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:
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.
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
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) Check out a Cranberry Farm
If you’ve never seen how cranberries grow, you must add this to your fall to-do list! There are many different farms around Ottawa/Gatineau, and one of the most well known is Upper Canada Cranberries
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.)
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.
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!