“All that we do is touched with ocean,
yet we remain on the shore of what we know.”
– Richard Wilbur
(quote on the wall at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans, LA)
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Our last day in New Orleans was certainly the most fulfilling. We started our day off by packing the backpack with water and sunscreen (see, I learned my lesson!) from the Voodoo Mart across the street. While we stood on the curb looking up how to get to the zoo, a man stopped us and explained he used to be a tour guide before the city lost their funding for them. He gave us a map and showed us all of the free places to get into, and how to get everywhere we needed to get to. He showed us where the best places to eat were, and where to get the best photos, but it was our last day… So, unfortunately we only got to use his advice for the zoo. Which was wonderful advice! Off to the trolley we went, eventually ending up a large park, walking towards the Audubon Zoo.
After an incredibly long walk through a beautiful park, which seemed longer because of the heat, we ended up at the Audubon Zoo. We purchased a zoo and aquarium combo ticket, and into the zoo we went. As we walked down the path towards the exhibits, we were greeted by a large elephant fountain, spraying water high up into the air. Just down the path, the asian exhibits called our attention first, since they had asian elephants (Marty loves elephants). A leopard also called our attention, well, mostly my camera’s attention, while she lazed about in the shade. Next was a wandering peacock, who was strutting his glorious colors on the sidewalk for everyone to see, we really enjoyed following him around. Then we made our way to the other side of the zoo, visiting the apes and monkeys before moving on to the african exhibits. There we saw zebras and wildebeest running around happily, and some old giraffes that were resting in shade. I took a lot of photos there before moving towards the Louisiana Swamp exhibits where they had alligators and other swamp creatures, and they had foxes (which are my favorite!). They had some of the most beautiful exhibits, and natural swamp foliage growing all over the zoo. It was absolutely the best zoo I’ve ever been to, and it had a large variety of happy animals, which is rare to see at a zoo.
After a long and hot, yet exciting adventure through the zoo, we went to board a shuttle that took us back to where we needed to go for the trolley to get to the Audubon Aquarium. Having gone all the way to the Garden District for the zoo, we needed to get back to our hotel and take a different trolley a few blocks down for the aquarium. As we stepped off of the trolley we got a wonderful view of the river, right next to the aquarium. We then entered the building, making our way into the first section of giant fish tanks. Sharks and sting rays swam next to, and above us as we walked through the tunnel that led through their home. There were jellyfish, catfish, an assortment of other fish, and otters swimming around in various tanks. On the second floor they had a huge cage, filled with parakeets, and children with handfuls of birdseed, feeding the tiny birds. We didn’t go in there, but we watched the little kids laughing, covered with birds, as we ate our lunch. Going back to the tanks, we took some more pictures before heading back to the hotel.
Getting back on the trolley, we headed back to the hotel for a short rest before getting ready for dinner. In the hotel, all of techies from the tech conference upstairs were lined up all the way through the lobby, waiting to get on the next bus that would take us all over to dinner. We got in line and just before getting onto the bus we were handed Mardi Gras feather masks to wear to the dinner party. As we got off of the bus we entered the Mardi Gras World, where all of the Mardi Gras floats are made and stored. We saw some really cool stuff, most of it was old and dusty, but you could still see some of the glitter shining. They paraded us through the line of dusty floats as if we were the floats, and they were people. Some of the techies were in the floats throwing Mardi Gras beads at us as we walked towards the dinner hall. Open bars and tables lined with food were on every side of the dinner hall. Round tables were gathered in the center of the room for us to eat at. The dinner was great, and it was pretty fancy, so were the bars. Marty and his dad played some fake poker, while I hit up the dance floor. A live band called The Mixed Nuts was playing, they were doing some really great covers, and everyone was dancing. Most of my time there was spent photographing the drunk techies and the band, but I did get some dancing in, which was a lot of fun.
New Orleans was an amazing place, though it has its ups and downs. I would love to go back some day, and I truly hope I get the chance. The city is full of life, and it’s covered in art. Every kind of art calls this city home, from dancing and singing, to paintings and even graffiti. It’s a magnificent city, and if you ever get the chance to visit, do it.
Thanks for reading about all of my N’awlins adventures!
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All photos are mine.
Taken at the Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium, and Mardi Gras World.