Summertime, And The Livin’ Is Easy

Just 10 more days of school left here, not counting today, and the kids are getting pretty wound up. Report card marks are in already, the two girls both have one more project due Monday but the Captain hasn’t seen any homework for weeks. Freedom is so close now, we can taste it.

So that means it’s time to start thinking about: Summer of Awesome plans!


We have an exciting new development on the Summer of Awesome front: the Captain is now 12. He’s been left at home alone for short periods of time now with success, and that means I can now take the girls to smaller locations like the park without him complaining. Which is AWESOME. Although to be fair, his past crankiness about family participation seems to be fading – MyFriendJen says it’s an age 11 thing and that does seem to fit, as Gal Smiley (age 10 3/4) has crankiness on the rise. Sigh.

The Captain has also, by the way, and I can’t believe I’m even typing this, expressed interest in babysitting his sisters or otherwise taking responsibility for them for short periods of time during the day, and that’s just WOW. WOW. A level of freedom I cannot even imagine. We’ll see what happens there.

Anyway! Summer plans! Of course, our major setpiece this summer is our trip out to Calgary/Banff/Jasper. I’ve been planning up a storm, packing lists, grocery lists, addresses of everywhere under the sun. I’ve been prebooking tours and tickets and such and I think we are almost ready to go. It’s weird, a few years ago when we went out to PEI it seemed like everyone we knew was also going, other kids from school and neighbours and bloggers. And now that we’re off to Alberta, seems everyone we know will be joining us there, too. We are trendsetters! Or follow-the-crowd sheep! One or the other.

We have fewer weeks in town this year to explore, but there’s still a lot of stuff on our list. I’m planning a lot of outdoor stuff this year, and I’m worried it won’t compare with the majesty of the Rockies, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Here’s what’s on our hit list:

  • National Art Gallery – to see the Chagall and Coville exhibits
  • Mooney’s Bay beach, plus a side trip to Hog’s Back Falls – we have actually never been here before!
  • Karter’s Korner – my middle child swears she’s tall enough to ride the go karts on her own this year…we’ll see.
  • Museum of Aviation – all three of my kids went there for a field trip this Spring, and want to go back. I have to say, the Science Museum being out of commission has really been a boon to the Aviation Museum, which picked up a lot of their programming and publicity.
  • War Museum – we’ve never been before and I have passes I picked up at a Silent Auction this winter.
  • Mont Cascades water park – an annual favourite
  • xTreme Trampoline Park – oh, how my children beg and beg to go there every weekend. I’m sure we’ll go more than once.
  • Bate Island – best in the late summer when the water levels go down – or perhaps we will combine this with the Remic Rapids rock balancing event, which is usually on the August long weekend.
  • Gatineau Park – here I am ashamed, ASHAMED, to admit that we have never, ever been to the park. It’s practically criminal. I intend to remedy that this summer with at least two visits – one up to the lookout for a little hike, and one to the Mackenzie King estate to have a poke around.
  • Puppets Up! festival in Almonte – I SAY we’ll go every year, and we never seem to make it. Putting it on the list again this year.
  • Company of Fools Shakespeare in the Park performance – we took the kids last year and it was, surprisingly, a huge hit. This year it’s the Comedy of Errors, always a guaranteed laugh.
  • Upper Canada Village – my kids loved it there last year and although we spent the day we didn’t even get to see it all, so we plan to head back…although I have also heard amazing things about the Cumberland Village Museum in the east end, which is about the same distance drive for us…so I’ll call it between the two when we get to that point on the calendar.
  • Eco Odysee – this is a nature reserve out in Wakefield where you can take a paddle boat around a maze and learn fun facts about nature. I wrote about it for SavvyMom just last week. Bonus – the Wakefield covered bridge is along the way, you’ll go right by it, so stop by for a quick poke around.
  • Parc Omega – have never been. I know, CRIMINAL.
  • Bowling – sometimes the old favourites are favourites for a reason – the kids have been asking and this is a great activity for a rainy day when I don’t have much energy for a big adventure.
  • Park tour – I keep hearing amazing things about the play structures and greenhouse in Brewer Park, so we might go out of our way to check it out; I’m also curious about Strathcona Park which I hear has a nice wading pool. This is likely something I’ll just do with the girls.
  • Statue Tour – Of sketchy appeal to children, I know, but I looooove statues, and I’ve been collecting a cool list of awesome ones in Ottawa, and I’d love nothing better than to spend the day on an Amazing Race style tour of the city looking at them all. I’d have to really sell it, though – we’ll see.

It’s going to be AWESOME.

Want to make your own list? Check my epic list of What To Do In Summer In Ottawa and plan your own Summer of Awesome – and you can also sign up for my weekly newsletter to hear about special events happening that week in town. Here’s this week’s newsletter if you’d like to see what you’d be signing up for.

12 thoughts on “Summertime, And The Livin’ Is Easy

  1. Can we come on the Amazing Race statue tour with you? Also, possibly, Eco-Odyssey. My kids have been BEGGING to go back there since we went a couple of years ago, but it’s more fun with friends (so the kids can have their own boat).

    1. For sure! Now I’m inspired to actually make it happen. I think i’ll start by mapping out the statue locations and seeing what will work as a downtown walking tour…then maybe make some clues.

      1. I’ll help if you need it! There are also cool non-statue statues – like the Fafard running horses at the National Art Gallery (and Maman, of course), and the Voyageur / Canoe “statue” by the War Museum.

        1. I looooove the running horses. They’re my favourite outdoor artwork in town – they’re going on the map for sure! I’ll email you my list and we can merge our thoughts.

  2. I’ll add a plug for – since they are now a major sponsor of City Chase. I know you’d have fun making your own clues, but they offer a “tour” where you solve clues to walk around the city. It includes a reservation at a restaurant…but you don’t know which one until you get there. (You aren’t committed to going though – which I know could be a problem for you.) I probably have one around that I won at a previous race…

  3. Wow! That is an impressive list! I’m just looking forward to staying up late and sleeping in, backyard bonfires, cider and barbecues with friends. That’s enough awesome for us these days. Abby has offered to babysit her sister for us this summer, in exchange for my paying her newly acquired cellphone bill. It’s exciting and nerve wracking all at the same time.

  4. Eh, I have yet to visit the Omega Park as well! Phew, I’m not the only one…

    Hog’s Back and Gatineau park are awesome.

    If you go to the National Art Gallery, treat yourself and the kids to Planet Coffee nearby, in the small weird “pedestrian” street behind the Librarie du Soleil. They have awesome cakes, much much better than the overpriced Moulin de provence.

  5. smothermother

    Strathcona Park is really nice. The play structure is like old ruins. Lots of fun. And yes, a very good wading pool. And watching the ducks and geese on the river.

    I have to look into this Eco-Odyssey thing. Sounds like something I would love. Therefore forcing the jellybean to love as well. 🙂

  6. Hogs Back has to be one of my favourite places in Ottawa. And Park Omega was a hit with both our kids.

    Love the idea of this list! Hope you get through it all.

    We might try the puppets… Thanks for that one. And we also try to hit Mooney’s every year. I have a friend who coaches Waterpolo and they are having a day July 18 with games for the kids, so we will aim for then if the weather is good!

  7. Can I be in your family?
    BTW, Pink Lake is my favourite trail in Gatineau Park. Sometimes on the weekends the parking lot is full, though, and you can’t even get in!

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