Editor’s Note: During this period of social distancing, Group Tour magazine will continue to provide group travel inspiration. Many attractions and destinations are closed at this time; please contact them directly for updated information. 

The Canadian Museum of Nature is the place to discover Canada’s natural world and its rich biodiversity. Located in a beautiful castle in downtown Ottawa, Ontario, the museum offers five floors of new, interactive galleries and changing special exhibitions that showcase the wonders of nature.

Some of the many highlights include the Fossil Gallery that features over 30 complete skeletons from the Late Cretaceous period, the height of the age of dinosaurs. There’s a complete skeleton of a giant blue whale in the Water Gallery. The amazing Earth Gallery holds many cool interactives and a walk-through limestone cave. The Canada Goose Arctic Gallery gives a complete perspective of life in Canada’s North. Visitors can experience hundreds of colorful butterflies in a live butterfly house that reopens in April 2021.

“Nature is a subject that is near and dear to people’s hearts,” said Lorna Sierolawski, lead, group sales and marketing. “And now, understanding and appreciating nature has never been more important. The museum is the place to gain a greater understanding of the different habitats and biodiversity of Canada — a perfect overview for first-time visitors!”

Canadian Museum of Nature
Credit: © Martin Lipman, Canadian Museum of Nature

Sierolawski noted the Canadian Museum of Nature has received international acclaim for its historic castle-like building and for its world-class galleries. For example, the Canada Goose Arctic Gallery was designated an Ontario Signature Experience. And Forbes.com listed the museum as one of Eight Canadian Museums You Have to Visit.

For a group on a tight schedule, a guided tour is a great way to explore the galleries in more depth with one of the museum’s experienced tour guides.

Groups can select from one of two one-hour guided tours. The Gallery Highlights Tour offers a choice of three permanent galleries to visit. And the Hands-On Polar Bear Tour lets groups visit the Mammal and Arctic galleries and learn fascinating facts about the polar bear, the icon of the North.

“Our guided tours always get rave reviews,” Sierolawski said. “I think that’s because we give so much context to the exhibits and tell stories related to how the objects were discovered, or how they are cared for. It really makes the museum experience for people to get the ‘back stories.’

“I hope groups enjoy exploring the museum and that they learn something new,” she continued. “And beyond that, I hope they gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the beauty, rich diversity and fragility of our natural world.

Credit: Canadian Museum of Nature

Sierolawski recommended groups allow time for lunch at the museum before or after the tour. Special menus are available for groups with at least 15 people.

Motorcoach parking is available adjacent to the museum, and there is a group entrance.

For more on the Canadian Museum of Nature, call 800-263-4433 or go to nature.ca.