Ready, Set, Play!

Canada's major cities and surrounding regions offer up all sorts of options for families looking to find a destination with something for everyone in the group! Whether your interests lie with fun, interactive science, great times outdoors, or rides and games, Canada's got you covered!

Canadian National Exhibition

Toronto

 

1. Santa's Village Family Entertainment Park

Only two hours drive north of Toronto in Bracebridge, this family entertainment park is Santa's summer home! Santa is in residence everyday of the summer to greet visitors to his village. Nestled in a natural forest setting, the park offers games, rides and an amphitheater. Visitors may also feed Santa's deer and goats, cruise the Muskoka River, try paddleboats, ride on Santa's train or make a craft in the workshop! Camping and Sportland (batting cages, mini-golf, laser tag) are add-ons to this adventure.

 

1624 Golden Beach Rd., Bracebridge ON P1L 1W8. Hours: Daily 10am-6pm, late June to Mid-September; Admission: Adults/students: $27; seniors: $22; children ages 2-4: $22; children under 2: Free

 

2. Ontario Place

Located on three artificially constructed islands on Lake Ontario, Ontario Place is a seasonal entertainment complex complete with a Cinesphere IMAX theater, walking trails, water park, rides, games, all different types of food fare, bumper boats, paddleboats, kid's live stage and the Molson Amphitheater where concerts are held. The Festival of Fire fireworks displays take place here during the month of July.

 

955 Lake Shore Blvd. West, Toronto, ON M6K 3B9. Hours: Daily 10am-varies, late May to October; Admission: Adults/students: $33.50; seniors: $17.75; children ages 4-5: $17.75; children under 4: Free.

 

3. Canada's Wonderland

Boasting over 200 attractions, Canada's Wonderland truly offers something for everyone. Kidzville has rides, games and shows galore for the youngest set. There are 15 roller coasters and a Drop Zone, as well as tons of arcade and skill games for teens and adults, not to mention a huge water park, live shows, shopping, and restaurants for the whole family. Concerts and cultural festivals are also featured throughout the summer. On the weekends preceding Halloween, Canada's Wonderland offers up the bone-chilling special event Halloween Haunt. Lockers, change rooms, and picnic areas are available.

 

9580 Jane St., Vaughan ON L6A 1S6. Hours: Daily 10am-varies, May to Labor Day, weekends in September/October; Admission: Adults/children (over 48" tall): $43.49; seniors: $33.59; children ages 3 and up (under 48" tall): $33.59; children under 3: Free.

 

4. Ontario Science Center

The OSC mission is "To delight, inform and challenge visitors through engaging and thought-provoking experiences in science and technology." Since its inception in 1969 it has been achieving this as an interactive science museum. Before you even enter the doors, there are displays to tinker with. Once inside, the OSC offers a total hands-on, educational experience for children in Kids Spark, a special Challenge Zone section for teens, and lots of informative, interesting experiences for adults. There is an onsite restaurant and IMAX theater to round out the visit!

 

770 Don Mills Rd., North York, ON M3C 1T3. Hours: Daily 10am-6pm; Admission: Adults: $18; seniors/students: $13.50; children ages 4-12: $11; children under 4 free.

 

5. Canadian National Exhibition

The CNE is offers up an abundance of fun! There is a kiddie midway, regular midway with thrilling rides, skill and arcade games, an onsite casino, a park with special play structures and activities for the kids, and even a nightclub! One pavilion is completely devoted to foods from all over the globe, and concerts take place at the Molson Amphitheater next door! If you go at the right time, you may even find yourself in the middle of a mini-Mardi Gras parade, or catching the Toronto Air Show! From agriculture and the horse show, to exhibits, vendors, and the garden show, there is truly something for everyone! Admission to the fair is free with concert tickets.

