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Old 03-21-2011, 06:19 PM   #1
emvenable77
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A Trip to the Big Easy…March 19-20 Completed 3/29

A Trip to the Big Easy…March 19-20

A little background to this trip. We were invited to a birthday party at the Audubon Zoo in NOLA. We had been talking about an overnight trip to NOLA to see the zoo, aquarium and insectarium. When we got the invitation we decided that this would be the perfect weekend for that. The weather would be awesome and it would give us a nice weekend away.

We woke up at 5:00 am on Saturday morning and finished packing the last minute things and then jumped in the car by 7:15.

We drove for about 1.5 hours and stopped for a quick breakfast at Abby ‘s favorite place breakfast place…Waffle House!
We all had our usual breakfast foods here. Waffles for Abby and I, omelet for Scott.

When we were done we headed back on the interstate for the last 45 minutes of our drive.
The zoo opened at 10 and the party started at 11 so we had decided to try to be there at park opening BUT our travel time took a little longer than expected. Now that I think back on it, we usually say that it takes 2 hours to get to NOLA from our house but that is if you are going somewhere right off of I-10 and the zoo is NOT right off of I-10. Anyway, after a few detours thanks to our trusty GPS we made it to Magazine Street. I wasn’t sure which entrance we would need to take and don’t you know it is the first one on the right (we passed it up as the GPS was taking us to a different entrance). The traffic on this street was crazy. The park across from the zoo was full of runners and this is possibly the reason. Anyway after going for about 10 blocks, we finally turned around and joined in with the others in this sea of cars. As we turned in to the zoo parking lot, I noticed that there were not many empty spots and was wondering if this zoo is always this full.

We made it into the gates by 10:15 and quickly made our way to the party room to drop off the present (didn’t want to carry that thing all over the zoo). From here we decided to stay close to the party area and headed over to Asia to see the exhibits there. While here we got a call from the parents of the birthday boy. We finished walking through this area and then headed back to the party room. The other guests were slow to arrive and it was quite difficult to get the kids to sit at a table and wait when they were ready to see animals and play on the playground.

Finally, we all headed to the playground to let the kids play while we waited for the others (everyone in the party said that they had never seen the zoo that busy-they were having some sort of Earth day event??). As we made the short walk to the playground, we noticed that there was a little girl (maybe 7) laying on her stomach near the monkey bars with medics. She was not moving but was wide awake and no one seemed to be in any kind of panic but she stayed in that spot for the entire time we were there. I think they were calling an ambulance. I said a quick prayer that they were taking all precautions and that nothing serious happened to her.

From here we rode the Carousel for the first of many rides.

Then headed in for the party. The party ended at 1 pm and we left to see the zoo on our own.

My impression of this zoo:
It is an older zoo with very spaced out exhibits-we were exhausted when we left! The primates were very cool as were the sea lions. My only problem was that the people didn’t move. I don’t know if it is always like this or if it is just because it was so packed but in some places you could not move and this was making my DH very anxious.
I really liked this gorilla. He stayed like this looking around at all of us staring at him for a long time.

 
We also paid 12 more dollars to enter a dinosaur exhibit. I don’t think this is something I would recommend to everyone but Abby has really gotten interested in dinosaurs lately so we did it. The exhibit was really cool. It started out with smaller dinosaurs that we had never heard of but they were pretty big (not sure if life size or not) and so real looking. Abby was a little afraid but we finally got her to realize that they were NOT real!!
Here are a few of my favorite pics from this exhibit:
Still a little nervous!

Getting brave enough to touch them!

Now she's having fun!

 
After we made our way back to the Carousel, we decided to head to the hotel to check in and go for a swim. The hotel I booked for us was a Comfort Suites in Kenner by the airport. We got a room with 2 queens on the second floor and it was perfect for us. We dropped off the bags and headed down to the pool to check it out. There were only 2 people in the pool, so we headed back up to the room to change and by the time we got back down there were 2 new large families in the pool. I was a little worried about going to the outside part of the pool thinking it would be too cold, but I actually preferred it there. It was a beautiful sunny day (a little windy) but if you kept you shoulders under the water it was fine. We pretty much had this area to ourselves as it was only a small part of the pool that was outside.
Those swimming lessons are finally paying off! Not scared of the water anymore!

This pic shows how the pool was part indoors and part outdoors.

