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Short trip to NO with a toddler

Little Rock, AR
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Short trip to NO with a toddler

My husband and I took our 3 year old to NO for a one night stay a few weeks ago in order to visit the aquarium. We drove over after a week in Gulf Shores and spent a Sat. night at the Country Inns and Suites on Magazine. We had a 1 bedroom suite (an okay place to stay). We got lucky during the weekend we arrived b/c the weather had cooled down some and wasn't unbearably hot and humid. We walked easily from our hotel to the French Quarter and to the aquarium and back. Sure, it was a bit hot but we've been before when it was much worse.

Our first priority after checking into the hotel was a late lunch, and we walked to the Gumbo Shop for that. On our way, we encountered an interesting mix of people. I never see drunks so early in the day except for in NO! We ran into some ladies who wanted their pictures made in Jackson square, but it was like their cameras were drunk too and just wouldn't work. It was funny b/c every time one camera didn't work, they would pull yet another out of their purses. Crazy...

Back to the Gumbo Shop--it was fabulous! This has become a bit of a tradition for us when we visit NO, and we are never disappointed here. My husband and I both had the price-fixed meal that allows you to choose an appetizer, entree, side, and dessert. I went with a salad first--skipped the gumbo b/c I'd been eating it all week in Gulf Shores--and then had an entree with a bit of crawfish etouffee, shrimp creole, and jambalya, side of mashed potatoes, and dessert was bread pudding. It was delicious--hated that I couldn't finish it all but it was too much food. My husband had gumbo, maqcue corn (raved about it!), can't remember his entree--maybe red beans and rice or etouffee--and the praline sundae for dessert. He loved it all too!

Next we walked to the aquarium, and when we saw a very long line, we almost decided to skip it. I'm so glad we didn't--we figured out that we could go get tickets in the Imax area and this sped things up quite a bit. I just have to say that the aquarium is really great--our son loved it! This was his 2nd trip to NO but the first time we made it to the aquarium (and we hope to get back down there and see the zoo next time). We were impressed with all there was to see and also the size of it--we thought it was much smaller. We were there for several hours and enjoyed every area. We all petted a nurse shark (did this twice) and my husband petted sting rays while we watched. We had no idea those creatures were so friendly--they were jumping out of the water to be petted. I highly recommend this place for families--it's well worth it.

Our dinner that night was beingets from Cafe Du Monde--terrific as always! I would weigh 300 pounds if I lived down there!:)

We had to leave town fairly early the next morning but drove by Croissant Dor and picked up some croissants to bring home. Yet again, another delicious food found in NO! This was our first time to actually find this place, and I have plans to go back the next time we visit. There were so many tempting pastries in the cases---can't wait to try them out. We had a nice treat when we arrived home that evening!

It seems like I can't talk about NO without talking about food. Our son had a great short trip to NO, as did we. Looking forward to our next visit and hope we make it to the zoo and some other great restaurants as well.

Atlanta, Georgia
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1. Re: Short trip to NO with a toddler

Thanks for your report! Glad you enjoyed the Aquarium - it's one of my favorites too!

Moncton, Canada
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2. Re: Short trip to NO with a toddler

Sounds like a fun overnighter. I went to the Gumbo Shop on my 1st trip to NO this past April, and was not at all impressed, but everybody always raves about it. I did go on Easter Sunday at supper time, so maybe that's why the food was overcooked/semi cold, they seemed pretty busy. I might give them another chance on my next trip next April.

Glad you and your son had a good time. :)

Hamilton, Canada
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3. Re: Short trip to NO with a toddler

Great report, thanks for sharing. I love the Gumbo Shop and must visit at least once (sometimes twice) everytime I'm in New Orleans. The aquarium sounds great, when I bring my kids with me to New Orleans, it will definitely be on the list.

Little Rock, AR
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4. Re: Short trip to NO with a toddler

Thanks for the comments--we did have a great trip! I say give the Gumbo Shop another try; we've always had good food and good service there. We were there at 1:30 or so on a Sat. afternoon and it was full, but everything still was great! The aquarium was terrific, as I've already said. I think it's even worth visiting again in the future (but we have got to get to that zoo!).

AR
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5. Re: Short trip to NO with a toddler

Glad you had a good time at the Aquarium, and YES, you must take your child to the zoo. It is fun to take the streetcar and then walk through Audubon Park to the zoo. Be sure to visit the albino alligators in the swamp section.

Little Rock, AR
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6. Re: Short trip to NO with a toddler

Some friends of ours and some family members have all visted the zoo within the past year. They told us about the albino alligators at the zoo (and showed us photos) and we saw the one at the aquarium. Is the one at the aquarium related to those at the zoo? Just wondering how common these would be--assuming they are not very common but it's Louisiana, so you never know!):

New Orleans...
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7. Re: Short trip to NO with a toddler

From wikipedia:

In 1987 an alligator nest was discovered with 18 freshly hatched alligators with white hides—an extraordinary natural mutation called leucism (they are not albino). The white alligators received much attention when they went on display and became a symbol of the zoo.

The Audubon Institute, which manages the zoo, opened the Aquarium of the Americas in 1990, in a different section of town, at the edge of the French Quarter. Some of the white alligators were transferred to that facility, and a riverboat began service taking visitors between the facilities.

More detailed read:

www.leeric.lsu.edu/le/cover/lead014.htm

Little Rock, AR
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8. Re: Short trip to NO with a toddler

lsulindy--thanks for posting that information! That is actually a pretty neat story, and now I know that those alligators are not actually albinos. Thanks again!

Orlando, Florida
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for New Orleans
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9. Re: Short trip to NO with a toddler

Thanks for the report. I also like the gumbo shop and especially the french loafs that keep coming-it has absorbed many a hurricane (from Pat O's). But as a rule of dining by local food critic Tom Fitzmorris never go on a holiday as one poster did (probably no choice) as the people working don't want to be there and the ones that have to work are in many instances the 'second line' staff and chefs.

I haven't checked out crossaint D'or lately to see what their summer vacation closing will be.

AR
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10. Re: Short trip to NO with a toddler

Really interesting about the "albino" (leucism) alligators! Thanks!