Friday Family Fun: Calypso Water Park – and a giveaway!!!!!

by DaniGirl on July 15, 2011 · 109 comments

in Ottawa Family Fun, Reviews, promotions and giveaways

It’s no secret that I love Calypso Water Park. I went on a sneak-peek tour when they were getting ready to open it last year, and I blogged about our first visit last summer. We’ve since been two more times, including on Canada Day this year. This most recent visit was our best so far, because we arrived first thing in the morning and stayed almost until dinner time, and even Lucas, the ferociously fearless preschooler, went on some of the big slides with me!

Rest assured, neither Lucas nor any of us were brave enough to try out the newest addition to the park, the crazy 10-story Summit Tower. Yikes! We did enjoy the giant wave pool, though (apparently the biggest in North America), both the Pirate’s Cove and the toddler-sized Zoo Lagoon, and I think all five of us thought the best part of the whole day was the time we spent floating down the Jungle River Run.

479:1000 Bucket dump!

So did you hear the latest Calypso news? MSN Travel has named Calypso as the best waterpark IN THE WORLD!!!! How awesome is that?

And how timely, because your Friday Family Fun post for today is offers you not only an idea for an excellent summer family adventure, but an awesome giveaway as well. Yes, my pretties, I have day passes to give away, thanks to the fine folks at Calypso!!

Here’s the deal:

  1. I have four sets of two day passes to Calypso to give away. I will give away ONE set of passes exclusively on Twitter, and THREE sets of passes here on the blog.
  2. You can enter on Twitter AND/OR on the blog, but you can only win one set of passes.
  3. The contest is open from right now through 9 pm EDT on Monday, July 18.
  4. The passes are only good for the 2011 season.
  5. To enter on the blog, leave a comment below offering a suggestion for family fun, preferably in Ottawa.
  6. To enter on Twitter, tweet “I want to win #Calypso Water Park passes from @DaniGirl at “
  7. Only your first comment and/or first tweet will be counted.
  8. Winners will be chosen via the random number generator at and announced Tuesday July 19.
  9. Day passes will be sent via snail mail as soon as the winner provides a mailing address or be made available for pick-up from me.

Sound good? Good luck!

1 Karen S. July 15, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Changing of the guard at the Parliament Hill followed by High Tea at The Chateau Laurier. We plan on doing that with our kids this summer πŸ™‚

2 Bonnie July 15, 2011 at 5:11 pm

This idea for a great day of family fun is not in Ottawa but not far away..
the Chutes Coulonge offers a children’s aeriel park which include a 25 m zip line, ropes course, suspended barrels, bridge jumps, line walks and a toboggan slide and for the older more adventurous souls there is the giant canyon zip and the newest aerial adventure, a zip that crosses high above the canyon; 100 m (300ft) long by 35 m (115ft) high. WOW! This new zip offers participants a truly energizing experience.

3 Anne Marie July 15, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Renting a paddle boat or canoe at Dow’s Lake to explore the Rideau Canal

4 Kerry July 15, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Liberating your stay at home best friend dad and going to Calypso for the afternoon!

5 Nolie July 15, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Experimental Farm is somewhere I plan on enjoying this summer with my family

6 Leslie July 15, 2011 at 8:09 pm

We had a great time tackling an Urban Quest as a family (visit their website at This is a great family event that doesn’t cost too much — you pay one price for as many participants as you want + the cost of the restaurant. It’s like a treasure hunt. You follow a bunch of clues to reveal where you will be going for lunch/dinner. Different quests cover different geographic areas. We did the original quest and another one that doesn’t appear to be on the website any longer. Both were were downtown Ottawa and proved to be quite fun. They also provide you with all of the answers in case you get “stuck”. Happy questing!

7 Cari July 15, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Andrew Haydon Park – the view, the water park, the falls, I love it all.

