BEST OF OTTAWA 2019: Spots for Kids
After over 20-years writing about life in Ottawa, we think we have
a pretty good idea of the best of what this city has to offer.
In this weekly series, we’ll share our picks with you –
our top hotels, live music venues, local brews,
bands and more. Check, share and discuss
#OLMBest every week!
By: Kat Walcott and Anna Jonas
Cosmic Adventures (1373 Ogilvie Rd.)
This mega jungle gym is a mecca for young kids across the capital. The multilevel play structure covers 20,000 square feet and is designed for safety, covered in padding and with rounded corners. Ball pits, slides, tunnels, mazes, obstacle courses, an arcade and a restaurant add to the fun. It’s suitable for kids 0-12, but there are two specific areas created for toddlers. They’ve even prepared for parents, with free Wi-Fi throughout the building and a "Cone of Silence".
Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo and Nature Centre (2781 Colonial Rd.)
Little Ray’s is committed to animal welfare and conservation, boasting one of the top animal outreach programs in the country. Kids get a real hands-on experience by getting to touch and interact with the animals. The educational aspect makes it perfect for summer camps or classroom visits. The centre is currently making the big move from its long time home on Bank Street to a bigger and better space in the Sarsfield area – we can’t wait to see what the new spot has in store!
Saunders Farm (7893 Bleeks Rd.)
Saunders Farm is a fully-operating farm sitting on 25 acres, complete with vegetable fields, gardens and their very own arboretum. Jumping Pillows, a Farm Pedal Cart Racetrack, a Discovery Barn, Witch Mountain’s slide, play structures, ten mazes, wagon rides and various nature walks make for a busy afternoon. Saunders is especially great around Halloween (they call it “Haunting Season”), when they feature spookily-themed family fun.
Funhaven (1050 Baxter Rd.)
Like the name implies, Funhaven really is a haven! This large space houses an arcade, bumper cars, escape rooms, a rock wall and much much more making it ideal for both young kids and teens alike. With its tiered credit system, you can have a blast at Funhaven no matter your budget. The centre also offers great food and drink options, including alcoholic beverages for the adults. Can it get any better?
Central Experimental Farm (960 Carling Ave.)
The Experimental Farm is the spot in Ottawa for good, hands-on, educational fun. One of the city’s biggest tourist attractions, this 400 hectares of land is a working research farm but many areas are open to the public such as the Arboretum, the Ornamental Gardens and the farm animals which are managed under the Agriculture and Food Museum that resides on the property. Makes for a great weekend outing in the summer!
Laser Quest (1800 St. Laurent Blvd.)
Laser Quest has been around for years and continues to provide endless fun. With various quest styles and cool ultra-violet, fog-filled rooms, Laser Quest truly bring laser tag to a whole other level. Since it’s indoors, it makes for a great activity on super hot summer days or cold winter days when the kids want to have some fun, but avoid the harsh weather. They take group reservations, so are great for birthday parties.
Kids Kingdom (66 Hearst Way & 1290 Trim Rd.)
Kids Kingdom, which has both a Kanata and Orleans location, is part daycare centre, part family entertainment centre and 100% FUN! The facilities feature play structures, laser tag, an arcade area, a cafe, and lots of party rooms available for you to book for your little one’s next birthday celebration. Decked out with free WiFi, parents can stay entertained or on top of work emails while the kids work off some of that endless energy.
Pirate Adventures (588 Hog’s Back Rd.)
Shiver me timbers! Travel down Mooney’s Bay and the Rideau Canal on an authentic pirate ship. An interactive theatre show gets kids into the pirate spirit with sword fights and water cannons. Costumes and face paint help you look the part while you use a map to search for buried treasure. Great for a pirate-themed birthday party!
Canadian Children’s Museum (100 Laurier St., Gatineau)
Everyone loves the Children’s Museum. Part of the Canadian Museum of History, it’s the perfect stepping stone to start teaching children about social and cultural history. Visitors can travel through the museum at their own pace, stamping a passport to learn about different cultures through costumes, artifacts, games and other interactive activities. Kids stay occupied for hours and it can be just as fun for parents.
Upper Canada Village (13740 County Road 2, Morrisburg)
Take a trip back in time – to 1866 to be exact – when you visit this living-history site, one of the biggest in the country. Kids can brush up on their history in a multi-sensory way and can watch demonstrations of traditional farming and crafts techniques. See more than 40 real historical buildings, including houses and workshops, and chat with costumed interpreters to learn “firsthand” what daily life was like back in the 1800s. Follow a tour route or wander around at your own pace.