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Here's where children and youth can 'Play Free' in Ottawa in 2024

City of Ottawa
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Children and youth will be able to 'Play Free' at Ottawa skating rinks, gyms, swimming pools and museums this year.

The city of Ottawa approved an initiative to offer a selection of free drop-in programming for children and youth, aged 17 and under, in order to make recreation and cultural programming more affordable and accessible for everyone.

CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at things you can do for free in Ottawa this year.

'Play Free' activities

The city of Ottawa offers the following drop-in activities for free in 2024.

Swim Saturdays

Free drop-in swimming sessions on Saturdays for children and youth, aged 17 and under, and accompanying adults. Click here for a list of recreation and community centres with pools. 

Skating

You can skate for free at public and family skating sessions at Ottawa arenas. Children and youth, aged 17 and under, and accompanying adults, can take part in free public and family skating sessions at Ottawa rinks. For more information, click here

Drop-in sports

Children and youth, aged 17 and under, and accompanying adults can participate in drop-in sports at city of Ottawa facilities. Drop-in sports will vary by location and include badminton, table tennis, basketball, floor curling, open gym, indoor skateboarding, roller-skating, soccer, volleyball and more. View a list of all drop-in sports activities on the city's webpage. 

Museums

Children and youth and accompanying adults have free daily access to Cumberland Heritage Village Museum and Billings Estate National Historic Site. For more information, click here

Skating

You can skate for free on Ottawa's outdoor refrigerated rinks, weather permitting.

Here is a list of locations in Ottawa:

  • Rink of Dreams at Ottawa City Hall
  • Lansdowne Park skating court
  • Ben Franklin Place skating rink
  • Jim Tubman Chevrolet Rink (Canterbury)

Skaters on the ice at the Rink of Dreams outside Ottawa City Hall. March 18, 2023. (Natalie van Rooy/CTV News Ottawa)

In addition to the city of Ottawa's 'Play Free' initiative this year, you can also visit museums and tour Parliament for free.  Here is a look at other activities you can do for free in Ottawa.

Museums

Museums in the national capital region offer free admission during the following periods:

Hannah Smith and Zach Liebold visit the Canadian Museum of Nature, which reopened on Friday. (Peter Szperling/CTV News Ottawa)

Parliament of Canada Tours

Enjoy a free, guided tour of the Senate at the Senate of Canada Building and the House of Commons in the West Block this winter.

For tickets and tour times, visit https://rts.parl.ca/

The House of Commons chamber is seen empty, Wednesday April 8, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Parliament: The Immersive Experience

Explore the main Parliament Building, also called Centre Block, in this new innovative experience.

Parliament: The Immersive Experience at 211 Sparks Street includes an exhibition and a 360-degree multimedia show that takes you on a tour through Centre Block, which has been closed since 2019.

Tickets are available at no cost at visit parl.ca.

"Parliament: The Immersive Experience" allows you to take a tour of the Centre Block on Parliament Hill, including the House of Commons. (Parliament of Canada/release)

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