Looking for something new and exciting to do with the family that doesn’t include long car rides and endless “are we there yet”? Here are 25 top picks of fun, interactive and educational activities to suit every age group.
1. Ostrich Land:
Get to West Lincoln to this Ostrich Farm! Through the dirt and wooded trails meet Prince Charles the Ostrich who thinks he is a person and his lovely Mary. Visit to an incubator room, say hello to the youngest chicks, some only a few days old, in the kindergarten area; feed the year-old teenage group and buy a variety of Ostrich-related products in from the shop including toys, lotions, soaps, and leather products.
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Day Trip to Cobourg.
2. Credit Valley Explorer:
Plan a trip aboard Southern Ontario’s Most Scenic Rail Tour! Known for rolling hills, deep valleys, unsurpassed fall colours and being the headwaters of four major river systems, the Hills of Headwaters region provides a wonderful backdrop for the Credit Valley Explorer’s journey. Scenic highlights include the 1,146 foot long railway trestle bridge spanning the Credit Valley and the Forks of the Credit river, and the Forks of the Credit Provincial Park at Cataract. Most mid-day scenic tours make a rest stop in the village of Inglewood to let passengers enjoy the charms of this quaint rural community.
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3. St Thomas and Elgin County:
Elgin County situated on the Northern banks of Lake Eerie, Elgin County is a family fun destination with blue flag certified sandy beaches and natural areas. Elgin County is approximately 2 hours drive from Toronto, Brampton & Mississauga; half an hour from London and an hour from Kitchener.
Have a fun filled morning with taking rides on the train (Thomas Train also visits St Thomas, so if tickets are sold out at Uxbridge, you can try here) and explore Elgin County Railway Museum. Get down to Port Stanley Beach by late afternoon and have whale of a time at the beach.
If you want to make it a weekend (or another need another day trip idea):
Next day, tour the historic Port Burwell Marine Museum & Lighthouse. Climb to the top of Canada’s oldest wooden lighthouse. The last stop is Clovermead Adventure Farm, enjoy fun family farm activities, get lost in bale maze and see Ontario’s largest glass bee display hive. The farm visit requires about half a day. If kids want to have another beach day, get to the lighthouse as second part of the day and visit Port Burwell Provincial Park beach.
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4. Streetcar Museum:
Take a 2km ride on a vintage streetcar and learn about trams, interurban trains and suburban light rail vehicles from decades past that have been preserved by the Ontario Electric Railway Historical Association. Many of the trains you may recognize as props from period TV and movie productions like Anne of Green Gables and Cinderella Man.
5. Explore Justin Bieber’s Stratford:
Famous for their world-renowned Shakespeare festival but did you know they are also home to pop icon Justin Bieber! And now visitors can literally walk in his footsteps following a specially detailed map showing all his childhood haunts like favorite ice cream parlor to the schools he attended.
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Museum of Steam and Technology: Experience Canada’s Industrial Revolution inside a 19th century architectural landmark where two 70-ton steam powered water pumping engines have been preserved. Throughout the year there are various permanent and changing exhibits as well as special family events like Live Steamer Days from May to October. [instagram url=https://www.instagram.com/p/BVNG5xQnSjF/ hidecaption=true width=800]
Hamilton Children’s Museum: Discover exhibits, workshops and special programs designed to stretch the imagination of kids and adults with engaging and exciting hands-on activities. Learn through play as you touch, build and experiment in this family friendly, child-focused environment.
7. Niagara’s Glen:
Hike this gem of a conservation area along the Niagara River located in the Niagara Gorge. Spot passengers of Whirlpool jet tours braving the rapids, as you walk along the seven separate marked trails that offer spectacular views of the Niagara River, and the American side of the gorge. The gorge and whirlpool were created about six to seven thousand years ago as the Niagara River slowly eroded its way through the Niagara Escarpment.
8. St. Jacobs Country:
Located in the heart of Mennonite country, this, out of the ordinary destination, is popular for its quaint village, Mennonite heritage and the oldest farmers market in Canada. Visit the Mennonite Story to learn history and culture, stop by the Aberfoyle Model Railway, Maple Syrup museum and train exhibit and enjoy a theatre performance by Drayton Entertainment. Finish your visit with some time at the Old Order Mennonite Farm via horse-drawn trolley.
9. Bell Homestead:
One of Ontario’s oldest historic museums, this homestead was once the site of the most important scientific breakthroughs in history. Enter the home of Alexander Graham Bell and see the spot where he was struck with inspiration of his most famous invention, the telephone! A tour by one of the staff will provide an entertaining and educational experience in addition to kid’s day camps held throughout the year.
10. African Lion Safari:
Go on a wild safari as you drive through the games reserve and get up close and personal with over 1,000 exotic birds and animals from around the world that roam freely. Take your own vehicle or join one of the Safari Tour Buses for an educational tour.
11. Sainte-Marie among the Hurons:
Can you imagine what life was like as a pioneer settler in 1639? This site once the headquarters for the French Jesuit Mission to the Huron Wendat people offers a glimpse of Ontario’s first European community totaling 66 people. Take a tour at the interpretive centre and find out why the community was forced to flee and burn all their homes.