 

210 Princes' Blvd., Toronto, ON M6K 3C3. Hours: Daily 10am-midnight, August 20-September 6; Admission: TBA.

 

Montreal/Ottawa

 

6. Museum of Science and Technology

People of all ages who tour this Ottawa museum will be thrilled with its collection, as well as the permanent, temporary and traveling exhibits, special events, workshops and demonstrations. Rather than stand back and look, visitors are encouraged to experience science and technology first-hand as they learn about transportation, astronomy, communications, space, domestic technology and computer technology, and how it relates to Canada and its citizens. Special activities for kids are offered, and there is a boutique onsite to pick up an interesting souvenir!

 

1867 St. Laurent Blvd., Ottawa, ON K1G 5A3. Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 9am-5pm; Admission: Adults: $9; seniors/students: $6; children ages 4-14: $4; Children under 4: Free.

 

7. La Ronde

A Six Flags amusement park, La Ronde's facility opened for Expo '67 and grew to offer over 40 attractions including rides, games and one of North America's highest and fastest roller coasters, The Goliath. The park also boasts an astonishing diving show, and the wonderful Le Pays de Ribambelle area for families. Extra paid attractions include the Eurobungy, rock-climbing wall, slingshot, catapult, and go-karts! There are plenty of dining and snack options, too.

 

22 Chemin Macdonald, Île Sainte-Hélène, Montréal QC H3C 6A3. Hours: Varies - see website, Open mid-May to Labor Day, weekends in September/October; Admission: Adults/children (over 54" tall): $34.87; seniors: $25.50; children ages 3 and up (under 54" tall): $25.50; children under 3: Free

 

Vancouver

 

8. Playland/Pacific National Exhibition

The 15-acre amusement park known as Playland opened in 1910, was dubbed 'Happyland' in 1926, and became a division of the Pacific National Exhibition in 1993. Today, the park remains a huge draw for thrill seekers with all of its rides and games, and most especially its marquee attraction the Wooden Coaster designed in 1958. Playland also offers an arcade, mini-golf, shows, kiddie area, store and restaurants. Concerts, trade shows and cultural events add to the fun each season, as do the annual Fright Nights at Halloween. The Pacific National Exhibition with all of its attractions, rides and games operates alongside Playland for two weeks near the end of August each summer.

 

2901 East Hastings St., Vancouver, BC V5K 5J1. Hours: Daily 10am-varies - see website, Open end of April to mid-September, weekends near Halloween; Admission: Adults/children (over 48" tall): $31.45; children ages 4 and up (under 48" tall): $20.95; seniors (65+) and children under 4: Free

 

9. Splashdown Park

Greater Vancouver's only waterslide park, Splashdown offers attractions such as Big Jim's River Run, The Black Hole Tube Slides, Rampslide, as well as children's, intermediate and advanced water slides. There is a special children's splash park for little tykes and volleyball courts, a pool and giant hot tub. Splashdown does birthday parties, offers group tents and barbecues for rent, and has two large picnic areas. Concessions are available in the park, as are lockers.

 

4799 Nulelum Way, Delta, BC V4M 3T3. Hours: Daily 10am-varies - see website, Open end of May to mid-September (weather permitting); Admission: Adults/children (over 48" tall): $21.95; children ages 4 and up (under 48" tall): $15.95; seniors (65+) and children under 4: Free

 

10. Science World

Science World by TELUS World of Science in Vancouver is home to many permanent, interactive exhibits. Visitors will notice the geodesic dome onsite, which was a feature of Expo '86, and which now houses a 400-seat OMNIMAX Theater. The galleries include Search, Eureka, Our World, BodyWorks and Kidspace. Special exhibits also come through, such as Treasure, which begins in May. Science World hosts a preschool curiosity club, adult evenings, summer camps, teen zone and birthday parties! The Kaleidoscope Gift Shop is onsite, as are a restaurant, vending machines, and a canteen.

 

1455 Quebec St., Vancouver, BC V6A 3Z7. Hours: Monday through Friday 10am-5pm, Weekends and Holidays 10am-6pm; Admission: Adults: $18.75; senior/student w/ID/youth 13 - 18: $15.25; children ages 4 -12: $12.75; children under 4: Free

Tags: british columbia montreal ottawa quebec toronto vancouver

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