Riding the O-Train with kids

Riding the O-Train with kids
JLOtrain.jpeg

Many of us have been waiting for years for the new O-Train line to open, and not all of the folks waiting have been commuters. There are a lot of kids in the capital who are excited to take a ride on the new LRT!

If you haven’t had a chance to take the kids for a ride yet, here are some things to know!

Things to know about LRT

Each train can hold 600 people (though it would probably be more fun to take the kids when the trains aren’t full) :) and are fully electric with zero emissions. Every station features different artists’ work, making every station worth exploring.

When do the trains run?

boardingthe train.jpeg

The trains arrive at the stations at the following frequency:

  • 5 minutes or less at rush hour

  • Very frequently mid-day

  • 15 minutes or less after midnight and late evenings on weekends

    Trains start running at 5am on weekdays, 6am on Saturdays and 8am on Sundays and end at 1am Monday-Thursday, 2am on Fridays and Saturdays and 11pm on Sundays and holidays.

How much Does A LRT Ride cost?

Pricing may be going up on October 1, so this pricing is based on what is currently being promoted on the OC Transpo website.

otrainticketmachine.jpeg
  • Kids under 5 are always free

  • Seniors are free on Wednesdays and Sundays (fun grandparent and kid activity idea??)

  • Regular fair prices are $1.80 for kids 6-12, $3.50 for adult and youth (13+), and $2.65 for seniors.

  • On weekends and specified holidays, use a 1-day DayPass as a Family Pass for $10.80.

How does it work?

otrainfaregate.jpeg

There is a ticket machine at every station and they take cash, debit and credit cards.

There are then fare gates that you go through, scanning the bar code from the pass you just purchased.

The ride will take about 25 minutes from end to end (Blair to Tunney’s Pasture) for a one way ride.

Some of the kids we know who took the train on opening weekend said that on top of the train ride itself, they enjoyed the friendly helpers, receiving a new route map and getting to buy tickets from the machines.

Have you been on the train with your kids? What was their favourite part?

Ottawa Biplane Adventures at the Canadian Museum of Aviation and Space

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.


Riding in a biplane has been on our son, David’s, must-do list for about the past year. He first learned about the experience when we visited the Canadian Museum of Aviation and Space last summer. Towards the back of the museum there is an information desk for Ottawa Biplane Adventures.  David found out they offered biplane tours ranging from 6-8 minute intro flights to a 30-35 minute eco tour which takes you into the back-country of western Quebec.

Of course, David’s next question was, ‘Papa, can we go on a flight.’  I love my son more than anything in the world, but I also have an overwhelming fear of heights. Normal flight is difficult enough for me let alone an open-air seat.

My wife, Sandy, has been open to almost every adventure David has taken. She has gone on zip lines in the jungles of the Dominican Republic to snorkelling in Mexico. For her, however, a biplane ride was where she had reached her threshold.  

Luckily, my close friend, Frederic and his partner, are visiting us this summer.  I knew Frederic enjoyed an adrenaline rush and he quickly agreed to accompany David.

Ottawa Biplane Adventures

Since I was not on the biplane, I will let David describe the experience.  His words are in italics.

As soon as we got to the museum, I watched a biplane land. I would be next. We entered the museum where I was given goggles, headphones and a leather cap - I looked like a WWII pilot! I was briefed about how to take photos without my camera flying out of the aircraft and a few other important things and then was ready to go. As I entered the airplane, I remembered the reason it was called the vintage flight was because the plane was made in 1940! Me and my dad’s friend, Frederic were seated at the front of the airplane with the pilot right behind us as I waved goodbye. Take off was very calm and soon I was 1500 ft in the air. I took a look outwards and got an incredible view of the Ottawa river. From time to time the airplane would tilt so that we could see better. About 5 minutes in, the highlight of the tour came- we were directly over Parliament hill! Other places that I saw were the Chateau Laurier, the Rideau Canal, the Museum of History, Gatineau park in the distance and a large portion of downtown Ottawa. The majority of the flight was spent flying over the river and I could also see many scenic areas with a few boats. One of the best parts about it was I also got to see all the places the plane flew over on Google Maps. After about 15 minutes, we returned to the Aviation museum.  

Ottawa Biplane Adventures

I really enjoyed the flight because it makes going on an aircraft far more exciting with the clear view and strong wind. You also feel secure throughout the tour and you get an aerial view of Ottawa and Gatineau better than through a window or a computer screen. I can’t wait to brag to my friends about the experience!

Ottawa Biplane Adventures

I must admit, I was happy to see Frederic and David land safely.  The staff gave us full confidence from the moment we arrived. The day had extra importance to our family because my grandfather, Jonas,  had trained to be a flight navigator in World War II. He trained in various locations including Ottawa. David has researched our family history and I thought it was a very cool that he could experience what Great Grandpa Jonas had experienced eighty years earlier. 

Ottawa Biplane Adventures

Ottawa Biplane Adventures


Disclaimer: Stephen and Davis were compensated for this adventure, but all opinions are there own.