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12. Bonnechere Caves:
One of the most dramatic cave systems in Southern Ontario. On a guided tour discover thousands of years of geological history including fossils and water-hewn rock formations of these natural underground wonders. Don’t forget a camera with a good flash because the visuals are stunning.
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13. Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory:
Wander through a 10,080 square foot, lush year-round tropical world with thousands of free flying colourful butterflies. Meet a vast collection of live exotic bugs, 85 species of tropical plants, waterfalls, streams and an ever-changing collection of birds. See how bees produce honey at the Honey Bee Observation Hive and sample some of the product at the café.
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Pickering is not a destination that comes to mind when you think of a day trip from Toronto. Pack a picnic basket and start your day by visiting Pickering Museum Village, the largest living history pioneer village in Durham Region, consisting of 19 heritage buildings from 1810-1920, gardens, and orchards. After your trip to the past, make your way to Petticoat Creek Conservation Area, enjoy walks by the waterfront trail, and take a dip in the outdoor pool!
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15. Formula Kartways:
Challenge each other to a fun and exciting day racing around the indoor track, with extra-wide lanes making it suitable for all levels. Open 364 days a year, pick your car, wait for the green light and step on the gas, the only speed is fast! For a real thrill, try the glow-in-the-dark racing.
16. Farms around GTA:
Fun Farms in GTA
Haute Goat Farm:
Experience the magic of this 200-acre farm and interact with the cute and playful Nigerian Dwarf goats, alpacas, chickens and horses. Breath the fresh country air and take a stroll through and enchanted shitake mushroom forest. End your day by sampling some tasty homemade premium goat milk goodies and taking home some luxurious skin care products from the farm gate store.
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17. Storybook Gardens:
Whisk yourselves away to a wonderful world of nursery rhymes and fairytales. Be enchanted by this magical place where your favourite storybook characters come to life and adventure begins. A village of imagination awaits inside the park with rides and themed attractions to entertain you the whole day.
18. Santas Village:
Celebrating 60 years of fun, this 60 acre entertainment park located half way between the equator and the North Pole along the Muskoka River offers two exciting parks and a great campground. Experience the joy of Christmas all summer long with loads of fun activities like rides, beach and splash pad, aerial challenges a playground and more.
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19. Indian River Reptile Zoo:
Canada’s unique reptile zoo is the only accredited and registered not for profit zoological facility and sanctuary of its kind in North America. Interact and learn about boas, pythons, rattlesnakes, vipers, cobras, turtles, lizards, crocs and much more with interactive displays, nature walks, educational lectures and even a bone yard! For a special experience come at night to see the nocturnal critters come to life.
Don’t forget to visit Lang Pioneer Village on your way!
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20. Point Pelee National Park:
Experience nature like never before! Situated at the southern extreme of mainland Canada, Point Pelee National Park is a sanctuary supporting a jungle-like forest, lush wetlands and open savannah. Bike the 4.5km trail, stroll along the boardwalk into the largest freshwater marshes left on the Great Lakes or paddle the wetlands looking for beavers, turtles, muskrats and more. View flocks of migratory birds in spring, waves of Monarch butterflies in autumn and bask on sandy beaches in summer.
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Well, there is Canada’s Wonderland, Legoland, Reptilia, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kortright Centre for Conservation, and Boyd Conservation Area for a weekend of fun for the whole family!
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There is a new waterpark in Brampton! Enjoy a thrilling day at the 45 acre water park with its tropical theme! Blast through two high-energy water slides with serpentine curves, steep slopes, and a wide-open bowl named Hurricane and Typhoon or blast through Krazy Kanuck – one with back-to-back curves, drops, and vortex loops, and the other with a steep chute and curved wall that will leave riders hanging in zero gravity!
or if you want to get close to nature, get to Heart Lake Conservation Area! From fishing in the lake or frolicking at the pool and splash pad, to speeding above the water on one of the twin zip lines, Heart Lake offers all the best in outdoor entertainment.
23. Hilton Falls Conservation Area:
Hike through the remains of remains of three 19th century saw mills that supplied lumber to the Nassagaweya Township.Follow the Hilton Falls trail to see the waterfalls. Hunt for geocaches and feed the adorable Chickadees!
24. Port Colborne:
Explore Lake Erie Shore by bike, discover the incredible shrinking mill, enjoy a walk along the Port Promenade and discover the shops of Historic West Street and the Downtown Business District, witness the exhilarating sight of an international “Saltie” or “Laker” as it slips through the Welland Canal and head for Nickel Beach for relaxing evening by the water or to build sandcastles! [instagram url=https://www.instagram.com/p/BVlDsvqhCK6/ hidecaption=true width=800]
Wait, what! Scarborough??? Have you explored Scarborough? From the famed Scarborough Bluffs to the beach and marina in Bluffers Park to Toronto’s only camping ground and National Park to the famous Guildwood Park, Rosetta McClean Gardens and the Toronto Zoo, you can plan a whole weekend here!