Category Archives: Parks

Taking Advantage of Ottawa’s Wading Pools

wadingTomorrow is officially the first day of summer and what says summer better than visiting a splash pad? For those of us lucky enough to be living in the Ottawa area, a secret gem in the summer is the abundance of wading pools and splash pads across the area. Did you know that in Ottawa, there are 56 wading pools and splash pads all over the city?

What’s also pretty cool about our city’s wading pools are the special events that take place all summer. Almost every weekend, there will  Wading Pool Special Events.  All special events are held from 11 am to 4 pm, featuring arts and crafts, games, prizes, and lots of time to stay cool.  Some events even have featured guest activities, a free barbecue and a lunchtime Performing Arts Series between 11:30 and 12:30.  A new feature this year are Friday Fun Days . Every Friday, you and the kids can visit one of the City of Ottawa wading pools and participate in kid-themed fun and games.

You can also take part in the Waterplay program. This program uses fun and interactive games and learn-to-swim activities to offer a basic instruction in necessary water skills. This is a great opportunity for kids to have fun at the wading pools while also building foundational swimming skills and learning water safety. Waterplay is an informal program available to the public free of charge at all wading pools across the city.

For kids who don’t want to get wet, but still want to hang at the pool, they can participate in Park-ticipate, a free, informal drop-in program offered at various water parks throughout Ottawa. Children aged 4 to 10 are invited to join city staff sports, crafts and games led by city staff. A great way for you to relax, as long as you stay close by.

All the Ottawa area Wading pools are open daily from 11 am to closing time and will run from June 28 to August 16, 2013. Don’t know where to find a splash pad close to you? Use this City of Ottawa Map, to see where all the Splash pads are located.

What’s your favourite Splash Pad or Wading Pool in Ottawa? 

Our Favourite Ottawa Parks

At Kids in the Capital we love parks. And since the weather is finally leaning a bit more to the spring and summer variety, what better way to celebrate than to share some great Ottawa parks with you. We asked our readers what parks are the bomb and here are a few of their favourites:

Brewer Park

Located near Carleton University, between Bronson and Sunnyside, on Brewer Way, Brewar Park is a great place for kids of all ages. It has plenty of open spaces and playing fields and is near a bike path for bigger adventures. There is a semi-fenced-in area with two play structures suitable for the littlest members of the family along with a play structure on rubber mats for preschool children, a multi-level splash pad (there is a large ramp and bridge to access the upper level and water slide), a larger play structure for elementary aged children, a sandy area with wheel-chair accessible sand tables, activity walls, and swings.

brewer-2

There are also several shady spots to set-up blankets for snack time and picnics as well as one large covered picnic area in the middle of the park. The only disadvantage is that the play structure for older children is separated from the rest of the park (by the splash pad), which makes it hard to supervisor children of different ages. The best part is that there are (clean) washrooms located next to the toddler area.

Andrew Haydon Park

Located on Carling Avenue at Holly Acres Road, the best part of Andrew Haydon Park is the view since it’s right on the river. There are lots of pathways, boats on the water, and of course the wildlife…but not to worry, nothing wilder than geese and groundhogs.

IMG_6918

The play structure with water features is a big attraction here as well and particularly welcome on a hot day. Andrew Haydon park has several play structures that have sand brought in straight from the beach and most kids love spending time in the sand boxes and horsing around on the swinging structures designed for child use. A large and intricate play structure is also located on site to keep children a little older busy and active. Don’t forget to bring a towel and change of clothes for the kids, and waterproof foot attire for yourself. There’s also a number of charcoal BBQs here too so spend the day and bring a picnic.

The Splash Pad Water Park in Barrhaven

On Longfields Drive in Barrhaven, this waterpark here is a perfect way to keep cool on those hot summer days. It’s also a great spot for those who want water and those who don’t because there are two sand parks (one for toddlers and one for older kids) right beside the splash pad.

wpid-Photo-Jul-14-2012-1017-AM1-199x300

The water has to be turned on by sensors but that makes it fun to see who is going to turn it on. There is a cantina and washrooms on site but many say that they are not always open. There is some area for shade and lots of space for a picnic. Your kids will love it!