8 Holly July 15, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Head up to the Gatineaus and park at P-13 then hike the Wolf Trail followed by a dip at Blanchet Beach, Meech Lake which is right across the street from the trailhead. You can also pack a picnic lunch and then stop for ice cream at Le Cigale in Chelsea.

PS – I love this because it’s giving me some great ideas of things to do with my bigger kids when they get home from camp!!!!

9 HollyStar July 15, 2011 at 9:39 pm

OK, time-limited but the Busker Festival on Sparks Street Mall over the August long weekend. Burgers, poutine and whatever else tickles your fancy at Hintonburger, eating at the outdoor picnic tables. Truffle Treasures for the most amazing gelato for dessert. Checking out the guards at Rideau Hall – my boys love that. Born to be Wild in 3-D at the Civ for a rainy day – my four-year old and two-year old were enthralled by the whole thing and kept their glasses on the whole time. Ottawa Farmer’s Market at Landsdowne on Sundays – fresh fruit, awesome bread and free horse-drawn wagon rides around a residential neighbourhood. Outdoor movies in Centretown, Hintonburg or on the beach. ACK – Is it mid-July already?

10 Holly Wagg July 16, 2011 at 1:25 am

I want to win #Calypso Water Park passes from @DaniGirl at

11 Mary @ Parenthood July 16, 2011 at 6:15 am

Lots of great suggestions above (the urban quest folks are great!)

We’re a big fan of our local museums, many of which have a period of free admission during the week and/or you can borrow a pass from the library. And if you get hooked like us, museum memberships are pretty reasonable too. Favourite places right now? The Agriculture museum has brand new baby pigs, and the new energy garden is pretty neat too ( Aviation and Space just got their playstructure back and a new space exhibit. The steam train is running again at Science and Tech + their new exhibit is opening TODAY!

12 Katie July 16, 2011 at 6:15 am

We just came back from a trip to Saunders Farm and it was fabulous. The new bouncy pillows were tons of fun and then we were cooled off at the splash pad. Great for big and little kids!

13 Karen at Virtually There July 16, 2011 at 6:18 am

We really enjoyed the Papanack Park Zoo last year. I expect we’ll go again this August.

14 Deb July 16, 2011 at 7:15 am

The beach! Mooney’s Bay is our favourite. The play park is huge and has something for everyone. The beach is a good size and if you can grab space in the sand under a big shady tree, you are set for the day!

15 Miss Vicky July 16, 2011 at 7:53 am

We like enjoying what our neighbourhood has to offer – fresh berries from the Parkdale Market, hanging at the splashpad, lunch at Hintonburger…. relaxing and fun!

16 Andrea Ross July 16, 2011 at 8:02 am

Riding the Air conditioned otrain its whole length and back is a fun excuse for a walk on a super hot day and kids under twelve ride Free.

Need to check out calypso now!

17 KarenL July 16, 2011 at 8:31 am

My suggestion is strawberry picking – we go the first week of July every year.

18 jennP July 16, 2011 at 9:29 am

one activity we enjoy a lot this summer is Clip n’ Climb at Altitude gym. Kids and grown ups get to climb such fun and different walls… and then let themselves fall down! So far we went twice and my daughter loves it.
She would LOVE to win the Calypso passes…. it is her dream activity this summer!!

19 Judy July 16, 2011 at 9:29 am

We love packing the wagon and going to our local wading pool. Some of the older neighborhoods still have them and they are great for water happy toddlers, and the staff working them are awesome.

20 Briana A. July 16, 2011 at 10:02 am

Take a walk along a boardwalk! Mer Bleu Conservation is so beautiful and full of nature! Lots of wildlife and picnic spots- we go every summer! And its free, with parking- so all can join!

21 Sara July 16, 2011 at 10:12 am

I really enjoyed Parc Omega when I went. Feeding the animals was fun.

22 Shawna July 16, 2011 at 10:13 am

Valleyview Animal Farm and the Experimental Farm are both big hits in our house.