10 March Break Activities in Ottawa

March Break is just around the corner! If you plan on sticking around the National Capital Region this March Break, then you’re probably wondering what there is to do to keep the kids busy, entertained and happy.

With that in mind, here are 10 March Break Activities in Ottawa:

March break Activities in Ottawa

1)   Visit a Sugar Bush

Over the March Break, you won't have to wait until the weekend to visit a Sugar Bush. The Log Farm in Nepean is open March 12th to the 16th from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and includes a bonfire and wagon rides! Visitors will not only see how the pioneers would have collected maple syrup, but also learn how maple syrup is made using modern wood fired equipment.

2)   Try Downhill Skiing, Winter Tubing or Snowshoeing! 

March break is a prime time to take the kids downhill skiing or enrol them in downhill ski lessons. But if you aren’t skiers, hills such as Mount PakenhamEdelweiss and Domaine de l’Anne-Gardien offer winter tubing too! And ski hills, such as Calabogie also offer snowshoeing (including rentals). Fun in the snow for all ages and abilities!

Downhill skiing

3)   Visit a Museum

Ottawa has many great museums that appeal to a a variety of interests. Whether you want to teach kids about farming and agriculture at the Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum or learn about dinosaurs or Canada's Arctic at the Canadian Museum of Nature, there are plenty of things for kids of all ages to see and do at a local museum.

This year the Canadian Museum of Nature has a special Butterflies in Flight exhibit that is only on until April 28th. March Break is a great time to go check it out (tip: it's really busy, so make sure you book your time slot ahead of time).

For younger kids the Children’s Museum at the Museum of History is always a hit! 

From March 2nd to the 17th, the Canadian Space and Aviation Museum is offering programming where kids will learn all about “Your Place in Aerospace!” Each day, the museum will focus on different careers in the aviation and space industry. See many of the behind-the-scenes jobs that ensure the aerospace industry runs smoothly - all available for children of any age!

And we can't forget - the Canadian Science and Technology Museum’s March Break has a plethora of fun-filled activities, experiments, and demonstrations that are sure to keep visitors of all ages engaged. Visit their top-notch interactive exhibitions, get up close with demonstrations in the galleries, or head to the big demo stage for supercool experiments. Don’t forget to try the special engineering challenge in Exploratek!

Exploring a museum is a great way to spend a couple of hours or an entire day!

4)   Take a Haunted Walk (for older kids)

Older kids, who are also fans of a good ghost story, may appreciate the fun and mystery of Ottawa’s Haunted Walk. They run every night from downtown Ottawa and are definitely a memorable way to spend an evening as a family. There are usually a couple of different tour types to choose from and each offer a unique way of seeing our city!

5)   Go Cross Country Skiing

 March Break is usually a goot time to check out the groomed cross country ski trails in Gatineau Park or the new multi-use Sir John A. MacDonald trail. If you don’t own skis you can usually rent them from places such as Mountain Equipment Co-op and Fresh Air Experience. 

Cross Country skiing

6)   Skate as a family at the Sens Rink of Dreams and Rideau Hall

Weather-permitting, the Sens Rink of Dreams at Ottawa City Hall is open daily from 6 am to 11 pm and unlike many other public skating rinks there is also a heated changing facility. If you don’t own skates (or you just discovered your kids have outgrown theirs) you can rent skates right on site (during designated times).

Rideau Hall also has a public outdoor skating rink which is open until March 25th, weather-permitting. 

7)   Slide or Dive into a City of Ottawa pool

The City of Ottawa offers a wide range of public swimming schedules during the March Break and have locations all over the city that offer everything from standard swimming, to slides to waves! The great news is that it isn’t expensive, in fact kids 2 and under are free!

8)   Sign up for a program at the Ottawa Public Library

Every year the Ottawa Public Library offers free programs for school age children and teens as part of their March Break. Program themes and length vary depending on the library, but past programs have included programs about science, technology, arts and more!

9)   Paint Pottery

If your kids love to be creative bring them to a ceramic painting place in Ottawa. There are several including Pottery Playhouse in Stittsville and The Mud Oven on Bank Street. Kids can paint something as simple as a plate or mug and make it their own – or get a head start on birthday gifts for family and friends. It’s a lot of fun and the mess is left behind!

Painting Pottery

10)  Try Bowling

If you’re anything like me the last time you went bowling was on the Nintendo Wii. Bowling is great exercise and a fun way to play together as family. Ottawa has several bowling lanes to choose from including Walkley Bowling Lanes and Orleans Bowling Centre. Merivale Bowling Lanes even has glow in the dark bowling!

How do you plan on spending your March Break this year? What are some of your favourite family acitivities? 

 

 

More than Taekwon-Do with Masterful Master Phil

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 World. This blog post originally appeared on her website: antoniacetin.com.

When I signed up my 13 year old son for Taekwon-Do lessons at Black Belt Excellence Martial Arts Academy in Kanata, I did not realize that I was signing us up for life and parent coaching, too. Not only is Master Phil a seventh degree Black Belt, who passes on the passion for his discipline to his students, he is also a master teacher. He teaches students respect, motivation and belief in themselves and he teaches parents and teachers how to relate to their children.

