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Hot Attraction

Star Wars Identities: The Exhibition

Opening this weekend is one of THE MOST ANTICIPATED attractions of the year at the TELUS World of Science —  Star Wars Identities: The Exhibition. WHERE Edmonton attended an exclusive preview, and we think it looks absolutely phenomenal — a definite must-see attraction! The exhibit will be open daily from October 27, 2012 – April 1, 2013.

Can you spot the Star Wars Identities poster? Even Sheldon would be excited by this awesome exhibit! Screen shot courtesy of CBS from The Big Bang Theory, “The Date Night Variable” (Original air date: September 27, 2012)

Fans of the  series will not want to miss the rare opportunity to see some priceless props and memorabilia from the films; every item in the show is an authentic prop or artifact – not a replica – used in the films or in the production of the films. Over 200 artifacts are on display, including Han Solo in carbonate, one of the puppets used for Yoda, Anakin Skywalker’s pod racer, and props used in the original three films before CGI effects were available. Many artifacts are being exhibited for the first time, including the collection of the four original Stormtrooper helmets that are being displayed together for the first time outside of the studio and the Skywalker Ranch.

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Hot Attraction: Delving into Natural Disasters at the Museum of Nature

“Nature Unleashed” at the Canadian Museum of Nature gives visitors an inside look at natural disasters.

The Canadian Museum of Nature presents “Nature Unleashed: Inside Natural Disasters,” a vivid and dynamic exhibit that brings the reality of natural disasters to life. The exhibit explores the science behind tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes and volcanoes, and shines a light on the impact they have on human lives and the resilient and powerful stories of those who survived them. The displays are highly immersive and interactive: visitors can create a virtual volcano, trigger an earthquake, stand inside a roaring tornado, and see real geological specimens and remains of past disasters. On now until May 5.

Canadian Museum of Nature, 240 McLeod St., 613-566-4700, www.nature.ca

Hot Attraction: Downtown Rideau

Photo credit: Nina Iouguina

Dining, entertainment, and shopping — what more could you ask for? Downtown Rideau spans a 23-block area and includes 475 businesses and organizations that contribute to the eclectic urban vibe. Some highlights from this district include the two-storey Urban Outfitters store (the only one in Ottawa), the Rideau Centre (home to 180 stores), an assortment of restaurants, and artistic venues such as the National Arts Centre and the Ottawa Art Gallery. The beauty about this area: you can buy an outfit, go out to dinner, and catch a show, all within a few blocks.

Photo credit: Nina Iouguina

Hot Attraction: One of the Top 10 Spookiest Buildings in the World

Who goes there? The Ottawa Jail Hostel is both a place to rent a room, and a former jail.

If you visit Ottawa on a budget, you just might find yourself spending a night in jail — by choice. The Ottawa Jail Hostel was once a working jail (and is a good choice for those who want a cheaper stay and an experience to write home about). Guests have their choice of a solitary or double jail cell, and Haunted Walks holds a one-hour “Crime and Punishment” tour for the public that includes the old death row. No wonder travel experts at Lonely Planet named this spot one of the top 10 spookiest buildings in the world.

Hot Attraction: Whales Take Over the Canadian Museum of Nature

These mounted sperm-whale skeletons are one of the breathtaking features of the new exhibit. Photo credit: © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, 2008.

Dive into the ocean with “Whales Tohorā,” a blockbuster exhibit on view at the Canadian Museum of Nature starting March 2. The spotlight is on whales in the South Pacific — the diversity, biology, and adaptation of these mammals; the impact humans have on them; and the special relationship between whales and the Māori people of New Zealand, who view these creatures as both friends and food. Discover how science and culture overlap, and prepare to be wowed by the sheer size of two mounted sperm-whale skeletons that are a central to this fascinating exhibition.

Hot Attraction: Animals Up Close at Parc Oméga

Wolves are just one of the types animals you can spot on a visit to Parc Oméga.

If you’re willing to drive about an hour and twenty minutes east of Ottawa, you’ll be rewarded with a highly unique experience that brings you face to face with the animal kingdom. Located in the beautiful area of Montebello, Quebec, is Parc Oméga, an 1,800-acre park where wild animals such as bison, deer, wolves, and boar roam free. As you drive along a 10 km circuit, animals will come right up to your car (especially if you hold a carrot out the window!). Available year-round, rain or snow, this outdoor activity is magical for children and adults alike.

