Paying Fun Forward with Saunders Farm

Located in Ottawa’s far west end, Saunders Farm is best known for their memorable Haunting Season activities and challengingly fun Summer Mazes. Their mission is to create a space that provides fun, food, and memories for everyone, which they accomplish through opening their doors to tens of thousands of guests each year.

Saunders Farm is my family’s summer and fall go-to destination. Between April and September is Mazes Season (Saunders Farm has the world’s largest collection of mazes and labyrinths). During this time Saunders also hosts memorable birthday parties, Farm Camps, Farm Dinners, and corporate and team building events. 

In October, Saunders Farm turns to Haunting Season and Fright Fest - daytime is family-friendly and evening is... not for the faint at heart and is perfect for those who love a good scare!

Things to do

During summer and fall, kids (and adults) can be found playing on Saunders Farm's unique play structures and tree houses, sliding down the big witch mountain slide, jumping on the jumbo jumpers, getting lost in the numerous mazes or racing the pedal carts. It's outdoor fun for the entire family! Oh, and they sell delicious homemade fudge onsite that is irresistible!

Give the gift of Saunders Farm this Christmas

Annual Pass Sale (and Paying it Forward)

This year, Saunders Farm is once again offering their Play it Forward annual pass sale. For each 2018 annual pass sold in the month of December, they will donate a pass to less fortunate families in our community. Annual passes are on sale for $49 + HST!

What's included with an Annual Pass?

  • Unlimited Access to their Summer Mazes Season, Haunting Season, and FrightFest.
  • Bring-a-Friend Pass to be used anytime. Must be accompanied by Pass holder.
  • Exclusive invitations to special events held on the Farm throughout the year. You're part of a ridiculously amazing club... woohoo!
  • 10% off Birthday Party packages 
  • $20 off 1 Summer Farm Camp registration
  • 10% off purchases in the Farm Shop

Holiday gift cards

Saunders Farm also offers $25 gift cards (available for only $20) and $50 gift cards (available for only $40). Saunders Farm gift cards make the perfect gift for friends or family, stocking stuffer, or teacher gift. Gift cards will are available year-round, but the sale price is only for the month of December!

WIN an Annual Pass!

We love everything Saunders Farm has to offer local families, which is why we're giving away an ANNUAL PASS! The winner will receive an Annual Pass that is good for the Summer and Haunting Season, and the good news is that you don't have to wait until spring to learn more about Saunders Farm. You can follow their fun all year round online:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/saundersfarmfun/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SaundersFarmFans
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/saundersfarm  

To enter

To enter the giveaway visit our Facebook Page and on the thread pinned to the top of our page tell us one activity mentioned in this post that you’d like to do at Saunders Farm! Hurry though - the giveaway ends Friday, December 8th at midnight!

Give the Gift of Saunders Farm

Ask my daughter what she likes the most about Saunders Farm and she will say "the jumping pillows!" And she's not alone. Thousands of kids flock to this unique family-run farm, which has been in operation since 1976. It is now considered a must-see destination for all things fun and fright! As part of our 2017 Holiday Gift Guide & Giveaway we are introducing you to some of our favourite local businesses, and today we are highlighting Saunders Farm.

What is Saunders Farm? 

Located in the small community of Munster in Ottawa’s west end, Saunders Farm is best known for their Haunting Season and Summer Mazes. Their mission is to create a space that provides fun, food, and memories for everyone, which they accomplish through opening their doors to tens of thousands of guests each year.

Between April and September, Saunders Farm welcomes guests to its Mazes Season (they have the world’s largest collection of hedge mazes and labyrinths), birthday parties, Farm Camps, Farm Dinners, and corporate events and team building. During this time, the Farm also hosts dozens of weddings where they provide an amazing experience for brides, grooms, and their families.

Each October, their Farm opens Haunting Season, Ottawa’s largest fall festival, where they delight and entertain guests through their numerous haunted attractions, live performances, and delicious farm fresh foods. The daytime Haunt is more child-friendly and still offers families the opportunity to explore the mazes and the rest of the farm, while the night time haunt, Fright Fest, is guaranteed to make you scream. 2016 celebrated 25 years and 1 million screams! Fright Fest makes for an unforgettable date night.

