Mooney’s Bay Park is a great family activity conveniently located a short distance from downtown and the airport. It’s one of the first places that I recommend to parents visiting Ottawa during the nicer weather. This is one of the largest parks in Ottawa and an absolute blast with kids. Kids have an abundance of options for places to explore. There is a beach, many playgrounds, green space and and picnic areas. It is also home to the Terry Fox Stadium.
First, lets cover parking. Parking at Money’s Bay Park is in a paid parking lot. I find the price reasonable for the amount of time we stay here. The parking is well marked and easy to see when entering off of River Road. There are also traffic lights near the entrance making navigating congestion during certain hours easier. Hog’s Back Road also has an entrance although I have not used it. The parking pay terminals are easy to use and accept credit cards.
When the weather is warm the beach is a perfect spot to take the kids. Although I will mention there are bacterial issues in the Rideau River so check here first to see if the bacteria count is suitable enough for swimming. If so, there is a lifeguard on duty during swim hours. This is significant as Mooney’s Bay is one of three public beaches that provide lifeguard services. The beach has plenty of room to build sand castles. There is also a building with bathrooms and concessions during the warmer months.
Two large playgrounds are located a short distance from the beach. These are a great place to hang out if proximity to the water and sand is high on your agenda. If playground play is what you are after, follow the paved path around the large hill to a playground oasis. I mean, this one is HUGE. I will say I find the size intimidating when I have all three kids by myself. So, if possible, bring another adult along with you to split up kid duties. I make it a rule that my kids need to tell me when venturing to a different area of the playground.
I am attaching some photos of a few amazing play structures. There is a corral with ride on horse, a ropes style climbing structure and TONS of more traditional playground ideas made into thematic structures. The kids can easily play here for a couple hours. The diversity of activities for different skill levels earns this playground top marks for siblings with age gaps.
When hunger strikes, there is plenty of space to lay out a picnic blanket and have a snack. There are also scattered picnic tables as well as benches. I find the grass to be the most convenient and forgiving for spills and quick refueling.
This park is just one of the many great green spaces available throughout the city to get wiggles out. I love this park when we want a change of scenery and a variety of choices to climb on. Like I mentioned, the only downfall is that I prefer to have another adult with me because of the sheer size of this park. If you visit, please let me know what you loved about this great public amenity.