Hot Attraction: Exploring the Stately Parliament Hill

The Hall of Honour is just one of the historic sites you'll see in guided tours of Parliament Hill. Photo credit: Copyright Library of Parliament / Mone Cheng.

Still got visitors in town? Take them to Parliament Hill for an inside look at this Canadian landmark (and iconic Ottawa site). Enjoy free guided tours of Centre Block, which is home to the Hall of Honour (featured), the Senate, the House of Commons, and the Library of Parliament. Explore the role of the country’s national legislature, as well as its rich history and architecture, and be sure sure to check out “The Games: A Moment of Pride” in the Library of Parliament. This  Olympic display showcases a pair of torches and two sets of medals that were gifted to the Canadian people to commemorate the success of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. See website for holiday schedule.

Hot Attraction: Get In the Know with Guided Tours of Downtown Ottawa

Ottawa Walking Tours are offered year-round, rain or shine. Photo credit: Sabin Munteanu.

Get to know intimate details of the city with Ottawa Walking Tours. With the popular “Historical Highlights” tour, you’ll spend two hours exploring places that have played a part in history, seeing the city’s beautiful architecture, learning about colourful political characters, and even getting recommendations on where to grab a bite to eat. Not only that, but these guided walks also relate important landmarks back to everyday life. Some favourite spots include the Press Corps, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Supreme Court of Canada, the Prime Minister’s Offices, and more. Get your camera ready! Reservations required.

Hot Attraction: The Backstreet Boys at Calypso Waterpark

The Fast Track at Calypso Waterpark.

You may already know Calypso Waterpark is the place to beat the heat this summer, and if you’re a fan of a little band known as the Backstreet Boys, you’ll want to make a special trip there on Aug. 3, when three members of the group (Brian, Howie, and Nick) will be making appearances on the slides and signing autographs (does it get any better?). And even if you miss the Boys, head to this waterpark on a sunny day for its plethora of winding waterslides (which includes the highest freestanding waterslide in North America), its river run and whitewater experience, and Canada’s largest wave pool (it can comfortably hold 2,000 people!). Plus with lockers, restaurants, picnic areas, and a fingerprint virtual wallet system, you can cool off stress-free.

Hot Attraction: Step Back in Time at Upper Canada Village

Feel like you've stepped back in time at Upper Canada Village.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Upper Canada Village. Costumed interpreters look like they’ve just arrived from the 19th century and there are more than 25 historical buildings to see. You can watch the local blacksmith make horseshoes and tools, explore the local tavern, and visit the Gazette Printing Office, a functioning example of a printing press from the 1860s. Be sure to check out special weekend events such as a heritage carnival (Aug. 6 and 7), an antique car show (Aug. 14), and a food lovers’ weekend with period meals (Aug. 13 and 14).

Hot Attraction: Sound and Light Show on Parliament Hill

Stunning visuals highlight Canada's story. Photo credit: NCC/CCN.

This summer, Parliament Hill is the site of a powerful and fascinating performance about the physical, historical, and cultural landscapes of Canada in the Sound and Light Show: Mosaika. The Peace Tower and Centre Block make a formidable projection screen at 143 metres long and six storeys high. Music, narration, and stunning visual effects outline the people, values, and achievements of our nation. Bring the whole family, a blanket or some lawn chairs, and settle in for an unforgettable journey through this free, nightly, one-of-a-kind show.

Hot Attraction: Canada Aviation and Space Museum

The museum offers biplane tours during the summer.

Check out two new fascinating exhibits at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. In “Living in Space,” you can learn about daily life among the stars and what it’s like to live on the International Space Station, while “Green Skies Ahead” explores the revolutionary eco-friendly technology that will change aviation as we know it. Even cooler, now that the weather is nice, visitors can take an awe-inspiring journey over Ottawa in a 1930s-era biplane. Strap on your flying goggles and bundle up, because this open cockpit plane is the experience of a lifetime. Flight packages range from $60 to $160, and are worth every penny.