Saunders has grown one of the largest collection of hedge mazes in the world and their property is always clean, well kept and is a great space for kids to run, have fun and play. In addition to the mazes and jumping pillows, there is a unique farm-inspired play structure, a huge slide and a splash pad. Families can easily spend (many) summer days making memories at Saunders Farm. 

Award winning family attraction

Saunders Farm has won numerous awards for their innovation, marketing, leadership, and overall excellence.

How can you give the gift of Saunders Farm from Christmas?

This holiday season, Saunders Farm will be offering its guests special discounts on Annual Passes. Annual passes include the Summer Mazes Season and the Haunting Season!

Make sure to enter our giveaway - one of the prizes is an Annual Pass (which, don't forget, includes Haunting Season!) to Saunders Farm. The good news is that you don't have to wait until spring to learn more about Saunders Farm. You can follow their fun all year round online:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/saundersfarmfun/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SaundersFarmFans
Twitter: https://twitter.com/saundersfarm 

Disclaimer: this post is part of our 2016 Holiday Campaign. Make sure to enter our giveaway post before the end of November!

50 things to do with kids in Ottawa

Ottawa has so many amazing things to see and do with kids! We wanted to put together the ultimate list, so that you can grab loads of ideas from one spot!

From museums, indoor activities, outdoor activities and parks - there's always something to do in Ottawa, no matter the season!

50 things to do with kids in ottawa

 

MUSEUMS

Having lived in other cities in Canada, I think the best thing about Ottawa is our amazing museums. There are many options that will please young and old!

Billings estate

Visit the historic estate of one of Ottawa's founding families and spend the day enjoying one of their special events (including awesome themed teas!) or kid-friendly programs.  

Bytown museum

The Bytown Museum offers plenty of interactive activities for our young and young at heart visitors!

Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum

Snuggly animals, food demonstrations, and special events - the agriculture museum has it all!

Canadian Aviation and Space Museum

Aviation is the third museum, along with Agriculture and Science and Tech (which is currently being rebuilt!), that makes up a great 3-in-1 membership for families. This museum is perfect for the little ones that love planes, space and so much more. There are daily kids activities, camps and a special play area for the kiddos!

Canada Science and Technology Museum

We’re so excited to finally be adding this one back into our “50 things” post! Completely renovated, this museum offers SO much for all ages. The best part for little ones (under 8) is the new Zoom exhibit!!

Canadian War museum 

When you think "kids," you may not think the war museum - but the little ones still get a kick out of looking at all the exhibits. And if you have older children, you may all get lost in there reading and exploring!

Children's museum

My kiddos LOVE this museum, and we make it a special treat. Their main attraction changes every few months or so, but the regular exhibits are a huge hit. And don't forget to try to check out a movie at the Imax theatre!

Cumberland Heritage Village Museum

My daughter's Sparks group recently spent the day at the Cumberland Museum, and we had SO much fun! What a fantastic way to teach our children about the past, with many activities and displays scheduled throughout the day. Also check out their special events, including the Village of Lights in the winter!

Diefenbunker

Check out Lara's trip to the Diefenbunker with her kids! This giant underground bunker was built during the cold war to house government officials in the event of nuclear war. It's sure to be a fun place for kids to explore.

Museum of Nature

The first time I visited the museum, I didn't allocate enough time. Floors of amazing exhibits, activities for kids young and old, and an Imax theatre. The special exhibits that arrive every six months or so are always a big hit!

National gallery

You wouldn't think an art gallery, with really beautiful, expensive art, would be a great place for kids, but if you follow some tips, it can still be a fun outing. Check out their Family Sundays, or take a walk around with your baby.

Vanier museopark

What's better than a park and sugar bush smack in the middle of an urban neighbourhood? A great place to walk your dog too!

 

ATTRACTIONS

Governor General estate

THE NAC has so many amazing children focused events

THE NAC has so many amazing children focused events

Whatever season, Rideau Hall is a beautiful place for a visit. Special events are often held there, and winter is great for a skate or celebration!

