The Nature Itinerary
The Nature itinerary combines outdoor adventure in Ottawa’s beautiful natural setting with discovery and excitement indoors.
Enjoy the scenery along the Rideau Canal on the way to the 400 hectares of the Experimental Farm. At the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum within the farm, take a tour of a modern dairy barn, check out the tractors or wander through the spectacular ornamental gardens. Kids love the giant Clydesdale horses.
Tip: Ottawa has an incredible amount of greenspace, making it an ideal destination for the nature lover. It’s the only capital city in the world with a working farm at its heart!
A ‘Nature’ tour of Ottawa would not be complete without seeing the wildlife dioramas at the Canadian Museum of Nature. You’ll find plenty of fascinating natural artifacts, including seven rebuilt, full-sized dinosaur skeletons, a Bird Gallery with over 500 specimens, and a 19.8-metre (64.9 feet) whale skeleton!
Ottawa’s happening Elgin Street offers a wide variety of eateries, from fast food chains, to pubs, to pizza, to steak and seafood, to delis and more.
Wander down Elgin Street, to the National War Memorial (also known as The Response). The memorial is a tall granite cenotaph with accreted bronze sculptures, that stands in Confederation Square and serves as the federal war memorial for Canada. Afterwards, stroll over to Major’s Hill Park for a fabulous view of the Canadian Museum of Civilization across the Ottawa River. In the summer months, head back to Parliament Hill after dark for Mosaika, the free nightly Sound and Light Show performance. (July 6 - September 3, 2012 – July show starts at 10 p.m., August show starts at 9:30 p.m.)
Located only 15 minutes from downtown Ottawa-Gatineau, Gatineau park is easy to get to by car, bus or bicycle and encompasses over 363 km2 /140 sq.mi. of rolling hills, forests and one of the most unique ecosystems in North America. Stop in at the park’s visitor center and take a few minutes to check out the exhibit “Gatineau Park: Protecting Nature and Sharing our History”.
Take a break at Nordik Spa-Nature in Chelsea. Grab a bite then enjoy nature from the comfort of a whirlpool and their Scandinavian baths. This is an outdoor activity that includes alternating hot, cold and relaxation periods with the Finnish sauna and Nordic waterfalls in a gorgeous setting.
Youth/family-friendly Group option: Only 20 minutes east of Ottawa, Calypso Waterpark is the summer place to be with state-of-the-art water rides, a huge wave pool, a river run, slides galore, a white water experience and Zoo Lagoon – a safe haven for toddlers. Stop by with 2,000 of your friends, enjoy the fun, food, souvenirs, storage lockers and more.
Looking for a great team-building exercise? Located nearby is Camp Fortune Aerial Experience, featuring a course of suspended walkways, rope bridges and net gangways. Set aside at least three hours for this exhilarating adventure that finishes with a thrilling zip-line ride guaranteed to get your heart rate up! Or choose to face your fears at Great Canadian Bungee, the highest jump (200 feet) in North America.
Reserve your seats at the Hard Rock Café, The ‘Smithsonian of Rock n Roll’ in the heart of the ByWard Market.
Evening option: The casual relaxed atmosphere at Vineyards Wine Bar Bistro invites guests to linger and unwind. With an outstanding selection of wines, many by the glass and a selection of malt whisky and imported beers that allow your taste buds to dance the night away, it is pure pleasure at its best.
A river-rafting expedition will satisfy anyone’s craving for adventure. Several companies, including Wilderness Tours, OWL Rafting, and RiverRun Rafting, offer guided trips down the region’s rapids. For the less-than-adventurous types, a day on the greens will hit the spot with more than 100 golf courses within the greater region, includingThe Marshes at Brookstreet.
If you don’t want to leave town for the day, hundreds of kilometres of recreational pathways beckon the walker or the cyclist, so begin the day at RentaBike and cycle along the Rideau Canal to Dows Lake (35 minutes). Pedal through the Arboretum and explore the flora and fauna in the Fletcher Wildlife Garden. Other recommended routes include the Colonel By bike path to Hog’s Back Falls or the Ottawa River Parkway to Kitchissippi Lookout. Plan to dedicate at least a half-day to any cycling excursion.
Recharge your batteries with a great Italian meal on Preston Street, Ottawa’s Little Italy. There are plenty of restaurants from which to choose. Don’t forget an espresso and gelato for dessert!
Youth/family-friendly option: Head to Richtree Market Restaurant – an open market-style restaurant offering tons of tasty options on the ground floor of Rideau Centre. After lunch stay onsite to enjoy some shopping at downtown Ottawa’s biggest shopping destination.
Pick the restaurant to suit your mood at the Casino du Lac-Leamy in Gatineau: Le Baccara (the best in five-diamond dining) or the more casual Banco Buffet.