Saturday, December 31, 2011

Aquarium of the Americas and Beignets

We've been wanting to visit the Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans since before we had kids so I was excited that we were able to fit it in on this trip.


We began in the cool tunnel aquarium with sea life swimming all around us on the sides and over our heads!


Nicholas loves stingrays!


They looked especially neat in silhouette as they swam above me.


I didn't catch the name of this fish but his white spots had a glow to them that looked almost like little lights.


We tried to get the puffer fish to puff up for his but he was just hanging out and didn't want to perform for us.


Nicholas was pretty excited and bounced from aquarium to aquarium soaking it all in.


Rachel was excited but she was getting tired and wanted to be held from time to time.


When fish would swim up next to her at the window, she would smile and shout, "They like me! They really like me!"


My kids have been swallowed by a shark!


The seahorses were absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately, we didn't get very sharp pictures of the actual seahorses so I'll just show you this one with the two visitors hanging on to him.


We learned all about frogs.


The aviary was one of the highlights. We bought several food sticks for $1.00 each and walked into an enclosure with hundreds of birds flying freely around us. They came to visit us and eat.


We would often get two or more birds land on us at a time.


Dad got a little brave putting this little guy so close to his face but the bird was too busy eating to worry about biting anyone.


Rachel was just fascinated with the birds. She liked to watch them, almost study them. She talked sweetly to them too. That was the cutest part!


Suddenly there were birds swarming all over us. It was fun but a little nerve wracking when there are wings flapping all around you and birds coming and going off your arm, shoulder, and head!


Nicholas likes feeding the birds but he usually gets a little squirmy at first when more than one lands on him at a time. But he usually relaxes and has fun with it quickly.


Daddy and Rachel feeding the birds.


Be careful! There are birds on perches and in the trees all around you in here and they just might drop a surprise on you at any moment!


There is a great interactive display on sting ray and we even got to touch them as they swam by us. They are such graceful creatures.


My little sea creatures!


Stuart got this great shot of the Mississippi River from inside the Aquarium.


The jellyfish section was really great.


I was absolutely amazed watching them pulse through the water.


There were so many beautiful exhibits and aquariums to see.


I think this bubble in the aquarium where Nicholas could sit almost "inside" the aquarium was probably one of the coolest spots to watch the little fishies!


When we finished, we were about ready to head back to Baton Rouge but I just couldn't imagine being so close to Cafe Du Monde and not stopping by for some real New Orleans beignets. So we made our way down the riverwalk.


Rachel's feet were tired so she took a little ride on Daddy's shoulders. Daddy shoulders are so great for carrying tired little girls! I know my Daddy carried me on his shoulders many times when they brought me to New Orleans as a child (usually for Mardi Gras!).


I loved taking in all the sights and sounds of the Big Easy. In high school, I came down here with friends to shop and we had fun browsing and dining in what used to be the old Jax brewery.


St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square was especially pretty at dusk.


It seemed a longer walk that I recall but we finally made it to Cafe Du Monde. Tired and hungry we were all ready to sit down and have a sweet treat. But there was a line of people looking for tables and even a line of people at the To Go window. We were stuck standing on our feet a little longer. But fortunately Dad saw an empty table and asked the waitress if it was available. Yes!


We got a neat opportunity to watch beignets being made. They roll out the dough and use the neat metal roller to make the square cuts.


The squares of dough are tossed in the fryer until they are golden brown.


They are served up to the hungry crowds day and night.


Drowning in powdered sugar is the only way to eat a beignet. Washing it down with a little Cafe Au Lait too, of course!

You can't truly enjoy beignets unless you get a little powdered sugar on you!


The Aquarium of the Americas is located at Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is located in Downtown New Orleans where Canal Street meets the Mississippi River. #1 Canal Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130. Their hours are Tuesday - Sunday 10am - 5pm. Tickets are $21.00 Adult Admission, $14.00 Child (2 -12) Admission, $17.00 Senior (65+)/Student but there are also several packages available that get you in multiple attractions for a really great combined price. For more information, please visit the Aquarium of the Americas website.

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