Our last full day in New Orleans (Day 5) focused a lot on the kids. They'd enjoyed the sight-seeing and sampling the tastes of the city, but it was time to give them something "just for them". I gave them a couple of choices, and unanimously they chose the Audubon Aquarium and IMax Theater.
We started off at the IMax, where we saw "Under the Sea" in 3D. Narrated by Jim Carrey, the film took us to the depths of the Pacific where we explored the Great Barrier Reef among other things. We all really enjoyed it... well, no one really liked the section about sea snakes, where the 3D glasses made it look like the snakes were slithering right into our laps... but the rest of the film rocked!
Next we walked through the Aquarium. We saw albino alligators, various kinds of sharks, sea turtles, sea horses, sea dragons, and many many other aquatic creatures. But the highlight of visit was Parakeet Pointe, where the kids got to feed the parakeets.
It didn't take a lot of effort to coax the parakeets onto the feedsticks!
There were so many different colors of parakeets!
The birds weren't skittish so it was easy to get close-ups.
My youngest kiddo was just the right height to rest his feedstick on the top rung of the fence!
8 year-old liked the white parakeets with blue bellies. He worked and worked until he got one of them on his feedstick!
After the Aquarium, we spent a little time walking through The French Quarter. No one was really hungry for supper, so instead we had a little snack of... you guessed it... beignets and cafe au lait at The Cafe Du Monde. However, I did snap the picture below of Ralph and Kacoo's. Though we didn't eat there this visit to The Big Easy, 17 years ago, after our engagement at The Cafe Du Monde, we celebrated with dinner at Ralph and Kacoo's. So naturally, I had to get a photo... for sentimental value!
Day 6 in New Orleans was a short day, as we packed up and checked out of the hotel that morning, then left for the long drive home at around 2:00 p.m. However, we did have time for a couple of "last minute" stops. First up was lunch at Deanie's Seafood. We ate a variety of things at Deanies, including Crawfish Au Gratin, Crawfish Étouffée, Fried Crawfish, BBQ Shrimp Pasta, and - not surprisingly - the oldest kiddo couldn't resist one last bowl of Gumbo!
At Deanie's the servers brought out boiled potatoes... in the same way Mexican restaurants bring out chips and salsa. They are new potatoes, boiled with Zatarain's Shrimp Boil seasoning. Served hot, with butter, they were delicious!
Pralines (pronounced PRAW-leans in New Orleans) are a traditional candy in The Crescent City. They are a sweet concoction of buttery, sugary, crunchy pecan yumminess!
We avoided buying them until the last day, that way they'd be super-fresh. We also worried they might not survive to go home with us if we purchased them too early! We sampled the pralines in several stores, and returned to Laura's Candies the last day to buy a box to take home. They are SO good!
As we drove out of the city, I snapped this picture of Lake Pontchatrain. The amount of water that you drive over is so vast there was no way to get the full effect in a picture, but the kids (and the hubs and I too) were really amazed at the sight, so I had to try to get a good shot! The I-10 bridge (the one we drove) over the lake is actually the shorter of the two Lake Ponchatrain bridges. Known as the "Twin Span" Bridge, this was the one so heavily damaged after Hurricane Katrina that it had to be rebuilt. It's approximately 5 1/2 miles of bridge, so what you see is water ALL around.
The Lake Pontchatrain Causeway, a toll bridge, holds the Guinness Book world record for the world's longest bridge over continuous water. It's almost 24 miles of bridge over the waters of Lake Pontchatrain. Perhaps on our next visit to New Orleans we'll drive THAT way!
Remember this picture from "New Orleans Day 1"? I thought it was an appropriate end to my travel journal. As we left the city, I looked back at the skyline one last time. Even though I was so looking forward to being home, there was a melancholy mood that filled me as we left. New Orleans holds such a special place in my heart, and I look forward to the day I can visit there again.
So long Crescent City... until we meet again...