Visit Mardi Gras World in New Orleans– Where #MardiGras is Made!
|February 9, 2015||Posted by Tracy Knutsen under Excursions, Try Something New!, United States|
With Mardi Gras just a few days away, Carnival season is really getting into full swing now! (That’s right – Mardi Gras is several weeks long…not just one day. It begins on the 12th night after Christmas – or the Feast of the Epiphany – and continues until Mardi Gras Day/Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday and Lent.) If you’re planning to head down to New Orleans to hit some parades, eat good food or to just ‘laissez les bon temps rouler’, don’t miss the opportunity to head down Tchoupitoulas Street to the end of the Riverwalk where the extraordinary sights of Mardi Gras World are housed.
There are plenty of tours in New Orleans, but only one offers a real, behind-the-scenes look at Mardi Gras, and that happens at Mardi Gras World! This magical place gives you an authentic Carnival experience all year round and shows you what it takes to bring Mardi Gras to life year after year. You’ll get to see firsthand the hard work and extensive planning that goes into this grand event.
Since 1947, Blaine Kern Studios has built the breathtaking parade floats for major parades not only for Mardi Gras, but for parades all over the world. Mardi Gras World was housed on the West Bank of New Orleans, just across the Mississippi River from the French Quarter, for decades. We lived on the West Bank when I was younger and my dad used to be a member of a couple of Mardi Gras krewes. The krewes are the ones responsible for “putting on Mardi Gras,” not the city of New Orleans. Dad was a member of the Krewe of Alla and Harry Connick Jr.’s music-based Krewe of Orpheus. My daughter, who was born in New Orleans, grew up playing on Mardi Gras floats both inside the old warehouse and on abandoned floats along the levee. These days, Mardi Gras World resides in a spectacular location on the other side of the river and parades would be nothing without the fantastical floats that line the routes year after year. The hard work that goes into making these spectacles is what makes Mardi Gras in New Orleans the greatest show on Earth!
The animated and knowledgeable tour guides take the mask off Mardi Gras with an all-access tour, winding through the massive studio where these magnificent floats are built from the ground up. You can learn about the history of this unique and festive tradition and get a real understanding of the Mardi Gras. The whole family will love the experience of touring the space where artisans create spectacular floats for over 40 parades each year.
There are plenty of opportunities for photos in front of floats, with props, or wearing a traditional Mardi Gras costume on this New Orleans tour. This is an experience you will want to take full advantage of, so don’t forget to bring your camera! (That’s me in the jester piece below – with a Ninja Turtle over my shoulder! You never know what you’ll find around here.) Tours include a display of Mardi Gras costumes, a historic video and a free slice of King Cake.
Wandering through the magical float den is an exciting experience for kids and adults alike, so immerse yourself in the color, music, history and magic of Mardi Gras any day of the year.
Want to catch Mardi Gras season in full force? Here are the dates that Fat Tuesday falls on for the next ten years. Plan your trip during the ten days or so leading up to this day. Don’t forget that Mardi Gras is city-wide, not just in the French Quarter and is very family-friendly (aside from Bourbon Street!)
2015: February 17
2016: February 9
2017: February 28
2018: February 13
2019: March 5
2020: February 25
2021: February 16
2022: March 1
2023: February 21
2024: February 13
2025: March 4