Holiday Activities for Kids in Ottawa

The holidays can be the perfect opportunity to spend quality time together as a family, but once the festivities of Christmas and Boxing Day are over, children can get a little stir crazy! With that in mind, here is a list of holiday activities for kids in Ottawa that will keep your kids busy, entertained and make for some incredible memories too! 

At the end of the post you will find a giveaway for THREE of the activities listed below (keep reading to find out which ones!).

1) Visit a Museum

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Ottawa has many great museums, and my kids really enjoy the Children's Museum at the Canadian Museum of History. I'll never forget a frigid day spent there last year, checking out the latest exhibits

2) Check out Christmas Lights Across Canada on Parliament Hill

Last year almost 20,000 people gathered on Parliament Hill to take in the sights and sounds of Christmas Lights Across Canada multimedia show (playing until Christmas Day).  In addition to the show, don't forget all the lights! Go for a walk in Confederation Park to see thousands of holiday lights on display. The lights are on display until January 7, 2017. 

3) Ride a Rollercoaster at Funhaven

Did you know Funhaven now has a rollercoaster? In fact, it's the ONLY rollercoaster in Ottawa! The Crazy 8 rollercoaster was custom-manufactured in Italy this past summer specifically for Funhaven. It was featured at the International Amusement and Attractions Expo in Orlando this November, before being shipped to Ottawa for installation. The rollercoaster is in addition to the other fun offerings of Funhaven including laser tag, bumper cars, a laser maze, mini-bowling, a jungle gym with soft air cannons, and a climbing wall.

 4) Visit Gatineau Playground Park

Grab the kids and head over to Gatineau for some indoor play from December 27th to 30th from 10am to 5pm at the Complexe Branchaud-Briere in Gatineau. This fun indoor playground features inflatables for kids under 5 as well as electric karts. There is also Teen Zone with extreme race inflatables, Just Dance consoles, and seven life size games. There is also a sports zone where kids can try new sports and different activities depending on the day.

5) Spend an evening at Alight the Night

Alight the night

Bundle up and get ready for a walk through a beautifully lit holiday-themed Upper Canada Village. This year Alight the Night features a Mistletoe Maze, a snow block-style maze made up of over 300 giant, white-wrapped bales of reindeer hay. There is also the a ferris wheel, which provides a unique view of the village below. As always, there is also old-fashioned horse-drawn carriage rides.

6) Take them to see The Blizzard Of Oz

After two successful runs of Freezing - The Musical, Ottawa Musicals is thrilled to bring The Blizzard of Oz to the Gladstone Theatre for ONE WEEK ONLY - January 3rd to 8th. This marks their 3rd annual family musical in the style of a panto. The heroine, Dottie, gets lost in a snowstorm and ends up in a strange land. Along the way she meets Bob Cat, Al Loy and The Faircrow. Lost in the big city, they get help from Glenda the Good while they try to stop Wanda the Wicked from taking over the Ruby Slipper Cafe. A twisted story full of music, dance, larger than life characters, jokes for both the young and old, local Ottawa references and more. You will be over the rainbow while you laugh, tap your toes and boo the bad guy in this year’s all new family musical. The Blizzard of Oz runs for ONE WEEK ONLY. Once tickets are gone, they’re gone. 

7) Go Swimming

Fun and affordable, a family swim can be just what you need to soothe tired muscles after a day of skiing. Or maybe it's been too cold for skiing, and your kids need to get their sillies out! Check out the City of Ottawa's public swim schedule - our kids LOVE the wave pools.

8) Go Bowling

Do you have fond memories of bowling as a kid? I promise parents, it's just as fun as it used to be ;) It's a great way to get the kids out of the house for a couple of hours, especially if temperatures are frigid. Check out Orleans Bowling or Merivale Bowling Centre!

9) Snowshoe or Cross-country ski in Gatineau Park

The snow this year is perfect for winter sports! Gatineau Park has one of the largest networks of trails in North America and has over 60 kilometres of snowshoe trails, varying in difficulty (rated from easy to difficult). Many trails lead to unique historic buildings and scenic views. Dress warmly, pack some hot chocolate and plan for an exciting day of outdoor play.

10) Go Skating

Our recent frigid temperatures mean many outdoor community rinks are open, including the Sens Rink of Dreams located outside of Ottawa City Hall on Laurier Avenue. For a complete list of outdoor rinks and their conditions, visit the city's interactive online map.

Giveaway

For one lucky family, we are giving away:

A Friends and Family Combo to Funhaven (including 1 game of laser tag and $5 bonus FunCards per person, and access to the climbing wall, jungle gym, and bumper cars);

AND a family 4-pack of tickets to see The Blizzard of Oz;

AND a family pass (5 people, max 2 adults) to the Canadian Museum of History!!

Use the Rafflecopter below to enter - you can submit as many or as few entries as are allowed! Contest closes at noon on Friday December 23rd. You must be a resident of Ottawa, and available to use the tickets to The Blizzard of Oz, January 3rd to the 8th. Good luck!!

CBC's Will Stroet: CD Review and Giveaway!

