Family fun ideas in the GTA (Toronto)

Living in the GTA we are blessed with crazy amounts of fun activities for kids that I never understood people who are wanting ideas. It’s a simple google search and the options are huge. Having said that not all will be worth your time or money, so based on my obsessive drive to keep my 7 year old stimulated every weekend (I do think he can benefit from periods of boredom occasionally) I have come up with what I think are good options, especially for the summer months. These are also places for me to unwind and be a kid as well (actually come to think o fit, it’s more for me than for him). So here are a few big ones:

  • Canada’s wonderland – Everyone knows this one, get a season’s pass, well worth the money if you make at least two trips (and you get food discounts, which pretty much covers the parking fee that you will pay). I know the queues are crazy, but if at least once you play hooky and take a day off work, while your kid has a Scholl PD day, and go on an overcast day – you’ll be able to go on any ride without so much as a minute wait. Even if there is a drizzle, it’s actually better than a hot sunny day and a lot less hectic.
  • Marineland/Clifton Hill – I have reservations about this place, especially given the animal cruelty angle. But plenty of other rides and things to do (even though your entrance fee is supporting the whole park). I would similarly do what was suggested to wonderland, it’s less crowded overall but queues can be a bit long. Combine it for a stay in Niagara falls and go to Clifton Hill, which I find actually much more entertaining with their Haunted Houses, and Ripley’s Museum.
  • African Lion Safari – much less crowded than the above two, and has a decent water park. So even if you go just for that, well worth the entry fee. My 7 year old could do with the water park for the full day easy. Fraction of the price of other water parks and less crowded.
  • Great wolf Lodge – all-inclusive resort in Niagara Falls with lots of water park activities and with a themed cottagey feel the kids will love, a night or two will do it. Go late summer (August) or late spring (May) for better prices and worth taking off a weekday or two.
  • Medieval Times – Downtown near Dufferin, great food and show that will keep them busy for at least 3 hours and another 2 hours in your house just talking about it and recreating it. You’ll get into it too, great service and staff. Parking is available close by for a price.

Other options that aren’t often though of:

  • Mini-put Golf (all over the GTA, we have one in Oakville nearby on Winston Churchill and Dundas)
  • Ripley’s Aquarium downtown
  • CNE late summer season, full of carnival games and shows
  • Kelso Provincial Park in Milton, canoeing and lots of great outdoors beauty and activities
  • Ontario Place – Mainly for the Imax Cinesphere movie, but the kids can run around in the nearby grounds or do a paddle boat (they will eventually update this place to make better use of its prime real-estate…eventually)
  • Dave and Busters for food and games, the arcade bill will rack up fairly quickly though
  • Playdium, not the cheapest but will keep them busy (and hyper stimulated) for a good few hours depending on how many tokens you get
  • Casa Loma at night especially is a wonder, kids will love the atmosphere and so will you. Great photo op and perfect for a family night out. Lots of kid related events in the summer.
  • Ontario Science Centre, a great place – outdated slightly but that ads to it’s overall charm, kids will love it regardless, a no fail spot.
  • Toronto Zoo- Another great option in the City, can get crowded as well in peak summer season, so choose your timing well.
  • Library events, parks, and festivals all year round will keep them buys as well, just keep in eye out in the local paper and TV ads.
  • Reptile Museum in Vaughan is also an out there option for those kids who enjoy different sorts of entertainment.
  • You also have the CN Tower, the Lego City in Vaughan Mills, fruit picking and farm tours.

So no excuses, you guys have any other ideas worth noting?


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