A jewel of New Orleans City Park, Storyland plays a special part in the hearts of the children of New Orleans and is a part of the childhood memories of many adults. In Storyland, children can climb aboard Captain Hook’s pirate ship, follow Pinocchio into the mouth of a whale or scamper up Jack & Jill’s hill. Delighting children since the 1950’s, this charming themed playground is a child’s dream filled with larger-than-life storybook sculptures featuring classic fairy-tale characters. Children can have fun, play, and learn all while running under the shade of centuries-old oak trees.
Nearly 35 years after the last major renovation, the revitalization brings in four new exhibits and updates the existing beloved exhibits New Orleanians know so well. City Park temporarily closed the Storyland gates in July 2019 and worked through the summer months to have Storyland ready for Ghosts in the Oaks and Celebration in the Oaks.
City Park’s focus for the revitalization include: incorporating STEM and interactive-play for the whole family, increasing ADA accessibility for more exhibits, and increasing inclusion.
“We’re thrilled to announce the grand re-opening date for the revitalized Storyland. We’re excited to be able to present to the children of New Orleans and the region a chance to live inside of the stories they read,” said Bob Becker, City Park CEO.
New exhibits include: Humpty Dumpty, Tortoise and the Hare, and Boudreaux the Zydeco Gator. The fourth new exhibit, Jack and the Beanstalk, will open later this fall.
Existing renovated exhibits include: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Peter Pan’s Pirate Adventure, Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs, Jack and Jill, Pinocchio and the Whale, Cinderella’s Pumpkin, Puff the Magic Dragon slide, Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe, Old King Cole, and the Storyland Castle. Large enhancements have been made to Alice in Wonderland, Hey Diddle Diddle, the Gingerbread Man’s Candy Lane, and the Little Mermaid, where children and parents alike will be able to drive motorized pirate ships around the pond. There will also be photo opportunities to become an astronaut or a mermaid and children can sit on Anansi the Spider’s back.
The enhanced Hey Diddle Diddle exhibit will now be ADA accessible and will display educational information within the space ship featuring the history and diversity of NASA.
“We’re also excited to announce City Park as the new home for the Charles Bolden, Jr. LES Space Suit acquired on loan from NASA. Bolden was the first African-American to permanently hold the title of NASA Administrator. He also served as a NASA astronaut for 14 years and has logged nearly 700 hours during four space flights,” Bob Becker explains.
The suit will be in City Park for five years housed inside the Oscar J. Tolmas Visitor Center, the main entrance to Storyland. The suit connects to the Hey Diddle Diddle exhibit, which celebrates the diversity of NASA. In addition to featuring Bolden, the exhibit highlights the first African-American female and male astronauts into space, Mae Jemison and Guion Bluford, Jr, the first American female into space, Sally Ride, and the African-American females who blazed new trails for NASA, known as human computers, Dorothy Vaughn, Katherine Johnson, and Mary Jackson. The exhibit also touches on other historical events within NASA with a nod to the future possibilities for the next chapter of Mars discovery.
This incredible renovation and revitalization was made possible through private funding from individuals and local foundations, with lead support from Friends of City Park and Boysie & Joy Bollinger.
For more information, visit neworleanscitypark.com/in-the-park/storyland.