Canada’s capital is a March Break mecca with its many cultural institutions, outdoor activities and indoor attractions. And since Ottawa shares a provincial border with Gatineau, Quebec, much of the special programming is offered during both the Quebec March Break (March 4-8, 2019) and the Ontario March Break (March 11-15, 2019). So gather the kids and come experience some of the fun activities below for an epic March Break in Ottawa!
Get active (indoors and outdoors)
During Spring Break Camp at Altitude Gym, kids between 6 and 14 years of age enjoy learning the basics of rock climbing, bouldering, outdoor activities, and more. Choose from Altitude Gym’s two locations: Gatineau, Que. where they offer this camp during both the Ontario and Quebec March Breaks, and Kanata, Ont. where they only offer the camp over the Ontario break.
Funhaven Family Fun Centre
Located just minutes west of downtown Ottawa, Funhaven offers a world-class laser tag arena, the latest high-tech mini-bowling lanes, an indoor roller coaster, bumper cars, an arcade and prize games, simulators and a huge jungle gym. The little ones are sure to be entertained during March Break!
Gees-Gees March Break Camps
The University of Ottawa’s Gee-Gees Sports Camps welcome active kids of all ages during the Ontario march break! The bilingual programs encourage learning and development of athletic skills through sports, games and activities. Kids can participate in a multi-sport camp or sign up for a specialized program for sports like rugby and soccer.
How often can you access a downhill ski center within a 15-minute drive from a major city? This is what makes Gatineau Park’s Camp Fortune, located in Chelsea, Que., so convenient – especially for Spring Break Lessons. The 3 or 4-day programs for kids aged 4 and up include a two-hour lesson and open skiing (the lift ticket is valid for the day), and full day programs are available for kids aged 7 and up. All programming is offered on weekdays during both the Quebec and Ontario March Breaks.
Mount Pakenham is located about a 45-minute drive West from Ottawa in the town of Pakenham, Ont. During the Ontario March Break, kids aged 6 to 14 can participate in a 3, 4 or 5-day ski camp that offers a minimum of three hours of ski instruction per day, plus other activities such as tubing, snowshoeing, movies and more!
Maple Syrup Fun
Maple taffy on snow, horse drawn sleigh rides, delicious pancake breakfasts or brunch – what’s not to love about maple season? Several sugar bushes and other sites located throughout Canada’s Capital Region offer programming during the 2019 maple season, which runs from late February to early April. Check out some of our suggestions for maple syrup fun.
Ottawa Art Gallery
The new Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) in downtown Ottawa is offering fully bilingual and hands-on creative camps during both the Ontario and Quebec March breaks. Kids aged 8 to 12 can create their own stop motion video, multimedia projects, logo designs and more. Plus, they’ll enjoy interactive mini tours of the OAG and field trips in the city.
Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum
Where else can your kids learn the art of espionage including disguising for cover, breaking codes and using spy gadgets? Each day during the Ontario March Break at the Diefenbunker’s Spy Camp, (kids 7 to 12 years of age learn these new skills and more. The museum is located about 30 minutes west of downtown Ottawa in Carp, Ont. Before and after care is available.
Canadian Museum of Nature
The Canadian Museum of Nature is always alive with special programming. Walk amongst hundreds of fluttering butterflies and luscious live plants in the museum’s solarium during the Butterflies in Flight special exhibit. (Admission to this popular exhibit is by timed entry, therefore it’s recommended to reserve tickets in advance on the museum website.) You can also see live reptiles, sloths and other creatures up close at the Survival of the Slowest special exhibit. And be sure to check out the 3D movies in the museum’s theatre!
National Gallery of Canada
During both the Quebec and Ontario March Breaks, the National Gallery of Canada offers a range of art activities and games at the Artissimo kiosk. Or have fun and get messy at the Artissimo Studio while experimenting with clay, paint or soap carving. These hands-on family programs are included with Gallery admission. While there, don’t miss the Canadian and Indigenous galleries and special exhibits!
