55 Things to Do With Kids in Ottawa

Being a parent brings with it a lot of challenges. From meeting your child’s physiological needs to ensuring that your child has access to world-class entertainment, you have to be on your toes to ensure that your kid is not missing out on anything. At times, planning a day out with kids can become quite difficult. For such parents, we have compiled this list of 55 things to do with kids in Ottawa. Beyond the veil of its bureaucratic facade, Canada’s capital, Ottawa, is a haven for plenty of fun activities. The city has a lot to offer, from beautiful green spaces and indie shops to amusement parks and historical attractions for kids. In other words, the city provides you and your kids with so many awesome things to do. Whether it is the birthday of a child or a family hangout, visit any of these places to make the event even more enjoyable.

Festivals

1. Winterlude

Canada is a cold country and the winter season there is freezing. The annual Winterlude Festival in Ottawa offers the chance to celebrate the Canadian winter. You can enjoy beautiful ice sculptures or may skate on the world-famous Rideau Canal Skateway or have fun in the Snowflake Kingdom. Activities, such as tube sliding and zip line, are perfect for kids. This year, the festival will run from January 31 to February 17, 2020.  

2. Canada Day

Pump up your kids’ patriotism by taking them to the Canada Day celebrations that are held on July 1. The celebrations normally include family activities and live entertainment, which is followed by spectacular fireworks.

3. The Tulip Festival

Spring in Ottawa results in spectacular views of beautiful flowers. The Tulip Festival in Ottawa is one of the best events to celebrate the spring season in the city. Marvel at eye-catching flowers with your kids.

4. Ottawa International Buskerfest

Ottawa International Buskerfest hosts world-class performers from across the globe to create a spellbinding event for audiences of all ages. Enjoy breathtaking chair acrobatics, dazzling fire performances, family-friendly comedy show, a cheeky contortionist and so much more in the most-celebrated Buskerfest.

5. Children’s Festival

The Ottawa International Children’s Festival is an award-winning annual event that promises a great deal of fun and entertainment for kids of all ages. Before the inauguration of the program, parents can access the official festival program to have a look at different age-appropriate activities that the program offers.

Outdoor Play

Festivals are held for a limited time so there has to be other activities that you can enjoy with your children when you need a much-needed family timeout. There are so many outdoor recreation centers where you can take your children to have a fun-filled day.

6. Kayaking

Kayaking is a great sport that can be enjoyed by kids around the age of 4 or 5. There are kid- sized kayaks available in the market that your younger children can use. Besides this, stand up paddle boards (SUPs) have also gained immense popularity among both adults and children. If your children are older than 8, they can easily enjoy the SUP.

7. Pirate Adventures

The space along the Rideau Canal is perfect for children to have imaginary pirate adventures. Allowing children to pretend play encourages their creative skills.

8. Valleyview Little Animal Farm

Located in Southwest Ottawa, the Valleyview Little Animal Farm is a kid-friendly farm with animals to pet and a tiny train to ride.

9. Ottawa Farmers’ Markets

Ottawa Farmers’ Markets are another good location where you can take your child to spend some quality time. Your kids will love to try the samples of fresh, locally produced food items.

10. Stroll through Gatineau Park

Located at 15-minutes from Parliament Hill, the enormous 36,000 hectares of land provides a great space for all kind of recreational activities for you and your family. Have a nice stroll in the park with your children and enjoy some time in the heart of nature.

11. Aqua-Taxi in Gatineau

How about a cruise on the river? Aqua-taxi in Gatineau allows you to marvel at the historical landmarks of the capital city from the vantage point of the river. If you are looking forward to celebrating your anniversary or your child’s birthday, you can go with aqua-limo for more fun.

12. Mooney’s Bay

Mooney’s Bay is the perfect place to have a family day out. The park has a lot to offer for visitors of all ages and your kids will spend quality time at the themed park the space hosts.

13.  Ride in a Biplane

Have the adventure of your life with open-cockpit biplane rides. You will also get to wear a cap and aviator goggles that will definitely make you feel like Amelia Earhart.These rides are available at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. Even though the ride is available between early May and mid-October, the flights also get canceled if the weather doesn’t cooperate.  

14. Horseback Riding at the Captiva Farms

The largest horseback riding farm, the Captiva Farms offer a much-needed escape from the bustling city life. Your kids will love to have an up-close experience with mighty horses and would love to enjoy a quick ride on their backs.

15. Petrie Island

Petrie Island is a beautiful beach that offers breathtaking views throughout the year. In summer and fall, especially, the beach is adorned with beautiful colors. It is also a wonderful place for spotting turtles.

