OTTAWA – Enjoy Nature
The Nature itinerary combines outdoor adventure in Ottawa’s beautiful natural setting with discovery and excitement indoors.
Day 1 - CITY AND COLOUR
9:00 am: Enjoy the scenery along the Rideau Canal, Ontario’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site, on the way to exploring the Experimental Farm’s 400 hectares. Discover the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, found within the farm: take a tour of a modern dairy barn, say hi to the farm animals, and wander through the spectacular ornamental gardens.
2:00 pm: Dinosaurs! Birds! Whales! A ‘Nature’ tour of Ottawa would not be complete without visiting the Canadian Museum of Nature. Ready your camera to capture the plethora of natural artifacts, including seven rebuilt, full-sized dinosaur skeletons, a Bird Gallery with over 500 specimens, and a 19.8-metre whale skeleton!
5:00 pm: Wander down Elgin Street to the National War Memorial near Confederation Square. Afterwards, stroll over to Major’s Hill Park for a fabulous view of the Canadian Museum of History (formerly the Canadian Museum of Civilization) — Canada’s most visited museum — across the Ottawa River. Make your way down the hill to the Rideau Canal locks and board Capital Cruises for an enlightening boat tour on the Ottawa River.
7:30 pm: Enjoy a lovely Italian-themed dinner at Stella Osteria before landing on Parliament Hill for Mosaika, the free nightly Sound and Light Show performance that brings the Hill to life. (early July to early September)
Day 2 - WET, WILD, AND WONDERFUL
9:00 am: Hike, snowshoe or ski in the breathtaking beauty of Gatineau Park, a nature reserve with hundreds of kilometres of trails, just 15 minutes from Ottawa.
11:30 am: Defy gravity at Camp Fortune Aerial Experience. The course features 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.
Youth/family-friendly option: Splish and splash at Calypso Waterpark. Only 20 minutes east of Ottawa, the waterpark is the summer spot with state-of-the-art water rides, a huge wave pool, a river run, slides galore, a whitewater experience and Zoo Lagoon — a safe haven for toddlers.
2:30 pm: Relax your mind and rejuvenate your body at Nordik Spa-Nature in Chelsea, North America’s largest spa. Grab a bite then enjoy nature from the comfort of a whirlpool and their Scandinavian baths.
7:00 pm: Reserve your seats at Mamma Grazzi’s and enjoy old world Italian cuisine at its best. Don’t forget an espresso and gelato for dessert!
Evening option: Vineyards Wine Bar Bistro’s relaxed atmosphere invites you to linger and unwind. Their outstanding selection of wines, malt whisky, and imported beers allow your taste buds to dance the night away.
7:00 am: Satisfy your craving for adventure on the mighty Ottawa River. Several companies, including Wilderness Tours, OWL Rafting, and RiverRun Rafting, offer guided river-rafting 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 Ottawa region, including The Marshes at Brookstreet.
If you don’t want to leave town for the day, hundreds of kilometres of recreational pathways beckon. 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.
1:00 pm: Recharge your batteries with a great meal at the Mill Street Brew Pub, set in a gorgeous 140-year-old stone building. Enjoy innovative food pairings, brewery tours, and samples that include beers available only on-site and at select Ottawa establishments.
After lunch get a retail workout at Rideau Centre, downtown Ottawa’s largest shopping destination.
8:00 pm: Hit the slots, play some blackjack, and practice your poker face at the card table — the Casino du Lac-Leamy offers it all. If gaming isn’t for you, head to Théâtre du Casino for exceptional live entertainment.