The last time we went to Ottawa, about a year ago, we took advantage of all the incredible family-friendly activities and attractions, such as the Children’s Museum and the Museum of Nature, both of which you can easily dedicate a day to exploring.
This year, however, with covid restrictions and the need to ‘social distance’ (ugh, I still hate saying that phrase, it crawls my blood), we had to be more creative with our time, and find things to do outdoors.
Staying at the Westin put us in a prime location to walk to the nearby sights, including Parliament Hill, Major’s Hill Park and Byward Market.
None of which, of course, interest kids. Thankfully, I had a trick up my sleeve!
It was an extremely warm weekend, which made it the perfect time to do a super fun outdoors kids activity – Pirate Life. This one-hour boat cruise on the scenic Rideau River is a full-on live theatre interactive experience, so make sure your kids dress the part and have fun doing some cosplay. (Mine thoroughly enjoyed dressing up as a pirate for the first time, and we even watched Pirates of the Caribbean the night before to get into character.)
The ship is manned by a crew of scurvy pirates, and during the cruise, the kids have to search for landmarks on the pirate map and read clues. Best of all, they have to fight off an invading pirate whose coming to steal their booty! It was very well done, with actual water cannons for each kid to shoot, which was no doubt their favourite part, because they were all screaming with excitement. (Not that you could see, the poor things, wearing the masks the whole time. Sigh.)
One hour is just about right for the cruise, and at the end, when they discover the chest of treasures, they each get to take a bag with a gemstone or coin home, as a souvenir.
As an added bonus, Pirate Life operates out of Mooney’s Bay, which has an incredible and massive children’s playground. So after dumping the costume back in the car, we skipped over to the park for some more playtime.
Pirate Life only operates in the warmer months, and stops running in October when it gets too cold. Due to Covid-19, the group was small and spaced out, and everyone was required to wear masks and stay in their own ‘zone’ on the ship. Despite the
restrictions precautions, it was great fun.