Tours of Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World

This post is about visiting Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World in New Orleans, a working float studio where you’ll see historic floats, costumes, and decorations from past Mardi Gras festivals.

 


 


 

TICKETS, DIRECTIONS AND FREE SHUTTLE

Even though Mardi Gras World is open almost every day of the year, it’s still a good idea to plan your trip ahead of time.

With so much to see and do, it’ll be important to give yourself enough time to experience as much as possible at this historic studio. Here are some important details to keep in mind when preparing for your visit.

  • Ticket Prices: $22 for Adults | $17 for Seniors & Students | $14 for Children
  • Availability: Daily from 9 am – 5:30 pm
  • Tour Duration: 90 minutes
  • Tour is free with admission
  • Closed on Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter and Mardi Gras Day
  • Most visitors spend 1-2 hours exploring Mardi Gras World

TIP: Mardi Gras World is included for free with both the New Orleans Sightseeing Pass and the New Orleans Power Pass. For more information, check out our post on discount passes in New Orleans.


FREE SHUTTLE

Mardi Gras World is located about 1.5 miles (2.5 km) south of the French Quarter along the Mississippi River.  There are several different options for traveling to Mardi Gras World. If you plan on driving, you can park directly in front of the building in Lot J for $15.  Alternatively, they also offer a free shuttle service with designated pick-up locations in downtown and the French Quarter. 

 

where is mardi gras world

 


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THE TOUR OF MARDI GRAS WORLD

Mardi Gras World TourKern Studios has been developing floats and other decorations for Mardi Gras since 1932. Over the years, their incredible work became so popular that several people began to request private tours of the studio.

During this walking tour, your guide will explain the history of both Mardi Gras and Kern Studios. Afterward, you’ll get a look at their “float den,” the location where artists work year-round to create memorable floats and other decors.

In addition to these activities, each guest will receive a free slice of King Cake at the end of the tour. Although you can’t get too close to their floats during parades, taking this tour provides a level of access that you simply won’t find anywhere else.

Tours begin every half hour from 9:30 am – 4 pm and last for approximately 90 minutes.

TIP: These tours are great for families with children!

For other family-friendly activities, read our post on things to do with kids in New Orleans.

 


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MARDI GRAS WORLD REVIEWS

Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World currently has a rating of 4 ½ out of 5 stars on TripAdvisor. 

A majority of guests who enjoyed their trip to Mardi Gras World appreciated the chance to take a look behind-the-scenes.

In addition to seeing how the floats are made, guests also indicate that they value the chance to learn about the history of Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans.

According to several reviews, the tour provides a lot of interesting information about how Kern Studios has developed floats over the course of several decades.

Many reviewers describe the guides as informative and helpful, as well as humorous and entertaining. 

Reviewers also noted that this was a good attraction to bring children to see. 

Although there weren’t many complaints about Mardi Gras World, some visitors felt that the price of admission was too high. It’s worth noting that there were quite a few people who felt the tour was worth the ticket price.  

TIP: Mardi Gras World is included for free with the New Orleans Power Pass. For more information, check out our post on discount passes in New Orleans.

 


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MARDI GRAS MUSEUMS

These museums offer an opportunity to see how people celebrated the event in decades past.

Some of these locations are entirely free to visit, which could also make them an affordable alternative for those on a budget.


The Presbytère

This historic building is one of the showcase units owned by the Louisiana State Museum. Located right next to the St. Louis Cathedral, the Presbytère includes exhibits about both Hurricane Katrina and Mardi Gras.

Considering that the parade routes often run through this area, it seems fitting to visit this gallery to learn more about the history of Fat Tuesday. Although admission is not free, ticket prices are more than reasonable.

  • Ticket Prices: $6 for Adults | $5 for Military/Student/Senior
  • Availability: Tuesday – Sunday from 10 am – 4:30 pm
  • Location: 751 Chartres St.
  • Click here for more information.

The Germaine Cazenave Wells Mardi Gras Museum

This museum is located in Arnaud’s Restaurant, and it is entirely free to visit. Included in the gallery are more than two dozen Mardi Gras costumes from the mid-20th century.

Along with all of the historic outfits, this impressive display also includes various masks, jewels, vintage pictures, invitations and party favors.

Although it’s not the biggest Mardi Gras museum in New Orleans, this location is a wonderful opportunity to discover what the celebration looked like from 1941-1968.

  • Ticket Price: FREE
  • Availability: Daily during business hours
  • Location: 813 Bienville St
  • Click here for more information

Backstreet Cultural Museum

In addition to exhibits focusing on New Orleans film history and jazz funerals, this museum also includes a collection of regalia from the Mardi Gras Indians.

This exhibition features suits and costumes from the Big Chiefs, Queens, Flag Boys, Wild Men, and more. These groups celebrate every year by creating elaborate and finely detailed outfits to wear during the events of Mardi Gras.

This is a great chance to learn more about their cultural contributions to the festivities of Carnival.

  • Ticket Prices: $10 per person
  • Availability: Tuesday – Saturday from 10 am – 4 pm
  • Location: 1116 Henriette Delille Street
  • Click here for more information.

The Mardi Gras Museum of Costumes & Culture

Over the years, this Mardi Gras museum has housed a number of interesting collections and exhibitions focusing on the history of Fat Tuesday.

In addition to their permanent installations, you’ll also typically find at least one limited exhibit featuring memorabilia and/or artwork related to Mardi Gras.

Visitors can either enjoy the galleries on their own or take part in a professionally guided tour of the museum for a few dollars more.

  • Ticket Prices: $12 per person | $10 for Senior/Military/Student | $8 for LA Residents
  • Tour Prices: $15 per person | $13 for Senior/Military/Student | $12 for LA Residents
  • Museum Hours: Daily from 10 am – 5 pm
  • Tour Hours: Daily at 11 am & 3 pm
  • Location: 1010 Conti Street
  • Click here for more information.

House of Dance and Feathers

If you’re looking to learn even more about the Mardi Gras Indians, this is a fantastic opportunity. Curated by the former Council Chief of the Choctaw Hunters, this museum provides a look behind the culture of Native American celebrations during Carnival.

The House of Dance and Feathers includes a variety of masks, suits, images, and ornamentation that was used for past Mardi Gras events. Admission is free for all visitors, but any and all donations are much appreciated.

  • Ticket Price: FREE
  • Availability: Visits are by appointment
  • Location: 1317 Tupelo Street
  • Click here for more information.

 


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