If you are going to be visiting Ottawa with children in tow, you have got to visit the Museum of Civilization located just across the Ottawa river in Gatineau, it’s an absolute must! There is a permanent exhibit dedicated to kids that stimulates interest and imagination. With an abundance of hands on experiences centered around play, children get to role play various adult occupations and skills from around the world. They can put on their explorer hats and explore our planet and it’s diverse cultures while having fun and learning in the process. Informal and unstructured education can be extremely beneficial to a child, they hardly even realize just how much they are absorbing. I’ve seen many children’s museums in the past, but this one sure is one of my favorites.
Play is universal. No matter who you are or where you live, play is a way you can learn about yourself and the world around you. From East to West, from North to South, the universal cry is the same: come on! It’s time. Let’s play a game.
Upon arrival, children are given a passport booklet and are told when visiting each country to register their travels by finding each station and stamping their way. This ignited the imagination of my boys as they embarked on their journey around the world. Each country holds a variety of cultural activities, dress-up clothing along with the architectural buildings. There is so much to do and see, you can easily spend a day here.
On this particular day, the entrance to the museum was free from 5pm. to 11pm., since it was ‘Winterlude’s’ ceremonial opening day. There were so many people it was hard to get around, the museum was buzzing with energy. If you go on any other day, the museum is less crowded.
After playing through the multitude of destinations… France, Netherlands, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Asia…. The children also get to try out a variety of occupations; postman, delivery man, tailor, bus driver, port crane operator, baker, grocers. There is even the skeleton of a house including plumbing for the children to explore carpentry. The creators of this exhibit have really thought of it all. Each section also offers individual arts and crafts as well as theatrical opportunities, including multiple costumes, activities and cultural games to choose from. Your creative kid will be pleased to immerse himself into Asian shadow puppetry, a complete craft room to paint and draw in and a full stage with drawstring red curtains to perform on.
That’s not all! When visiting during the summer season, there is also an outdoor exhibit to explore. Children can climb into a real propeller plane, mop the deck on a boat and play in a giant sandbox. They can also take part in workshops making wooden toy boats at the carpenters hut and trying them out in the science pond, filled with floating and sinking objects to experiment with. A life size chess board, checkers and many outdoor toys like skipping ropes, stilts and jacks conclude your day filled with activity. The outdoor grounds have picnic tables where you can enjoy a lunch under the sun.
Have a great stay while visiting Ottawa, Canada. For fellow GPS users or simply to inquire more information here are the details.
Museum of Civilization
100 Laurier Street
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0M8
Local: (819) 776-7000
Toll free: 1-800-555-5621
TTY for people with hearing disabilities: (819) 776-7003
(Adult) 12$ (Seniors/ Students) 10$ (Child 3-12yrs) 8$ (Families of 5- max. 2 adults) 30$
Parking: 2$ per half hour – Daily max. rate 12$
Hours of Operation
Mon, Tue, Wed & Fri: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Thur: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sat & Sun: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.