10 Things to do and see in Ottawa in Fall

The kids are back to school and memories of summer vacation are slowly giving way to thoughts of what to do with the kids in Ottawa this fall. Luckily, Ottawa has many great museums, trails and nearby attractions to keep families busy regardless of the time of year. If you’re looking to fill your weekend with fun activities this fall, here our ten suggestions:

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1) Take a hike

The National Capital Region is not only close to the hiking trails in vibrant Gatineau Park, but we also have the Trans Canada Trail and many other nature trails and conservation areas to explore. Depending on your area of the city, you can enjoy feeding the chickadees along Stony Swamp or taking in the scenes along Mer Bleu boardwalk. Enjoying the vibrant foliage of fall makes this time of year a beautiful time of year for a family hike. Click here to see our list of 5 family-friendly trails in and around Ottawa.

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2) Pick your own apples

Apple picking is an annual tradition in my house. Whether you go to Mountain Orchards, Log Cabin Orchards or elsewhere, Ottawa has bountiful orchards to pick many varieties of apples. Many of the orchards also have family-friendly activities such as wagon rides, corn mazes, small petting zoos, and more!

3) Visit a pumpkin patch

Many of the local apple orchards also have pumpkin patches. Cannamore Orchard, Log Cabin Orchard, Maple Hill Urban Farm, and Proulx Farm are just a few of the local farms offering pumpkins (as well as many other fun fall family activities).

4) Go to a fall fair

Fall Fairs in Ottawa

While some of the seasonal fairs have come and gone, Ottawa still has the Carp Fair and Metcalfe Fair left! A great opportunity to take in some fair rides, games and agricultural activities as a family; and eat cotton candy – I am all about the cotton candy. ;)

5) Conquer a corn maze

While Saunders Farm offers incredible mazes all summer long, Maple Hill Urban Farm, located in Ottawa’s West End, offers a 10-acre corn maze that makes for a fun and memorable fall weekend activity (the maze is closed Monday through Thursday).

6) Engage with Hot Wheels – Race to Win

If you’re looking for something to fill in those rainy or cooler fall days, the Children’s Museum at the Canadian Museum of History is presenting a special exhibition from Hot Wheels that is all about speed and power! Hot Wheels – Race to Win runs until January 7, 2018. It involves playing with Hot Wheels die-cast cars as well as interactive displays that will have kids experimenting with power, performance and learning intriguing facts a long the way.

7) Celebrate Halloween

If you love celebrating Halloween and love being scared then fall is your time of year! Saunders Farm is infamous for their Haunting Season and even have a new attraction this year to scare visitors even more than years previous. If you go – make sure you take the haunted hayride. It’s guaranteed to make you scream, but if you have young children you may only want to go during the day when the characters and exhibits are not quite as frightening.

There is also Pumpkin Inferno at Upper Canada Village (a less scarier way to celebrate Halloween as a family), as well as many other Halloween Activities. For a full listing of 2017 Halloween Activities, click here.

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8) Feed wildlife at Parc Omega

Located approximately one hour from Ottawa, Parc Omega is a great way to spend a fall day (or weekend!) with animals native to America, incluging bears, wolves, and elk – that will walk right up to your car. Bring a bag of carrots and get ready to get up close and personal with Canada’s wildlife. There are also picnic areas and hiking trails onsite.

9)  Visit the Canada Goose Arctic Gallery

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the new Canada Goose Arctic Gallery at the Canadian Museum of Nature, fall is a great opportunity to do so. It’s a permanent exhibition with many hands on activities and games. It’s a fun way for kids to learn about the impacts of climate chance and about Arctic culture and ecosystems.

The Royal Canadian Mint

10) Tour the Royal Canadian Mint

Another fascinating indoor activity is a tour of the Royal Canadian Mint. Children will not only learn about how coins are made, but will also get to see the world’s biggest coin and gold bars on display, as well as get to see an Olympic medal. The behind-the-scenes tour of this facility is fascinating for all ages – my daughter still talks about holding a gold bar!

Family-friendly Halloween Activities in Ottawa

There is more to Halloween than just trick or treating and Ottawa has a lot of Halloween activities for ghosts and goblins of all ages! 

Family-friendly Halloween Activities in Ottawa

Members Halloween Party - Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum
When: Saturday, October 28th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Doors open at 9 a.m.)
Where: Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum

Families are encouraged to come in costume and take part in special Members-only activities that includes exclusive access to Meadowview Barn as well as exclusive Halloween crafts and treats to make and take home. There will also be pumpkin decorating and a scavenger hunt. Members must register. For more information, visit the Museum's website.

