The Canadian Museum of Nature
Photos: Martin Lipman/The Canadian Museum of Nature
Future archaeologists take note: After a lengthy restoration and renovation, the Canadian Museum of Nature is ready to satiate your curiosity until the next dig. Dubbed “the castle” for its historic structure, the museum boasts larger exhibition halls filled with the fossils, images and large-scale replicas of over 10 million species. If extinct reptiles are your thing, head to the Talisman Energy Fossil Gallery and experience life at the end of the dinosaur era.
Beavertails at the Byward Market
Photo: Kimberly Lochhead
The topping possibilities are endless for this well-known Ottawa treat, a fried-dough pastry that resembles a beaver tail. Try it with a mix of apples and cinnamon one day or maple butter the next. Famous fans include President Barack Obama, who sampled a namesake version of the treat topped with cinnamon, sugar and a whipped-cream O drizzled with chocolate sauce and maple butter, during his first official visit to Ottawa. While you eat, walk around the market and browse kid-friendly specialty shops such as Lost Marbles on William Street and Nest Toys on Dalhousie Street.
Photo: National Capital Commission
Strap on your skis, snowshoes or hiking boots and gear up for adventure at the region’s best outdoor oasis. This 361 km (224 mi) park is home to a number of lookouts accessible through the park’s trail network. Perched atop the Eardley Escarpment 335 m (115 ft) above sea level, the view from the Champlain Lookout juxtaposes two of Canada’s major geological formations: the Canadian Shield and the St. Lawrence Lowlands.
Photo: Shreyans Bhansali, flickr
Explore the grounds of Parliament Hill with the self-guided Discover the Hill Tour. Pick up a tour booklet at the Capital Infocentre opposite the buildings. Don’t forget to head inside for the free Centre Block Guided Tour to hear the stories of political triumph and tradition.
The Haunted Walk
Photo: William James Topley/Library and Archives Canada
Tour the old Carleton County Jail and find out why Ottawa was once considered the most dangerous town in North America on the Crime and Punishment Jail Tour. Learn about early prison life and check out the jail cells, death row and the last working gallows in Canada. For a more frightening experience, take the Ghost and Gallows Tour and ignite your imagination with tales of supernatural encounters at Ottawa’s haunted locations.
Central Experimental Farm
Photo: Canadian Tourism, flickr
Designated a National Historic Site in 1998, the farm is a slice of 19th-century history in what is now Canada’s fourth-largest city. This 427-ha (1,055-acre) center for agricultural research is also a working farm and home to the Canada Agricultural Museum. Visit the many barns and pet the animals.
Photo: VW Busman, flickr
Canada’s Cold War museum was once a secret bunker. Kids can enjoy a spy-themed scavenger hunt of the museum while learning about this facility, built to protect members of the government from nuclear attack.