When it comes to planning a family vacation, finding a destination that suits all your wants and needs can be challenging. No matter the age of your brood, choosing activities that are fun for all the family is important, so if you’re undecided on where to go for your family vacation, why not head to Ottawa?
Ottawa is the capital of Canada, and is located in the east of southern Ontario. With a population just short of 1 million, the city is home to a wide range of attractions and activities that are family friendly. To help make up your mind, here are 13 of the best things to do with children when in Ottawa.
Canadian Children’s Museum
If you’re looking for an exciting activity that is sure to interest your child, the clue is in the name when it comes to visiting The Canadian Children’s Museum. Once you walk through the doors, there is tons of active play that your kids can get stuck into, especially as they will be handed a passport and must collect stamps from each country that they ‘visit’. There are lots of fun things to do in the museum that will keep young museumgoers amused, such as trying on kimonos in the Japanese house, or climbing aboard a Pakistani bus.
Canada Aviation and Space Museum
If your children have a keen interest in the solar system, a trip to Canada’s Aviation and Space Museum is a must. With an extensive collection of vintage aircrafts, as well as interactive activities for your children to take part in, a trip to the museum can be a great family day out. There are also several tours and demonstrations that are suitable for visitors of all ages. Make sure that you check out their opening days and times to avoid appointment.
For families who have older children, you may want to consider touring Canada’s parliament. Going on a 30-minute guided tour can give you a detailed insight into Canada’s history and government. Once there, you can explore how parliament works, and have the opportunity to explore the new homes of the House of Commons. What’s more, the guided tour is free, so make sure that you reserve your tickets online beforehand.
Canadian Museum of Nature
If you’re a family of animal lovers, what better way to spend your day than by taking a trip to the Canadian Museum of Nature? There is a mammal gallery situated inside the museum, which plays host to Canadian mammals, including moose, caribou, and bison. For the dinosaur lovers, you must check out The Fossil Gallery.
The Rideau Canal Skateway
Known as the globe’s largest naturally frozen ice-skating rink, the Rideau Canal boasts nearly 5 miles of groomed surface to skate on! This attraction is open daily between January and March, however, it’s best to check the weather forecast beforehand. If you’re worried about the cost, skating is free, and skate rentals and snacks are affordable too, making it a perfect family fun day out in Ottawa.
For families who prefer to steer clear of the hustle and bustle of Ottawa’s city center, why not take a trip to Gatineau park instead? This rambling green space is perfect for family adventures. Situated just north of downtown Ottawa, there are miles upon miles of trails that are perfect for biking, snowshoeing, and hiking. If you’re heading to Ottawa in the summer months, getting outdoors and going on an exploration can be a great bonding experience for you and your kids.
Known as the oldest and largest farmer’s markets in the country, the ByWard Market district is a must see for families when in Ottawa. No matter the time of year you head to the capital, a trip to ByWard Market is a no brainer, especially as it’s open 363 days per year. With close to 175 stalls to check out, there are tons of souvenirs, tasty cuisine, and clothing to check out and purchase.
National Gallery of Canada
If your children love arts and crafts, a trip to the National Gallery of Canada can be a great way to spend your day. Once you walk into the gallery, there is a huge treasure trove of art that provides brilliant children’s entertainment. The gallery is also home to the planet’s largest collection of indigenous art, meaning you are bound to view some breathtaking pieces.
Canada Agriculture and Food Museum
Operating as both a museum of agriculture, and a working dairy farm, young visitors will gain a better understanding of how science works in agriculture, which helps to feed the nation. There is also an animal barn that is open all year round which gives your kids the opportunity to pet some cute creatures.
Calypso Water Park
Once summer hits Ottawa and temperatures start to rise, many locals and tourists head to Calypso Water Park. If you’re looking for a way to escape the summer heat and cool down, the Calypso Water Park boasts a wide range of exciting waterslides that your children are sure to love. Located only 35 minutes from Downtown Ottawa, this attraction is perfect for all age ranges.
Canadian Museum of History
Known as the most visited museum in Canada, the Canadian Museum of History is sure to leave you mesmerised from the moment you walk through the door. If you’re interested in First Nations people, taking your family to the museum can help broaden the mind and help you learn more of the history and culture that Canada is famous for.
If you happen to be In Ottawa on July 1st, Canada Day is regarded as one huge patriotic party that is full of free activities that your kids can take part in. The day closes with a glorious concert that hosts Canadian performers, as well as a fireworks display.
Ottawa City Rafting
If you’re a family of adrenaline junkies and want to try out something exciting, why not go whitewater rafting? There is a low intensity urban ride that you can go on which will provide you with striking views of Parliament, however, this attraction is only suitable for children aged 6 and over, so if you have young toddlers coming with you, it’s best to cross this off your itinerary.
Getting to Ottawa
Now you have a better understanding on what makes Ottawa so popular, booking your flights and accommodation should be next on your to-do list! If you are looking for flights to Ottawa rather than a road trip, check out regional airlines like Porter. You can look here for flight details, where you will also have the option to book accommodation alongside your flights. If you’re on a tight budget and want to get the most out of your Ottawa adventure, you may be able to save money on your flights and accommodation if you book in advance.
No matter how long you’re in Ottawa for, you’re sure to find an activity and attraction that appeals to all age groups. If you’re heading to the city in the winter months, there are tons of indoor museums to check out, whereas in the summer months, getting outdoors and exploring with your brood can help you get a taste of what makes Ottawa so popular with tourists and locals.