The Haunted Walk – Halloween Season
When: Nightly until November 4th
Where: Various locations in Ottawa

Great for older children and adults, The Haunted Walks are best known for their tours and stories of ghosts and haunted places and Halloween is the perfect time to experience one of these walks! For more information: http://hauntedwalk.com/ottawa-tours/ 

Saunders Farm – Haunting Season
When: Saturdays and Sundays between September 23rd and October 31st
Where: Saunders Farm, Munster, ON
Admission: General Day Admission is $19.50 + HST (kids 2 and under are free); General night (Fright Fest) admission: $32.00 +HST

Scarier at night and as a not-as-scary experience during the day, Saunders Farm offers families the ultimate in Halloween thrills and chills!  The Day Haunting Season is fine for kids as the more scarier attractions are closed and the jumping pillows and main play area is open. There is also a pumpkin patch hay ride available for young visitors.

The Fright Fest (Night) at Saunders Farm is good for children ages 12 and up. For more information visit: http://saundersfarm.com/

Acres of Terror
When: Now until October 31st
Where: Cannamore Orchards, 1480 County Road 32, Crysler

Family-friendly during the day, and a lot scarier at night, Cannamore Orchards Halloween fun includes their infamous Spooky Wagon Ride™, The Spooky Village, Kid’s Spooky House, The Fog Maze, The House of Terror, and much more!

Bunker Buddies Halloween Night
When: Tuesday, October 31st from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum, Carp
Admission: By donation for parents, grandparents, or caregivers with kids. Kids under 5 are free.

A perfect Halloween Day activity for young kids. Kids and adults can come dressed up in their favourite costume and discover spooky (and cute) ghosts and monsters throughout the museum to collect treats.

Incident at the Bunker: A Zombie Adventure

If you have children aged 12 years and older, this 60 to 75 minute Halloween-themed tour is sure to be memorable! After 20 years a terrifying secret has been revealed and guests will be led on an interactive adventure to see what it’s all about. This unique underground experience is in conjunction with Haunted Walks. For more information: http://diefenbunker.ca/incident-at-the-bunker-a-zombie-adventure/

Halloween Fun At Hugli's Blueberry Ranch
When: On now until October 29th
Where: Hugli's Blueberry Ranch, 2139 Greenwood Rd., Pembroke, ON
Admission: $13+HST for Kids and Adults

A corn maze (which is haunted at night), haunted house, wagon rides and more, this makes for a fun fall drive through the Ottawa Valley and is fun for all ages!

Monster Mash Halloween Party
When: Saturday, October 21 from 10 am to 4 pm
Where: Billings Estate National Historic Site
Admission: Cost: $6.30/adult, $10.45/pair, $16.75/family

Billings Estate invites families to put on their best costumes and get into the Halloween Spirit at their Monster Mash Halloween Party!  There will be face painting, Halloween themed activities, crafts, and of course Halloween treats.

Haunted Historic Village
When: Friday and Saturday nights, from October 6 to October 28. 
Where: Cumberland Heritage Village
Admission: $10.45 per person

Every year Cumberland Historic Village is transformed into a brand new Halloween experience, with Halloween horrors around every corner that will push your fears to the limit. This Halloween Activity is ideal for older children who are not afraid of a nighttime scare or two.

Halloween Hijinks
When: Sunday, October 29, 2017 from 10 am to 4 pm
Where: Cumberland Heritage Village
Admission: $7.30 for adults, $5.25 for students and seniors, Free for children 5 and under, or $18.80 for a family (two adults and children under 18)

Dress up the family and celebrate Halloween at Cumberland Heritage Village by exploring everything the village has to offer including: the potions lab, a 1920s style Halloween crafts, and Halloween treats too!

Halloween at Horaceville
When: Sunday, October 29, 2017
Where: Pinhey's Point Historic Site, Dunrobin, ON
Admission: Cost: $6.30/adult, $10.45/pair, $16.75/family

Visit the scenic Pinhey's Point in Ottawa's far west for family-friendly ghost stories, turnip and pumpkin carving, playing fortune-telling games, and crafts. There will also be 19th century snacks cooked over an open fire using historic recipes.

Watson’s Mill Children’s Halloween Party
When: October 28th, 1 t 4 p.m.
Where: Watson’s Mill, Manotick
Admission: Free

A children’s Halloween Party with fun Halloween games and crafts. A great way to see this historic mill and celebrate Halloween! For more information: http://watsonsmill.com/events-2016/