Ottawa Parks: Barnabe and Cardinal Farms

Every day on our way to daycare, I drive my daughter by two parks on Des Epinettes in Orleans: Cardinal Farms Park and Barnabe Park. She can see the play structures from the car, and asks the same question: "when can we go THERE, mama?"

I finally had some time the other morning to drive over that way (walking to the parks from our house would be too long for both of my girls!) 

Both parks are within walking distance from each other, which makes it an extra special outing for the little ones. We started at Cardinal Farms Park, which is super shaded, and includes a small soccer field and track. The park borders on our local ravine, so you could also explore the "woods" if you had time. Sadly I forgot to take pictures of this park, but there is a bigger structure for the older kids, and then a fenced structure and swings for the younger kids. 

Once they'd had enough of Cardinal Farms, it was a quick 5 minute walk down the street to Barnabe Park. Barnabe stretches long and wide between des Epinettes and Jeanne D'Arc. 

There were two awesome things about this park:

1) It's a short walk across Jeanne D'Arc until you reach Bridgehead at the corner of Jeanne D'Arc and Innes. This is a major bonus for tired parents.

2) There is an old-fashioned water pump at this park! I have never seen anything like it - the kids get to pump water up and down through some plastic tubs. Although this is not the same as cooling off in a splash pad, the kiddos spent lots of time splashing around in there (and "watering" the pavement)

So if you're looking for a different park to check out, try these two in combination one morning. And make sure not to miss your coffee ;)

The New Millennium Park

I visited Milleninum Park (on Trim Road in Orleans) a couple of years ago, when the giant slide structure had gone up, and baby trees lined the playground. It was HOT. Although the kids loved the play structures, I found myself choosing different parks with more shade.

Fast forward to the present, and the City of Ottawa has made major upgrades to the park, including an awesome new splash pad. My husband and kids visited the other weekend for the grand opening.

The multi-million dollar expansion makes it the biggest build and expansion for a park, besides the development of Lansdowne Park. The roads got an upgrade, new parking and sports field, and of course - the new splash pad. 

The splash pad was designed by architectural engineers, and all the water drains into to a rocky riverbed and then into the sewer (the environmentalist in me is cringing slightly - water recovery systems cost about $100,000, but that's around what the City will be paying for all the water that gets used here!!)

Of course, the two main play structures are still a big hit, and the trees are growing slowly to create some shade. A brand new shelter helps, as well as the ability to run to the water for a cool down - perfect for these scorching summer days.

Wondering about bathrooms? There are public washrooms right across the road, and a port-a-potty right beside the park for those brave souls ;) 

Our girls love pretending to be pirates and princesses atop the pirate ship, and a replica of the Parliment buildings has a giant slide and plenty of room for both parents and kids to climb. The twirly big top is also a hit (although watch out...they will get dizzy!!)  

All in all, we will definitely be back to Millennium again!

Have you visited Millennium Park? What do you love about it?

Ottawa Parks: Cardinal Creek

We have our favourite parks around town - the one within walking distance of our house and then Brewer and Millenium are at the top of the list, but sometimes we want something a bit different and we go exploring. There is another great park in Orleans that is big and boasts a lot of different features and it's definitely worth a visit

Cardinal Creek

Cardinal Creek Park boasts a fabulous splash pad, a little kids' play structure, a bigger kids' play structure area, basketball courts and a children's garden.

Splash Pad

This park has a great splash pad and the day we were there it was packed. There are regular water canons, but also some really fun extra features like the flower tree, the ring things I always call the car wash, and the water that just shoots straight up out of the ground.

Play structures

There are swings, spinning ball things, big kid climbers and a toddler climber too. I loved that they had different stuff - stuff for climbers and stuff for kids who aren't as strong climbers. 

Children's Garden

I've been to the children's garden on Main and was excited to see that they have opened one at Cardinal Creek.  "The garden will have raised garden beds and an accessible pathway so that disabled children canalso have access to it. It has features such as a butterfly garden, strawberry patch, touch and smell area and a meeting place to encourage education and story-telling."

Such a great way to get kids to learn about growing food and to get together for play dates.

It's a great park for kids of all ages - definitely worth checking out!

Do you have a favourite park? We're going to be featuring a park a week all summer and if you want to write a post to highlight one of your faves send us an email at!