16. Mer Bleue Boardwalk

If you want to have a quiet evening with your children, you should take them to Mer Bleue Boardwalk. The kids will love to have a walk on the beautiful pathways. During winters, the kids will love to trek on snow and ski trails.

17. Outdoor Movie

On Friday and Saturday nights, at Centretown Movies in Dundonald Park, you can have an unforgettable outdoor movie experience. Going to the movies will not cost you an arm and a leg as the admission is on a pay-what-you-can basis. So, donate a reasonable amount and enjoy the movies with your kids.

18. Walk or bike the canal

The Rideau canals offer miles of a scenic pathway to bike, skate, or walk. To give it a picnic-y feel, you should take some sandwiches or crisp to enjoy lunch along the way.

19. Changing of the Guard

Take your kids to Parliament Hill and let them experience a spellbinding ceremony of changing   of the guard. Each summer at 10 am, the place comes alive with colorful pomp. The ceremony is completed with a regimental band and pipers.

20. Cycle

Canada is a cycle-friendly country. Cycling on the pathways of Ottawa is one of the most relaxing activities that you can take part in. When you are with your kids, fun and enjoyment can even multiply. Try apps like RentABike and VeloGo to get adjustable bikes for your children and go on a ride.

21. Proulx Farm

How would you feel about visiting a place that offers fairytale-like horse-drawn wagon rides, pumpkin patch, pancake breakfasts, and strawberry picking, along with other interesting activities? The Proulx Farm offers such lovely activities that your children will love to the core.

22. Rideau Canal Boating or Skating

The Rideau canal offers plenty of activities to families with kids. If your kid is not sold at the idea of cycling along the canal, you can take them for boating in the summer so that they can fully enjoy this beautiful heritage site. In the winter, the historical site will let your kid skate along with the site.

23. Geocaching in the City

A fun-filled activity, geocaching is an interesting activity that only requires you to have a smartphone and an app. Download the geocaching app from its official site and create your account. The basic membership is free and offers tons of fun. Head to the area where caches are and then begin the fun. If you are playing the game in a populated area, make sure to carry ou your search covertly. Don’t let non-geocachers know that there is something hidden; otherwise, the hidden treasure would end up getting stolen before anyone else could reach it.

24. Feeding the Ducks Near Billings

Kids love animals and interacting with them. This is one of the most interesting and entertaining activities that your love to the core. Let your kids feed cute ducks and make unforgettable memories.

25. Eco Odysee

What can be better than a water maze adventure? Kids will go on a lifetime experience when they will hop in a paddleboat and set out on an adventure to hunt for animals.

26. Calypso

In the summer season, a water park is a perfect way to beat the summer heat. The gigantic Calypso park has almost 35 slides and more than 100 games. It also has a water pool and a lazy river, which is suitable for kids.

27. Gatineau Park

One of the best places in Ottawa to go with your kids is Gatineau Park. The place is lovely during the fall season when you’d be mesmerized by the beautiful Fall leaves. The park is perfect for both summer and winter camping and offers great hikes for older kids. The younger kid will love to take a short walk around Pink Lake.

28. Parc Omega

The Parc Omega is yet another beautiful place that promises a good time for both adults and kids. Even though the park is a safari, all animals are Canadian and are enjoying their natural habit in semi-captivity.

29. Mont Cascades

A small water park located in the Gatineau hill, Mont Cascade will definitely make it hard for your kids to leave the place as they’d want to be in the park for long for more and more fun.

Attractions

Ottawa has a lot of attraction sites to offer as well. Have a look at where you can take your kids.

30. Parliament Hill

If your kids can stay up until 10pm, you must take them to Parliament Hill where they can see the spectacular show of lights and sound. The shows are held throughout July at 10pm; August at 9:30pm; and September at 9pm.

31. NAC Children’s Events

The National Arts Center in Canada organizes some interesting children’s program. There is also scrumptious high tea at the Chateau Laurier that your children can enjoy wholeheartedly.

32. Governor-General Estate

Rideau Hall is another beautiful place that offers tons of fun to your kids. During winter, the place lets your kids stake around.

33. The Royal Canadian Mint

For kids ages 5 and up, a tour at the Mint is a good way to spend the lazy weekend. Children will be interested in touring the facility, which is responsible for producing Canada’s collector and investment coins.

Indoor Activities

Ottawa is filled with indoor places that offer so many adventure options for kids. Let’s have a look at the places that offer hard-to-miss indoor activities.

34. Altitude Gym

For a unique climbing experience, Altitude Gym is a one-of-a-kind location. The 45ft high climbing mountain has more than 100 routes. The bouldering areas total 5,750 sq ft. This space has options for both beginners and experts.

