Tuesday, 6 November 2012

A rain day road trip

Anyone who knows me, also knows that I love my city. I don't just like where I live, but am a constant supporter and lover of all things Brockville. It has afforded my family the luxury of daily activities and a great, all-around balanced lifestyle. That said, I still think that sometimes, it's important to venture beyond our local community and explore the many nearby attractions which make our corner of the province so unique.

It was a rainy, dreary start to fall, kind of day. One recent weekend, after swim class had finished, we were puzzled as to what our next adventure would be. I had been online checking out local attractions and others close by, when I stumbled upon the Canadian Museum of Nature, in Ottawa. I lived in Ottawa for a few years and although I had passed by the stunning "Castle" , as it is affectionately called, I had never been in. With the rain pouring down, it seemed like the perfect day to explore the museum with my family.

Upon arrival, I realized why The Canadian Museum of Nature is referred to as a "Castle". In 1905, the chief architect and designer, David Ewart, created the fanciful castle-like structure in a field in the south of Ottawa, formed out of local sandstone. In 1916, the building became the emergency headquarters for the Canadian government after the Parliament Buildings were consumed by a great fire. When former prime minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier died in 1919, his body laid in state in the auditorium.The building is visually stunning and worth the short hour-drive from Brockville.

We took the elevator to the top floor and started our afternoon of discovery. Although Nick is not a fan of birds, we agreed that the Bird Gallery was fascinating and very well laid out. It was easy to walk through the displays, read and learn about all the different types of birds, their habitat and even stop for a play at the interactive children's area, where kids can learn how to protect and take care of injured birds.

We made our way from the top floor to the bottom, taking in "Nature Unleashed", the Mammal Exhibit and finally (my favorite) The Talisman Energy Fossil Gallery. We all had our favorites: Nick's being the exhibit detailing Hurricane Katrina, which was truly humbling. Our oldest loved the mammals, which didn't surprise me, as she is a true animal lover.

All of this to say - I have a new favourite spot in Ottawa! We'll be back to visit time and time again, as the museum really does have something for kids (and parents!) of all ages. Please check out their website for more information on up and coming exhibits, hours and rates.

After a fun-filled day at the museum, we headed to Montana's for a family dinner. Just the perfect end to the perfect day!

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