What to See at Audubon Aquarium
This post will help you plan a fun trip to the Audubon Aquarium. In addition to discussing how to get there and the best times to visit, we will also cover some of the aquatic life on display, their giant screen theater, and several exhibitions.
- Plan Your Visit
- Ticket Details
- Event Information
- Audubon Zoo
- Other Things to Do in NOLA
Plan Your Visit
Audubon Aquarium is a pretty popular destination for families in New Orleans. As a result, it’s a good idea to plan your visit before heading out. In this section, we will provide detail about how to get there, best times to visit and what to expect when you arrive.
TIPS: For the best experience, consider getting a New Orleans tourist pass for free and easy admission to the Aquarium.
If you’re looking for even more kid-friendly activities in NOLA, check out our family-friendly guide to New Orleans.
Best Time to Visit
The Audubon Aquarium is open from 10 am – 5 pm every day of the week. Although they aren’t always busy, there are times when things can get pretty crowded. If you want the best-unobstructed views of the animals, it will be important to think about when you plan to visit.
As with most popular attractions, this aquarium is at its busiest during the weekend. If you want to avoid the largest crowds, it will be important to make your trip on a weekday. We recommend purchasing tickets on either Monday or Tuesday for the best possible results.
Additionally, you should also consider arriving either early or later in the day. The hours of 3 pm – 5 pm usually aren’t as busy, allowing you to enjoy your stay for as long as the aquarium is open.
Early birds who get there at 10 am can also beat most of the crowds, but you should expect things to get busy as early as 11 am on weekends.
This is a popular destination for school field trips and camping trips. These groups tend to visit during the hours of 12 pm – 3 pm, and Audubon Aquarium recommends coming either before or after these times for the best experiences.
Expect larger than usual crowds on event days and holidays. Fall and Winter are the slow seasons for this location, and you probably won’t have much trouble with crowds during the months of September – February.
What to Expect
Once you arrive at the Audubon Aquarium, you’ll have to either purchase a ticket or bring your pre-purchased admission to the ticket booth for validation. For more information on tickets, make sure to check out our ticket information section.
Most visitors recommend setting aside at least 1 ½ – 2 hours to explore the Audubon Aquarium. Some reviews indicate that the ticket lines can be long, suggesting that you purchase your tickets ahead of time to avoid this problem.
One way to avoid being held up in line is to purchase an attraction pass which includes free admission to the aquarium. This option will allow you to skip the ticket lines. For more details on these services, read our section about combo deals and tourist passes.
Once you’re done there, you’ll immediately have the opportunity to see several wonderful exhibits on the first floor alone. The second floor holds even more exhibitions and a small food court for families that don’t feel like leaving the building to get lunch.
The Audubon Aquarium is handicap accessible and they do their best to accommodate disabled visitors. In addition to stairs, guests can also choose to take either an elevator or an escalator to reach the second floor. A limited number of wheelchairs are also available for those who might need them.
Families with younger children will be glad to hear that strollers are allowed inside the Aquarium. If you don’t have one, they are actually sold in the gift shop. Budding photographers are also welcome to bring their cameras and perform flash photography of all the animals on display.
If you do have to leave the building for any reason, make sure that you get a fresh stamp on your hand so that you can re-enter without any issue. This can be done at the information booth in the Aquarium lobby. This is also the location where visitors can get maps, schedules or wheelchairs.
Tickets are only good for one use, but they are valid for an entire year after the date of purchase. In other words, even if you can’t make it to the Aquarium immediately after purchasing tickets, you’ll still be able to use them at some point over the course of the next year. Each ticket includes free admission to their 4K theater.
The Audubon Aquarium is located right next to the Canal Street ferry. There are a few different ways to get there, but the easiest option will be to take a streetcar down to Canal Street Station. This stop services lines 2 and 47, and it is right in front of the Aquarium. You will also find a bus stop across the street servicing lines 10 and 16.
