Nature in New Orleans

A true measure of a cities vitality is the abundance of its parks. Any town worth visiting understands the importance of a healthy park system, and makes a concerted effort to make them flourish.

If you’re looking to spend time in nature in New Orleans you’ll be happy to know that despite its reputation as a city to cut loose, there are plenty of places to spend time outside.

Audubon Park

The wobble of the street car is interrupted by the dull-sounding bell alerting the operator that someone on board has requested a stop. After 30 minutes of travel through some of the most unique streets in New Orleans along St. Charles Ave., the stop for Audubon Park has arrived.

A few steps from the median to the stone-work entrance lets you know you’ve arrived, but take a second to enjoy the beautiful architecture of Tulane University’s buildings.

From this entrance, you’ll immediately see Gumbel Fountain. An ornate fountain that brings back fond memories of other beautiful parks in cities like Charleston and Savannah, and it’s from here you’ll want to decide how to explore the park.

You can go with the flow and follow traffic around the park, or make your way through the meandering trails that cut through the golf course. Any way you decide, you’ll discover plentiful beauty and lush landscapes that are juxtaposed with water features, or community gathering areas like picnic areas, pavilions, and a stage overlooking the water. For a full list of amenities, check out their website.

The reason this place was on the itinerary was for the Bird Island Preserve. A rookery for water birds, this small island was filled with trees, but during this trip, no birds. While that was unfortunate for Bird Island itself, there were plenty of birds to be seen grazing on the golf course and flying overhead. New Orleans was filled with avian wonders, but the White Ibises were quite abundant at the park and seemed to enjoy whatever snacks they were finding on the fairways.

The other thing to admire while walking around this park is the canopy. According to the website, there are over 2000 trees at this park, and the majority of those are going to be Live Oaks. If you’ve been anywhere in Texas, you’ll know how big those trees can be, and it was no different at this park. Rows of gallant live oak trees lined the trails, offered plenty of habitat for wildlife, and offered plenty of shade while walking around its almost intolerable humid conditions.

New Orleans City Park

City Park encompasses over 1300 acres and is filled with numerous outdoor recreation activities, art, amusement, and so much more. Visit the park’s website for full details.

The streetcar will bring you to the park, so hop on some public transportation and give yourself an opportunity to see this city from a different perspective.

And while your mind is open for new things, stop into the New Orleans Museum of Art, which is one of the main features at the park. If you’d rather get in your steps, you can explore the sculpture garden of the museum which features some of the best examples of sculpture you’ll see in the United States. It’s abundance and curation make for a fantastic stroll through a park.

24 miles of hiking trails are available at this park, and after you’ve seen the art sculptures, take a look at the different intineraries to see which adventure seems like a fit for you and your family.


Here are some other places worth checking out:

Louis Armstrong Park

Jean Lafitte NHP

Chalmette Battlefield

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