35. Jigsaw Escape Room

The Escape Room games bring a real-life adventure game. Best suited for older kids, the game tests your skills and your patience as you and your kids make use of the hints and clues to solve the puzzle and make the escape. Located in the ByWard Market, Jigsaw Escape Rooms is an adventure you shouldn’t miss.

36. Archery Games

Archery is a classic and popular game that almost everyone loves. If your kids want to learn a new sport, you should take them to Ottawa’s only archery arena which is a 8000-sqft facility and offers open game sessions for your kids.

37. Funhaven Escapes

Another escape room experience, Funhaven Escapes is a live-action reality experience in which a team of 4-10 people works together to solve puzzles within a set time limit. The end goal can be anything from escaping a room to building a construct, or completing a mission or anything else.

38. Marked: Ultimate Family Adventure Park

Marked has plenty of adventures that you can take up to have a wonderful family outing. Its exciting paintball games will definitely let you have the time of your life with your kids.

39. Tag Zone – Indoor Tagball Arena

From kids to adults, everybody loves the game of tag. It is a safe game that uses reusable foam ammunition for the game. It is a perfect game for a fun-filled family outing.  

Culinary Experiences

It is said, “a family that eats together, stays together”. Make your dining experience even better by taking your kids to scrumptious dining places. Let’s see how you can make the culinary experiences of your family better.

40. Ottawa Bagelshop

When we talk about bagels, we always end up mentioning New York as the haven for bagels. You might be surprised to know that Ottawa has even tastier, Montreal -style bagels that are boiled in honey water and tastes heavenly.

41. Food Tour with C’est Bon

Food tours provide you and your kids the opportunity to see how your food is prepared. Your kids will definitely love exploring the local food scene at C’est Bon.

Museums

Many kids pull up a face when they hear the word ‘museum’. But these places are a good way to teach a thing or two about history to your children. With their attractive architecture, museums in Ottawa know  the trick of attracting children. The city has plenty of museums that will be a great source of learning for your kids.

42. Diefenbunker

A remnant of the cold war period, Diefenbunker is an underground bunker that was built to provide refuge to government officers at the time of nuclear war. Your kids will love exploring this place.

43. Vanier Museopark

The Vanier Museopark is yet another fascinating place that offers exhibitions on municipal and provincial French events, interactive tours, talks, and workshops to discover the history of the surrounding neighborhood.

44. Museum of Nature

The museum has amazing exhibits, an iMax theatre, and so many fun activities for both younger and older kids.  The biannual hosting of special exhibits is also hard to miss and people, in large numbers, flock to the museum to see everything new it has to offer. It’s also a cool spot to host a birthday party for a group of kids.

45. Children’s Museum

Your children will love visiting the place. The main attraction keeps changing every few months so you can also visit the place several times to see what’s new at the museum.

46. Cumberland Heritage Village Museum

History lessons are made super easy at the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum. The place offers a lot of fun activities for children. Their special events, the Village of Lights in the winter, also draw a large crowd.

47. Canadian War Museum

It is important to tell your kids about the history of your country. The Canada War Museum is a good place that offers great insights and learning material.

48. Canada Science and Technology Museum

Fun for all ages, the Canada Science and Technology Museum offers endless fun for your children. It has fascinating exhibits that attract children instantly.

49. Canadian Aviation and Space Museum

Kids that love planes and space will be fascinated by the experience the museum has to offer. The museum holds daily kids’ activities and camps. There is also a special play area for younger children.

50. Bytown Museum

If you want your children to enjoy plenty of interactive activities, you must plan a trip to the Bytown Museum.

51. Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum

Food demonstrations, special events, and snuggly animals, the Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum has everything to offer to your children.

52. Billings Estate

Explore the estate of one of Ottawa’s founding families and enjoy kid-friendly programs and other special events at the property.

53. The National Gallery

One of the best art collections in the country, the National Gallery, spans many genres and hosts a wide array of guest artists and curators regularly. While not a terrible spot to foster a young person’s artistic imagination, the National Gallery is almost better alone, with time for quiet contemplation.

54. The National of History

Canada’s most liked museum is a must-visit for vacationers who are a fascination with the people of the First Nation. It also houses the largest collection of indoor towering totem poles.

55. Ottawa Senators Hockey

If you’re in Ottawa during the NHL season, there is nothing quite like taking in a Sens game. Ottawa is a fiercely proud hockey town.

The Final Word

Ottawa has so many options for fun and entertainment. To fully experience Ottawa’s glory, we recommend you follow our list and visit these amazing places to have the time of your life with your kids.   

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