Friday Family Fun: Five places to get soaked

by DaniGirl on July 1, 2011 · 4 comments

in 5 things, Ottawa Family Fun, Ottawa's hidden treasures

Hooray, it’s summer vacation, and according to the forecast, the first week of summer vacation is going to be hot and steamy — just the way I like it! All summer long, I’m going to be posting suggestions for activities to keep families busy and happy. This week, I’ve got five suggestions for ways to beat the heat around Ottawa — and four of them are FREE!!

1. Andrew Haydon Park’s water park

This is one of my favourite places to visit with kids in Ottawa. Andrew Haydon park sprawls down the edge of the Ottawa river with beautiful walking trails, duck (well, mostly geese) ponds, a waterfall, a bandshell, and several play structures. It’s anchored on one end by the Nepean Sailing Club and one of our favourite splash parks on the other end.

Andrew Haydon Park splash play, Ottawa

Bring a blanket (but there are benches and picnic tables on site), a snack, a handful of buckets and a change of clothes (there are also washrooms on site) and expect your kids to get wet. And sandy. Very, very sandy!

If you go: Andrew Haydon Park is located off Carling Avenue at Holly Acres Road. The splash park is near the eastern-most parking lot (and a long walk from the western-most one — be warned!) Parking and admission are free!

2. The city’s wading pools are not just for wading!

When I think of wading pools, I think of those very shallow pools from my childhood parks, often circular and graded down to a central drain, and all of about 10 inches deep. Some of the city’s (free!) wading pools are a heck of a lot deeper and more fun than that! In particular, we like the one at the corner of Greenbank and Lisa Ave, just around the corner from Ikea. It’s got a deeper area for big kids, a shallow area perfect for toddlers, and the lifeguards are always terrific, actually engaging the kids while watching over them.

You can find a list of the city’s 56 (!) wading pools, as well as a great mapping system, on the city’s website.

3. Ottawa beaches

I may yet write a separate post about beaches in and around the Ottawa area. For now, I couldn’t write a post about ways to keep cool on a hot summer day without at least a passing mention of the terrific beach at Brittania, just up the road from Andrew Haydon park, in fact. We visit Britannia beach at least a couple of times each year. There’s a huge stretch of sand, the water is clean, shallow and kid-friendly (it’s the least-often closed-due-to-pollution beach in the city), it’s supervised with lifeguards during certain hours, and there are also play structures, a snack bar, and a huge, grass and tree park nearby.

512:1000 At the beach with Granny

There’s also a great breakwater for exploring, which happens to be one of the best places in Ottawa to watch the sun set!

Hiking the rocks

4. Splash pads

We were lucky that the water ban in Manotick, Barrhaven and Riverside South didn’t affect us too much, but I was relieved to hear when it was lifted so that we could continue to visit our favourite splash pad in Barrhaven. Did you know there are more than 50 splash pads in parks throughout Ottawa? Some are bigger than others, but how fun would it be to visit one each day for a week?

5. Waterslide parks

Summer just wouldn’t be complete without at least one day at one of the two awesome waterslide parks near Ottawa. Mont Cascades is on the Quebec side, and Calypso is about 40 minutes east of downtown Ottawa in Limoges. We could spend a whole day in Calaypso’s Pirate Splash Pad and the wave pool alone — and in fact, if the stars align correctly, that’s exactly where we’ll be today!!

Pirate splash pad

I blogged our first visit to Calypso last year, if you’d like more details.

So there’s my best suggestions for beating the heat of an Ottawa summer — and I didn’t even get around to mentioning the city’s outdoor swimming pools, indoor wave pools, or that old standby, the backyard sprinkler!

Got any suggestions to share? What are your favourite places to get soaked in Ottawa?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nolie July 1, 2011 at 11:47 am

I have tons of memories of Britannia beach from when I was a kid.

2 Best of Ottawa Blogs July 1, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Friday Family Fun: Five places to get soaked

3 Anonymous July 1, 2011 at 12:42 pm

4 CHRI Radio July 8, 2011 at 3:25 pm

RT @danigirl: Friday Family Fun: Five places to get soaked in Ottawa!

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