We swam for about 1 hour and then headed back up to the room to shower and get ready for dinner.

Our plans were to go our for a bite to eat and then come back and watch a little TV in the room. We got back from dinner around 7:30, put our pjs on and had the TV off and lights out b y 8:15!!
 
Up next: Fish, Insects and What’s that smell mommy?
 
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Old 03-21-2011, 07:28 PM   #2
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Old 03-21-2011, 08:50 PM   #3
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Great TR and your daughter is so beautiful!!!!
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Old 03-21-2011, 09:09 PM   #4
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Looks like you all had lots of fun in the Big Easy!
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Old 03-21-2011, 10:07 PM   #5
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Cool dinosaur exhibit!! My favorite breakfast place when on the road is also Waffle House!!
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Old 03-21-2011, 11:14 PM   #6
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Great update & pictures!!
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Old 03-22-2011, 12:48 AM   #7
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Great time at the zoo! I'm actually planning on going to the Aquarium tomorrow!
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Old 03-22-2011, 02:59 AM   #8
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Looks like you're having a lot of fun!
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Old 03-22-2011, 09:40 AM   #9
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Sounds like an awesome day at the zoo! Great pics!
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Old 03-22-2011, 09:51 AM   #10
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That pool looks soo
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Old 03-22-2011, 11:38 AM   #11
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Sounds like a great day. Sorry to hear that it was so crowded, and the people wouldn't move. It is a nice zoo. I love the primates, too. Did you get to see the baby orangatan? It is the cutest thing.
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Old 03-23-2011, 02:03 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Colexis Mom View Post
Great update!
Thanks! More to come!

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Originally Posted by tessatilli View Post
Great TR and your daughter is so beautiful!!!!
Thanks so much! I just noticed that our trips will overlap by a few days. Maybe we'll see you around!

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Looks like you all had lots of fun in the Big Easy!
Yes it was a blast! DH and I prefer our New Orleans trips now compared to when we were younger!

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Cool dinosaur exhibit!! My favorite breakfast place when on the road is also Waffle House!!
The dino exhibit was cool. When we first walked in DH was worried that we wasted our money but once we went outside we agreed that it was worth 12 bucks!

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Great update & pictures!!
Thanks more coming soon!

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Great time at the zoo! I'm actually planning on going to the Aquarium tomorrow!
Hope your trip to the aquarium was fun!

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Looks like you're having a lot of fun!
Thanks it was lots of fun but not WDW! KWIM

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Sounds like an awesome day at the zoo! Great pics!
Thanks...we love touring new zoos and this one was really great!

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That pool looks soo
It was so awesome! I kept saying I love this! We are swimming outside in March! LOL

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Sounds like a great day. Sorry to hear that it was so crowded, and the people wouldn't move. It is a nice zoo. I love the primates, too. Did you get to see the baby orangatan? It is the cutest thing.

No we didn't get to see it! We couldn't find any of them in the exhibit! It was about 1:30 or 2 by the time we got to them so they were probably all !!
I wish we could have seen the baby, DD would have loved that!
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Old 03-23-2011, 08:23 PM   #13
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March 20, 2011

Although we were in bed by 8:15 or so on Friday night, I had really hoped that we would be able to sleep late (at least a little later than normal). The room was so cool and dark BUT at 5:15 I woke to the sound of the shower in the bathroom and so I got up too. When DH was finished dressing he went down to get some coffee and check out the continental breakfast. By the time he returned I had gotten DD up. We decided to head down to grab a bite to eat then to try to beat the late sleepers later.

As I stated earlier, we stayed at the Comfort Suites near the airport in Kenner. Although it was about 15 minutes from New Orleans, it was perfect for us. The price was great ($89.00 plus tax), the pool was perfect and the breakfast was plentiful. There were lots to choose from on this "continental" breakfast. I always think of a free continental breakfast as mostly cold breakfast foods and perhaps some toast or bagels. This place had a waffle maker, 3 kinds of cereal, eggs, bacon, pastries, toast, bagels, microwaveable oatmeal and grits, fruit and yogurt. They also had 3 kinds of juices, coffee and milk.

We had our breakfast and just as we were finishing, the room began to fill up. We headed back up to finish dressing, pack up and check out.
After leaving the hotel, we drove over to Canal Street. DH was sure we would be able to find a place to park on one of the streets, but I was against it. I don’t have a brand new or super nice car, but I prefer to not leave my little Honda on the side of the road in New Orleans. We decided to spend the $15 dollars and park in the Central parking lot off of Canal.

