Though it’s just a short drive from Metairie, River Ridge, and downtown New Orleans, Rivertown in Kenner feels like you’ve traveled much farther to a quaint and picturesque village along the Mississippi River. In 2014, Rivertown was selected as a “USA Main Street” community for its charming historic district. Even though the area is small, it packs in a whole lot of things to do. Ready to make the (quick) trip to Rivertown? Here’s what you’ll find:
The 50-foot high, domed screen at the Kenner Planetarium & Megadome Cinema makes for an incredible viewing experience. Events like laser light shows and presentations related to astronomy will have your head in the stars. And at a cost of just $5-6 per show, it’s an affordable, educational alternative to your usual action films or romantic comedies.
At the foot of the levee on Williams Boulevard, you’ll find LaSalle’s Landing, a historic spot that also offers stunning views of the Mississippi River. Flags from ten different countries along the levee represent all of the different nations who governed Louisiana at one time or another. At the top of the levee, you’ll find yourself in a prime spot for watching ships cruise by, as well as paths for biking and walking. Fun fact: LaSalle’s Landing was also where the first heavyweight boxing championship took place, way back in 1870.
Work in a good laugh during your trip to Rivertown at Castle Comedy Theater, a small, intimate venue to enjoy up-and-coming acts or even take a comedy workshop. The space only seats about 80 people, so make sure to look into getting tickets in advance.
This science center is truly for people of all ages. Although there are special sections devoted to younger kids, older children and adults alike will enjoy features like a full-size NASA International Space Station prototype (fondly called “Kenner Space Station”) – it’s one of only two prototypes in existence today. The museum also features exhibits on minerals, insects, optical illusions, and waterways plus interactive components like a green screen to test your skills at forecasting the weather.
Professional theatrical performances and musicals all happen at the Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts, a duo of theaters linked by a picturesque outdoor courtyard. Performances range from well-known stage productions like “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” and “The Producers” to theater adaptations of films like “The Wizard of Oz” and “Shrek.”
Rivertown often holds seasonal events like Oktoberfest and a holiday market and craft show in addition to an ongoing farmers’ market with produce, handicrafts, and more.
The 16-block historic district of Rivertown also includes the Rivertown Heritage Park, featuring a beautifully landscaped green space that often includes special events like movie screenings or live music. The park is only open to the general public on Saturday mornings from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., so be sure to go on a Saturday morning to enjoy sights like a pond, covered bridge, and replicated turn-of-the-century buildings like an ice house and traditional blacksmith shop.