Navigation Search Map (504) 658-4000

Translate this page

The City of New Orleans

Mayor Mitchell J. Landrieu

Outdoor Programs

To rent a space for your event in one of our parks, please contact Gerry Rincon at 658-3084 or  Rental information can be found here. 

Quick Links to:
Canoeing | Class Field TripsYoung Birders Association |
Public Nature Walks Home School Nature Walks |  Park 2 Park


Open Canoeing

June 6 - August 22 (weather permitting)
Mondays, Tuesday and Thursdays 3-7pm
Friday and Saturdays 10am to 2pm
Joe W. Brown Park, 5601 Read Blvd.

Check with the Outdoors team members at the lagoon behind the rec center any time during open hours. No experience necessary. Life jackets and paddles provided. First-come, first-paddle. 

Frequently asked questions about canoeing

Have fears or questions about canoeing with us? So do lots of people! These are the most common questions we hear from people of all ages and backgrounds. If you don’t see your question here, please feel free to contact us, or ask us in person at Joe W. Brown on Saturdays this summer. See you outside!

Q: But I’ve never canoed before.
A: That’s okay! Neither have most of our participants. Our friendly and well-trained team is here to teach you, coach you, and watch out for your safety.

Q: I can’t swim, either.
A: That’s also fine! Neither can most of our participants. And since the goal of canoeing is to stay on top of the water in the boat, we’ll be surprised if swimming becomes part of the day’s events. You’ll be wearing a properly fitted life jacket, or PFD (personal floatation device), that will hold your head above water should you, on the off chance, end up in the water. If you follow our staff’s instructions, this won’t be an issue. It’s really quite rare for our canoes to flip.

Q: Are there alligators in the water?
A: In the interest of honesty, probably. However, stay with us! Alligators are in a category of animals that scientists refer to as “non-aggressive.” That means that, although they could be dangerous, and we should be cautious, they are highly unlikely to simply attack a human being. We’re not a food source for them, so if we should happen to see one, we can just keep our distance and we don’t have to worry. They actually avoid the canoes ,and we don’t tend to see them. It’s very strange for an alligator to attack a human. That’s why we hear about it every time it happens.  On this topic, it’s important to know that the alligators that do attack humans have often been fed by them. That’s the only way they learn to associate us with food. So PLEASE, don’t ever feed an alligator!

Q: What about snakes? Are there snakes?
A: Yes, there are some snakes out there. But they go in the same non-aggressive category as alligators. Plus, they avoid large crowds of humans. Let’s face it, we’re scary.

Q: Okay, how about sharks?
A: No. There are no sharks in the lagoon.  :)

Q: Is there an age restriction?
A: There is no upper age restriction. Children as young as two or three can fit into our tiniest life jackets (and we love when they do). Come on out with the whole family!

Q: Can I take my dog?
A: Unfortunately, at this time, we can’t allow animals in the canoes.

Q: How about my daiquiri?
A: No. We can’t allow alcoholic beverages in the canoes. If we detect that you’re intoxicated, we reserve the right to keep you safely on land.

Q: How deep does the water get?
A: At its deepest, the lagoon is 7 feet deep. Most of the lagoon is not nearly that deep.

Q: Do I have to show up right at 10am?
A: No. This is meant to be a very personal experience. Whenever you get here, we’re happy to help. However, we recommend you show up by 1:00 in order to have enough time to enjoy the ride.

Q: Is there a time limit?
A: Generally, no, inside the 10:00-2:00 time span. However, if the day is very busy and you’ve been on the water for a while, we may ask you to let the next folks use your boat.

Q: Can we come more than once?
A: You can come as often as you like. We’ll be here all summer, and would love to get to know you.

Q: Is there a fee?
A: No.  Canoeing is free!

Class Field Trips at Joe W. Brown Park

Plan a field trip with correlated activities for your students with NORDC Outdoors at Joe W. Brown Park. Guided activities include canoeing, playing team building games, and our popular nature walks.


Young Birders Association

A bird watching club for teens in partnership with the 
Orleans Audubon Society.

Outings are generally on the second Saturday of the month, 9:30-11:30am (early bird gets the worm!). Locations vary and there are complimentary shuttles from the nearest NORDC rec center provided.

Why: Bird watching fosters a huge number of skills necessary for a successful life, such as focus, patience, critical thinking, and closeness to nature.  For those interested in a career in any kind of field science, it also teaches observation and analytical skills, identification, the ability to use and compile research data, and nature literacy. It may also open the opportunity to do real citizen science and make a difference for our local birds.


Curious about what birds we’ve seen & heard during our Young Birders outings?

April 11, 2015 City Park--Couturie Forest bird checklist Highlights: Indigo Bunting, White-eyed Vireo, Green Heron


Feb 14, 2015 Bayou Sauvage bird checklist

Red winged blackbird, American white pelican, Great blue heron,
Red tailed hawk, American goldfinch, Northern_cardinal

Dec 13, 2014 City Park--Couturie Forest bird checklist

American_kestrel, Blue-gray gnatcatcher, Ruby-crowned kinglet,
Turkey vulture,
Red-bellied woodpecker



Young Birders in the News

“Bird-watching is great for teenagers because they are beginning to think about their careers. It helps teens engage with the natural world in a mature way and practice citizen science by helping to measure the bird count," the words of NORDC's own Emily Snyder as she spoke to the New Orleans Advocate.
This article features our Young Birders Association and suggests that the benefits of participating in the program are the many skills that can be developed through bird-watching.
See the entire article here.



Park 2 Park
Free Field Trips from Parisite Skatepark

In partnership with Transitional Spaces

Explore swamps, wetlands, forests and more! Discover wildlife in amazing habitats! Parental permission is required.

NORDC Outdoors' big white van leaves from Parisite Skatepark  at Paris Ave. and Pleasure St. below I-610.

What to bring: Wear comfortable, warm clothes. We will have water, snacks, and mosquito spray. Bring a signed permission form from the mailbox on Parisite's chalkboard.


Public Nature Walks

Want to get your group out into nature, but not sure how? Let us be your guide! Experience the wonders of nature in our own back yard. Book a nature walk for a group of up to 20 people to experience the beauty of Louisiana with an experienced guide. Right now, programs are free, and can focus on your area of interest. Call or e-mail for more information. 

Home School Nature Walks

Monthly kid-friendly nature walks. To schedule, contact  Emily Snyder, Outdoor Programs Manager (504) 658-3082 (desk), (504) 202-4042 cell or

For questions about any of our outdoor programs, contact Emily Snyder, Outdoor Programs Manager (504) 658-3082 (desk), (504) 202-4042 (cell) or


Add to Twitter Add to Newsvine Add to Reddit Add to Yahoo Bookmarks Add to Yahoo MyWeb Add to Facebook Add to LinkedIn Add to Digg Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Terchnorati Add to StumbleUpon Add to Delicious

Last updated: 7/27/2015 1:23:33 PM

Was this page helpful?

 Security code