We were very early (like 8:15 early) so we headed over to the Aquarium to see if there were signs to determine what time they would begin selling tickets. We saw no sign so we headed toward the Insectarium to find it and there was a security person standing outside that said we needed to go back to the Aquarium to buy our tickets and that they would open up at 10.
(Abby by the WTC in New Orleans)

(WTC New Orleans)

From here we walked around the French Quarter but tried to stay within a few blocks of Canal as we knew that we would be touring the Quarter a little more later on in the day. We did go down Bourbon Street for a few blocks when heading back up to Canal Street (the really tame part of Bourbon and it was about 8:30 a.m. so it was empty to say the least). It was almost instantly that Abby says, "Mommy, what’s that smell?" Scott and I just started to laugh out loud and answered at the same time, "That’s Bourbon Street honey!"
(I got this pic for Cam...)

(This is a pic from a window on Canal...I absolutely love the Blue Dog paintings!)

I love the beautiful buildings of New Orleans!


We talked about riding a street car but decided to wait because we wanted to be there when the Insectarium opened. We got back to the Aquarium at 9:45 and waited in a short but growing line to purchase our tickets.

A few minutes before 10 the window opened and by 10 we were walking back to the Insectarium with our tickets in hand.

The Insectarium was awesome. There were so many bugs that I had never heard of here and then there were those that you have heard of but never get the chance to see alive. We finally made our way around to the Butterflies in Flight exhibit which we all really loved. It was very humid in this area, as you can see they have beautiful flowers growing for the butterflies.



Scott was hot so he exited and Abby and I stayed so I could get a few more pictures. She really wanted one of those butterflies to land on her and then the funniest thing happened! She was standing on this little bridge that goes over some water and a very big butterfly (forgot which one-see pic below) began to fly all around her.

She freaked out and began to scream and run and that seemed to make him want to land on her even more. When I finally calmed her down and explained that he just wanted to sit on her, she was not interested. She said he was too big and that she only wanted a LITTLE butterfly to land on her. I began to think that perhaps he did that because of her dress. (see the pic below)
-this was before the terrible butterfly attack-BTW


The more I thought about it, I really began to wonder if he thought she was a flower because of all of those bright colors! (can butterflies see colors??)
After our "butterfly encounter" Abby was ready to leave to go to the Aquarium. We walked back that way for the third time today! When we first entered, there were lots of people and they weren’t moving but I quickly realized it was because there were 3 divers in the large coral reef aquarium at the very beginning of the tour. They were cleaning and feeding and everyone was just standing and watching. One of the divers tried to get Abby to stand next to the glass so he could take a picture with her but she was not having that!!

I tried to explain that he was a diver, like the dentist on Finding Nemo but she still refused.

Once we were out of the little tunnel area it seemed that the crowds were more tolerable. Abby really wanted to find Bruce (she has been on a Nemo kick lately), so we toured the beginning areas quickly and then found the shark exhibit.
We spend a good 2 hours at the aquarium and then decided it was time to head to the French Quarter for some lunch!

Up next: Strolling through the Quarter and now where are we going to eat!!
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Old 03-23-2011, 08:43 PM   #14
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love the pics!! Your daughter is just too cute! Can you tell I wish I had a little girl? Nope I got me 2 boys and one who's hair is long enough to be a girl! HAHAHAHAHA
I wouldn't wanted to stand next to a funny man swimming under water with all that funny gear on either! LOL
Can't wait to hear about your lunch!
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:57 PM   #15
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Concierge Level: 9
Posts: 136,854

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Another great update!
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My Previous TripsAUG '16 - POFQ, APR '12 - POFQ, JUL '10 - DL, AUG '09 - DCL Western, AUG '08 - POFQ/BC, AUG '06 - AKL/BC/DisneyWonder/Poly, DEC '05 - AKL, APR '05 - AKL/BC, DEC '04 - AKL, MAY '04 - AKL/BC, MAY '03 - WL/BC, MAY '98 -offsite, MAY '94 - BC, AUG '85 - Poly, AUG '83 - Poly, AUG '81 - Poly, JUL '79 - World Inn, JUL '76 - World Inn
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