A Little Gift for the Moms

My top 3 unique entertainment options for families this summer.
illustration by Tony Healey
Kimberley Singletary is the managing editor of Biz New Orleans magazine. A 20-year Southern California veteran, she has been surrounded by the film industry for most of her life.


Happy Mother’s Day! For you moms with kids still at home, like myself, Mother’s Day means two things: first, hopefully there is some form of treat coming to you — whether that’s something handmade and a big hug and kiss, or the ultimate indulgence, dare we even whisper it…a whole morning of sleeping in. (Shivers).

The second thing Mother’s Day means is that summer is coming. The days are longer, the weather oppressive, and kids. Get. Restless. Even with summer camps and family vacations, there’s bound to be some down time where you find yourself looking for some sort of new adventure.

As my gift to you amazing moms this Mother’s Day, I thought I’d share my top three favorite entertainment options for the summer. Maybe one of these will be something you’ve never thought of, or didn’t know about. Happy Summer!


Hatch an Alligator
Mark your calendar now if you have kids of any age. This is a truly unique Southeast Louisiana experience that only comes in the summer. Insta-Gator Ranch & Hatchery in Covington allows visitors to hatch a baby alligator right in their hands from August 12 through September 6. The hour-and-a-half experience includes a guided tour of the facilities where alligators are raised, plus the chance to play with baby gators (mouths taped of course), ending in the bit messy, but totally amazing chance to be a little gator mama and help bring a little critter into the world. My eight year old loved every moment, but it was my husband, honestly, that couldn’t get enough. Weekend hatchings are $49.99 per person and weekdays are $39.99. Bookings can be made online, but I suggest calling up and chatting with someone there to get any questions answered.


Frolic with Felines
If you’ve got some cat lovers in the family and are looking for a unique indoor entertainment option, you’ve got to check out the Crescent City Cat Club. A converted shotgun house in the Marigny (1021 Marigny St.), the cat club is home to 20 to 40 kitties, all ready to play with or ignore you, depending on their mood of course. Admission is $10 for a few hours of play and outside food and drink is permitted. Plus, there’s complimentary Wi-Fi. When my family goes, we like to pair this trip with a meal at the nearby St. Roch Market or go for Mediterranean food at Kebab (2315 St. Claude Ave). In addition to great gyros, they have craft beers and cider and pinball machines!


Adventure in Abita
Since my parents live on the Northshore, we’re up in that direction fairly often, and Abita Springs has become a favorite. This little town packs a lot into one parking job. Pull up at the Abita Springs Trailhead and you’ve got your choice of summer fun options, starting with a free splash pad adjacent to a large playground with a zip-line. If it’s too hot for a bike ride or lazy walk down the trail, for $3 a person you can duck into the Abita Mystery House where you’ll have plenty of wild and weird things to explore, including old arcade machines, homemade inventions and the creatively taxidermied “Darrel the Dogigator.” For food, you’ve got Abita Brewing Company right there. Again, weirdly, I recommend the gyros. (I do eat things other than gyros, I promise).


So those are my family’s favorites, but we’ve far from explored them all. I’ve got a list going for this summer of places we haven’t tried yet. Included on that list is the Marine Mammal Studies’ Ocean Adventure Marine Park in Gulfport, Mississippi, where you can do dolphin meet and greets or get a kiss from a sea lion. Closer to home, we’ve yet to explore the Mini Art Center in Algiers Point. On the first and third Saturdays of the month they offer free open studio time where families are encouraged, and guided if you’d like, in to creating collaborative artistic projects. If you’ve been to either of these places, I’d love to hear what you think!

My last plug — don’t forget to check out the summer kid film series offerings at The Prytania, Orpheum Theater and Grand Esplanade 14 Theatre in Kenner. Who doesn’t love spending a sweltering summer day curled up in a cool, dark theater with treats? Nobody I know.