Canadian Museum of History
Get in the picture and connect with the history of photography this March Break at the Canadian Museum of History, which features activities related to the exhibition Notman, Visionary Photographer. Before current Photoshop techniques and Instagram filters, a Victorian photographer had to make hundreds of careful decisions when creating a lasting portrait. Inside a replica of William Notman’s Montréal studio — complete with costumes, furniture and props — create and take home your own portrait. Or explore one of the earliest versions of moving pictures by making your own thaumatrope. This activity is offered Mar. 2-17, 2019 and is suitable for families with children ages 6 and up.
Canadian War Museum
Build, play, create and learn as a family at the Canadian War Museum during the Ontario and Quebec March Breaks! Use Imagination Playground blocks to create engineering and architectural marvels; challenge your family to a game of giant chess; and explore the Museum’s galleries on a family-friendly tour with a program interpreter.
Canada Agriculture and Food Museum
From Mar. 2-17, the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum celebrates all things spring during their Barnyard Break! Special programming is offered each day, including encounters with farm animals, kitchen demonstrations, maple taffy on snow, children’s story time and creative crafts. It’s all free with the price of museum admission!
Canada Aviation and Space Museum
Participate in out-of-this world activities and learn about Your Place in Aerospace during March Break at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. Each day from Mar. 2-17, kids get to focus on a different careers in the aviation and space industry through fun and interactive activities, as well as daily demonstrations and special tours. Activities are available for children of all ages and are free with the price of museum admission.
Canada Science and Technology Museum
Keeping kids’ brain cells active during March Break has never been so fun! Visit the Canada Science and Technology Museum from Marc. 2-17 for fun-filled activities, experiments and demonstrations linked to coding, engineering, neuroscience and more. Activities are available for children of all ages and are free with the price of museum admission.
Omega Park, located in Montebello, Que. – just a 45-minute drive from downtown Ottawa – is a large wildlife park that immerses visitors in Canadian wildlife and First Nations’ history. You can take a Canadian safari any time of year through the natural habitat of animals like deer, elk, bison, caribou and wolves. Plus, the park is offering a variety of special programming during both the Quebec and Ontario March Breaks including live demonstrations by a chainsaw wood carving artist (Thursdays to Sundays), wagon rides, maple taffy in the traditional sugar shack, farm animals in the heritage farm (daily), as well as special animation throughout the park, including musicians!
Little Ray’s Nature Centre
A few of Little Ray’s animals are featured in the abovementioned Survival of the Slowest exhibit at the Canadian Museums Nature, and there are many more at Little Ray’s Nature Centre! Enjoy a hands-on and educational experience through encounters with bats, pythons, alligators, cobras, birds of prey and more. Many of the animals are permanent residents at the zoo, while others are special guests that rotate throughout the year.
Get locked up
Haunted Walk of Ottawa
The cloaked guides from the Haunted Walk of Ottawa dare you to join them on their tours of the historic old Carleton County Jail! The Ghost and the Gallows tour (available separately in English and in French) focuses on the Jail’s reputation as one of the most haunted buildings in North America. Tour the cellblock where inmates were once imprisoned and walk the steps from Death Row to the one of the last working gallows in Canada. The Crime and Punishment tour (available in English only) explores the jail’s incredible history including living conditions, prison escapes and executions. Both tours are offered select dates between March 2-16, 2019.
Nothing bonds a family and friends together like choosing to be locked up in a room and working together to escape! Escape attractions throughout the city like Escape Manor, Jigsaw Escape Rooms, and Room Escape Ottawa have rooms and themes that are suitable for all ages. If your kids are older, you might even be able to create your own escape by sitting back and relaxing in the lounge areas (some of which have cash bars) while your kids have a blast solving clues and attempting to breakout.
For even more ideas of what to do during March Break or anytime in winter, check out our Free or Nearly Free Ottawa in Winter suggestions!