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New Orleans City Park

New Orleans City Park - BEST Places to Picnic

Explore New Orleans City Park

City Park, a 1300 acre public park in New Orleans, Louisiana, is the 6th-largest and 7th-most-visited city park in the United States. Although it is an urban park whose land is owned by the City of New Orleans, it is operated by a state agency, the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism. The Park is very unusual in that it is a public park majority funded by self-generated revenue through user fees and donations with nominal funding by the state of Louisiana.

Facilities

City Park has dozens of attractions that touch the lives of nearly every Greater New Orleans resident.

Carousel Gardens Amusement Park
Features a miniature train ride, roller coaster, several flat rides, and one of the few remaining antique, carved wooden carousels in the country. The carousel turned 100 years old in 2006.

Storyland
A children�s fairy tale theme playground that features twenty-six larger than life storybook exhibits for kids to climb on, slide down, or pretend within.

New Orleans Botanical Garden
A lush 13-acre site containing a large collection of temperate, tropical, and semitropical plants. The Garden is also home to the New Orleans Historic Train Garden, a G-scale model railroad exhibit with houses representing the various neighborhoods of the city recreated in twigs, bark, and other plant parts.

Celebration in the Oaks
A popular holiday light and entertainment extravaganza that generates 13 percent of the park�s annual operating budget. The event included a two-mile driving tour of exhibits placed throughout the park and a separate walking tour of the Botanical Garden, Storyland, and the Amusement Park. As of the 2007 Christmas season, only the walking tour has returned.

New Orleans Museum of Art
The New Orleans Museum of Art is considered one of the finest museums in the South.

Sidney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden
Opened in 2003, the Besthoff Sculpture garden features over 30 works of world-renowned sculptures in a beautifully landscaped area featuring mature live oak trees.

Weddings & Catering
Venues within the park host hundreds of weddings and other functions throughout the year. The park is the largest non-hotel caterer in the City.

Historic Structures
The Peristyle, Popp Bandstand, The Casino Building and Popp Fountain were constructed between 1907 and 1917.

Bayou Oaks Golf Courses
The Park boasts three 18-hole golf courses, one of which was once home to the city�s PGA tournament. The courses are under renovation, one of which has opened since the Katrina.

Bayou Oaks Driving Range
A 100-tee, double decker driving range. It is up and running following Hurricane Katrina

Softball and Soccer
The park more than a dozen softball and soccer fields.

Tad Gormley Stadium
This multipurpose stadium seats 26,500 and was built by the Works Progress Administration. It was renovated for the 1992 US Olympic Track and Field Trials and in July 2005, was home to the Jr. Olympics track and field competitions. After Reggie Bush was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, he donated over $80,000 to repair the field so high school football teams had a place to compete. Although it is Tad Gormley Stadium, the field is recognized as Reggie Bush Field.

Pan American Stadium
A 5,000 seat stadium, home to many high school football games.

Track
The 400-meter, international track was designed as a practice track for the 1992 US Olympic Track & Field Trials.

Tennis
The City Park Tennis Center, featuring rubico and hard courts, is one of the largest municipal tennis facilities in the South.

Boating and Fishing
The Park features 11 miles of lagoons, lakes and Bayou�s stocked with a wide variety of fish including bass. Boating is currently closed. Fishing is allowed seasonally. The Park also hosts an annual; Fishing Rodeo- one of the oldest in the nation.

Horse Stables
Equest Farm offers boarding for horses, parties, and equestrian lessons. The park also houses the stables for Police horses.

History

City Park was established in the 19th century on the land fronting Metairie Road (now City Park Avenue) along the remains of Bayou Metairie, a former distributary of the Mississippi River, but originally only went back a block or two in distance, as swamp ground extended from there to Lake Pontchartrain. After this area was drained in the mid 20th century, City Park was expanded.

Substantial improvements were made to the park by the Works Progress Administration, including many sculptures by Enrique Alferez. It is one of the 10 largest urban parks in the country and holds the world's largest collection of mature live oak trees, some older than 600 years. Its founding in 1853 makes also makes it one of the oldest parks in the country.

Hurricane Katrina did extensive damage to the park, first by the winds toppling an estimated 1,000 trees and damaging many more. After the failure of several floodwalls, the park flooded with 1 to 10 feet of water which sat for two to four weeks, damaging all buildings, amusement rides, maintenance equipment, electrical systems, vehicles, and causing the death of more trees and landscaping including nearly the entire plant collection in the New Orleans Botanical Garden.

Currently, the park is recovering, repairing old attractions and adding new ones as well. The Amusement Park has recently reopened, featuring new rides; such as the Scrambler, The Construction Zone, a new kiddie ride, and a new larger Ferris wheel.

Picnicking

For over a century New Orleanians have picnicked under the graceful limbs of City Park�s ancient oaks. Today, picnic planners may choose from Popp Fountain, the Peristyle, Marconi Meadow and five picnic shelters for events ranging from 50 to 50,000 guests.

Leave the charcoal at home! Allow City Park Catering to prepare a Cajun Fais-Do-Do with jambalaya and freshly boiled crawfish or an All American barbecue of grilled ribs, chicken and burgers. Staff can also coordinate rentals of additional party items including tents, tables, chairs, children's play equipment, dunking booths and snowball stands.

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