23 JoJo July 16, 2011 at 10:40 am

Ooooh Calypso!!! We had the best day recently just rambling around Parliament HIll (they loved the cat sanctuary the best ! πŸ™‚ ), Major’s Hill Park, and then to the Byward market to buy dinner. Cooking our market finds on the BBQ while the kiddies lounged in the splash pool (Mommy too). Thankfully for the adults there was Margarita mix int he freezer for a summer frozen treat!

24 Maggie July 16, 2011 at 10:43 am

I want to win #Calypso Water Park passes from @DaniGirl, AND the Salamander Theatre Co. for young audiences has an Othello tour for Summer 2011 too. Let’s hear it for Calypso Water Park!!!

25 Maggie July 16, 2011 at 10:45 am

Salamander Theatre Co. has an Othello Summer 2011 tour throughout the city. Go check it out:

26 Janice July 16, 2011 at 11:05 am

Mer Bleue boardwalk, great to see wetland wildlife in their natural habitat!

27 Jasmine July 16, 2011 at 11:25 am

Upper Canada Village is outside of Ottawa, but a really neat place to take the family for the day. We used to go when I was a kid. Everyone is in period costume and playing the roles of “pioneers”.

For a time warp closer to home, check out The Mackenzie King Estate in Gatineau Park.

28 Natasha L July 16, 2011 at 12:01 pm

RT @DaniGirl: Did you see my weekend #Calypso ticket giveaway? Tix to win on Twitter and the blog:

29 Peady July 16, 2011 at 12:07 pm

β€œI want to win #Calypso Water Park passes from @DaniGirl at β€œ

30 Deb July 16, 2011 at 12:16 pm

I want to win #Calypso Water Park passes from @DaniGirl at

31 Lida July 16, 2011 at 12:32 pm

I still haven’t gone to Saunders Farm with the grandkids or the Stoney swamp walking trails. Those are our plans for this summer. I know they’d love Calypso!

32 Jayda July 16, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Swimming at one of the many lakes in the Gatineau area!

33 Shan July 16, 2011 at 12:50 pm

RT @DaniGirl: Did you see my weekend #Calypso ticket giveaway? Tix to win on Twitter and the blog:

34 deb duffy July 16, 2011 at 1:36 pm

I want to win #Calypso Water Park passes from @DaniGirl at !

35 Jill Meaklim July 16, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Ohhh, sounds wonderful! A group of us Church families are going to make it to Calypso this summer!

SO many things to do it Ottawa, we personally love the Museum of Nature, especially for those REALLY hot days! And if you love blueberries, but don’t mind a drive, head on out to Hugli’s blueberry ranch in Pembroke.


36 Heather July 16, 2011 at 1:58 pm

We love animals so our favourites are Valleyview Farm and Parc Omega. Tip: Bring lots of carrots with you to Parc Omega – they sell them there but they are much cheaper at the grocery store and you don’t want to run out!! So much fun.

37 Cathy stafford July 16, 2011 at 3:12 pm

I love taking my guys on nature “adventure walks” in the Arboretum and along the paths at Dow’s Lake. I pack snacks, binoculars, scribble pads and pencils for them to jot down their “observations” and we wander together and point out whatever catches our eye. It’s very peaceful there and we always see new and beautiful things thru “children’s eyes”. It’s wonderful!

38 Shawna Cameron July 16, 2011 at 3:14 pm

I want to win #Calypso Water Park passes from @DaniGirl at

39 Fleur (NurturedChild) July 16, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Loving reading all the ideas here. πŸ™‚ One place that our kids really enjoyed was Karter’s Korner go kart track and mini golf We went last year (and I’m sure we’ll be back again this summer) and the kids weren’t tall enough to drive the karts themselves, but they has a great time in the karts with us, and they drove the battery powered ATVs they have and thought that was fantastic.
We also like Mini Golf Gardens

40 jcsc July 16, 2011 at 4:06 pm

I want to win #Calypso Water Park passes from @DaniGirl at !

