BEST OF OTTAWA: Top Spots for Kids
With 20-years writing about Ottawa life we think we have
a pretty good idea of the best of what this city has to offer.
In this new weekly summer series we’ll share it with you.
From our top picks of hotels, live music venues, local brews,
bands and more, check, share and discuss
#OLMBest every Monday!
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".
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.
Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum
The folks at the Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum are experts at making food science kid friendly. Their brand-new soil lab teaches kids about how crops grow and there are exhibits on how space technology and preservation techniques impact the food they eat. They’re hosting plenty of Canada Day activities, as well as the Ice Cream Festival in July. You can download their Bee Odyssey mobile game for even more interactive fun.
Funhaven’s real claim to fame is the fact that it’s home to the city’s one and only roller coaster, the Crazy 8. If rides aren’t your thing, there’s laser tag, a rock climbing wall, simulator games, bumper cars, video games, mini bowling to keep you occupied. They also have an in-house restaurant. Entry is free for kids under three and they have great deals on admission packages.
Midway Family Fun Park
There’s something for everyone at Midway Fun Park / Adventureland. They offer bumper cars, a kiddie train, a balladium, mini golf and a climbing gym. Old school arcade games and some modern additions let you earn tickets to exchange for prizes. There’s also a mini zone for kids under four. Plus, parents can get in on the fun by participating in the same games as their kids free with any package.
Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo
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 watching animal feeding and maybe even getting to hold a snake or two. The zoo has 25 permanent exhibits and 20 featured animals that change every six months. The educational aspect makes it perfect for summer camps or classroom visits.
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, the Saunders Mining Company, 10 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 themed family fun.
Mont Cascades Water Park
This ski hill morphs into an epic water park for the summer season. Lounge by one of the heated swimming pools or indulge your competitive side by racing each other on the Proracer. Tube rides, slides and a splash forest dedicated to “active waterplay” provide fun for the whole family. A 20-minute drive from the city, it makes for a great day trip. Season passes are also available.
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. They can take large groups and are great for birthday parties.
Valleyview Little Animal Farm
Located in Nepean, the Valleyview Little Animal Farm features a wide range of animals and birds for kids to see. Learn about agriculture at the Old Farm Museum, watch a puppet show or take a train ride on the Valleyview Express. They also have a creative play area and a country walk. Holidays are celebrated with special activities, such as an Easter egg hunt, sheep shearing or a corn roast.