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Social Events and Host

Pre- or Post-Conference Tour: Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center and the Alliance for Sustainable Wildlife

Not included with registration. $60 per person.

Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center (FMASSC) is an AZA Certified Related Facility of Audubon Nature Institue. Known for its innovative research in animal reproduction, the facility is now home to several programs, including the Alliance for Sustainable Wildlife – a partnership between Audubon Nature Institute and San Diego Zoo Global - focused on breeding sustainable populations of hoofstock and birds, including whooping cranes. FMASSC is also home to the Coastal Wildlife Network, which rehabilitates sea turtles and marine mammals, a Mississippi Sandhill Crane Recovery Program, which breed and release endangered Mississippi sandhill cranes and the Gulf United for Lasting Fisherier (G.U.L.F), a sustainable seafood program.

Fee includes transportation and lunch.

Pre- and Post-Conference Tours are being offered during the following times:
  • Friday, September 6, 8:30 am - 1:00 pm
  • Friday, September 6, 11:30 am - 4:00 pm
  • Thursday, September 12, 8:30 am - 1:00 pm - SOLD OUT
  • Thursday, September 12, 11:30 am - 4:00 pm - SOLD OUT

Icebreaker at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas

Sunday, September 8, 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
One ticket is included in a full registration.  Daily registration DOES NOT include a ticket.  Additional tickets are available for $80 each.  $10 discount for children ages 3-11.  No ticket needed for children under 3.

In New Orleans, we know how to have a good time. Join us for an unforgettable Icebreaker, where we will give you a taste of our two favorite ways to celebrate our friends and our city: parades and festivals!    

We will start the evening with a second line to Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and Woldenberg Riverfront Park. (We know you’ve seen great parades, but have you ever actually BEEN the parade?) Parades in New Orleans always have a few things in common: we ALWAYS have great music, we ALWAYS have dancing, and passersby ALWAYS join in — so, don’t be surprised if the whole city stops to celebrate with us as we make our way through town. Conference delegates should meet at the Hilton Riverside Hotel at 6:00 pm and be ready to get rolling straight away.  

Our parade will end in the plaza of the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, where the Mississippi River greets visitors to New Orleans as the front porch of the famous French Quarter. Once the parade is over, the festival begins! Woldenberg Riverfront Park hosts some of the biggest festivals in our city, and tonight the festival is all about joining our friends and colleagues to celebrate our successes caring for and saving species around the world.

Just like parades, festivals always have some things in common: we ALWAYS have great entertainment, we ALWAYS have great food and drinks, and we ALWAYS make new friends while connecting with old ones. Throughout the night, make sure you visit the festival tents to enjoy the foods and drinks that make New Orleans special. You won’t want to miss any of the fabulous entertainment we have planned, either!

From the Park, make sure you visit the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, where the colors of the Great Maya Reef come alive in our walk-through tunnel, and our African penguins and southern sea otters are visitor favorites. Visit our stingray touch pool, feed a parakeet, and marvel at King Mydas, the giant green sea turtle, and some of the largest tarpon in human care in the 400,000-gallon Gulf of Mexico exhibit. As home to Audubon’s Coastal Wildlife Network, our Louisiana marine mammal and sea turtle rescue program, and Gulf United for Lasting Fisheries (G.U.L.F), our sustainable seafood program, our aquarium and conservation staff look forward to sharing our great work and stunning facility with our colleagues.  

The event will end at 9:00 pm and delegates can stroll their way into the French Quarter or follow their own path to wherever the magic of New Orleans takes you!

Conference delegates are invited to join in the Icebreaker Kickoff Second Line! Delegates will meet at the corner of Convention Center Boulevard and Poydras Street. See the parade route on page 13.

Those that wish to proceed to the Icebreaker, walk from the Hilton Riverside to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas.

