As we move well into fall, the change is palpable. Kids are back to school, overnight temperatures are dropping, and we’re sorrowfully packing away our sandals in favour of closed-toed shoes.
But don’t despair – autumn days are arguably some of the nicest in the capital region, and we still have a couple of months of beautiful weather before the snow flies. Make the most of your weekends, pack up the gang, and plan for some outdoor adventures in late summer and fall.
Get outta town
Ottawa has a surprising number of farms close by where you can give city kids a taste of farm life. Popular farms include Cosmos Berry Farm in Embrun, the Fallowfield Tree Farm, the Proulx Sugarbush and Berry Farm in Cumberland, Saunders Farm in Munster and Valleyview Little Animal Farm on Fallowfield Road. In addition to fresh produce for purchase, many of these farms have special event days and seasonal activities for young visitors.
Canada Agriculture and Food Museum
Museums are great for families year-round, but when the weather is nice, a museum with an outdoor component is a good compromise. Open daily until Oct. 31, the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum (http://cafmuseum.techno-science.ca) gives kids a look into what happens between farm and fork. Current and travelling exhibits include food preservation, potash, beekeeping, tractors and the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame Display. Of course, the highlight of a visit is always the animal personalities – alpacas, chicken, cattle, goats, horses, pigs and sheep – that live at the museum.
Take a hike
If you like to hike, there’s no better place than nearby Gatineau Park, and fall is the best time of the year for it.
Gatineau Park has 165 kilometres of hiking trails, which are classed by difficulty on the park website (http://www.ncc-ccn.gc.ca/places-to-visit/gatineau-park).
While the one-kilometre Des Fées Lake Trail is an easy hike (with great birdwatching to boot) for families with young children, Pink Lake Trail is a more moderate trail, and King Mountain Trail and Luskville Falls Trail are challenging and better for families with teens.