Great family fun events (February-March 2016)

Thomas & Friends – Explore the Rails

When: Until May 1, 2016
Where: Canadian Children’s Museum, inside the Canadian Museum of History, 100 Laurier St., Gatineau
What: All aboard! The wildly popular tank engine comes to the Canadian Children’s Museum with an exciting new exhibition that encourages kids to learn about science, technology, engineering and math through play. Developed by the Minnesota Children’s Museum and based on the acclaimed book and TV series, there will be a kid-sized, climbable Thomas the Tank Engine, an enormous hands-on Island of Sodor toy railway, and a special Tot Spot for the youngest visitors. In the Sodor Steamworks, children dress up as train conductors while teaming up to fix an engine and to load cargo. Parents and children will enjoy discovering Thomas’s storied history in a fun-filled outing.

disney on ice

Disney on Ice Celebrates 100 Years of Magic

When: Feb. 24 to 28, 2016
Where: Canadian Tire Centre, 1000 Palladium Dr.
What: Mouse-ter of Ceremonies Mickey Mouse leads a parade of more than 50 beloved characters starring Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and featuring an ensemble of Disney Princesses including Cinderella, Rapunzel, Ariel, Snow White and Tiana. Disney’s Frozen also comes to life with Anna, Elsa and the hilarious Olaf, as they discover that true love is the greatest magic of all. Exciting moments from Disney-Pixar’s Finding Nemo, as well as Disney’s Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast will leave your family with longlasting memories.

Salon du livre de l’Outaouais

When: Feb. 25 to 28, 2016
Where: Gatineau Congress Centre, 50 Boulevard Maisonneuve, Gatineau
What: Delve into a literary universe with your family during this special weekend, featuring more than 100 activities that celebrate books and reading! Presented in French.

Enjoy the Rideau Canal Skateway

When: Until March 9, 2016 (weather permitting, dates approximate)
Where: Downtown Ottawa
What: Grab your skates, grab the kids and head downtown for a long, leisurely skate that offers Ottawa’s most awe-inspiring views. Every winter, 7.8 kilometres of the Rideau Canal transform into the world’s largest outdoor skating rink, as designated by Guinness World Records. Be sure to stop and savour a steaming hot chocolate and delicious BeaverTail.

Bugs: Outside the Box

When: Until March 27, 2016
Where: Canadian Museum of Nature, 240 McLeod St.
What: Bring the kids and get face-to-face with the insect world in this special exhibition and enjoy a swarm of activities: eat a bug, jump like a grasshopper, roll the dung and see like an insect. Wander among 16 realistic models created by Italian sculptor Lorenzo Possenti. Peer into terraria to see live insects, watch the delicate flutter of live monarch butterflies, and examine a huge array of preserved insect specimens from the museum’s collections. Learn about exotic insect species, as well as those found in your own backyard. Then take a selfie! #BigBugs

2016 Maple SugarFest

When: March 29 to April 3, 2016
Where: Richelieu Park, Vanier Quarter
What: Held since 1987, this popular family event features maple syrup-themed activities for all ages, including guided tours of the Museopark and the Sugar Shack, maple taffy tasting, a variety of works by different artists, farm animals, sled dogs, reptiles, inflatable structures, public entertainers, face painters and sleigh rides.

Ottawa Parent & Child Expo

When: April 16-17, 2016
Where: Nepean Sportsplex, 1701 Woodroffe Ave.
What: Gather the kids and head to the family-friendly Nepean Sportsplex (Entrance 4) for a weekend of family fun and information. Parents will find a variety of their favourite Ottawa exhibitors offering important parenting information, and kids will find the beloved Dora and Diego characters, live music by the Mini Pop Kids, and creative fun at the Play-Doh Play Centre, as well as friendly mascots to hug, and many other activities that focus on fun, learning and being healthy and active, with fitness demonstrations, face painting, arts and crafts, a reading corner and much more. An exciting family event where you and your children can play, learn, and explore – and it’s affordable! Free parking.