NAC children's events

The National Arts Centre has some fantastic children's programming, and you can read about French Youth Theatre here! 

High tea at the Chateau Laurier

Your kids will love you forever if you take them for high tea at the superb Chateau Laurier. Who doesn't love tiny sandwiches?

The Mint

Call ahead to book a tour at the Mint! Our experience has been that tours are great for children ages 5 and up, although most kids will get a kick out of the facility that produces Canada's investment and collector coins. 

Parliament Hill

The free sound and lights show on Parliament is SPECTACULAR, and a must-see if your kids are able to stay up until 10pm in July, 9:30pm in August and 9pm in September. Check out our blog post from the Mosaika show, and stay tuned to read all about the new show in 2017! 

Changing of the guard

Not for the wee ones, the changing of the guard would be great for your tweens and teens who have the patience and interest to sit for the show. If you have little ones they may still enjoy watching a few minutes! 


FESTIVALS

Children’s Festival

Winterlude!

Winterlude!

Award-winning programming from Canada and across the world! Check out one of our reader's past experience at the festival.

Ottawa International Buskerfest

The ultimate live performance event, Buskerfest is a huge crowd pleaser! 

Winterlude

This festival is an essential part of Ottawan life, even if you're not too fussy about snow and ice! Whether you're snow tubing, skating, or maybe just enjoying a beaver tail, there is much to see and do! Check out our tips for heading down to the festival.

The Tulip Festival

The Tulip Festival is one of many great things to enjoy about Spring in Ottawa. There's nothing better than seeing the tulip bulbs pop up when the snow has melted!

 

INDOOR PLAY

Cosmic Adventures

Flying squirrel trampoline park

Flying squirrel trampoline park

Kids of all ages can have a blast at Cosmic, an indoor play place in Gloucester (east end of Ottawa.) There are slides, climbing structures, ball pits and a smaller area for the wee ones. A place to go on really cold, hot or rainy days!

Kids Kingdom

With locations in the West and East end of the cities, this indoor play place is a local favourite - they also have daycare for parents looking for a fun and active centre for their child. Birthday parties and laser tag are other faves!

Funhaven

Perfect for those in the West end (or even if you're willing to make the drive!) The number of things you can do indoors at Funhaven is astounding - games, jungle gym, toddler play, laser tag, mini bowling, and so much more!

SkyZone

My children are quite distraught that I have still not taken them to SkyZone, the indoor trampoline park. I'll get there at some point soon, but our Kids in the Capital contributors have so many great things to say about it!

Worth a Visit: SkyZone
SkyZone Trampoline Park
Toddler Time at SkyZone 

Flying Squirrel

Another great indoor trampoline park in the East end!

Altitude climbing gym

Lara got a chance to check out Altitude gym last summer, and her three kids really enjoyed the indoor climbing walls. 

Public swimming / wave pools / wading pools

There is nothing better than heading out for a swim when you're stuck for something to do with the kids. In the summer it's great to check out the outdoor pools and wading pools, but in the winter, sometimes we just want to imagine we're on the beach, getting hit by a huge wave. Happy swimming! 

Public skates

There are some great outdoor skating rinks to enjoy in the winter (including the free one at Lansdowne,) but it can be a fun summer activity to cool off on a sweltering day. Check out the City of Ottawa for public skating schedules, or maybe you have a local pond to discover when everything freezes over!


OUTDOOR PLAY

Parc omega

Calypso Water Park

Calypso Water Park

We visited Parc Omega for the first time last summer, and I was really impressed by the experience. The property is SO huge, but there are options to take nature walks and picnics if you don't feel like sitting in your car.

Mont cascades

A lovely, small water park, nestled in the Gatineau hills. And you really can't beat the price when taking the whole family!

Eco odysee

A water maze adventure in the Outaouais region!

Calypso

A water park that invented the saying "go big or go home." This is the ultimate water park experience for your family, and just a quick jaunt just outside Ottawa!