In addition to these options, there is a hop-on-hop-off bus tour which provides a stop right across the street from the Aquarium at Harrah’s Casino. This tour bus will also take you to nearby Mardi Gras World. If you plan on seeing a lot of attractions while visiting New Orleans, this is an excellent way to save money on transportation.
No matter how you choose to visit, use this map for directions.
If you’re looking for more to do either before or after your visit to the Aquarium, there are quite a few fun activities and attractions in the area that you might want to consider.
Riverboat Cruise –
Located on the north end of Woldenberg Park, this Natchez Steamboat is one of the most popular boat tour services in New Orleans. Alternatively, you can also take a cruise on the Paddlewheel Creole Queen which is found right behind the Four Seasons. Click here for more information on each tour boat.
Mardi Gras World –
No matter when you choose to visit New Orleans, you can always experience the fun and excitement of Fat Tuesday at Mardi Gras World. If you want to visit and take a tour, head down Port of New Orleans Pl until you reach Henderson St. You’ll find this location on the right, directly up against the Mississippi River. For more information, read our post about Mardi Gras World.
Audubon Insectarium –
Located just down the street from the Aquarium, this indoor butterfly garden/insectarium has a number of interesting insects on display. This is America’s largest museum devoted to insects, and they have a lot of educational exhibits to take in.
Canal Street Ferry –
Some of you may actually use this ferry to get to the Aquarium, but if you choose another form of transportation, it’s worth noting that the ferry is very affordable and there is a lot to see and do in Algiers Point.
Harrah’s Casino – T
his Aquarium is located right across the street from Harrah’s Casino. Although it might not always be the most family-friendly spot in New Orleans, there are often events that take place in front of the building. If you plan on visiting, make sure to keep track of their events calendar.
Woldenberg Park –
You’ll find this park right next to the Aquarium. Whether you’re planning a picnic or you just want to take a stroll with the family, this is a great place to visit. If you walk through the entire park, you’ll eventually make it to the next attraction on this list.
These are just a few ideas, but there are a lot of different activities and attractions in this area. For additional family-friendly activities, check out our post featuring things to do with kids in New Orleans. If you’re looking for even more ideas, check out our things to do in New Orleans post.
Admission can be purchased either directly at the ticket booth or online.
Both the New Orleans Sightseeing Pass and the New Orleans Power Pass includes admission to the Audubon Aquarium, the Audubon Zoo, and the Insectarium. In addition, this pass also includes access to nearby attractions such as Mardis Gras World and the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen Cruise.
- $29.95/Adults | $24.95/Seniors | $21.95/Kids
- Tickets include admission to the 4K theater
- Click here for more details or to purchase
If you plan on visiting the Audubon Zoo as well, you can actually save money by purchasing a combo ticket.
- $39.95/Adults | $32.95/Seniors | $29.95/Kids
- Guests can visit each location on different days
- Click here for more information
Exhibits at Audubon Aquarium
There are several different exhibitions on display at the Audubon Aquarium. Here is a handy list of the most popular attractions you will see.
Great Maya Reef –
Walk into a submerged Mayan city and see all of the fish and other animals such as lion fish, yellowtail snappers, spiny lobsters and moray eels. This exhibit also offers visitors the opportunity to go snorkeling for an additional $125 per person ($100 for members).
Gulf of Mexico –
This is their largest exhibit, and it holds over 400,000 gallons of water. Inside the tank, a ¼ scale model of an underwater oil rig provides examples of how aquatic animals manage to survive in such conditions. See sharks, stingrays, sea turtles and schools of fish.
Amazon Rainforest –
Experience a rainforest in the middle of a dry season and get a birds-eye view of the area from their “tree-top loop” attraction. In addition to fish such as payara piranhas, pacu fish and freshwater stingrays, you will also notice free-flying birds throughout the exhibit.
Watch as more than 20 African Penguins play and live their lives at the Audubon Aquarium. These penguins are native to Africa and accustomed to a warm environment, so they are actually quite comfortable here in New Orleans!
