The Canadian Children's Museum

Krysta Veenstra recently visited the Canadian Children’s Museum inside the Canadian Museum of History and is shared her experience with Kids in the Capital!


We recently had a chance to visit the Canadian Children's Museum, located inside the Canadian Museum of History, in Gatineau, Quebec. It was a very short drive from Ottawa and had plenty of indoor, pay parking (which is great during winter and bad weather!)

The Canadian Children's Museum Bus

We haven’t taken the kids to this museum in years, so we were excited to see what has changed and what has stayed the same. If you’ve ever been to the Children’s Museum before, you know there are a few things that are classic, kid favourites. Luckily, the classics are still there!

My kids’ favs were the camel, the pyramids, the theatre, the bus and of course, the passports.

The Canadian Children's Museum Worlds

If you are not familiar with the passports, let me explain. As you enter, the kids are each given a passport. They take it along with them, to all the different country exhibits. At each country exhibit, there is a stamping station. I can’t say I understand the big draw of the stamps, but I can’t deny that it is taken very seriously by the kids. Trust me, you are not leaving this museum without every stamp! So keep your eyes peeled for these golden landmarks, because like it or not, you will be going back in to find any missed ones.

The Canadian Children's Museum passport signs

Another thing that has not changed, is that the Children’s Museum is very hands on. There is lots to see and do and touch. There is a craft room, a theatre with a stage and dressing room, music, blocks, a ship to climb on, stories to hear, etc. I will warn though, that most of these activities are aimed at a young crowd. My 6 year old was somewhat still interested in the activities, and my 9 year old was mostly uninterested. Except for the passports. Never too old for those apparently! If bringing small kids, there will be lots for them to do and explore. Keep a close eye on them though, because this is a popular museum and can get quite crowded.

Kaleridoscope at the Canadian Children's Museum

After the Children’s Museum, we decided to take a look around the rest of the History Museum.

The Imax is no longer an Imax, but movies are still played. They show both English and French movies. We saw one of the educational short films and loved it. They were also playing a full length Disney movie, included in the price of our admission. A great addition for families wanting to spend the whole day out, but also want to sit back and relax a bit.

We also checked out the new Medieval exhibit. My 9 year old was much more into this exhibit than the Children’s Museum. The adults quite enjoyed it too!. In this part of the museum, there is less to touch and feel, but we still managed to find one hands on activity!

History Museum Medieval Exhibit

Overall, we found something for everyone at this museum and would recommend it to anyone with young kids or families that want to spend a whole day exploring different activities all in one place.

Disclosure: Kystra and her family received passes to the Children’s Museum and the Canadian Museum of History for the purposes of this review, but all opinions are her own.

Family Friendly Hockey with the Ottawa 67's!

KITC would like to welcome back guest blogger, Stephen Johnson. Stephen Johnson is an Ottawa writer who loves to write about family travel.  During the summer, you will most likely find him and his family at a local fair or festival. During the winter, a beach in Mexico is a likely bet.  


The playoffs are always my favourite time to watch hockey. The Ottawa 67’s have had a record breaking year and it looks like they could go deep into the playoffs.  Sandy, David and I decided to check out a game between the Ottawa 67’s and Hamilton Bulldogs.  

Family Friendly Hockey with the Ottawa 67s!

One aspect I like about attending a 67’s game are all the activities taking place inside and outside the arena. We arrived early and had time to check out the Ottawa Farmers Market. We also wandered around the restaurants and shops enjoying the colour and passion of the Ottawa 67’s fans.   

Once inside the arena,  we still had a few minutes before game time started.  The 67’s have done a great job at creating a family-friendly atmosphere.  There was a bouncy castle, face-painting and Jenga blocks to keep the young ones entertained.  At ten years old, David felt he was too old to partake in those activities but was excited to watch the hockey game.

The first period started and the 67’s quickly jumped out to an early lead with a short-handed goal.  The Bulldogs responded by playing aggressively but the 67’s answered with another goal. By the end of the first period, it was 2-0 for the good guys.

Family Friendly Hockey with the Ottawa 67's.jpg

In keeping with the family-friendly entertainment theme,  the first period intermission featured a contest between uncle and nephew to see who could get the most pucks in the net.  I am not sure if the uncle was just being nice but the nephew won by a wide margin.

The second period started with physical play on both sides. Hamilton started with a power play goal but the 67’s came storming back with two quick goals before the second period ended.

The second period intermission featured a game of musical chairs on the ice.  The highlight was seeing a young participant out-jumping the 67’s mascot to grab one of the remaining chairs.  I think that kid might have a future in sports!

For the third period,  the 67’s held on to their lead earning a 5-2 win.  The atmosphere for the entire game was great with most of the crowd only looking at their phones to take photos of the 67’s goals.

