It’s almost time for the Family Day long weekend in the Ottawa area. For some students, this also means an extra day off because Friday is a PD Day in certain school boards. Planning to keep the kids busy for four days in the middle of winter may seem like a daunting task, however, Ottawa is full of special activities happening all weekend long that the entire family will love.
Even if you don’t have Friday or Monday off as a family, this is the perfect weekend to make time for some winter activities. We’ve listed out some of our favourites—from outdoor winter fun, to an indoor arcade with retro vibes, we think you’ll be able to fill the weekend with family opportunities. The hard part will be finding time to do everything you want.
Go beyond the bookshelves at the library
The Ottawa Public Library is offering special events and programming at various branches all weekend long, however, we especially loved that they are providing PD Day activities on Friday. If you aren’t sure what to do with the kids on Friday, and can only fill the day with so much sledding or skating (whether dependent), seek out your local branch to discover what’s beyond the books. There’s a LEGO building party at Alta Vista, board games, LEGO and crafts at Beaverbrook and the Makermobil will be at the Greenboro location, just for examples.
Bundle the kids up for a spectacular evening and visit Mosaivernales over the weekend, open every day from dusk until 10 pm. The winter fairy brings to life the lit-up sculptures at the same location where the popular Mosaicanada was this summer (Jacques Cartier Park). There is a $10 admission to explore the route, and tickets can be purchased online.
Go for Retro Family Arcade Fun
Spend Family Day (Monday, February 19) at the House of Targ, Ottawa’s arcade and perogi destination. Between 11 am and 8 pm, families are invited to play at the arcade, enjoy pizza and perogies, and watch retro 80s cartoons on the TV screens. This throw-back day is a rad way to bond together as as family and try something new. We love that the arcade will be inexpensive, and classic games (like Pac-Man and Frogger!) will be set to free play, offering unlimited fun.
Say goodbye to Winterlude
This weekend will be the last opportunity for your family to enjoy Winterlude fun, from the snow slides, to the Ice Hog family, to mini skiing and snowboarding sessions. If you want some tips, read our guide to Winterlude with a few tidbits that can help plan your weekend.
Join the Family Day Skating Party
On Family Day, lace up everyone’s skates, pull out the helmets and plan to enjoy a Family Day skating party at Marion Dewer plaza on the Sens Rink of Dreams. The mayor invites families to join in the fun bewteen 11 am until 2 pm. There will be free hot chocolate (while supplies last) and the city’s favourite mascots will be making an appearance as well.
Take your kids to the Farm
The Canada Agriculture and Food Museum will be open on Family Day and welcoming visitors to the farm to engage with the animals, like watching the cows get milked or meeting the sheeps and goats, or for kitchen demonstrations. Special activities are planned all day long and included with museum admission. We think the kids will love to see the animals, take part in the activities and explore the farm. There’s also the museum skating rink (weather permitting) to enjoy, so be sure to pack skates and helmets too.