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Garden Lifestyle

Garden Fun for Kids in New Orleans

Can't let my recent visit to the Big Easy go by without reporting about two really fun places for kids (both young and old)--if you live there--don't miss these gardens.

  • Lanterns in the live oaks at the Celebration in the Oaks, NOLA City Park.
    Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger
  • Lizards, insects, butterlies and birds along with other garden creatures, adorn the trees and botanicals.
    Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger
  • Magic mushrooms and flowers of every sort light up the garden.
    Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger
  • Double the light display on the water--love the reflections.
    Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger
  • These "dripping" snowdrops were perhaps my favorite of the festival--they moved and it really looked as if they were dripping. (42,000 LED dripping lights!)
    Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger
  • There are lots of brightly-colored informative signs at the Discovery Garden at Longue Vue Gardens.
    Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger
  • Right when you enter the children's garden, there is a sandpit--that is well used. Buckets and trowels are a welcoming sight for a kid.
    Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger
  • Watering cans ready to be filled and happily hauled by busy children.
    Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger
  • Large, weatherproof, magnifying glass handily located, invites kids to explore things closeup--I used it!
    Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger
  • I liked the raking space and the cinderblock rake holder.
    Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger
  • Giant, purple, watering can sculpture adds visual fun to the garden. Here's the birthday girl, Tina Marie Wilcox, letting her inner kid out.
    Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger
  • Who can resist a secret garden?
    Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger

Can’t let my recent visit to the Big Easy go by without reporting about two really fun places for kids (both young and old)–if you live there–don’t miss these gardens. If you are a visitor or wannabe, put these on your must-do list.

I love visiting children’s gardens. We are fortunate to have many of them spread out across the nation. I always look for them when I am off visiting a new place; mostly they are at arboretums and botanical gardens, however I have found great ones at universities and even community gardens.

The Lucy C. Roussel Discovery Garden at Longue View Garden was built in 1998. This interactive garden was designed for children of all ages–it has a Secret Garden, raised beds with herbs, vegetables and flowers, colorful sculptures, places to sit for parents, friendly and informative signage and lots of hands-on activities. Kids need to be able to touch and feel plants, smell and even taste them (with adult supervision).

There is a giant fence covered with hanging watering cans so kids can be helpful and water thirsty plants, however they can also get wet and physical. There is a large, cleared, sandy area with shovels and wagons and building blocks for building; an empty space with rakes for raking leaves or sand and a big sandpit with trowels and buckets. This is a place for kids to play, create and burn energy. Check website for special events www.LongueVue.com.

While the discovery garden is a daytime place, the seasonal display Celebration in the Oaks which is located at NOLA City Park is a nightime, holiday light festival. It is open now from until January 1, 2019–check the website for hours and special events–of course it starts around dusk. https://neworleanscitypark.com/celebration-in-the-oaks

“City Park’s famous oaks are swathed in hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights and breathtaking light displays are scattered throughout 25 acres of the Park, including the Botanical Garden, Storyland, and Carousel Gardens Amusement Park.”

It takes seven fulltime staff members eight months to get the lights ready for this annual fundraiser. Bundle up for walking around and viewing this dazzling light show. There is also a section with rides and lots of noise, which we avoided.

We took the streetcar to City Park, so it was a bit of a walk to the Celebration light show, however there were all sorts of light displays throughout the park. I especially liked the lights located on the water because of the reflections, which made them doubly impressive.

Downtown NOLA the streets are festooned and brightly lit–all of the huge palm tree trunks are wrapped in lights–which is pretty spectacular also.

Y’all get outside, wherever you might be and celebrate the season!

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