How to get there

Planning to leave your car at home, the 67’s have got you covered.  A pre-purchased game ticket gives you access to OC Transpo three hours before and after the game. There is also a free park and ride shuttle from Carleton University to and from the game. All transit options can be found here  http://ottawa67s.com/transportation. If you do take your car, I would recommend to buy a game-day parking pass ahead of time.  It is for the underground garage at Lansdowne and is eight dollars which is quite affordable for a sporting event nowadays.  

What you should know

Of course, one of the attractions of seeing a game at TD Place are all the restaurants open before and after the game.  There are also numerous food options available inside the arena. I have found them to be fairly priced when you consider all arena food has a mark-up.  One policy I also like is that you are allowed to bring empty water bottles into the arena. There are two refillable water fountain stations so you are not left thirsty.  No outside food or drink is allowed inside the arena.

If all goes according to plan, there will be many playoff games in the 67’s immediate future.  For all the details and schedule, www.ottawa67s.com

Disclaimer: Stephen and his family received free tickets for this Ottawa 67s game but all views and excitement are his own.

Warm up with the NAC Orchestra Family Adventures Series!

Looking for some entertaining (and educational) activities to enjoy with your child this March? Check out the remaining two performances in the Family Adventures with the NAC Orchestra series. Geared to kids aged 5 and over, this fun and interactive series introduces children to the joy of orchestral music.  Each performance is accessible in either English or French,  lasts approximately one hour and features the NAC Orchestra with special guests who bring the music to life! Be sure to arrive 45 minutes early to participate in hands on pre-concert activities. Tickets start at $15 for kids and $20 for adults.

Upcoming Family Adventures events include: 

Freestylin’ Like Mozart
March 2 - 3, 2019 at 2:30 PM
Did you know that musical geniuses like Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven freestyled on the keyboard in improv competitions against other composers, fueled by suggestions from the audience?  Join us for an exciting and interactive concert experience that puts together comedy theatre Second City and the NAC Orchestra to demo musical improv and hear some of the classical masterpieces that came out of it! For more information or to purchase tickets for Freestylin’ Like Mozart visit https://nac-cna.ca/en/event/18699

Orchestra From Planet X
March 30 - 31, 2019 at 2:30 PM
An unwitting conductor only wants to trace the influences of the New World on European orchestral tradition when two aliens descend on Southam Hall with ideas of their own! With ideas and inventions for influencing "Earth Music" these mischievous extraterrestrials turn what should have been a straight forward orchestra program into a sci-fi musical thriller. For more information or to purchase tickets for Orchestra from Planet X visit https://nac-cna.ca/en/event/18700

**GIVEAWAY! We’re giving away four tickets to the March 30th performance of Orchestra From Planet X! To enter, simply leave a comment on this Facebook Post letting us know who you will take with you to this sci-fi musical! Draw will take place Friday, March 15th.

This blog post has been sponsored by the National Arts Centre Orchestra. All opinions are our own.

Where to skate in Ottawa

With all the cold weather we have been having it’s no wonder all the skating rinks around the city are filled with eager skaters young and old. To help you decide where to lace up, here’s a list of various ice skating rinks in and around Ottawa (and a little further out too). 

Where to skate in Ottawa.png

Rideau Canada Skateway

Weather permitting, the Rideau Canal is open to skaters daily from roughly late December (whenever it’s ready!) to late February (when it starts to thaw). And it’s free! There are many change huts, skate rental shacks and snack stations (yum - Beavertails!) all along its 7.8 km length. We recommend checking the ice conditions before you head out to avoid disappointed little skaters should it be closed.

SENS Rink of Dreams

If the Rideau Canal is closed you can almost-always count on the SENS Rink of Dreams at City Hall to be open. This refrigerated outdoor skating rink is open from December to March from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. It’s a large rink that features LED lighting, a heated change hut, picnic tables and benches. Skate rentals and skate sharpening are available on weeknights and weekends, check out the City’s website for information on hours.

Landsdowne Park Skating Court

Weather permitting, the Lansdowne Park Skating Court is open from early December to mid-March. There is on-street parking nearby. Free open skating sessions are available daily.

Ben Franklin Place Skating Rink

Ben Franklin Place’s outdoor skating rink in Ottawa’s West End (Nepean) has a heated changing facility and is open daily from 11 am to 8 pm (weather permitting).

Rideau Hall Skating Rink

The historic skating rink at the Governor General of Canada’s residence, located on Sussex Drive, was established in 1872. Rideau Hall’s refrigerated outdoor skating rink offers free public skating sessions on Saturdays and Sundays from roughly December through March, weather permitting.

