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 also find a lot of historic floats, costumes, and decorations from past Mardi Gras festivals at this location.  We also provide tips on other New Orleans museums that cover Mardi Gras. Learn more about Carnival Season on our Mardi Gras FAQs page.

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About the Tour
Reviews
Mardi Gras Museums
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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 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. As a result, the company decided to open Mardi Gras World to give visitors a behind-the-scenes look at not only their past work but also their current projects. Today, all guests are welcome to take their tour and discover a side of this festival that few get to experience.

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.

 


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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. Unfortunately, ratings don’t really tell the whole story, so it’s important to determine what those numbers mean. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most common compliments that visitors leave about this historic New Orleans attraction.

Behind-the-Scenes:

A majority of guests who enjoyed their trip to Mardi Gras World appreciated the chance to take a look behind-the-scenes. This is the only way that most visitors to New Orleans can see how Mardi Gras floats are created, and most visitors seem to enjoy this opportunity. Reviewers were also very pleased to learn about and see some of the older floats on display in Kern Studios.

History of Mardi Gras:

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.

Knowledgeable Tour Guides:

When it comes to the tour, guests often leave a lot of wonderful comments about their guides. Some reviewers describe them as informative and helpful, while others felt they were humorous and entertaining. Needless to say, these are definitely strong qualities for any tour guide to possess.

Excellent Group Activity:

Although visitors who went on their own gave Mardi Gras World very positive ratings, there were far more favorable reviews from families, couples, and friends. It would appear that this is an excellent activity for both small and large groups. Due to their awesome team building exercises, this studio is also very popular with businesses in the area.

Great for Locals and Tourists:

Several reviews for Mardi Gras World suggest that this is a fun activity for both newcomers and locals. Even New Orleans residents tend to leave positive ratings, indicating that they not only learned a lot about the celebration, but they also enjoyed seeing all of the floats on display.

Free King Cake:

Guests really appreciate the free king cake which is handed out at the end of every tour. This dessert is usually reserved for Mardi Gras season, but visitors noted that you can get it all year round at Mardi Gras World. It seems like the party never ends at Blaine Kern’s Studios!

Free Shuttle:

Even reviewers who didn’t enjoy themselves really appreciated the free shuttle to Mardi Gras World. Considering that nearby parking can be a bit expensive, this free transportation is an excellent opportunity to save a few dollars. Some reviews even suggest that using this free shuttle is an absolute must for any visitor.

Somewhat Expensive:

Although there weren’t many complaints about Mardi Gras World, some visitors felt that the price of admission was too high. If you’re going alone or taking only a few people, this is an affordable activity. However, larger families will find themselves paying over $100 for admission, and that can be a bit cost prohibitive. 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.

Not For Everyone:

Even though most guests loved their experience at Blaine Kern’s Studios, some reviewers were unimpressed with the activities provided. Ultimately, this boils down to a matter of taste; if you like the idea of seeing parade floats, eating king cake and learning about Mardi Gras, chances are you’ll enjoy this attraction. That being said, there will always be a few people who simply don’t have an interest in this subject.

 


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MARDI GRAS MUSEUMS

If Mardi Gras World isn’t enough, you’ll be glad to know that there are some additional Mardi Gras museums in New Orleans. These museums are typically much smaller in size, but they do 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. Needless to say, 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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