Parenting Times rounds up some of the best family fun activities in the Ottawa area.
The final weekend of Winterlude
When: Now through February 18
Where: Various locations in Ottawa and Gatineau
What: It’s your last chance to enjoy the 41st annual Winterlude. This classic winter celebration takes place at various sites across the National Capital Region. Skate on the Rideau Canal Skateway, check out the breathtaking ice sculptures and slide down the huge slides at North America’s largest snow playground at Jacques Cartier Park.
The Ottawa Children’s Gala
When: February 23
Where: Infinity Convention Centre, 2901 Gibford Dr.
What: The only event of its kind in the area, the formal Ottawa Children’s Gala features a red carpet, a professional photographer, entertainment and a dance. The 2019 Ottawa Children’s Gala is being held in support of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario’s concussion clinic.
Artissimo: Pop-Up Nautical Scenes and Paint Play
When: February 23, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: National Gallery of Canada, 380 Sussex Dr.
What: Have you ever wondered how artists create thick paintings that stick out from the canvas? Kids ages three and up can find out at Paint Play in the Artissimo Studio. Children can also learn simple pop-up techniques to create a 3D scene. Have fun making art, take your work home, and leave the mess behind. Artissimo is included with gallery admission. Stay after creating your art and explore the gallery.
Skate the Rideau Canal
When: Until March 3 (weather permitting)
Where: Rideau Canal Skateway, downtown Ottawa
What: Bundle up, strap on your skates and take part in this Ottawa tradition. Every winter, 7.8 km of the Rideau Canal transforms into the world’s largest outdoor skating rink, as designated by Guinness World Records. Check out the website for updated skateway conditions.
SENS Rink of Dreams
When: Until March 4 (weather permitting), 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Where: City Hall, 110 Laurier Ave. W.
What: Enjoy free ice skating on a refrigerated ice surface seven days a week. Skate rentals and skate sharpening are available daily. The use of hockey sticks, pucks and balls are not permitted on the ice surface. Afterwards, grab a Beavertail and head inside City Hall to visit the free-admission Barbara Ann Scott and Karsh-Masson galleries and the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame.
Artissimo: Soap Carving
When: Saturday, March 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 30 and 31 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: National Gallery of Canada
What: Children ages three and up can whittle away an hour with us as they learn the basics of carving on soap. Good, clean fun! At Artissimo Studio, families can have fun making art and leave the mess behind! Each month features a new project to create and take home. Art projects are thematically linked to artworks on view at the gallery. All materials are provided and the activity is included with gallery admission.
The Cow Show
When: March 13 at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m.
Where: Shenkman Arts Centre, Ottawa Citizen Dance Studio, 245 Centrum Blvd.
What: Rag & Bone Puppet Theatre presents a “moosical” history of the world from the point of view of the cow, from creation to the 24th century. Life, nature, Canada, the planet, music and of course, cows are featured in this light-hearted and fun show for kids of all ages.
Opera Candy: The Gourmet Adventures of Hansel and Gretel
When: March 24 at 3 p.m.
Where: Shenkman Arts Centre, Richcraft Theatre
What: A treat for the eyes and ears, Opera Candy: The Gourmet Adventures of Hansel and Gretel by Jeunesses Musicales Canada is a great introduction to opera and lyrical singing. Sign up for the workshop before the show to meet the artists and immerse yourself in a world of vocal experiences: make vocalizations, explore registers and find your own range. A complimentary show ticket is available for babes-in-arms 12 months and younger.
When: February 16 to April 22
Where: Fulton’s Pancake House and Sugar Bush, 399 Sugar Bush Rd., Pakenham
What: It’s worth the trip to Pakenham! Take a sleigh ride, sample maple taffy on snow, explore the interpretive walking trails and enjoy a hearty meal. Check the website for days and times.
Maple Sugar Festival
When: April 3 to 8
Where: Vanier Museoparc, 300 Pères Blancs Ave.
What: The Sugar Festival grows every year, drawing more than 10,000 visitors annually. Come for the pancakes and maple sugar treats, and stay for the attractions, which include performers, musicians, a bouncy castle, farm animal enclosure, crafting table, and horse-drawn carriage rides.
Ottawa Parent and Child Expo
When: April 13,14
Where: Nepean Sportsplex, 1701 Woodroffe Ave.
What: Head to the family-friendly Nepean Sportsplex for a weekend of affordable family fun and information. While parents will find a variety of popular Ottawa exhibitors offering important parenting information, kids can enjoy visits with beloved characters and mascots. In addition, there will be demonstrations, face painting, arts and crafts, a reading corner and places where children can play, learn and explore.
Kick It, a dance club for kids
When: April 27, 2 p.m.
Where: Meridian Theatres @ Centrepointe, 101 Centrepointe Dr.
What: Meridian Theatres @ Centrepointe transforms into a sell-out dance club that has kids moving to the music. Kids ages four to 10 can learn the slickest steps from the enthusiastic in-house street dance crew, The Flava Factory. When they need a breather, they can get creative in the Dynamix Photobooth – and take home a complimentary pic as a souvenir. Chaperones can join the kids on the dance floor or relax at the Big Kids Coffee Bar. Tickets are $7 and are available at the box office or by calling 613-580-2700.