RiverOak Skating Trail 

Located in Metcalfe, RiverOak offers a unique outdoor winter experience with more than three kms of skating trails through old growth apple orchards. Their on-site facilities include a heated changing area in a charming log cabin, food and drink, and a hockey rink for pickup games. They also have unique events happening all winter long! For details visit their website at: www.riveroak.ca

Patinage en Fort (Skating Through the Forest)

Located Lac des Loups, Quebec (about 45 minutes north of downtown Ottawa), this skating rink is a 3-kilometer open-air ice loop which winds through tall trees. There is a heated chalet onsite. A very limited number of skate rentals are available, so if you can – bring your own! Visit their website for more information.

Perth Outfitters Skating Trail

About one hour south of Ottawa in Perth, Ontario is Perth Outfitters. They offer a 400-metre (0.2 mile) skating trail through the woods (including lantern skate events on Friday and Saturday evenings). There’s also a shinny hockey rink, log cabin and warm treats. A fun way to spend a weekend evening!

Arrowhead Provincial Park Ice Skating Trail

Although it’s a bit of a drive (about 3.5 hours from west Ottawa), this ice skating trail is considered one of the most stunning natural skating rinks around the world! The 1.3 km ice skating trail winds through think Muskoka forest and is magical anytime of day! The park is very busy on weekends, so the ark recommends visiting during the week if you can.  Visit their website for more information.

City of Ottawa Outdoor Ice Rinks

There are many volunteer-run outdoor community ice rinks across the city – several even have huts to change in and out of your skates. Check out the City’s website for more information.

City of Ottawa Indoor Ice Skating

Ottawa is home to several indoor arenas that offer affordable public skating sessions and skate rentals. Visit the City of Ottawa website for more information or to find an arena near you.

Nature Sleepovers - Museum Memories for the win!

Kids in the Capital is pleased to welcome back Antonia Cetin to the blog. Antonia is an educator and the author of You’ve Got This, Mom! A Mother’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving in Today’s Modern. She returns with a special post about the new Nature Sleepovers program offered by the Canadian Museum of Nature.

How do you spend quality time with family? Our family lives can easily become a race from one organized activity to another, a series of ticks on a list of things to do. We won’t remember the activities as much as the effort it took to get there. That’s why it’s so important to have family time to do simple ordinary things: reading together, playing a board game together, cooking, making a snowman, relaxing at home. Those are the times that will leave a lasting impression of what home feels like cozy, warm and comfortable.

We also want to create special memories that we can look back on as adventures or markers of special events. Those will be the instances we talk about as, “remember the time...” conversations.

The Canadian Museum of Nature now offers families a memorable evening that we can reminisce about with our kids: a sleepover with the dinosaurs!  

Gotta say when I suggested this activity to my family, I was surprised at the enthusiasm: WE GET TO SLEEP WITH THE DINOSAURS? And, that was just the co-parent! I was actually afraid that the program wouldn’t live up to our expectations because they were so high. However, there was nothing to worry about: the museum did not disappoint. The whole evening was so well organized everything went off without a hitch.

Nature Sleepovers at the Canadian Museum of Nature

There were people welcoming us, guiding us, and even staying over in case we needed them during the night. We enjoyed a guided flashlight tour of the dinosaurs in the dark - who knew they were even more fascinating in the dark! We got to examine and hold some pretty cool insects including stick insects who walked across our hands. I drew the line at the huge cockroach, but you know, that’s just me. We also did scavenger hunts in the mammal area that got us moving around before we got a private viewing of a 3D movie about a night at the museum! So cool. By the way, when your name is Kaz, falling asleep in your sleeping bag with a view of the Kazmasaurus can’t be beat! And, when your name isn’t Kaz, it’s fun to look up and see the dinosaur watching over you as you drift off.

Nature Sleepovers at the Canadian Museum of Nature - Dinosaurs

The whole experience was amazing and super well orchestrated by the friendly and informative staff. They really had everything covered - even snack time and breakfast. And, thank goodness for coffee in the morning at the museum because when the museum doors opened to the public, we had time to explore on our own.  

When I asked my family members how they enjoyed the visit, they each had a special memory to share. And, then they asked if we could do it again next month! Memorable moment success! Thanks Canadian Museum of Nature.

Nature Sleepovers at the Canadian Museum of Nature - Sleeping with Dinosaurs

Check out the Canadian Museum of Nature website for other memorable experiences including their sleepovers, themed birthdays and special events such as Butterflies in Flight and Survival of the Slowest. If you’re looking for an adult getaway activity, they have Nature Nocturne (a night of science and dancing), Nature tastes (cider and whiskey) and an Escape room. Go and create some great memories!