Julie (and jellybean) visit the Canada Agriculture Museum

Jellybean in the play area of the Canada Museum of Agriculture's "Taking Care of Beesness" exhibition

Smothermother (a.k.a. Julie) is a local blogger who likes to do fun stuff with her hubby and son “jellybean”… and if it’s on the cheap? Even better.

What world capital city is the only city with a working farm in its heart?  Well, considering this site is called Local Tourist Ottawa, I guess it sort of gives the answer away.  Yep, it’s Ottawa.

The Canada Agriculture Museum is found in the Experimental Farm on Prince of Wales Drive (just past the round-about at the Arboretum).  The museum not only exhibits the history of Canada’s unique agricultural heritage, it is also a wonderful place to see, hear, and smell the workings of a real farm.  And it’s a huge draw for the under seven age group.

The jellybean and I are regulars at the Farm (as regulars lovingly call it).  With the low price tag (Adults $7, kids $4, under 3 are free and $16 for a family of 4) and lots of things to do, it’s a great way to have some quality family time.

Must sees

Eeyore...

Well, pretty much everything is a must see.

The large animal barn has… large animals.  Goodie the Bull is a favourite; just his size alone is awesome.  The pigs always get a laugh and the sheep and goats get their heads scratched.  What I like about this is that they are not petting zoo animals, and aren’t clambering to get little pellets of food from you.  They mosey, they munch on their hay, they come to you if they so desire.  The animals at the Farm are actual part of the exhibitions.  They exhibit different breeds of domestic animals that can be found on farms across Canada.

The dairy barn is a great, although stinky, place to visit.  There are many different breeds of milking cows, including rare heritage breeds.  Several times a day there are demonstrations on how the cows are milked and you and the kids get to actually see how the mechanical milkers get put on and how they work.

Next is the calf barn – full of cute little fuzzy calves.  How could you go wrong!  Visitors even get to suggest names for the newborns.  Oh yes, all of the animals are named at the Farm.  It is fun to see them graduate from the calf barn to the milking barn as the year progresses.  Spring time is such a great time to visit the Farm.  The barns are filled with calves, lambs, bunnies and chicks.  It’s a fuzzy baby animal bonanza!

There are also the traditional things that you find at museums, like exhibitions.  The exhibitions on at the moment are Tractors and Taking Care of Beesness.  These features are fun, easily accessible, and have lots of interactive things to get the kids engaged in the subject matter.  In the bees exhibit there is a live hive: can you find the Queen?  There is also a demonstration kitchen where they do all sorts of programming from backing with honey to explaining how beekeepers get the honey out of the hives.  And yes, there is always some samples to taste test.  Mmmm…

Chickens!

Last but not least, the great outdoors.  There is a lot of room to run and play, including a fabulous play structure which has convenient benches all around it for parents to sit and watch.  There are different gardens to see, smell and touch, and a variety of great demonstrations throughout the season from horses to dog agility to sheep shearing.  There are picnic tables available as well as plenty of grass space to sit and enjoy a picnic lunch, or just to lay and watch the clouds go by.

The Canada Agriculture Farm is only partially open during the winter months.  So for the months of November to February, you can visit the animals for free, but the exhibitions are closed.  But come February 26, everything opens up again.  And this March 2011 the Small Animal Barn will be reopened, after three years of it being closed due to restoration.

For more information, plus some fun virtual exhibition stuff, check out their website at: www.agriculture.technomuses.ca.

Thanks for the awesome post Julie! Do you want to tell us about one of your favourite spots in Ottawa? Send us a note!