It took me years, years to admit that I have a secret love: mini golf. Oh, I try to play it cool, act like it's no big thing, it's "for the kids." But I have to admit that it's me who loves the putt putt. It's not even about the competition or the personal challenge of achieving par or the thrill of the hole-in-one. It's just about the mental challenge of calculating the angles. And also, the little coloured balls. I'm a junkie.
So I took the kids to check out Mini Golf Gardens, which is an outdoor mini putt place at the corner of Merivale and Colonnade, that's only open in the summer months (April through October). It's straight up mini golf here; two courses, each 18 holes, and nothing else. Just you, the putter, and open expanses of fake green grass.
Both courses are really pretty, with waterfalls and streams and trees, and also well thought out. It's not the kind of place with giant windmills and or loop-the-loops for the balls. Instead, the course relies more on wacky bumps, bridges, and barriers to make it interesting. I personally found the two courses to be the perfect combination of challenging and fun. The kids were well able to handle it - my nine-year-old and seven-year-old were able to get par a few times, and finished the courses in about 65 strokes, which is not too shabby.
The five-year-old did a lot of stick-handling moves with her putter. We were down with that, too. Meanwhile, I got three holes-in-one. I ROCKED it.
It's a lovely little course, a nice place to spend a morning or afternoon outside, and a good challenge for both kids and adults. It will take you about an hour and a half to do both courses. Plus, I'd recommend stopping halfway through for a visit to the tuck shop, which features ultra-rare banana slushies, along with other drinks and treats. It's a little exposed in spots, so be sure to wear sunscreen and bring hats.
Mini Golf Gardens is probably not the cheapest miniputt in town - $9 adults, $7.50 for kids under 12. But for a junkie like me, it was well worth it - definitely my favourite of all the courses we've done in Ottawa.
We'll be back. I have like, five other ball colours to get through!
Lynn is mom to three tombliboos and blogs over at Turtlehead.