to take an exciting journey back in time and encounter giant replicas of moving, roaring dinosaurs in natural habitats. Expect to see t-rex, dilophosaurus, pachycephalosaurus and look for a baryonyx, the fish-eating dinosaur found in the fish pond. Bonus points: The gift shop is loaded with terrific dino related gifts. Wait for it!
Ring in the zoo year on the last day of the year with family activities, interactive games and countdown to noon singing Auld Lang Syne. (www.auduboninstitute.org/visit/zoo/fun-favorites/dinosaur-adventure)Touch a butterfly.
Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium celebrates the holidays with activities and treats for the entire family. Test your knowledge of "winter bugs" with the “Gumdrop Hunt”. Join Santa Claus for a Buggy reading; Sample Peppermint Cricket Bark, Bug Nog and Fruit Fly Cake. Wait for it! Look for Pupa Noel in Metamorphosis Lab and check out his sleigh led by eight tiny "beetle-deer"! (6500 Magazine St. New Orleans, LA. Toll-free 1-800-774-7394 or www.auduboninstitute.org)Stay for the parade.
New Orleans does parades with glitz and attitude creating a moving street fairs with all of the costumes, music, and street performers in perfect synch. Each year in January, the French Quarter celebrates the birthday of Joan of Arc - “The Maid of Orleans” with a walking parade on January 6. The event also pays tribute to Twelfth Night - the end of Christmas season, and marks the start of Mardi Gras season. The festive event includes with medieval costumes, handmade throws, several Joans on horseback, and a sword blessing at St. Louis Cathedral. (www.orjoanofarcparade.com)Location on the planet.
New Orleans is located in southeastern Louisiana where the Mississippi River meets the Gulf of Mexico.Make it happen.
Check out the entire list of happenings at www.neworleansonline.com/holiday/Content researched and written by Nancy Nelson-Duac, Editor FTF. Images courtesy of New Orleansonline.com, David Richmond and Audubon Zoo of New Orleans. Copyright 2012.