Many offers land in my inbox here at Kids in the Capital. My favourite ones are those that ask me to review a book or a CD. Music is one of my passions, and I've been sure to introduce a wide range of music to my children. Unfortunately, some children's music is not only terrible, but insufferable! That's why I'm so happy to be reviewing Will Stroet's new CD "Just Imagine." It's a breath of fresh air for parents who can't take another rendition of "Do Your Ears Hang Low."

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You may recognize Will's name from Will's Jams, which air on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on Kids CBC. The songs are catchy and educational, covering a wide range of topics (eating your veggies, getting exercise, and creativity).

Will Stroet is embarking on a cross-Ontario tour this Fall, and you'll have a chance to win tickets to see him play at the Bronson Centre on November 23rd. Make sure to follow our Facebook page for details of the contest!

When I received the CD in the mail, I immediately popped it in our player and my girls started dancing around the room. The first track - Chuggada Choo - is reminiscent of Johnny Cash, and super catchy! Same goes for the Brazilian "Mama Samba," and I found myself humming "My mama loves to dance, she's gonna do the mama samba" for the rest of the day. The girls, of course, loved to see me attempt the Samba :)

Will and his Backstreet Band (Elliot Langford and Kevin Romain) show their musical chops with  a wide range of influences - bluegrass, blues, folk, rock and so much more. Each song is very different, so you don't run the risk of getting totally and utterly bored as a parent listening to this CD.

And it's clear that Will is a devoted father of his own two girls (Ella, 4 and June, 4 months), as evident in the final track on the CD - Daddy's Lullaby. Very sweet!

If you're looking for some new music to pop in the CD player while driving your car, then I would definitely suggest purchasing Just Imagine. You can buy Will's CDs from his website and also give him a follow on his Facebook page.

And if you're looking for a fun family outing, don't forget he's playing at the Bronson Centre on November 23rd.  Here's the link to purchase your tickets!

Disclosure: Kids in the Capital was compensated for this review, but all opinions are my own.

GIVEAWAY CLOSED: Beauty and the Beast at the NAC

We're excited to have partnered with the NAC to give our readers access to pre-sale tickets and to give away one family pass for four to Beauty and the Beast at the NAC this Fall (giveaway details at the end of post).

Broadway Across Canada presents Beauty and the Beast

Show Dates – October 30 – November 4, 2012

Where – National Arts Centre

Show Description :

Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, the smash hit Broadway musical, is coming to Ottawa! Based on the Academy Award-winning animated feature film, this eye-popping spectacle has won the hearts of over 35 million people worldwide. This classic musical love story is filled with unforgettable characters, lavish sets and costumes, and dazzling production numbers including “Be Our Guest” and the beloved title song.  Experience the romance and enchantment of Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST at the National Arts Centre!

Presale dates – September 7-9, 2012

Presale link - http://www.ticketmaster.ca/venueartist/131211/1741572?brand=bac

Passwords: Disney

GIVEAWAY Details: We are giving away a pass for 4 to the October 30th show at 8pm.  To enter just leave a comment telling us you're interested!  Giveaway ends September 15 at 8pm.

 

Coming Up This Weekend: Rideau Canal Festival

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED This year the Rideau Canal Festival is celebrating the 180 birthday of the canal. The celebration starts this Friday and the weekend will be fill of events for all ages.

The events take place at two sites along the canal - the Bytown Myseum and Dow's Lake.

At the Bytown Museum Site you can see stone carvers, acrobats visiting from China, dance performances and puppetry. Meanwhile, at the Dow's Lake site there are activities for older kids, including workshops on stop motion animation and robotics.

The celebration wraps up with a celebration of Colonel By Day on August 6 at the Bytown Museum, a free event starting at 11 am. The celebration will feature theatrical performances, crafts, musical performances and demonstrations.

You can find a full schedule for the two sites here and read what one parent thought of last year's festival here.

We have two family passports to give away for the Rideau Canal Festival this weekend. The passport gives a family of four access to festival VIP areas,  free entry into the Bytown Museum and the Canadian Museum of Nature, discounts on specials at participating restaurants and tons of savings on city-wide activities on festival weekend and throughout the year. Leave a comment and you're automatically entered! 

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GIVEAWAY: Crafts at Tag Along Toys

by Alicia E and I had the great privilege this Spring to visit Tag Along Toys and choose a craft to test out. In Karen's post in March welcoming Tag Along Toys as a Kids in the Capital sponsor, she took some great pictures of the many sections in the store. I was really excited to see the craft section in person and for E to get a chance to choose a craft of his choice.

We decided on a paper bag puppet craft kit that was age appropriate for a 3 year old.

E was super excited to take it home and get started! With a little direction, E went through the steps of gathering the stickers and cut-outs, gluing them on to the paper bag and the best part - creating his very own puppet show!

I highly recommend checking out all the amazing craft kits Tag Along Toys has in stock for children of all ages.  Thank you, Patti, for welcoming us in to your store and offering us this fun opportunity. We will be back soon for some more crafts!

Alicia is a mother of two and blogs at I Found My Feet.

GIVEAWAY DETAILS

Patti from Tag Along Toys has generously given us two Alex Craft kits (ideal for preschool age kids) to give away to our readers!

To enter leave a comment telling us what kind of crafts your kids like to do.  Contest closes on Friday June 15 at 5pm and winners must be able to go to Tag Along Toys (499 Terry Fox Drive, Kanata) to pick up the prize.

Good luck!

 

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