We recently had the opportunity to visit the Aviation and Space Museum thanks to a free Museum Pass from the Ottawa Public Library. I was quite interest to visit the Aviation Museum, it’s one of the few we haven’t visited as a family. The feedback I’ve had from friends is it is not very toddler friendly and with minimal barriers you end up with a frustrated child who can’t climb into every plane. I can totally see this happening, there are a few places for kids to sit in airplanes but mainly it’s about looking and not touching. My two year old loves cars and planes so when we arrived at the museum I told him there were lots of planes just like the ones he’s seen in Disney Planes Fire & Rescue and he needed to point them out to me. This captivated him and kept him from trying to crawl all over the exhibits. I may have said how you wouldn’t crawl in Dusty Crophopper at some point but it worked!
The Museum is set up with lots of planes to look at, my husband was very interested in the military history of the planes but there is not a whole lot for little kids. There are tother airplanes for toddlers to drive around the Museum on but there are only a few and while we were there parents were fighting over them because kids were not sharing and giving turns. There are two cockpits for kids to press buttons, turn dials and get the play pretend. There’s a plane and a Hot Air Ballon basket you can climb into to get the feel of the experience and some wooden space shuttles to sit in as well. Overall we spent an hour at the Museum before my toddler wanted to leave, we had fun but it was not as engaging as other museums around town.
My experience at most Museums with a toddler is be the first one there. By getting there early there are no crowds and your child gets to be first in line for everything. By the time we left the cockpits (which were the hit of the trip) had significant lineups and there were no toy airplanes to play in.
If your child is really interested in Airplanes then the Aviation Museum is a must but if not save the admission and visit another Museum. I would recommend getting a free Museum Pass from the library and saving the $13 admission. It is certainly worth an hour visit but be prepared to explain that most of the planes are for looking at and not touching.
Canada Aviation and Space Museum
11 Aviation Parkway
Ottawa, ON K1K 4Y5