Families flock to the nation’s capital for its sunny adventures, natural beauty, and excellent museums. Get ready for non-stop summer fun for kids of all ages
Museum exhibits and outdoor attractions that spell fun for the whole family
Designed for children aged three to 12, the Canadian Children’s Museum (100 Laurier St., Gatineau) is a hidden gem located within the Canadian Museum of History. Among many exhibitions on toys, there are tons of immersive showcases: kids can crawl inside a pyramid, operate a ship’s loading crane, or sell foods in an international market. Grab a passport at the entrance and learn about the different cultures and customs as you collect passport stamps in hands-on stalls. There are dozens of options to dress up and play while experiencing the countries of Indonesia, Egypt, Mexico, Japan, Nigeria, and many more. The Museum’s theatre is impressively realistic, with a ticket booth and light board, as well as a backstage that’s just one massive tickle trunk full of beautiful costumes and props. This summer, a touring exhibition, Medieval Europe — Power and Splendour (see page 14), will allow kids to build their own castles, learn calligraphy, and imagine their lives in centuries past. Imagination knows no bounds and neither does this magical place.
plants & Wildlife
Ottawa’s backdrop is lush and vibrant, a great place to see what nature has to offer.
The Central Experimental Farm (960 Carling Ave.) is a lush home to many plants and trees, as well as a historic and recently renovated greenhouse, and the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum (901 Prince of Wales Dr.). Enjoy the beauty of its Ornamental Gardens, where colourful annuals and perennials intermingle, or the tranquility of the Fletcher Wildlife Garden, where many birds, bees, and small beasts call home. Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo (5305 Bank St., Gloucester) houses some 150 animals, from massive alligators and pythons to tarantulas, cobras, and even birds of prey and mammals, like the rare Eurasian Lynx.
Want to take a challenging zip through the tree-tops? Camp Fortune Explorer Park (300 ch. Dunlop, Chelsea) offers thrilling aerial experiences with canopy tours, rope bridges, and zip lines.
The Children’s Park features suspended walkways and smaller zip lines for the littlest monkeys.
Want to cool off but get your heart pumping? Calypso (2015 Calypso St., Limoges), one of Canada’s biggest waterparks, is just an hour east of downtown Ottawa. Its 100-acre park boasts more than 35 waterslides, over 100 water games, Canada’s largest wave pool, and North America’s highest freestanding waterslide, the Summit Tower. There are also shopping and dining options, and visitors can bring their own picnic lunches, with some restrictions.
From July 6 to 8, the free Wonders of Sand gathers internationally renowned sand sculptors and more than 200 tonnes of sand to make several gigantic sculptures at Lac Beauchamp in Gatineau. Anyone can compete in a regional contest that’s judged by professional sand sculptors. Other highlights include free boat loans, swimming, volleyball, and musical entertainment.
Canada Agriculture and Food Museum