Canada cookie, Parliament, Ottawa River in the background

Family fun in Ottawa: a summer 2021 itinerary

This summer, attractions, tours and outdoor activities are welcoming you back with open arms in the Ottawa region. In addition to the beloved classics, you can try new and exciting experiences including an interprovincial zipline, mountain coaster and more! Use the itinerary ideas below to plan your own easy and fun family visit to Canada’s capital this summer.

Note: The suggestions below are based on information available on the publishing date. Please confirm details with direct sources and stay informed on the current COVID-19 situation in Ottawa.

DAY 1—Air, water and land

Choosing where to stay is part of the fun! Choose from affordable to luxurious accommodations throughout the Ottawa area, and take advantage of special offers.

Start with Ottawa’s newest and most exciting activity, the first interprovincial zipline in the world! Interzip Rogers takes you soaring 37 metres (120 feet) over the Ottawa River between Ontario and Quebec at speeds of up to 40 kilometres per hour (25 miles per hour). After getting outfitted at the departure location (the Zibi site just west of downtown), you’ll enjoy epic panoramic views from above. Note: Participants must meet certain requirements, including a minimum weight.

While at Zibi, explore the surroundings, including the powerful water cascade of Chaudière Falls. You can get a good view from the on-site Pangishimo Park. This part of the Ottawa River is one of several ways to Discover Indigenous culture in Ottawa.

If you want more air, consider a flight over the city! Ottawa Aviation Adventures offers flights in an open-cockpit vintage Biplane or Cessna aircraft. Or take a helicopter ride with Héli-Tremblant. Flights depart from the Canada Aviation and Space Museum or the nearby Rockcliffe Airport just east of downtown. 

Try another new and adrenaline-pumping activity: a mountain pipe coaster at Camp Fortune, just fifteen minutes from downtown Ottawa. Enjoy a picturesque chairlift ride up the hill and then board your own passenger cart (equipped with a hand brake). The 1-kilometre-long (0.6 mile) monorail track twists and turns through the forest down the hill at up to 40 kilometres (25 miles) per hour!

Continue to the Quebec side and head north to go paddleboating through a water maze at Éco-Odyssée. While navigating the twists and turns, kids can point out different species of flora and fauna. If you’re there on a weekend evening, you could see Eco-Noctura, the new interactive immersive multimedia show.

When it’s time to eat, patios are your best bet and there are plenty to choose from throughout the city. Take a look at some of Ottawa’s best patios—many of which are kid-friendly. Or check out our dining suggestions for family-friendly restaurants and places to eat.

Join an entertaining walking tour with companies like Ottawa Walking Tours (daytime) and Haunted Walks (evenings). Ottawa’s past is fascinating and even spooky!

DAY 2—Bikes, beaches and boats

Use your own bikes or rent some to go cycling. Create your own route by riding picturesque pathways like those that line the Rideau Canal and the Ottawa River, as well as cycling-friendly rural communities. Or book a fun cycling tour with RentABike or Escape Bicycle Tours & Rentals.

Go walking or hiking through Ottawa’s many natural spaces. Whether it’s a trail in Gatineau Park, or sand dunes and boreal forests in Ottawa’s Greenbelt, you’ll likely find many outdoor jewels to explore!

Chill out at one of Ottawa’s sandy beaches, or get splashed on an epic rafting trip. You can choose from a gentle whitewater rafting or tubing excursion within the city, or head just one hour west of Ottawa for some of the world’s best whitewater action!

For an interactive and theatrical water adventure, set sail on Pirate Life Theatre’s ship on the Rideau River. Kids can search for sunken treasure and use the water canons on board.

On weekend evenings, you can watch a movie in a retro way at one of two Drive-In Experience locations: the RCGT Park parking lot (just east of downtown Ottawa) and Wesley Clover Parks (west of the city).

DAY 3—Animals, farms and frozen treats

Go on a self-driven Canadian safari at Omega Park—a giant wildlife and culture park located in the countryside, 45 minutes away in Montebello, Quebec. Keep an eye out for moose, elk, bison, wolves and bears, and learn about Canada’s First Nations on the walking trail.

Smaller animals and family entertainment awaits at Valleyview Little Animal Farm, about a 20-minute drive southwest of downtown Ottawa. Get up close to birds, alpacas, goats, ponies, geese and more. Then kids can let loose in the playgounds and board the Valleyview Express Train that rides through the farm. 

Round out the ultimate animal day with a tour at Little Ray’s Nature Centre a 25-minute drive east of downtown. See Canada’s largest collection of unwanted and rescued reptiles as well as exotic animals including alligators, snapping turtles, birds of prey, sloths and more.

You can also take the kids to a fun farm: Saunders Farm just west of the city. Kids can explore North America’s largest collection of hedge mazes, tons of kids activities, local treats and also evening campfires.

Finish off your family staycation with refreshing sweets, like Ottawa’s best ice cream and other frozen treats!

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