by Lynn It's the perfect time of year to visit the Canada Agricultural Museum in Ottawa.
The Museum is a working farm featuring cows, sheep, pigs, and horses, as well as a beehive that makes summer appearances. Most kids love seeing the animals, and there are also crafts to create, baking to taste, and a playground to explore.
I love the experimental farm, and I force my kids to visit once a year right around Easter. I have to admit, they usually complain through most of the visit. They like seeing the animals and colouring pictures and running around there, and yet, every thirty seconds they are asking to go home. Don't let my nutty children deter you, though! They also don't like pie, hamburgers, chocolate cake, or merry-go-rounds. So by that reckoning, the Agriculture Museum must be amazing!
We made our annual visit last week and as usual for this time of year, there were plenty of newly arrived baby animals.
We saw this little lamb that had just been born that day. He was still struggling to get up on his shaky legs. SO CUTE.
If we could have taken him home with us, we totally would have - even my jaded little children were entranced. There were several other new lambs, and the baby goats were expected any day soon. One of the sows was resting, gigantic, underneath a heat lamp, so by mid-April there should be some adorable piglets to see, too.
In the cow barn, there were three new calves. They had a book out where you could write down a name suggestion. That alone took up a half hour of our day. Bring your best baby names!
They also had some baby bunnies in an outdoor pen:
In the displays barn you can learn about how honey is made, and taste some squares and breads made with honey or maple syrup - they're baking in there all day long and oh my, the smell is fantastic. There's also a small area in the same building for toddler play, with some chunky animal puzzles, blocks, and farm playsets.
And if you can, try to hang around for the milking in the cow barn at 4 p.m. - it's fascinating and informative, and my kids were quietly attentive. Of course, the occasional sighting of cow pee or poop probably had something to do with it. My kids, ladies and gentlemen!
When we were there, they hadn't opened the big climbing structure yet - they were still working on replacing the sand. It should be good to go for Easter Weekend, however, and although we visit our local park regularly, there's something about the structure at the Farm that leads my kids - MY kids - to say that it's the best ever. In fact, that's usually how I lure them into the car for their Easter trip to the Agriculture Museum - reminding them about the play structure. That plus a good snack makes for a happy trip.
Lastly, if you do decide to go on Easter weekend, it's worth it despite the increased crowds. In addition to the baby lambs, kids, and calves, they usually bring in baby chicks and bunnies that the kids can touch and hold. There's colouring and crafts and an "egg hunt" (very easy for all ages, it's basically a walk through the barn where you can pick up little chocolate eggs in obvious places). It's a nice trip for little ones and adults alike.
The museum is located on the west side of Prince of Wales drive, just north of Baseline. It's open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Lynn is mom to 7-year-old Captain Jelly Belly, 5.5-year-old Gal Smiley, and 2.5-year-old Little Miss Sunshine. She blogs over at Turtlehead.