You may not know it, but I grew up in Ottawa and have lived here almost all of my life. Ever since I can remember, I have heard people say that there is nothing for kids to do here. There were definitely moments growing up when I would agree with that statement. As a parent now, though, I realize my children have so many opportunities and options in our town. With these thoughts on my mind, I decided to try to list all the different activities and organizations that offer programs for children and their families. As you can see by the list below, there are many choices in Ottawa for children and families.
- Parks-playgrounds, skate park, basketball courts, disc golf, trails, etc.
- Ottawa Recreation Commission—Programs year round for ALL ages
- Forest Park Pool
- Goppert Building-indoor courts, indoor walking trail, weights
- Pickle Ball Court
- The Rink
- Skywalkers Gymnastics
- Dance Studios: Studio H, Make Your Move, & Spotlight Dance
- Great Life-golf, indoor exercise facility, pool tables, and outdoor pool
- Ottawa Community Art Council
- Ottawa Youth Arts Alliance—arts, LEGO Robotics, STEM
- Blue Giraffe Art Studio—offers classes for variety of ages
- Suzuki Strings
- 4H—multiple active clubs in the county
- Boy Scouts
- Girl Scouts
- Old Depot Museum
- Plaza Cinema
- Ottawa Memorial Auditorium (OMA)—free movie nights, concerts, special performances and programs
- Prairie Spirit Trail & Flint Hills Nature Trail—walking, hiking, biking, and running
- Ottawa Bike & Trail—New business offers bike rentals and/or tours
- Tiny K-activities for birth-3 years
- Churches—some offer a weekly AWANA program
- Prairie Paws Animal Shelter—Volunteer
- Ottawa Library—Youth Council (Ages 12-18 years)
- Ottawa Library—offers multiple programs for birth-adults
- I’m sure I am not listing ALL the opportunities that are available here in Ottawa for your children
It also amazes me that people seem shocked when I share all that the Ottawa Library offers its patrons. Comments like “I didn’t realize you did that much” or “I haven’t been in the library for years” are not uncommon. Yes, the library staff provides hundreds of programs throughout the year, and we are thankful for all the organizations and individuals who support us and/or partner with us.
Take a look at January 2019 statistics for the Children’s Department.
- Birth to 5 years: 38 programs offered with 690 participants.
- 6-11 years: 10 programs offered with 163 participants.
- 15 preschool classrooms visited in Ottawa.
- Meet & Eat (free meals for PreK-12th grade): 49 meals served. Offered meals 9 days.
Partnerships- Reach for the Stars afterschool program, Apple Garden, USD 290, COF, Harvesters, Small Steps, Faith Lutheran, Headstart, Sacred Heart, ORC, Lil’Sprouts, Kiwanis of Ottawa 2.0, and Rotary.
Hopefully, you will be able to find activities from the many listed options that work for your family. And remember….we would love to have you join us for those activities and programs given by the library.
Events can be found on What’s Up Ottawa KS and the Ottawa Library website.