Parakeet Pointe –
If you can’t get enough of the birds flying around the Amazon Rainforest exhibition, head over to Parakeet Pointe and meet their Budgerigars. This is an interactive exhibit allowing visitors to meet and even feed the birds. Feeding sticks can be purchased for an additional $1.50 ($1.00 for members). If you purchase 3 sticks, you get one free!
Living in Water –
If you or your children are looking for Nemo and his friend Dory, this is where you can find them. This exhibit includes a variety of colorful fish such as clownfish, royal blue tangs and lionfish.
Seahorse Gallery –
See one of the most interesting lifeforms in the entire ocean at the Seahorse exhibit. This attraction includes a variety of different breeds including longsnout seahorses, lined seahorses and potbellied seahorses.
Frogs! At the Aquarium –
Take a break from all of the fish and spend some time with frogs of all shapes and sizes. In addition to exitoc animals such as milk frogs and poison dart frogs, there are also interactive attractions allowing visitors to touch some of the frogs at Audubon Aquarium.
These little guys may be some of the cutest animals on display at the Aquarium. Their custom-made habitat gives them a lot to do while getting some exercise and having fun.
Mississippi River Gallery –
Since you’re in the area, you might as well spend some time learning about the aquatic life that lives in and around the Mississippi River. This gallery features a plethora of information and notable animals such as catfish, sturgeon, paddlefish, and alligator.
Jellyfish Exhibits –
Watch as jellyfish in 8 different cornerless tanks float around all day. These tanks are specifically designed to keep the jellies safe as they can get hurt if they bump into corners or solid objects.
Stingray Touchpool –
This is your opportunity to touch a cownose stingray and take a more hands-on approach to learning about them. Visitors are even given the opportunity to help feed them during their feeding time.
Reef Rescue –
This VR experience gives visitors the chance to dive into a 360° coral reef environment and help save the reefs from extinction. Clean up the waters, feed the fish, and plant new coral branches in order to rescue the reef. This exhibit will cost another $6 per person ($5 for members).
Entergy Giant Screen Theater
Boasting a 4k digital projection system and state-of-the-art Dolby Atmos multi-dimensional sound, the Entergy Giant Screen Theater is often used to air special films and documentaries about aquatic life around the world. Some of their screenings are offered in 3D, making the experience even more fun and interesting for viewers. At any given time, they could be running 3 or more films at once, giving you a variety of entertainment to choose from depending on when you visit.
Your ticket for the Aquarium includes admission to the Entergy Theater, so you may want to consider planning your trip around the movie showtimes. When they get a new film, you can usually expect at least 4-5 different showings per day. For more information on showtimes, check their Now Showing section.
Events at the Aquarium
Throughout the year, the Audubon Aquarium will host special events. Some occasions offer something as simple as a discount on tickets, while others encourage visitors to experience the Aquarium in a whole new way. Keep these events in mind while planning your trip.
During the month of June, the Audubon Aquarium celebrates all of the world’s oceans with Oceanfest. They will have several hands-on activities prepared for this event with the goal of teaching visitors about how they can help keep our oceans healthy. These attractions will be available all month long.
Be sure to check out our post on things to do in June in NOLA.
Go 4th On The River
On Independence Day, nearby Woldenberg Park will be one of the best places to see the fireworks show taking place over the Mississippi River. In honor of this event, you can get a $4 discount on all adult and children’s tickets for the Audubon Aquarium. You can also get the same discount at the nearby Insectarium.
Be sure to check out our post on things to do in July in NOLA.
Scales & Ales
On October 5th, the Aquarium will celebrate National Seafood Month with a wonderful party including live music, seafood, and an open bar. Proceeds will help to fund education and conservation programs to try and make sure that we can keep enjoying this delicious food for years to come.
Weeki Wachee Mermaids
Bring your family to see mermaids swimming among the fish at Audubon Aquarium. Taking place on the weekend of November 1st – 4th, visitors can head to the Mayan Reef tunnel in order to experience this wonderful event where the Weeki Wachee Mermaids will swim around and wave at the crowds.