Gatineau Park

THE best place in the Ottawa region to see the Fall leaves, head out for a nighttime snowshoe (yup, kids would enjoy this too!) or spend a bit of time there with both winter and summer camping. There are also great hikes for the older kids, and a short walk around Pink Lake for the younger ones.

Rideau canal boating or skating

Boating in the summer, or skating in the winter - everyone can enjoy this beautiful heritage site in the heart of Ottawa! 

Rideau canal Locks

Don't want to boat OR skate on the canal? Just head down with the kids in the summer to see a boat make its' way through the locks!

Kayaking

Yup, kids can definitely kayak, and it's easier than you think! Check out Lara's post on kayaking and SUPing (Stand Up Paddle Boarding) with her kids.

Pirate adventures

Take an imaginary pirate adventure along the Rideau Canal, and have a barrel of laughs! Arrrrr! 

Feeding the ducks near billings 

There are so many activities in Ottawa that don't cost an arm and a leg, and kids will have so much fun - feeding cute ducks is definitely one of those activities to file away for the days when your kids are whining "I'm bored!!" 

Geo caching

Who knew there were secret treasures hiding all around this city? And people are on the hunt to find them

Saunders farm

Boasting one of the best mazes in the city, along with fantastic activities all summer long (and check out their spooky Halloween activities!) this is a place you'll want to visit again and again. 

Valleyview Little Animal farm

A farm with a tiny train to ride and animals to pet, located in Southwest Ottawa. A great alternative to the Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum if you feel like switching things up!

Proulx Farm

We love this farm out in the East end, with their horse-drawn wagon rides, pancake breakfasts, pumpkin patch, strawberry picking and so much more! Proulx Farm is also a staple at some of the farmer's markets around the city.

Mer Bleue Boardwalk

The perfect walk for little ones, with ample snow and ski trails in the winter. Don't forget to bring the bird seed to feed the chickadees!

Mooney's Bay

The perfect place to cool off in the summer, check out Ottawa's Dragonboat Festival, or take a picnic to the park!

Sunday bike days

Each year from mid-May to early September you can cycle along some car-free roads in Ottawa every Sunday. Don’t forget your yearly bike tune-up! 

Petrie Island

In the East end, this beach is great in many seasons, with summer fun and beautiful Fall colours. For the avid naturalist, it's also a great place to spot turtles and participate in Nature Camps!

Ottawa Farmers' Markets

My kids LOVE the Ottawa Farmer's Market. There are locations all over the city, and we usually visit the Orleans location or the big Landsdowne location. My girls enjoy the free samples, picking out fruit and vegetables, and the occasional special events like face painting or balloon animals. 

 

PARKS

Canada-Themed playground at Mooney’s Bay

Canada-Themed playground at Mooney’s Bay

We have so many awesome parks in the city, and when we surveyed YOU, our lovely readers, you told us that these four were your favourites:

Canada-themed playground at Mooney's Bay

Brewer Park

Walter Baker Park

Andrew Haydon Park

Millenium Park

And that's a wrap on our 50 things to do with kids in Ottawa - what's YOUR favourite things to do?

 

Halloween Activities for Families

by Natasha There are so many great Halloween activities that you can do with your whole family in Ottawa.  Here are the ones that our family loves to partake in.

Saunders Farm has a variety of activities for children of all ages.  You can go through the corn maze, visit the Big Sky Ranch animal display and explore their giant play structures.  For the younger kids, Saunders Farm has an interactive discovery barn.  Take the kids on the wagon ride and see what spooky things await for you in the forest.  The daytime cost is $18; you can save $2 if you purchase your advance tickets at Independent Grocer in Stittsville, Ross' Your Independent Grocer in Barrhaven and all three CD Warehouse locations.  Kids 2 and under are free.

Cannamore Orchard is a great place to bring your family and enjoy a wagon ride, the fog maze, the spooky village and they have a special kid’s spooky house.  Visit the Cannamore store to try an assortment of baked goods, apples and candy.  The have a special section for younger kids that has a special kiddie maze, play structures and an animal farm.  You can purchase a package deal or individual activities.

