Oy, the years are starting to blur together! Back in 2009 I wrote a post with five ideas for fun family activities in Ottawa on Thanksgiving weekend, and it’s been surprisingly popular the last week or so. Lots of people are looking for ideas for something to do with children during the long holiday weekend, so here’s five more ideas!
1. Visit the Canada Agriculture Museum
The Canada Agriculture Museum, fondly known as the Experimental Farm, is a terrific place for a family visit no matter what the season. For the Thanksgiving weekend, they’re putting on an exhibit called Harvesting Energy, including windmills and conservation. There’s also cider tasting! The farm is one of my go-to family activities in Ottawa.
2. The Manotick Harvest Festival
On Saturday October 6, enjoy the fall colours as you make the trip out to Manotick. At the Harvest Festival, you’ll enjoy fun family activities like horse-drawn wagon rides, pumpkin art for kids, face painting and free music and street entertainment. There will also be a harvest marketplace featuring homemade goods and handcrafted items. Don’t forget to visit Watson’s Mill and the Manotick Farmer’s Market while you’re out here. That’s a lot of fun to cram in to a single Saturday — will I see you there?
3. Go apple picking!
It seems a little late in the season, but just last Saturday we were at the Log Cabin Orchard in Osgoode and here’s how it looked:
We left plenty on the trees for you – and yum yum, are they ever delicious! They also have tractor-pulled wagon rides, apply baked goods and extra activities for the kids. It’s a lovely little orchard and I’m glad we “discovered” it this year! (More photos here!)
4. Take a walk on the boardwalk
I know of at least three conservation areas in Ottawa that have lovely wooden boardwalks through beautiful boggy swamps that will be crazy with fall colours this weekend – and you might even see a critter or two getting ready for winter. We’re fond of Stony Swamp just off Moodie Drive in the west end and have newly discovered the Mer Bleue Bog in the east end. One of the region’s best-kept secrets is the Chapman Mills conservation area just off Prince of Wales Drive near Barrhaven, that winds along the Rideau River. Gorgeous in any season, but spectacular right now!
Okay, so the first four are what my kids would call mom activities. They’re wholesome, inexpensive, energy-expending, fresh-air experiences with lots of accidental learning opportunities. And, ahem, maybe a photo op or two. But if you’ve had your fill of fresh air and you want to drop some cash while delighting your children, I’d heartily endorse Funhaven. We spent a day there at the end of the summer and all three boys had a blast. The bumper cars were easy enough for even four-year-old Lucas to drive by himself, but fun enough for all three boys to enjoy. I personally enjoyed a bit of fun on the Deal or No Deal game. And the do-it-yourself frozen yogurt bar was a hit with all of us. Not an inexpensive day out, but one the boys are still talking about two months later.
If these ideas don’t engage your imagination, I’ve got a whole category of posts dedicated to ideas for family fun in and around Ottawa. What mischief will you be up to this holiday weekend?
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