Do you know the problem with Children’s Storybooks? They invariably feature fun and exotic animals, like giraffes, lions and tigers. It’s like no one wants to write a story about cats, ants or raccoons. And of course, Mark is a Chinese “dragon toddler” so we have dragon imagery in his room.
Which is fine, really—but where on earth am I supposed to find jungle animals in Ottawa?
So we make do with our neighbourhood’s dogs, the occasional rabbit and squirrel. Frankly, the most exotic animals he has seen so far were roasted pigs and ducks hanging in the BBQ windows of Chinatown restaurants and food shops.
Well, time for city boy to discover farm animals. Even though we live right beside the Central Experimental Farm (Ottawa is the only capital in the world that has a working farm at its heart!), I had never had the chance to visit the Agriculture and Food Museum. So after the Children’s Museum, the Canadian Museum of History and the Aviation Museum, we took a trip to the farm.
The setting is pretty cool, the Museum is right in the middle of the farm, and the scenery is quite nice at this time of the year. It consists of several heritage buildings, and the main attraction is, of course, the animals: horses, sheep, pigs, cows, calves, chickens, etc. You can wander into the barns and “pet” most of the animals (signs everywhere remind you to wash your hands afterwards).
There are also a few exhibits scattered around, including one dedicated to bees and a huge “farm machinery” room where you can take a ride in a tractor. There are frequent demonstrations of farm activities throughout the day.
Overall, the place was a hit with Mark. It offers a fun interactive and educational experience and the staff was very friendly. The Museum provides city kids with a working farm experience and I enjoyed the visit as well—unless you were born and raised in the countryside, you rarely see farm animals, after all!