The Agriculture Museum is having a Barnyard Halloween party (for members only) from 10am to 2pm on October 29 and 30th.  Get the kids dressed up in their costumes and enjoy a scavenger hunt through the barn and learn how to make candy apples and other delicious fall treats.  Kids can also decorate their own pumpkins to take home.  Admission is $2.00 and children under 3 are free.   You must pre-register for this event.

Gymboree is having their annual Pumpkin Patch Party on October 21, 22, 23 and 28. Get the kids dressed up and join the costume parade.  Enjoy some delicious Halloween treats and create a fun Halloween craft that the kids can take home.  You will need to call and reserve your spot.  If your child is enrolled in Gymboree classes the cost is $12, if you are not enrolled the cost is $15.

Miller’s Farm and Market has a great selection of fall fruits and veggies in their market.  Jump on the wagon ride and take the kids to pick their own pumpkin. It is also a great place to take some fall family photos.

Do you have any additional Halloween activities that you do with your family?

Natasha is a new mommy to her first born, Baby H. She runs ShopHaven, a blog that reviews products and profiles local businesses and individuals from the Ottawa area. Natasha is also the creative force behind ShopHaven Baskets; a highly customized gift baskets service.

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Happy Birthday Sparty!

This past Sunday Spartacat celebrated his 19th birthday at Saunders Farm.  Spartacat and Saunders Farm = double the fun! This was a sign up event for the Sparty's Kids Club, so for $20 we signed V up, got a cool  Sens cup, some posters and coupons as well as free admission for her and 2-for-1 admission for hubby and I. Deal! Just after we bought our tickets and signed V up we ran in to the birthday boy himself. V *loves* Sparty in theory and on TV. In real life however a 6' tall, fuzzy lion causes her clam right up and cling to my leg. This unfortuntely makes it difficult for me to take pictures of her with the birthday boy, but here he is greeting his adoring public.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/neeroc/6207614207/

The nice thing about this event is Sparty is *everywhere* we saw him at the ticket booth, on the attractions, at the shows and everywhere he's interacting with everyone, adults and children alike.  So if you have a little (or big) Sparty fan on your hands, this is a great chance to grab a picture with him.

This is the second year we attended, last year V was just shy of three, and maybe a bit young to fully enjoy the day. Luckily the rocky start didn't mar her fun for the rest of the day, this year she was a partying machine! Saunders has some new attractions, including the Jumping Pillows  (huge airbags):

http://www.flickr.com/photos/neeroc/6208128512/

as well as the crowd favorite mazes.  I mentioned this is the second year we've done this, and we have yet to venture in to the mazes. There are so many other things going on, from a puppet show:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/neeroc/6208723066/

a corn launch and apple toss:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/neeroc/6208719460/

and tonnes of play structures:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/neeroc/6208720482/

that I'm sure we have several more years before we cover all of the park.

The Sens also had a great bouncy Sparty and gigantic inflated slide set up. We were lucky to be able to pull V off either of them:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/neeroc/6208130540/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/neeroc/6208129422/

It was too cold for some items like the splash pad, but the rain and damp didn't stop anyone from enjoying the slides, the pumpkin patch or the petting zoo:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/neeroc/6208205501/

But the highlight for us this year was down this tree-lined path:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/neeroc/6208134542/

Yes, for the first time ever we were able to take V with us on a Haunted Hayride!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/neeroc/6208039413/

There were some startling moments, but for the most part she really enjoyed the ride. I'm sure it would be  a much different story at night, but that's why they don't recommend the haunted night attractions for children under 10. (Although hubby and I might go back for the hauntings!)

I can't wait for next year's event, the one change I hope they make is that they give a bit more advance notice. We only received our invite on Friday,  which was unfortunately not enough time to let others know in advance. If you have a little Sens fan I highly recommend the Sparty's Kids Club, they usually provide a tonne of loot, great events, tickets for members and discounts to other local attractions. Word is the kits will be available in the Sens stores starting October 15th.

Coreen is a geriatric mother living with her husband (hubby) and 3.75 year old daughter (V). She works in IT Security but doesn't yet know what she wants to be when she grows up. She also blogs at One Day this Blog will have a Snazzy Name (and is open to naming suggestions because really.)

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