41 Jasmine Vesque July 16, 2011 at 4:08 pm

I want to win #Calypso Water Park passes from @DaniGirl at

42 Jayda Siggers July 16, 2011 at 5:39 pm

I want to win #Calypso Water Park passes from @DaniGirl at

43 Irene July 16, 2011 at 5:42 pm

We love to hang out at the City of Ottawa splash pad near our house (Harrold Place). There is lots of shade and a park with sand for digging and swings and a play structure. We pack a picnic and bring a blanket and the kids spend their time playing while I can relax and read my book πŸ™‚ We’d love to try a day at Calypso! Thanks for the contest!

44 Heather Hope July 16, 2011 at 6:55 pm

I want to win #Calypso Water Park passes from @DaniGirl at

45 Chrissy July 16, 2011 at 6:59 pm

One of our favourite summer outings is picking strawberries at Richmond Nursery.

46 Tiana Dargent July 16, 2011 at 7:09 pm

Our latest fun thing to do is to go to the nearest shady splay pad with a whole bunch of food. The babyand I lounge in the shade while the toddler exhausts himself in the water between snack breaks.

47 Christine Rowsell July 16, 2011 at 8:41 pm

We like to go to a small beach with nice play structures just on the other side of the river across the Champlain bridge called Parc Mousette. It’s got a recreation centre too which there are sometimes events going on. The bonus is there are washrooms there for little kids.

Another activity we like to do is go to either the St Laurent Library or Greenboro libraries for a morning and early afternoon. You can swim in the wading pool, play at the splashpad and also spend sometime at the library getting books etc, and reading and have a picnic. Then it’s back home for a well needed rest.

I would love to win the tickets to Calypso. Thanks.

48 ann July 16, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Mosaika on Parliament Hill at sunset and it’s free πŸ™‚

49 smothermother July 16, 2011 at 9:24 pm

having just spent the day on the beach at lac phillipe, i’d have to say that is one of my favorite summer time things to do.

50 Karen Kaye July 16, 2011 at 9:47 pm

We’re big fans of the plain old beach. Cheap, cheerful and always a blast. Of course when Britannia is 5 minutes from your house, you’re totally spoiled. Plus the canteen sells poutine so it’s a win win…

51 kurishii July 17, 2011 at 12:01 am

I want to win #Calypso Water Park passes from @DaniGirl at

52 Tiana Dargent July 17, 2011 at 12:10 am

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53 Karen K July 17, 2011 at 2:35 am

I want to win #Calypso Water Park passes from @DaniGirl at there are 5 of us but 2 free really helps!

54 Rebecca July 17, 2011 at 6:51 am


We love going to the Aviation Museum – perfect on a rainy day

55 Michelle Hamelin July 17, 2011 at 7:28 am

Our list of fun things to do this summer includes:
-Ottawa beaches (we’ve been told to check out Fitzroy Harbour)
-Hiking along the various trails, like Stoney Swamp
-Swimming at the indoor and outdoor City of Ottawa pools
-Visit museums (we have a mbsp to Museum of Civilisation/War Museum)
-Cheap movies at Rainbow Cinemas
-Paddleboating and canoeing at Dow’s Lake
-Mini putt at Minigolf Gardens or Putting Edge
-Papanack Zoo
-Bonnechere Caves
-Zip lining and caves tour at Lafleche
-and… go to Calypso!

56 Lara July 17, 2011 at 7:59 am

Splash pads and wading pools around town

57 CT Moore July 17, 2011 at 8:08 am

Definitely the Museum of Science and Technology. It’s not just a great outing any time of the year, but it’s a place for the kids to learn something.

58 Rachel July 17, 2011 at 8:31 am

we just love the farm, its inexpensive, the kids can play all day, always includes a picnic and has free parking πŸ™‚

59 JM July 17, 2011 at 8:59 am

I’m surprised the Science and Tech museum hasn’t been mentioned yet. It is a great place to explore — and it is airconditioned. The Crazy Kitchen was a regular favourite

60 Alan July 17, 2011 at 9:16 am

Berry picking at Proulx Farm.

