Friday, 1 August 2008

Ottawa Vacation - Day 3 - Part 1

Tina pulled off another excellent breakfast. Who needs hot cinnamon rolls? After breakfast and showers, Tina headed off to the conference and the rest of us headed down to the pool.

The pool wasn't empty. There were a few families, which gave Corbin a chance to play with other kids. We spent about an hour before going up to the room and getting ready for the rest of the day.

The boys and I drove over to the
Canadian Museum of Civilization over in Gatineau, Quebec. Originally, I was considering taking the boys on a local bus, but then I thought about having to wait at the end of long and busy day. The van was easier and parking cost the same as the bus. It took about five minutes to drive from the hotel to the museum. Parking is underground - which is nice.

In the lobby, I was presented with an assortment of choices. Aye carumba. I settled on the Museum, the Wild Ocean IMAX movie and the Greeks special exhibition. It was just over $40 for the three of us.
The Canadian Museum of Civilization is a group of museums and permanent and temporary exhibits.

Our first stop was the Canadian Children's Museum which includes the outdoor Adventure World.
The web site suggests that you "allow three hours for a visit with children". That is an understatement. The boys could have spent the whole day just in the Children's Museum. The place is amazing.
Kids are given a passport. They find stations where they insert the proper page of their passport and stamp it. The place was filled with all kinds of hands-on exhibits from a ship to a pyramid to a market to a house to, well everything.

Located outside, the Adventure World is a wonderful bonus. Kids can go fishing, fly a plane, drive a boat or make cool crafts. When we headed outside I was faced with the dilemma of Corbin wanting to be outside and Jeremy wanting to play inside. So I left Corbin to his own devices and said we will be back in a half an hour.

Jeremy played on the ship, first cleaning the deck, then loading and unloading some cargo and finally piloting the ship. He could have spent all day on the ship. We wandered around (more like me following Jeremy) before finding Corbin outside.

Fortunately, Corbin's natural clock was working and he was heading up the walkway with a boat in his hands. Apparently, the kid who didn't like crafts, made a boat from wood, corks, straw, paper and a bottle cap, all by himself. Who is this kid?

After spending enough time in the Children's Museum, we grabbed a quick bite to eat (overpriced and poor quality). I grabbed some popcorn and we lined up for the movie. A few minutes later the doors opened and we found some seats. Wild Ocean is a story about the sardine migration off the east coast of Africa and circle of life along the KwaZulu-Natal Coast. Who knew a movie about sardines could be so exciting. It was an amazing presentation and I highly recommend it.

We headed over to the Grand Hall and the First Peoples Hall where we learnt about the history of the First Peoples (aka natives). Corbin was naturally attracted to any exhibits with weapons while Jeremy was Jeremy as in "when are we going back to the Children's Museum".

A quick run through The Greeks exhibit which contained some amazing artifacts, including jewelry that was well over 2000 years old.

Next was the Face to Face: The Canadian Personalities Hall and the Canada Hall. The boys showed some interest in the exhibits, but what caught their attention was the Justice in New France dramatic presentation. Corbin and Jeremy sat and watched the full length of the presentation, which is part theatre and part interactive. Who are these kids?

I let the boys free in the Children's Museum to let off some more energy - if that is possible. Six hours later, we were back in Ottawa, struggling to get to the Westin - traffic was at a standstill. We managed to make it to the hotel, where Rob, the valet attendant, was greeted by the boys.

We could have spent all day at the museum and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting or living in Ottawa-Gatinuea area. We didn't even get a chance to visit the Canadian Postal Museum. If you have kids, you may want to plan two days to take in the whole facility or come when it opens and leave when it closes. Parking is $10 for the day and is located underground with direct access to the museum.

Posted by Adam