Those with limited mobility can take advantage of a shuttle pick-up at the following:

  • Hampton Inn shuttle loading 5:40-5:50 pm
  • Spring Hill Suites shuttle loading 6-6:10 pm
  • Hilton Riverside shuttle loading 6:20-6:30 pm
  • Arrival at Audubon Aquarium of the Americans 6:40 pm

Shuttles will loop between hotels and Audubon Aquarium of the Americans throughout the evening. Guests with limited mobility will have priority access and seating on the shuttle.

Zoo Day at the Audubon Zoo

Wednesday, September 11, 12:00 pm - 10:00 pm
One ticket is included in a full registration.  Daily registration DOES NOT include a ticket.  Additional tickets are available for $80 each.  $10 discount for children ages 3-11.  No ticket needed for children under 3.

By the end of the conference, we know you’ve become a pro at enjoying the New Orleans’ downtown in the French Quarter and the Central Business District. Now, it’s time to roll Uptown! Meet at the Transportation Center at the Convention Center and board one of our complimentary buses to come join us as the staff, volunteers, and animals at Audubon Zoo welcome you to our home in Audubon Park.  Surrounded by ancient live oaks dripping with Spanish moss in an historic park nestled in a bend in the Mississippi River, Audubon Zoo celebrates wildlife with both stunning grounds and structures dating back to the early 1900s blended with jaw-dropping state-of-the art new exhibits, like our lion habitat, which just opened in May.

Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted with more New Orleans tradition as you make your way to lunch in the Capital One Bank Stage and Field. Make sure you visit with our staff and volunteers throughout the Zoo so we can share with you our history and our programs that make Audubon Zoo unique. From the historic Odenheimer Sea Lion Pool, to our veterinary hospital, to Jaguar Jungle, we can’t wait to show you our world.

Whether you take a leisurely stroll around the Zoo or enjoy a peak into our programs and behind-the-scenes areas, some truly special treats are in store throughout the day. Take Cajun dance lessons in the Fais Do-Do Ballroom in our award-winning Louisiana Swamp Exhibit. Make sure to visit with our team at our newly opened African lion exhibit and feel free to climb Monkey Hill, once the highest point in New Orleans. If you dare, you can even make like a New Orleans native and take a roll down the hill!

Oh, and did we remind you to bring your bathing suit?! We aren’t kidding — At 5:00 pm, make your way to the Cool Zoo, our splash park and home to the Gator Run lazy river. There, you can enjoy cocktails, tasty bites, and a spin around Gator Run on an inner tube. How many times can you say you went swimming at Zoo Day?

After cocktail hour, we have a special treat to lead us back to the Capital One Bank Stage and Field. By now, you know that New Orleanians are obsessed with making sure our guests are well-fed, so we can’t wait to treat you to another great meal while you enjoy some of the more eclectic entertainment that our city has to offer. Ever had your palm read? Commissioned the work of a street poet? Well, this is your chance! Live music will follow dinner and then our DJ will get you on your feet (if you aren’t already there).  

Whew! What a way to celebrate another amazing conference. The party wraps up at 10:00 pm with buses to bring you back to the Convention Center.
Buses will depart beginning at 11:30 AM from the Convention Center Transportation Center at the corner of Convention Center Blvd and Calliope Street (main pickup location). The last bus will depart the Zoo at 10:30 PM.
About Audubon Nature Institute

Audubon Nature Institute is a 501(c)3 not for profit that operates a family of ten museums and parks dedicated to nature. We serve our visitors, our community and our world as an educational resource, an environmental guardian, a leader in economic development and a venue for family entertainment. The success of the Audubon family lies within the individual strengths of its facilities. Working together, they are helping to create a bright future for generations to come.

AZA and IMATA attendees are welcome to visit the Zoo, Aquarium, and Butterfly Garden and Insectarium free of charge during the Conference. For access, show your conference badge, a digital conference registration confirmation, or an AZA or IMATA membership card. Conference attendees are also encouraged to visit Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, a free facility.

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