61 Rebecca S July 17, 2011 at 11:52 am

I want to win #Calypso Water Park passes from @DaniGirl at (for reals!)

62 Alison Jette July 17, 2011 at 12:00 pm

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63 Rebecca Page July 17, 2011 at 12:08 pm

I want to win #Calypso Water Park passes from @DaniGirl at – #ottawa #blog #fingerscrossed πŸ™‚

64 Lara Wellman July 17, 2011 at 12:59 pm

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65 Sherrilynne Starkie July 17, 2011 at 1:00 pm

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66 CT Moore July 17, 2011 at 1:03 pm

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67 Sara Cooper July 17, 2011 at 1:03 pm

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68 Christie Lake Kids July 17, 2011 at 1:24 pm

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69 Rachel Horsley July 17, 2011 at 1:25 pm

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70 Julie Broczkowski July 17, 2011 at 1:39 pm

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71 Christine July 17, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Oh fun!! RT @TheMagicFridge: I want to win #Calypso Water Park passes from @DaniGirl at

72 Glen Gower July 17, 2011 at 1:50 pm

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73 Joy Moskovic July 17, 2011 at 2:00 pm

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74 Stephen Wynn July 17, 2011 at 2:00 pm

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75 Donny Vantage July 17, 2011 at 2:04 pm

I want to win #Calypso Water Park passes from @DaniGirl at

76 Rachel Rene July 17, 2011 at 5:25 pm

I want to win #Calypso Water Park passes from @DaniGirl at

77 Rachael July 17, 2011 at 8:03 pm

So much we love! Experimental farm, wading pools, Science and Tech, Papanak zoo. We are going to try a fishing farm this year, called Thistle Springs. Hoping that’s fun!

78 Lynn July 17, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Holy cow, there are a ton of great ideas here! The summer just isn’t long enough. I just wrote a post over at Kids in the Capital about the Ottawa Fury – Ottawa’s varsity level soccer teams, men and women. A great day out, super cheap, and amazing soccer to be seen. Plus the women’s team in particular is tops in their league and headed to the finals – awesome!

79 Mary July 18, 2011 at 7:03 am

We are taking our 2.5 year old on a train ride (O-train). For a bunch of country mice like us, this will blow his tiny little mind. Also on the summer agenda (although admittedly more in the Ottawa Valley that Ottawa proper):
– watching Cars 2 at the Port Elmsley drive-in
– Sotryland and/or Logosland
– Three words: ice cream run!

80 Janet July 18, 2011 at 7:58 am

Sunday bike days along Colonel By Drive are so much fun. We like to stop and look at the boats next to the Congress Centre, and then carry on to the Market for ice cream.

81 Vanessa July 18, 2011 at 10:08 am

We love taking a little drive to Rideau River Provincial Park just outside of Kemptville. Beautiful beach- lots of shady trees, and nothing better than an old-fashioned briquette bbq!

82 MelanieL. July 18, 2011 at 10:19 am

We drive by Calipso when we go visit friends in Ottawa, but we chose Splash pool in Gloucester for our trip last Friday. Otherwise, walking along the Rideau, great place!

83 Steve Wynn July 18, 2011 at 10:27 am

Rollerblading/biking along Rideau river. Museums. Or just fun with friends.

84 Rasha July 18, 2011 at 10:28 am

I’m sure these may have been mentioned so far but:
-Dow’s Lake boat rentals
-Busker fest
-Close to Ottawa, but zip-lining at Camp Fortune
-Festivals that happen almost every weekend like Lebanese Fest, Turkish Festival, etc.

