We wait for months for the sun to shine and the temperatures to warm up and then Summer arrives and we quickly remember how humid (and rainy!) it can be in Ottawa. I swear it’s not a complaint about the heat, just an observation 😉

If it’s raining, humid, or you just need a break from the sun, I’m sharing some of our favourite indoor locations in Ottawa for Summer (or year-round) fun.

boy crafting with soap at the national gallery of canada
  1. Avoid the crowds at these pouplar locations

When you ask about visiting a museum in Ottawa with kids, more often than not the recommendations are the Museum of Nature, the Science and Technology Museum, and the Children’s Museum in the Canadian Museum of History (in Gatineau). If you’re looking to try something different or would prefer to avoid the crowds, I would suggest visiting the Agriculture and Food Museum. Although it’s a farm, the majority of the activities are indoors and it tends to be quieter on days when the weather is less than ideal. I would also encourage you to visit the National Gallery, which has daily activities for families during the months of July and August. I know a lot of families who avoid the gallery because of the perception that it’s for adults only but they have a lot of fantastic programs for children and families.

Tip: Did you know the Ottawa public library has museum passes you can borrow?

baby cow at the Canada Food and Agriculture museum licking young boy

2. Ottawa Public Library

There’s air conditioning, it’s free, there’s one in (nearly) every neighbourhood, and it’s not as quiet as you think it might be if you’re worried about visiting with your kids. Not only are there activities running throughout the Summer but there is something for everyone: from toddler play areas, computers with educational games, areas dedicated to youth fiction, graphic novels and cartoons, and you can even borrow movies and video games.

boy reading a comic book

3. For the little ones

If you’re looking for an indoor activity where your little one can play safely without worrying about camps or crowds, I would encourage you to check out the schedule for Gymboree Play & Music and visit one of their classes or drop-ins.

If you’re in the mood for caffeine, treats, and a chance to put your feet up, then head on over to the brand new Wild Child Coffee Project. Not only is there a beautiful play space and fun activities, there is also an Early Childhood Educator on site to engage with your little ones.

child playing at gymboree in ottawa

4. Twirl, tumble, and twist

If your plans to head outside after camp or work were thwarted by mother nature, check out your local gymnastics drop-in. During the Summer, Starr gymnastics has drop ins for children aged 1-12 on Friday evenings. There are also drop-in programs at Tumblers Gymnastics in the east end of Ottawa and Kanata Gymnosphere.

boy in tumble pit at gymnastics centre

5. Splish Splash

If you don’t have a family member or friend with a pool, check out the City of Ottawa drop-in schedule for one of the local pools. The cost is much lower compared to a visit to Calypso or Mont Cascades and you can narrow down your search to pools that offer a preschool swim, wave swim, or swimming for the whole family. When the weather is nicer, you can also check out one of the several outdoor City of Ottawa pools.

teen swimming in a pool

6. For kids of all ages

My kids would be incredibly disappointed if my blog post didn’t at least mention some of their favourite activities:

  • Laser tag
  • Rock climbing
  • GlowSport
  • Bowling
  • Pottery Painting

Where are some of your favourite fun indoor spots in Ottawa?