A Detailed Comparison: Mardi Gras Museum vs Mardi Gras World

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Mardi Gras Museum vs Mardi Gras World – while both celebrate the festive spirit of Carnival in New Orleans, the Mardi Gras Museum of Costumes and Culture provides a more historical and educational look at the traditions and evolution of the holiday, whereas Mardi Gras World is a tour through a working warehouse that builds parade floats.

In this post, I’ll share my experience of both attractions during my stay in New Orleans so that you know what to expect and whether you should add it to your travel itinerary.

A Comparison of Mardi Gras Attractions

Location and How to Get There

During our visit, we stayed at the Hotel Monteleone, which is in the French Quarter. That also made it east to get to the Business District where you can also find luxury hotels near Bourbon Street.

The Mardi Gras World is a large warehouse located in the Business District at 1380 Port of New Orleans Pl.

The best way to get there from the French Quarter is via the free shuttle service or a hired car (e.g. Uber).

The closest shuttle stop near the French Quarter are at Roosevelt Waldorf-Astoria New Orleans and the Ritz-Carlton.

These luxury hotels are near Canal and Baronne Streets. You’ll need to phone in advance to arrange for shuttle pickup or drop off at 504-361-7821.

Mardi Gras Museum of Costumes and Culture is in the French Quarter near Jackson Square at 318 N. Rampart Street. It is part of The Presbytere, the Louisiana State Museum, which contains exhibits on Mardi Gras and Carnival, jazz music history, Katrina, and Louisiana’s diverse cultures.

It is adjacent to St. Louis Cathedral, so if you are staying in the area, the best way to get there is on foot.

Another option is to ride the red Riverfront Streetcar to the Outlet Collection stop at the river walk, located at 500 Port of New Orleans Place.

display at mardi gras world

Cost

Mardi Gras World is open 7 days a week, from 9:00am to 5:30pm.

The admission fees are:

  •   $22 for admission for adults
  •   $14 for children ages 2-12
  •  $17 for military, students, and seniors

We went around 2pm in the afternoon in October and there were less than 20 people waiting for the tour to begin.

I found Mardi Gras World discount tickets through Groupon.

Check Groupon for Mardi Gras Ticket Discounts.

The Mardi Gras Museum of Costumes and Culture is open daily except Tuesday and Wednesday from Noon to 4 PM.

The admission fee is $15.00, and we purchased them at the museum. But you should check Groupon for any flash deals.

There is a show that begins at 2 PM but we didn’t attend it. The show is interactive, and you are invited to attend in a Mardi Gras costume.

Mardi Gras Museum vs Mardi Gras World

woman standing next to large can of coffee
Mardi Gras World

The Mardi Gras World’s warehouse is quite large because it houses multiple floats that are 50 feet long.  We waited for the tour to begin in the lobby area. 

To pass the time, we looked for souvenirs and other Louisiana or New Orleans-based products to take home.  There were also very large exhibits of Mardi Gras papier-mâché characters where we could take family photos.

I remember seeing a door to the rear of the building with access to an outdoor patio area.  I wanted to step outside for a bit because the weather was nice but changed my mind.

When the tour began, we were escorted into a large room and chose our seats.  The presenter opened the presentation with a welcome and spoke about the video that would be shown on the screen.

The video covered the history of Mardi Gras and how it came to be, as well as some of the activities that occur in during Mardi Gras.  One of the traditions of Mardi Gras is eating King Cake. 

King cake is in the shape of a ring with purple, green, and gold, icing.  I’ve seen some with white icing, but the other colors were more prominent.  The cake is sweet and reminds me of an iced cinnamon bun.

We were given slices after the video.  Traditionally, when one bites into the cake, you may find a tiny plastic baby. The one who finds it will have good luck and prosperity bestowed upon them for the coming year.

After the video, we were escorted to the other side of the lobby where we could browse the warehouse at our own pace. The warehouse didn’t have great ventiliation and was a bit stuffy.

We saw finished floats and some skeleton floats that were in progress. The artists cover every Styrofoam prop with paper mâché to protect the Styrofoam and create a great surface for painting.

There were plenty of photo opportunities as we weaved our way through the floor. For us, the entire experience took less than 2 hours.

We slowed our pace to allow most of the tour to be 2 or 3 displays ahead of us. It was easier to get photos this way without competing with others.

mardi gras costume
mardi gras costume

At the Mardi Gras Museum of Costumes and Culture, the tour was not timed and we strolled through the museum at our own pace.

We learned so much more about the various krewes that create the costumes and compete with one another during Carnival.

A krewe is a private social club that supports Carnival activities. We learned about their friendly rivalries over who has the best floats, throws, themes, riders, and balls. They also have ceremonial crownings of Queens and Kings.

It was interesting to learn that Louis Armstrong was King Zulu in 1949.

As you can see in this photo the costumes are elaborate and ornate, often covered in jewels, feathers, and sequins to display the krewe’s opulence and bring the pageantry.

Each costume reflects the identity of the krewe.

We spent about an hour at this museum. What sets it apart from Mardi Gras World are the historical facts and cultural aspects of Mardi Gras.

Final Thoughts on These Museums

sign with woman advertising mardi gras

I liked both museums because they give a different perspective on the history and celebration of this annual event and why it is part of New Orlean culture.

To me, the Mardi Gras World was more about the floats and creativity of floats and characters, whereas the Mardi Gras Museum focused on the krewes, costumes and contributions of these organizations.

It’s obvious there is a lot of talent and creativity because the customers and floats, as well as time spent. After seening these exhibits, I appreciate the culture even more.

These are also great family-friendly, or rainy day New Orleans activities for indoors. If you only have one day in New Orleans, the Mardi Gras World will appeal to kids more than the other musuem.

Safe travels.


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