Millenium Park

On Trim road in Orleans, just a few minutes south of Innes Road you will see some wonderful play structures as you drive up. There are soccer fields and swings, but also two amazing play structures that will impress kids (and parents) of all ages. The first one you see is a pirate ship; it is the smaller of two but lots of fun for all ages. Kids will love to slide, climb and imagine they are the captain of the ship.

img_5927

The second structure is a replica of the Parliament Buildings and has three levels to play in – an impressive two storey slide from the top brings them down to the front of the structure. The kids (and parents) can climb and slide to their heart’s content. Parents can grab a blanket or a lawn chair to keep an eye on them from below but there is not a lot of shade at the park so keep that in mind if you are there during the hot hazy days of summer.

St. Luke’s on Elgin

Situated on Elgin Street at Frank Street, the layout St. Luke’s is great for both kids and parents. The park has a wading pool in the centre. It’s the perfect depth for littles ones to play in the water and for parents to wade without getting too wet.

park21

There are two play structures there, a smaller one for kids aged 2 to 5, and a larger one for 5 to 12-year olds. There are also three swing sets, for babies, toddlers, and big kids. A large grassy area with picnic tables offers a place to change babies and have a snack. For the older kids there is a basketball court, field house, and more grassy areas between the field house and the tennis courts to play. There are also bathrooms in the field house which is an added bonus.

Walter Baker Park

Walter Baker Park has two play structures – one for toddlers and one for older children and a great splash pad to play in on hot days. There’s a big grassy hill that attracts children to repeatedly run up and down acting as a great nap inducer is an added bonus.

Walter Baker

There are plenty of benches for caregivers to sit nearby and supervise, lots of grass for the kids to run around on and some mature shade trees creating perfect snack time spots. And if that isn’t enough, there is ample free parking and a nearby bathroom in the Kanata Recreation Complex. Of course the one reason many keep returning to Walter Baker Park is that all the kids love cooling off in the splash pad area.

While these parks are awesome and a great way to spend a lazy afternoon, we also want to know of your hidden gem parks around town. Where do you love to go on a beautiful afternoon with kids?

Flashback: Brewer Park

We love hearing about the great parks around the city. What’s yours?

by Sara

Despite several nearby parks, we regularly make the trek from Orleans to Old Ottawa South to take the boys to Brewer Park.  Its located across the street from Carleton University, tucked away behind the City of Ottawa Brewer Complex.  There is a large parking lot off Bronson Avenue but you can also park on the many shaded side streets off Sunnyside Avenue, which are right beside the park.  If you use the parking lot, you need to walk across two soccer fields to access the park.

Brewer Park is divided into five areas:

1) A  fenced-in (but not impervious to adventurous toddlers) area with two play structures suitable for the littlest members of the family.  The fire truck play structure is a big hit with my two boys.

2) A play structure on rubber mats for preschool children

3) A multi-level splash pad (there is a large ramp and bridge to access the upper level and water slide)

4) A larger play structure for elementary aged children

5) A sandy area with wheel-chair accessible sand tables, activity walls, and swings.

There are also several shady spots to set-up blankets for snack time and picnics as well as one large covered picnic area in the middle of the park.  The only disadvantage is that the play structure for older children is separated from the rest of the park (by the splash pad), which makes it hard to supervisor children of different ages.  One last important detail: there are (clean) washroom’s located next to the toddler area.

What I love most about Brewer Park is the variety.  Both my boys have very different interests and Brewer is one of the few parks where they are easily occupied, entertained, and safe.  Their play structures have fewer death-defying drops and are generally safer for small kids, which is one of the drawbacks of our neighbourhood parks.  My 2-year-old can explore and climb without me hovering right behind him.  While my four-year old love splash pads, my 2-year old hates spraying water; however, at Brewer there is a splash pad and water slide, which means they’re both happy to play in the water.

Unlike a lot of parks in new suburban areas, the play structures at Brewer are protected by shade (depending on the time of day), which makes it a great place to visit on really hot and humid days.  It’s often busy because camps and daycare’s frequent the park so be prepared to keep a close eye on your kids, as its easy to lose them in the melee of swim-suited bodies running around.

Sara is a photographer and mom to a 6-year-old ” firefighter”, 4-year-old “monkey”, and a third boy, “bug”, due in May.  You can also find her at her blog, My Points of View.