85 Danielle July 18, 2011 at 10:29 am

Fab giveaway Dani!! Our favorite fun family activity is going to the local splash pads. We also love visiting the museums when its too hot to be outside! πŸ™‚

86 Randy Little July 18, 2011 at 10:29 am

We thoroughly enjoy simple walks in local trails. The Moodie Drive area has especially good ones. Jack Pine trail for instance where we feed birds by hand and have had a number of close encounters with the deer.

So nice to get out in the woods and explore with the kids!

87 Emily G July 18, 2011 at 10:34 am

The free museums on Thursday evenings!

88 Rejeanne Nasrallah July 18, 2011 at 10:45 am

wow…lots of great ideas for family time/fun in Ottawa!! I have all lot of the same as the ones above. One of our absolute favourite things to do is go fishing. I have never seen kids jump out of bed at 5.30am to go hang out fishing with the family! We often just go for drives up and down the Ottawa valley, finding new areas to fish. We have so many wonderful memories doing this!

89 Julie July 18, 2011 at 10:56 am

I love a day wandering around the Byward market….

90 Jasmine July 18, 2011 at 11:11 am

Not in Ottawa, but not too far away in Morrisburg is Upper Canada Village.
It’s an entire village re-enacting 1860’s life…everyone is in period costume: farmers, teachers, bakers, doctors, tailors, musicians, etc. My family used to take my sister and I when we were young, and it was always a blast.

Closer to home is the Mackenzie King Estate in Gatineau Park.
You can enjoy lunch in the tearoom, go on a guided tour (guides are in period costume and “act” appropriately), visit the restored cottages, enjoy special activities, and walk/hike around the ruins, take photographs, and stroll through the gardens.

91 Mike July 18, 2011 at 11:18 am

Splash pad and a picnic.

92 Nancy MacGillivray July 18, 2011 at 11:38 am

We always love going to the Kanata Wave Pool for a fun filled day πŸ™‚

93 Moosilaneous July 18, 2011 at 11:46 am

For those of looking for the great outdoors on the East End, there’s the unsung Mer Bleu – as well as the fantastic boardwalk – just the right length for beginner walkers – there’s parkinglot 20 on the same road, and a great bunch of loops in the shade of big trees, with glimpses of awesome views from the escarpment. This time of year, bring bug spray or trudge in the rain, it’s still gorgeous!

94 Jenna July 18, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Some of my favorite things to do are free and close. Brewer park, just off of Bronson, is awesome for kids of all ages. It has an under three structure and three structures for older kids although, under three also can enjoy the bigger structures. There is also a water splash pad for those wonderful summer day. Plenty of shade, relatively clean bathrooms, lots of great green space, picnic tables with a shelter and some good walking trails by the water. Great spot to bring a picnic and spend the day.

We like to go and feed the birds on Jack Pine trail.If you bring sunflower seeds (birds preferred choice) or birdseed and place it on your hands the birds will eat right out of your hands, the kids love it!!!

There is the Perth Garlic festival, there always seems to be an event in Perth and if not it is a nice place to walk around. A bit of a drive but a fun day trip.

95 Susan July 18, 2011 at 12:24 pm

I love the pond off of MacKay Lake in Rockcliff for family swimming and hikes.

96 Shannon B July 18, 2011 at 2:37 pm

Baxter Beach at the Dilworth exit on the 416. On the Rideau River. Super clean very large beach. A great day trip!

97 Danielle Bernier July 18, 2011 at 3:26 pm

I want to win #Calypso Water Park passes from @DaniGirl at

98 PB Addict July 18, 2011 at 3:29 pm

I want to win #Calypso Water Park passes from @DaniGirl at

99 Suze July 18, 2011 at 3:30 pm

I want to win #Calypso Water Park passes from @DaniGirl at (so we can take Mike's nieces from Switzerland!)

100 Mary V. July 18, 2011 at 3:32 pm

We love exploring the grounds at Rideau Hall ( There’s a great climber, lots of garden paths and free concerts on some weekends. Oh, and sometimes you can watch a cricket match, too!

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