When Master Phil meets his students, he doesn’t try to make friends and to be like them. He is authentic and he is very clear about his role and the student role, very politely demonstrating respect. Right from the start, he looks students in the eye, introduces himself, and asks questions. At first, his questions are closed questions so the student has to answer yes or no. When the student responds, Master Phil instructs them to answer with a “Yes, Sir.” or a “No, Sir.” He welcomes them to his dojang (martial arts academy), and talks about the importance of respect verifying the student has understood by simply asking, “Do you understand?” Another closed question. When the student answers, Master Phil reminds the student to answer with “Sir.” With the third question, Master Phil assumes the student knows, and just waits for the appropriate response. From the start, with a few very simple questions, without any fuss, he has established expectations for respect and discipline.

Master Phil also understands the importance of creating rapport with parents and demonstrates respect towards the parents to his students. From the start, students get the message that everybody is there for the same goals: supporting that student. And everybody  understands that they need to work together to achieve those goals. Greeting students and parents alike when they arrive, Master Phil creates community. He thanks the parents for taking the time to drive their kids to the lesson, and commends the students on their dedication to practicing. With a few simple comments, he creates a bond and demonstrates to his students how to be respectful as well as boosting their confidence and motivating them.

When Master Phil gives feedback to his students, he goes beyond the generic and questionable “Good job.” He seeks to acknowledge who they are and what they can do: You listened well; You were focused; You worked hard; I can see how dedicated you are; Your practice is paying off. This specific feedback focusing on what they do, motivates students because they know someone has noticed what they can do and, as a result, they want to improve. Then, when Master Phil tells them what they need to work on, they know they are getting honest and helpful advice and not criticism. When he addresses his students as “Future yellow belt”, or “Future green stripe” he is telling them that they can achieve the next step, that they are on the right track, and that he sees it. They want to work harder because Master Phil believes in them and knows they are capable.

If you decide to sign up your children for Taekwon-Do lessons with Master Phil at Black Belt Excellence Martial Arts Academy in Kanata, know that you are signing up for so much more.  Master Phil demonstrates and teaches students respect, dedication, and authenticity. And, he teaches the observant parent how to achieve compliance from children and young adults, how to foster a respectful relationship while staying in the teacher/parent/adult role and how to motivate and encourage them. Masterful, Master Phil!

A day trip to Prehistoric World

KITC would like to welcome Naomi Bianca to the blog. Naomi Bianca is the proud mom of Jax who is 3 1/2 and his little brother Hudson who is 17 months. The below post was originally posted on Naomi's blog. Check it out here. 


Just a 90 minute drive from Ottawa, Prehistoric World is a little gem in the country located near Morrisburg, Ontario. A magical land of full size dinosaur replicas throughout a beautiful 1 km wooded nature walk. A true site to be seen, these huge dinosaur replicas are all handmade by the owners who live right on site. Originally built as a hobby, it was turned into a tourist attraction for thousands of visitors to enjoy every year. We couldn’t wait to see it!

Jax and Hudson were super excited to see all the dinosaurs and when we got there, they literally couldn’t contain their excitement as they ran with their friends from dinosaur to dinosaur. Each and every one had a sign to explain what species it was and give more information.

Hudson was too funny, pointing and roaring throughout the trails.  Check out the video on my instagram (@naomibianca613).

It was another beautiful summer day, and we were all sweating as we ran around exploring the site. No problem if you miss anything because you can walk the path as many times as you like! The kids (and parents) were all so excited, it’s almost like Jurassic Park! Once you complete the nature walk, there is a good-sized sand pit where you can dig for fossils… how perfect for the kids to explore… and we spent a good hour there playing and digging around.

Prehistoric World Ontario

On our way out we spoke to one of the owners and the kids were fascinated when they found out that he was the man that actually built all those replicas with his own hands. You just had to have seen their faces! I HIGHLY recommend visiting this little attraction. We will probably go back once more this summer but it’s for sure a once a year thing at the very least.

They are open from late May to Labour Day in September, from 10 am to 4 pm and accept last visitors at 3:15 pm. Very important to note is that they only accept cash. The entrance fee is $10 for adults and $4 for children, free for kids 4 and under. It’s kind of nice that they are old school, hence cash and no website. But if you want to learn more, here is a link to their online brochure:

http://www.westislandkids.com/pdf/Prehistoric-World-Brochure.pdf

Handy tips: Bring bug spray since you’re walking through a wooded area and there are most definitely mosquitoes. If you happen to forget, no problem, they have some to purchase. There is also no food to purchase on site but lots of picnic tables for you to bring your own lunches. About 5 minutes down the road, there is an ice cream stand that sells food.

Have you guys ever heard of Prehistoric World? Funny to note, I went when I was a kid and not since, but so fun to live it all over again with my kids! Any questions about anything let me know. Also, anything you want me to cover or visit, let me know! We’re always on the hunt for our next adventure!