Parenting & Travel Blog with tips, guides, reviews and honesty about family travel and parenting.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Squeezing in Summer Fun for older kids

Ring the alarm, I repeat ring the alarm!! We have two weeks of summer holidays left! I have mixed emotions about this, after spending the entire summer with my kids and wanting to get them back to school and back to routine, I also don't want summer to end. So we've been trying to maximize the fun in the remaining summer days and I'm documenting it to remind them what a fun, magical childhood they had (and for them to forget all the yelling!)

Tree Top Trekking

What: Physically (and mentally) challenge yourself by trekking among the trees and zip line down. It is a set of several aerial obstacle courses up in the trees. Check it out here

Where: With 6 locations in Ontario and 5 in Quebec, we opted for the one in Brampton at the Heart Lake Conservation Park. Click here for more locations

Cost: approximately $44-$65/pp

Good to Know:

  • The course takes about 3 full hours
  • Wear comfortable athletic clothing and running shoes 
  • Get over your fear of heights before you get there
  • Once you get up on the course, the only way back down is by finishing it
  • The course in Brampton in Heart Lake is situated right beside a splash pad and pool that is life guarded. You can make it a full day and pack a picnic lunch too
  • Make your booking online ahead of time
  • Minimum age is 9, and is best for kids who like adventure and a little thrill

Good to Bring:

  • Water bottles
  • Snacks
  • Sunscreen 
  • Bug Spray
  • Backpack - if you are ok with leaving you stuff down below while you are up in the trees, otherwise leave it in your car. 
  • Camera - its pretty cool up there, so make sure to have your phone or camera in a pocket where it won't fall out

Fun Rating:
Kids: 4/5: Teens can't really act like it was amazing can they? And little one screamed and cried the whole time during the second course(even though I told her not to do it!). But the kids that completed all the courses had a blast.
Me: 4/5: Personally it's not for me, I did one course and it was enough of a challenge and I was good. But it kept the kids active outdoors for 3 hours so it was a win!

Emerald Lake

What: Water park in a 5 acre quarry lake, that is part of a RV and Camping park. Click here

Where: Located in Puslinch, Ontario, west of Toronto, from Mississauga it takes about 45 - 60 mins to get there.

Cost: Approx. $20/pp tax included

Good To know:

  • There are splash pads, pools and a gigantic water slide
  • The lake water is warmer than the pools!
  • You can rent kayaks
  • Lots of lifeguards on duty
  • You must have a life jacket for the lake - you can rent there if you don't have your own
  • There is a small cafe that you can get some food or snacks from
  • Great for all ages, they do have sections for younger kids

Good To bring:

  • Life jackets
  • Chairs
  • Towels
  • Sunscreen
  • Money
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Beach Umbrella or Shade 
  • A book or magazines

Fun Rating:
Kids: After all the complaining they did about wanting to go, they sure weren't going to be complaining (much) about their time there, so a 4.9/5 for them. 
Me: 4.5/5 I didn't have to do much since the lifeguards were on duty and the kids all had life jackets, they gave me some time to sit back and read and relax. I just wish there was some more shade. 

Canada's Wonderland

What: Canada's largest Amusement Park with rides, games, shows and a water park. Click here for more.

Where: located just north of Toronto in the City of Vaughan

Cost: Starting at $43.99/pp, you can find more pricing information here

Good To Know: 

  • You can't bring your own food into the park, but you can leave it in the car.
  • Bring in refillable water bottles and a backpack with some small snacks
  • Parking doesn't have in and out privileges
  • There is a limited choice of healthy food options, although this year I did note that they had a grab and go cafe with fruit
  • Expect to walk a lot, and to wait a lot
  • Download the app before you go and use the park's wifi. The app has a park map as well as some wait times for some rides
  • Credit cards are accepted ( you'll need them! It is not an inexpensive place!)
  • You can pay $8 more for VIP parking (regular parking is $22). The VIP parking allows you to be closer to the gate so if you need to run out to get the towels (a I did twice), it saves you time.
  • Great for all ages
  • If your child absolutely needs to win a prize, head over to the games in the Kidsville, where they are guaranteed a prize

Good To Bring:

  • Bring a backpack and refillable water bottles
  • Small snacks
  • Towels (leave them in the car): good for the water park or in case it rains or you get soaked on some of the rides
  • Keep a change of clothes in the car for the same reason as bringing towels

See? Something for everyone!
Fun Rating:
Kids: 5/5 - there is pretty much something for everyone 
Me: 3/5 - I don't like rides, so my job was mostly just being their water bottle and towel mule. We also didn't get to the Splash Works because there is so much to see and do in one day (plus it was cooler and raining).

Museum of Illusions

What: An interactive museum exploring visual sensory. Click here for more

Where:  Downtown Toronto  at 132 Front Street. 

Cost: Average $19.50-$23.50/pp, more here

Good To Know:

  • It is a short walk to the St Lawrence Market where you can pop over for lunch. Also you can walk to the Distillery District from the museum, where we like to look at the shops, get some gelato at SOMO and have lunch or dinner at our favourite Mexican restaurant El Catrin. 
  • It is about a 15 minute walk from Union station
  • Parking is available at the IMPARK lot on 35 Esplanade of if you plan on spending time in the Distillery you can park there too (rates apply)
  • Don't expect to be here all day: give yourself maybe an hour to explore everything at a slow pace
  • You can buy tickets online or at the door

Good To Bring:

  • Water bottles
  • Comfy shoes to get yourself there
  • A low expectation of how much time you will spend at the actual museum as it is a small museum 
  • A plan to explore more of Toronto that day: we went to the St. Lawrence Market, Sugar beach and to the Distillery District

Locks of Love in the Distillery District
Fun Rating:
Kids: 4.5/5 - they felt it could have more fun to explore
Me: 4/5 - it was fun and interactive for all of us, and not too big to lose kids in!

While summer isn't over yet, we do plan on trying to squeeze in a few more fun things in the next two weeks. On our list includes:

The Ex at the CNE, where we love the midway, games and all of the delicious food
Cottage Life - We are spending some time with family lakeside at a cottage rental
The AGO - The Art Gallery of Toronto is free for visitors 25 and under
Plus I've got a mini trip with my teen coming up! Any guesses where?


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