Mardi Gras World in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA is a one-stop-shop to learn all about the floats that hit the streets each year for the Mardi Gras parade. Held in Kern Studios itself where the floats are designed and built, this is a must-see attraction, especially if you come during the Mardi Gras season (starts January 6th each year and ends March 1st).
You start your tour by getting your “ticket” (aka Mardi Gras beads) and a big slice of King Cake. Then, you take a seat in their small theater room for a 15-minute presentation about what you are about to see in the warehouse and the history of the studio.
It’s a live studio so you can hear and see the workers toiling away at the floats for the coming year. As you walk around the designated tour path, you see the different stations and steps from design to the final product. The main attraction is the open area with a ton of different props from previous years’ floats.
Once you get your bearings there, you walk onto the area where full-sized floats are waiting for you to check out. You can’t climb onto the floats but it was still fun to stand next to them and marvel at their size both in height and length.
My husband is a spotter (AKA the person that walks in front of the float with a wand telling the driver when to turn their steering wheel) for Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando every year and it was cool to talk to some of the employees about his experience with his float, King Gator, and their memories of the parade at Universal itself. Turns out, Kern has a studio in Orlando that takes care of the Universal floats. Super cool!
We accidentally ended up in an area that should have been roped off and because of that we ran into Barry Kern, currently the CEO and the President of Kern Studios. He noticed my husband’s team member-exclusive Mardi Gras shirt with King Gator on it, and struck up a conversation about the history of Mardi Gras at Universal.
To say that this conversation was a highlight of my husband’s trip to New Orleans would be an understatement. We learned more of the history of how Mardi Gras at Universal came to be (and the tight schedule they were on to make the first one happen over 25 years ago) and Mr. Kern was kind enough to invite us to see his office, introduce us to his son, and show us some of the non-parade work Kern has done.
It’s safe to say that Mardi Gras World is a must-see attraction in New Orleans and worth the price of admission. We probably spent about an hour and a half there but could have spent more if we had taken more time to check out all that was on display.
Tickets into Mardi Gras World are around $22 per adult and $14 for ages 2–12. Check their website for operating hours and ticket discounts.
COVID Disclaimer: Make sure you check out the current COVID guidelines for the New Orleans area before your visit.
Disclaimer: GeekMom was given tickets to this attraction.