Ottawa Travel with Kids
Don’t miss the National Gallery of Canada (380 Sussex Dr.), where little jaws will drop at the sight of a giant 30-foot spider outside of the museum—imagine the fun photos you can take! Inside, take them to the Artissimo section, where they can indulge their inner Picasso and create masterpieces and dress up in reproduced costumes seen in well-known paintings.
Toddlers and preteens will have a blast at the Canadian Children's Museum inside the Canadian Museum of History (100 Laurier St., Gatineau, Quebec), just a 15-minute drive from downtown Ottawa via the Alexandra Bridge over the Ottawa River. Visit reproductions of homes from places around the globe, including India and Mexico, and collect passport stamps. A colorfully decorated Pakistani bus will draw oohs and aahs.
For a break from the city, go to the country; it’s only about 5 kilometres (3 mi.) south of downtown at the Central Experimental Farm (901 Prince of Wales Dr.) Children under age 13 will get a kick out of coming face-to-face with sweet brown-eyed cows, bleating goats, horses, alpacas, sheep and donkeys, while getting a glimpse at farm life along with lots of fresh air.
A looping LED light show greets you as you walk in to the modern Canada Science and Technology Museum (1867 St. Laurent Blvd.), creating an air of excitement before you even check out the exhibits. Reopened in 2017 after a 3-year, $80-million rebuild, the museum educates and entertains teens with displays about natural resources, the ocean, medicine, sound technology, wearable tech, the great outdoors and household technologies.
Highlights at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum (11 Aviation Pkwy.) include Life in Orbit: The International Space Station exhibition, a Canadarm robotic arm used on the Endeavour space shuttle, and a bomber from World War II. Daredevils can ride on an open-air vintage biplane or a bubble-topped helicopter and get a bird’s-eye view of the city. Less adventurous types can take to the skies (well, pretend to) using a Redbird flight simulator.
Guided tours by law students at The Supreme Court of Canada (301 Wellington St.) just may inspire teenagers who are having trouble making decisions about their future careers. At the least, they’ll learn more about Canada’s judicial system and how the highest court in the country decides appeals on criminal and civil cases. Visitors can also attend live hearings.
If your kids are curious about how money is made, the behind-the-scenes tour at the Royal Canadian Mint (320 Sussex Dr.) reveals all. Watch collectable coins get stamped from sheets of pure gold and silver and take your pic with a heavy gold bar; cool displays include a million-dollar coin mold and Olympic medals.
All Ages Hit up a BeaverTails Pastry stand or outlet the first chance you get; you’ll find them scattered around the city, including at ByWard Market (69 George St.). Ottawa’s unofficial snack–some call it the Canadian donut–is a flat pastry in the shape of a beaver’s tail (it’s about the same size, too). It’s smothered with your choice of toppings, including chocolate syrup, nuts, apples, bananas, cinnamon and sugar; in all, there are 14 scrumptious varieties.
In winter, young tots adorably clad in parkas, mittens and toques love to be pulled around in little red sleighs on 7.8 kilometres (5 mi.) of frozen water on the Rideau Canal . It runs from downtown along Colonel By Drive to the Hartwell Locks at Carleton University. Meanwhile, grown-ups and teenagers can strap on rented skates, have skating contests, or glide arm-in-arm, making stops on the ice for hot chocolate and warm BeaverTails. In warm weather, long after the ice and snow melt, gather the family and hop into a canoe or motor boat for a peaceful float along the water.
Gather on the Parliament Hill lawn on summer mornings for a good spot to watch the Changing of the Guard , a daily happening that the whole family will enjoy. The ceremony, based on the same one in London, impresses with its soldiers clad in red uniforms topped with tall black hats, a parade with a military band and inspections of the guards.
Courtesy of Ottawa Tourism
Bring nature lovers to the huge Canadian Museum of Nature (240 McLeod St.), where you’ll see gigantic lifelike dinosaur models and dioramas of mounted moose, bison, birds and other creatures in realistic habitats. Live amphibians, fish and insects as well as 3-D movies and more than 1,000 rocks and minerals will captivate everyone.
In-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. All hotels must meet the same basic requirements for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality to be AAA Approved. A rating of one to five AAA Diamonds tells members what type of experience to expect, from no-frills to highly personalized.
87 m/285 ft.
Ontario's Harmonized Sales Tax is 13 percent.
511 or (800) 268-4686.
Montfort Hospital, (613) 746-4621; The Ottawa Hospital-Civic Campus, (613) 722-7000; The Ottawa Hospital-General Campus, (613) 772-7000.
90 Wellington St. Ottawa, ON K1P 5L1. Phone:(613)237-5150 or (844)878-8333
Ottawa International Airport
Hertz, (613) 521-3332 or (800) 654-3080, offers discounts to AAA members. For a complete list of rental agencies consult the telephone directory.
Via Rail's terminal, 200 Tremblay Rd. off Queensway (Hwy. 417), can be reached by city buses from Confederation Square. The station at 3347 Fallowfield Rd. can be reached by downtown bus 95; phone (888) 842-7245.
Greyhound Canada serves Montréal, Toronto, Mirabel Airport and other cities in Ontario, Québec and the United States. Its terminal, Ottawa Central Station, is at 265 Catherine St.; phone (613) 238-6668. City buses run by OC Transpo also serve the terminal.
Cabs operate on the meter system, with a minimum charge of $3.85 plus $1.72 for each additional kilometre. In excess of four passengers and asking the driver to load and unload baggage costs extra.