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 and the Ontario March Break. So gather the kids and come participate in some of the fun activities below during the school break!
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!
How often can you access a downhill ski center within a 15-minute drive from a major city? This is what makes Camp Fortune, located in Chelsea, Que., so convenient – especially for Spring Break Lessons. Kids get a two-hour lesson and then open skiing in the afternoon (the lift ticket is valid for the day). Choose from 3, 4, or 5-day programs during both the Quebec and Ontario March Breaks.
Mount Pakenham is located about a 45-minutes drive West from Ottawa in the town of Pakenham, Ont. From March 12 to 16, 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 2018 maple season, which runs from late February to early April. Check out some of our suggestions for maple syrup fun.
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 at the Diefenbunker’s Spy Camp (Mar. 12-16), 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
Canada’s natural history museum is always buzzing with special programming. At the Butterflies in Flight exhibit, which ends on Apr. 2, you can walk among hundreds of fluttering butterflies and luscious live plants in the museum’s solarium. (Admission to this popular exhibit is by timed entry, therefore it’s recommended to reserve tickets in advance on the museum website.) For more critter fun, there’s hands-on programming in the Activity Zone and the Amazon 3D movie in the museum’s theatre! The permanent galleries that explore subjects like the Arctic, water and fossils, are always a blast to visit as well.
Canada Agriculture and Food Museum
From Mar. 3-18, 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 during the All About Space March Break programming at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum from Mar. 3-18! Each day, kids get to focus on a different aspect of basic astronaut training while they learn about flight training, parachute training and more through fun, interactive activities. Watch daily demonstrations of Shaping the Future in Space, or take part in self-guided crafts. Activities are available for children of all ages and are free with the price of museum admission.
Canada Science and Technology Museum
Celebrate Canada’s rich history of scientific and technological achievements by exploring the all new state-of-the-art Canada Science and Technology Museum! From old favourites like the cherished locomotives and the Crazy Kitchen, to modern exhibitions and creative, interactive experiences like the ZOOOM – Children’s Innovation Zone and the Exploratek maker studio, the museum offers something for all ages!
Canadian Museum of History
Canada’s most visited museum is bustling with hands-on activities related to its engaging current exhibitions. DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition features special activities inspired by Madagascar 3, Trolls, How to Train Your Dragon and Shrek: circus skills, stilt walking, modelling clay, role paying and more. In honour of the exhibit Death in the Ice – The Mystery of the Franklin Expedition, you can try on replicas of the clothing worn by Arctic explorers and compare it with traditional Inuit garments. In addition, you can see what it’s like to be an underwater archaeologist searching for lost ships. Wind down by watching Mysteries of China 3D in the CINÉ+ theatre. Check the museum’s website for daily programming.
National Gallery of Canada
During both the Quebec and Ontario March Breaks, the National Gallery of Canada is offering a range of art activities and games at the Artissimo kiosk, including Art Buddies, Who am I?, and Feely Boxes. Or have fun and get messy at the Artissimo Studio while experimenting with marble effect painting. These hands-on family programs are included with Gallery admission. While there, don’t miss the Canadian and Indigenous galleries and special exhibits!
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. Test your driving skills on a remote-controlled tank course. Get crafty with some fun art projects. Check the museum’s website for daily programming.
Ottawa Little Theatre
Canada’s oldest community playhouse hosts March Break Drama Camps and Workshops (Mar. 12-16) that teach kids acting skills, teamwork, self confidence and of course, how to have fun! Drama camp is for kids aged 9 to 11, and the workshops are for youth 12-14. Before and after care is also available.
Parc Oméga, 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
Get up close and personal with some of the most famous reptiles in the world at Little Ray’s Nature Centre! Little Ray’s offers 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 2-17.
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!