Top 5 Museums in Kitchener-Waterloo
Greetings! Welcome to the WRX Property Group website and blog.
The time has come, once more, for us to take a good long look at Kitchener-Waterloo and discuss another part of what makes it great.
Stepping aside from our standard fare of questions pertaining to buying a home in Kitchener-Waterloo, let’s dive into one of humanity’s defining, most fundamental questions; a question that generations of philosophers, explorers, and people looking for something to do on the weekend have tried to answer: What are the 5 best museums in Kitchener-Waterloo?
5. THEMUSEUM in Kitchener
Sometimes, something’s so special it just needs to be spelled out entirely in capital letters. THEMUSEUM is one such special something.
THEMUSEUM opened in 2003, right in the heart of downtown Kitchener. It has a wide range of exhibits and events throughout the year, and its consistent rotation of special exhibitions makes it worth more than one visit.
You can view their website here.
4. City of Waterloo Museum in Waterloo
Conestoga Mall is the largest mall in the City of Waterloo, and it’s got a bit of everything: various cuisines in its food court, a variety of shops, a grocery store, a theatre, and more. But did you know that Conestoga Mall also has a museum?
It’s true: just off of the food court is the small but precious City of Waterloo Museum. Yes, it’s basically one big room, but it’s jam packed with interesting tidbits from Waterloo’s history, including an entertaining display of Waterloo’s illustrious former mayors.
Oh, and admission is free, which is always a plus. You can check out current and upcoming special exhibitions here, as well as hours of operation.
3. Homer Watson House and Gallery in Kitchener
If you live in Kitchener-Waterloo, Homer Watson is probably a name you’re pretty familiar with. Homer Watson Boulevard is, after all, one of Kitchener’s longest, most important streets, winding all the way from Highway 8 down to the 401.
But before Homer Watson was a boulevard, Homer Watson was a man: a man who happens to be one of Canada’s most celebrated painters of all time.
Homer Watson was born in Doon in 1855 (Doon is now the southernmost part of Kitchener), and he dedicated his life to capturing the rugged beauty he saw in the Canadian landscape.
At Homer Watson House and Gallery, you can discover the man behind the paintings, enjoy a great variety of Homer Watson’s paintings in ever-changing galleries, and attend a variety of classes (there are programs for children, adults, and seniors).
Homer Watson House features excellent temporary exhibitions throughout the year, as well, including particularly exciting opportunities to meet modern artists and hear them discuss their craft.
Featured artists work in a variety of mediums, and bring a great deal of passion and enthusiasm during the ‘Meet the Artist’ talks.
Check out the Homer Watson House and Gallery website here for more details.
2. Earth Sciences Museum in Waterloo
Waterloo has a well-earned reputation as a university town; there are two universities within the city (University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier), plus Conestoga College and the University of Guelph not too far away.
This museum happens to reside within the University of Waterloo, so it’s not just a fun place to visit, but it’s also a great chance to see how the university itself operates.
The Earth Sciences Museum dates back to 1967 (it was conceived of as a Canadian centennial project), and it’s grown and transformed since then. The museum is marked by its passionate, educated staff, and some of the most exciting exhibits in the TriCities.
Do you like dinosaurs and ancient animals? Well, you can come here to take a look at their bones! They’ve got dinosaurs of all different shapes and sizes, and you can also use your phone to enjoy an augmented reality exhibit on the Mastodon, the extinct elephant that once roamed the Americas.
Do you like Minecraft? Well, you can check out the mining exhibit, which features a replica mining tunnel, mine carts, and more. Do you like rocks? Well, you better believe they’ve got rocks; indeed, some of the fanciest rocks you’ll ever see!
Plus a scaled-down depiction of the Great Lakes with actual flowing water, carved right into a slab of granite. In all honesty, Earth Sciences Museum might not be a name that jumps out at you right away – but this museum is very much worth a visit.
There are some truly amazing things to see, and you can even take part in a free guided tour, if that’s your thing. Check out their website here.
Several of the ‘museums’ in Kitchener were already included in our Top 5 Historic Sites in Kitchener list, as they’re both functioning museums and historic sites.
So specific, honourable mention goes to: Woodside National Historic Site and Schneider Haus National Historic Site.
As for the Doon Heritage Village…
1. Waterloo Region Museum in Kitchener
If you’ve ever been in the southern part of Kitchener, driving north along Homer Watson Boulevard (I told you that street was important!), then it’s quite likely you noticed a distinct building with row upon row of colourful rectangles on its outer wall.
That distinctive, colourful building happens to be the Waterloo Region Museum, and it’s the Number 1 museum in all of Kitchener-Waterloo (according to WRX)! Why is it the Number 1 museum in all of Kitchener-Waterloo?
For one thing, it’s got an incredible main gallery that mixes the informative and interesting with the interactive and exhilarating.
Exhibits range from historic displays (it covers the 12,000 years of human settlement in the Waterloo region) to more modern and scientific (like why Kitchener-Waterloo is such a technological hub).
Its Wild Weather exhibit is extremely entertaining: you get to unravel the mysteries behind some of the most severe weather on earth, with a variety of immersive displays (including creating a mini tornado).
It’s clear that a lot of time and care goes into each exhibit, and you’re sure to walk away having learned something new, and having had a great time.
All of this was enough to secure the Number 1 position; but wait, there’s more!
Connected to the Waterloo Region Museum (and covered by the same admission fee) is the wonderful Doon Heritage Village. This is a full-sized (60 acres!), ‘functioning’ village that recreates life as it was in Doon, in 1914.
It has over a dozen unique buildings that are open to explore, and it’s populated by passionate, knowledgeable ‘interpreters’ dressed in period clothing and acting the park of early twentieth-century Doon villagers (Dooners?). It’s enjoyable for all ages, incredibly immersive, and a great deal.
One price covers admission to the Waterloo Region Museum, the Doon Heritage Village, and also the Waterloo Region Hall of Fame (it’s what it sounds like). Find out more on their website here.
Well, there you have it: the top 5 museums in Kitchener-Waterloo! If you’re keen for even more places to check out, be sure to have a look at the Top 5 Historic Sites in Kitchener, the Best Parks in Waterloo, and the Best Parks in Kitchener!
And as always, if you’re looking for information on buying or selling a home in Kitchener-Waterloo, please feel free to contact us – we’re happy to help.
Written by Will Kummer