Ottawa Museums: Why I love our Ingenium Membership

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One of the things about big days out doing fun activities is that I find them kind of exhausting. You pay a bunch of money to get your family into a museum or attraction and then you want to stay as long as possible and get the most out of your money because "money doesn't grow on trees" and all that fun stuff :)

One of the reasons we got an Ingenium membership (a membership that let's us into the Science and Tech Museum, the Aviation Museum and the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum) was that 1) it was a good deal - we've more than gotten the value out of the membership in a few months already 2) it took the pressure out of our trips to the museums.

Short and fun outings

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When I want to go out with the kids and do something fun I like to suggest one of the museums because I know it won't cost us anything (we got the parking pass as part of our membership too!) and I know there will be fun activities for the kids, and I know I'll plan to leave before they even have a chance to start fraying my nerves or getting bored ;)

We typically visit one of the museums for about an hour to an hour and a half. We get in, the kids explore, if there are presentations we visit a couple, and then we leave.

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It's beautiful. Nobody has gotten overtired or started complaining about not wanting to do this or that. I don't feel guilty that we haven't gotten more out of the money we spent to get in. We're spreading out our enjoyment of the museums over the year. 

The museum also has a reciprocal agreement with 360 other museums, which means you can spread the value out all over the place. 

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Cost

It was about $160 for the year with parking for my family of 5. As a comparison, it would cost me $42 plus parking to get in to the Aviation museum without the membership and $50 plus parking for Science and Tech. It's a pretty simple decision to opt for the pass when all the museums are so close by.

Other bonuses

We got a discount and first access to summer camps (my kids are heading to City Farm camp this summer and are so excited to get to interact with the animals in a more personal way than you get to as a regular visitor!) and first invites to other special events, and 10% off in the cafeteria and in the gift shops.

And look at how much fun we've been having!!

Minecraft Workshops at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum

Minecraft Workshops!

My eight year old loves Minecraft - can't get enough of it!  So when a friend told me that the Canada Aviation and Space Museum was having 3 hour Minecraft workshops in March, I signed him right up for one on Sunday morning.

As expected, he had a blast.  I sat down with him to get him to tell me a bit about the workshop from his point of view. Here's what we came up with together:

If you like Minecraft you should go to this workshop because you can work together with other people to build one big rocket ship. You go mining to get material and climb mountains to get quartz. 

The teachers will take a picture of the rocket ship with the players on it and they will put it on Facebook to compare other people’s rocket ships from when they did the workshop. (note from Lara: I went to their Facebook page and didn't see this but maybe they're coming. UPDATE:  here they are!

It was fun to play with other players to build something.  It’s fun to see other people’s ideas and build something giant together to make something really creative, more creative than I could make alone. 

You can also make your own Golems which protect you.  Most of the kids at the workshop were great but some can be destructive and might destroy some of your work on the rocket and kill your Golems.  That part isn’t as fun.

I think this is a good workshop for anyone who likes Minecraft.  

Check out their web site - I know my son would be happy to attend again any time!

Here's a promo video from their web site if you want to see a bit more of what the workshop is like.

 

 

 

 

Giveaway: Family Passes to Ottawa Museums!

We've always been big fans of the Museum of Science and Technology, the Canadian Museum of Agriculture and the Canadian Aviation Museum. We're lucky to have them as sponsors of Kids in the Capital and excited to announce they've given us NINE family passes (for two adults and three children) to give away!

To enter, simply leave a comment telling us which of the museums you've most recently visited, have visited or would most like to visit.  We will be drawing three family passes for each museum on Thursday morning at 9am.

Good luck! Wouldn't be be amazing to visit all the newborn animals at the farm this long weekend!?

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Canada Day with Airplanes

by Alison One of our favourite places to spend Canada Day is at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. It's open from 9 am to 5 pm and admission is free. There's plenty of free parking and also overflow parking at the Rockcliffe Flying Club, with a free shuttle.

There are various activities and crafts inside and outside the museum, but the good thing is there's a lot of space so it doesn't feel crowded. We enjoyed touring the Museum Storage Hangar and chatting with the volunteers involved in the aircraft restoration. Some were great at explaining details in a way that everyone understood. There was also a band playing in the hangar, with a shady place to stand and listen or dance along.

When we went two years ago, there was also a Citizenship Ceremony in the morning. I found it quite moving but my daughter was more interested in the cupcakes and juice boxes, which were offered to all museum goers. This year, the Citizenship Ceremony does not appear on the events ( http://www.aviation.technomuses.ca/visit_us/at_the_museum/events/canada_day/.)

The vintage aircraft demonstrations were a nice opportunity to relax on the grounds. There's also the possibility of a Snowbirds fly-by. I'd recommend packing a picnic and blanket to fully enjoy the museum's offerings.

Alison is a mom of two energetic children, ages 5 and 1. She just started a blog, Ali’s Adventures.

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International Museum Day: May 18

by Sasha

Did you know that tomorrow is International Museum Day? We are lucky to so have many world-class museums right here in Ottawa, not to mention a wide range of community museums scattered throughout the region. Why not visit one? Admission to the museums of Nature and Science and Technology will be free, and there will be special activities at the Museum of Civilization and the War Museum.

Or if the 18th doesn't work for you, here are some other free ways into Ottawa area museums:

The Ottawa Public Library lends passes for the Museums of Civilization, Science and Technology, Nature, and the National Gallery. The passes cover a family of 4-5 (the OPL catalogue has the specifics for each pass). They tend to be hot commodities, but at any given time there tend to be a half dozen or so checked-in at various branches throughout the city. So why not play museum roulette: pick a pass that’s available at a branch near you, and off you go! Just search for ‘Museum Pass’ in the online catalogue.

Admission to the Museum of Civilization (including the Children’s Museum) and the Canadian War Museum, is free every Thursday from 4 until 8pm. It is also free on Canada Day (July 1) and Remembrance Day (November 11).

The Museum of Nature is also free on Thursday afternoons (from 5 to 8 pm), as well as on Earth Day (April 22), and Canada Day (July 1).

The Museum of Science and Technology doesn’t have a weekly freebie, but they are free on Canada Day (July 1).

The Canada Aviation and Space Museum and the Agriculture Museum are free from 4 to 5pm. Every day. How cool is that? And the Agriculture Museum is also free on Canada Day.

The National Gallery (including the Museum of Contemporary Photography) is free on Thursdays after 5, and for children under 12 all the time.

What is your favourite Ottawa-area museum?

Sasha is mom to 2-year-old Miss Bea, and 4 month old Baby Em.  Her ramblings can also be found on her blog, The Rambling Stroller.