Day 5 – Train from New Orleans to Anniston
5:30 AM sure did come early the next morning. We got up, finished packing, and went downstairs to get a taxi to the train station, which was just a bit too far to walk with Cora and Greta. On the train, it was similar to the ride there and, in fact, seemed shorter, though it wasn’t actually. We arrived in Anniston at about 4:00 PM to find my father there filming our arrival. Our girls were excited to see him and then to see my mom and their little brothers when we arrived at my parents’ house.
So, what about the question of whether New Orleans is kid-appropriate? If you have read all of my meandering commentary about our trip, you probably have gathered that we had a fabulous time, seeing and doing many things we could not see at home. And did you notice that there were not any mentions of safety or security issues we encountered? That’s because there weren’t any. We knew enough about traveling safely, regardless of location, and took all of the necessary precautions to avoid putting ourselves in places we shouldn’t have been, like on Bourbon Street after dark. Hans and I discussed our trip afterwards and decided that Greta and Cora, at almost 6 years old, might actually be the perfect age to take a trip to New Orleans. They are old enough not to need a nap or a stroller, are able to walk pretty significant distances, yet are not old enough to really notice any of the risqué stuff in the French Quarter. Hans and I certainly saw some things that we wondered if they noticed, but when we asked them what they liked the most about our first walk through the French Quarter, they both immediately mentioned a window display of crystal animal figurines and vases. Ah, the eyes of innocent children! By the way, when we asked them what their favorite activity in New Orleans was (swamp tour, steamboat ride, children’s museum, aquarium, IMAX movie, zoo, Insectarium, beignets at Café du Monde), they both chose the Louisiana Children’s Museum. It certainly was the best children’s museum we’ve visited, though I’m not sure it’s better than the zoo or the swamp tour. I’d say that New Orleans certainly has enough activities to “Let the Good Times Roll” for people of any age and to keep the Crescent City in mind when you’re planning your next family vacation.
For planning purposes, I should point out that there is a VISITicket Power Pass you can purchase for admission into a myriad of activities in New Orleans and surrounding areas. I looked into the cost of the pass versus the cost of only paying for the places we wanted to visit with Greta and Cora. In our case, particularly since children age 5 and under are free on the steamboat ride and we have a reciprocal pass from the children’s museum in Huntsville, it was not worth it to purchase the pass for the city. There are various passes for the Audubon facilities, so we did purchase the one that included the zoo, aquarium, IMAX, and Insectarium. If you’re going to plan a trip to New Orleans (or any other city with a pass), do take the time to investigate which things you’d actually use the pass for and compare to actual prices of those things. Oh, and don’t forget to look online and/or in the lobby of your hotel for coupons. I found coupons for the swamp tour and the steamboat ride online before we left home.
Thanks to everyone who managed to read all of my notes about New Orleans. I hope that you find it helpful in some way and might consider taking a trip there, with or without kids, sometime in the future.