Resources for parents at ONA19 and fun family activities around New Orleans

Maybe New Orleans isn’t quite like Walt Disney World when it comes to family friendly attractions. But you might be surprised how much the city has to offer those who can’t yet belly up to the bar.

First, a few things to know about accommodations for mothers at the conference hotels. 

Napoleon Office 1 (sign up requested) a private room on the 3rd floor of the New Orleans Sheraton, will be a secure and quiet space for mothers to breastfeed or pump during ONA19. 

The space will be equipped with comfortable seating, power, towels, purified water and a small refrigerator to store expressed milk or bottles — as well as some other goodies to keep moms (and babies!) comfortable. The third floor has ample bathroom space to clean bottles, which can then be brought back into the room for drying. 

Keys to access this space will be available at the Help area of the main registration desk on the 5th floor, and you can sign up in advance to reserve a time slot. The room can accommodate one person at a time and will be accessible from Thursday morning to Saturday evening for registered attendees.

This post will be updated with details on accommodations for breastfeeding mothers at the InterContinental New Orleans.

Child care

For families seeking child care during ONA19, some parents post in the ONA19 Facebook group looking to share short-term nanny or babysitting resources. You can also explore for last-minute or tourism-driven child care or check out the Facebook group NOLA Babysitters

In addition, the Sheraton suggests these two services:

Fleur De Lis Nanny Connection

Dependable Kid Care

Things to do

If you’re planning to make ONA19 a family affair, here are a few fun recommendations for people of all ages.

  • The Audubon Institute runs an aquarium/IMAX, zoo and insectarium that are highly regarded. The aquarium and insectarium are downtown, and the zoo isn’t far. The zoo also has an outdoor park nearby with oak trees and a playground funded by New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees.
  • City Park is one of New Orleans’ treasures. Some highlights: the brand new children’s museum, brand new sculpture garden, world famous Cafe du Monde, a mini amusement park and the New Orleans Museum of Art.
  • The National World War II Museum feels like it belongs in Washington D.C. It’s — in a word — spectacular, and it’s located downtown.
  • Mardi Gras World is the perfect stop if you’re in town when it’s not parade season.
  • Take a cruise on the Steamboat Natchez, which claims to be one of only two true steam-powered sternwheelers plying the Mississippi River today.
  • If you’re looking for music for all ages, Preservation Hall is a perfect place to go.
  • Of course, you want to know about swamp tours, right? There are plenty. Just Google them. Here’s one that stands out. You can also visit Jean Lafitte National Park and catch a glimpse of some gators in the wild.
  • A ferry ride from the foot of Canal Street to Algiers Point is the easiest way to get a feel for New Orleans as a river town. In Old Algiers Point, you can take a walk along the levee top and watch the passing ships up close; check out Congregation Coffee for a snack or Tavolino for pizza.
  • Jackson Square/Royal Street: Everyone knows Bourbon Street is for adults, but a daytime stroll around Jackson Square and Royal Street can be great for kids, with bands busking and street performers from human statues to acrobatic dance troupes doing their thing. Bring some bills to tip and enjoy the impromptu entertainment. 
  • With all the water we have around here, hey, why not kayak on Bayou St. John?
  • The Monkey Room is a good spot for kids who need a little break. It’s a simple indoor playground.
  • Rock N’ Bowl mixes — you guessed it — bowling and live music. It can get crowded quickly so be sure to call ahead. 
  • Hitch a ride on the streetcars for some of New Orleans’ best sights. 
  • If you travel out to the suburbs, Sector 6 is an indoor trampoline park that’s sure to wear out any kid — or adult.

Kyle Whitfield is the digital director at The Advocate and The Times-Picayune. His role is to oversee the creation, implementation and execution of digital news and audience engagement strategies. He was born and raised in New Orleans but now lives in Baton Rouge with his wife and 2-year-old daughter (and the dog too, of course).