For more than three decades, birthday parties, family outings, and corporate retreats have come to life at Karters' Korner with the hum of go-karts, the satisfying sound of well-driven golf balls, and the laughter of children at the mini golf course. A glistening fleet of 40 single and 8 double-seater carts send drivers and passengers zooming around a nearly mile-long track, shielded by the safety of annual vehicle inspections, roll bars, seat belts, and force fields. Visitors who don't meet the track's 54-inch height requirement can practice their automotive skills on the four-wheeler kiddy-kart track. Golfers master their swing at the 1,000-foot driving range, sending balls soaring over a glistening lake speckled with four island greens. Mini golf unites families against the challenge of sending golf balls past cleverly designed obstacles, and an arsenal of pool tables, air hockey, and video games entertain guests indoors. The newly-added paintball fields allow patrons to splatter paint at will within one of several courses. During warm, sunny days, picnickers gather at the large covered patio for lunch, and athletes pick up games of basketball or beach volleyball at the outdoor courts.
As the leaves began to slip into their autumnal shades in September of 1988, Ottawa’s artists won a years-long battle to secure their city a municipal art gallery of its very own. Built with the hopes of showcasing the unique energy and voices of the local artistic scene, the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) has, in the two decades since its founding, upheld its advocacy and celebration of municipal talent with an ever-changing roster of exhibits. An ongoing lineup of interactive programs and events cultivates a community of art lovers and sparks cultural discussions. Meanwhile, kids' art camps bolster the creativity of local youngsters and the egos of any cryogenically defrosted Monets in attendance. The OAG also houses the Firestone Collection of Canadian Art, a compendium of upward of 1,600 homegrown masterpieces from the modern period featuring celebrated artists including Emily Carr, Jack Shadbolt, and Paul-Émile Borduas.
Glowing monkeys scamper toward a neon waterfall, and a knight bearing a radiant yellow lance rides past a bright orange octopus emerging from the ocean. What appears to be a time-traveling session gone awry is really the evolving environment within Putting Edge’s indoor black-lit mini-golf course, which whisks players to deep seas, Aztec jungles, and medieval times. Since opening its original location in Canada, Putting Edge has now expanded to 18 North American locations, all of which invite guests onto its challenging 18-hole courses to seek victory over opponents and the forces that keep their teeth from not glowing as brightly as they could. Elsewhere, the facility houses private party rooms, concessions, and an arcade filled with gamer favorites such as air hockey.
At Magic Lantern Theatres, darkened auditoriums with flickering screens draw audiences into magical worlds where fish can talk, motorcycles leap canyons, and love comes even for those who eat crackers in bed. The partnering multiplex theatres and cinemas show recently released blockbuster flicks at 15 locations spread across Canada, each of which retains its own unique personality and honours any historic roots. In Edmonton, the Princess Theatre’s original 1915 auditorium, complete with balcony, golden drapes, and red walls, accommodates moviegoers with babies or pet hyenas inside a soundproof cry room. In Saskatchewan, the circa-1930 Roxy Theatre preserves the ambience of a Spanish courtyard. As guests find their auditoriums at the Ontario locations, they can admire giant murals by local artist Fred Harrison.
At iPlay, gamers of all ages shoot, race, and dogfight on 34 networked PC gaming systems that play a library of more than 400 games. Escape zombies in Left 4 Dead 2, or use a racing-wheel controller to drift, brake, and quickly drop off laundry in Need for Speed: Underground. Golfers tee up in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2008, and strategists go online to fight futuristic battles in StarCraft II. Meanwhile, fingers furiously fly over buttons, while eyes gaze at a 65-inch HDTV attached to an Xbox 360 console and an out-of-use antenna with separation issues. Parents can entertain kids on a hot or rainy afternoon by sending them racing in a virtual 750-horsepower stock car or by strapping them into a computer chair to dogfight over the South Pacific.
Little Ray's Reptile Zoo is a grand hotel for cold-blooded critters overseen by animal enthusiasts Paul "Little Ray" Goulet and his wife Sheri Goulet. At their new location in Hamilton, they host one of the largest sanctuaries in Ontario for unwanted reptiles. Meanwhile, the renovated Ottawa location features 25 permanent exhibits, a nature centre, and a hands-on room. Born from the joy Little Ray experienced sharing his personal collection of reptiles with school children, the zoo now encompasses a variety of exhibits and daily feeding demonstrations showcasing more than 150 animals.
The expert staff—which has trained keepers at other animal facilities on proper husbandry and correct presentation—safely introduces visitors to the animals which include giant snakes, tarantulas, and more. The zoo is open daily for corporate groups, birthday parties, and everyday animal lovers to tour the reptile environs and educational displays. The reptile zoo hosts large private-party and function rooms and a jungle spa where pythons receive hydrating wraps to combat scaly skin.