Visiting the Canadian Children’s Museum

Send families on a “Great Adventure” to learn about cultures of the world at this popular museum, located near Ottawa, Canada.


Oh to be a kid again! Here’s the good news: Parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles can have as much fun as kids when they visit the Canadian Children’s Museum (CCM), located across the Ottawa River from the Canadian Parliament Buildings in Canada’s Capital Region, encompassing Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Québec.

The CCM, unlike many other children’s museums, doesn’t focus on science and health displays. Its stated mission is “to enrich children’s lives, broaden their cultural experience and provide them with a creative space in which to learn about the world.” Its goal is accomplished with hands-on displays in nearly 87,000 square feet of interior and exterior space.

Hard to Choose What to Do Next

At the museum’s entrance, children receive their very own passport. It’s their entry into “The Great Adventure,” the museum’s central theme, as they explore more than 30 permanent colorful and exciting interactive exhibits. No lectures here; the learning is interactive, and with 15,650 artifacts, props and interpretive objects to choose from, the accompanying adults get the message—allow plenty of time for this museum! With opportunities for role-playing, creative projects and participation with staff or accompanying relatives, visitors can find something new on each trip.

Worldwide Trip to Exotic Locations

There’s no special sequence among the permanent exhibits, so children move randomly from one to another. Kids love the Building Works exhibit, where they play at being an architect, plumber or house painter.

I found it hard to pull myself away from the fabulous Forster dollhouse, my imagination sparked by the miniature furnishings. Kids can ride in a rickshaw, learn how to use chopsticks, design fashions from new materials, create animated characters, sit in a Bedouin tent or play backgammon.

How Many Countries Can You Visit?

Whether planning a wedding in India, making Japanese origami, grinding corn while hearing West African folk tales, strolling through a market bazaar or finding the secret passage in an Egyptian pyramid, kids here learn about the world and each other.

Accompanying adults don’t need much urging to participate. They can ride a multi-colored Pakistani bus or help kids make and mail postcards from the different “countries.” In the seasonal outdoor park, kids make kites or unload a log-pulling tugboat. There’s never a dull moment.

Plan Your Visit

The Canadian Children’s Museum is one section of the award-winning Canadian Museum of Civilization, one of the most popular museums in Canada. It also houses the Canadian Postal Museum, which will interest philatelists of any age.

The Canadian Museum of Civilization is located in Gatineau, Quebec, on the banks of the Ottawa River. The museum is accessible from downtown Ottawa by foot, car and public transit. For directions, depending on your mode of transportation, check out the museum Web site.

100 Laurier St., Gatineau, Québec. Tel. 819-776-7000. Admission (for entrance to the Museum of Civilization which includes the CCM): CAD $12 for adults, CAD $10 for students and seniors, CAD $8 for children ages 3 to 12, CAD $30 for families (up to five people including two adults), free for children under 3 and free for everyone every Thursday after 4 p.m. Hours vary. For more information, visit

Destinations: Ottawa, Canada

Themes: Art and Museums, Family Travel

Activities: Museums

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