Family Fun Over the Holidays
By Shari & Elisa Wednesday, December 19, 2018
With the approach of the holidays, and for some, the school break, there is time to explore Ontario in all of its winter/cold wonder. Depending on the weather over the next couple of weeks, you might be looking for active or less active, indoor or outdoor activities. We’ve highlighted a few in each of those categories below, but don’t forget to visit www.summerfunguide.ca and our event calendar for loads more ideas.
There are almost always places in Ontario that have snow over the holiday season, but sometimes, mother nature needs a little help. One place that takes matters into its own hands is the ski hill, which often supplements with man-made snow. There are a variety of places around Ontario that offer Ski/snowboard lessons, as well as cross country skiing and tubing: – Horseshoe Resort has 28 ski and snowboard runs, plus Ontario’s longest snow tubing hill, and 32kms of cross country, snowshoeing, & fat biking trails. Earl Bales Ski and Snowboard Centre opens January 1, 2019, weather permitting and has lessons and runs for beginners to advanced skiers/snowboarders. Boler Mountain has a discover ski/snowboard program for newbies and Tubing too. And Blue Mountain not only has skiing and snowboarding (lessons too), but also tubing, mountaintop skating and an all-new Snowshoe trail. And Aurora Winter Festival (Nov 29-Dec 30) at Ontario Place has light displays, characters, market huts, food, amusement rides, live entertainment and just announced a 20-foot tall and 180-foot long tubing park!
When you’ve had enough of the cold or the weather isn’t cooperating, it is time to look for some indoor activities. Bingmans’s FunworX Indoor Playland (Kitchener) has arcade and redemption games as well as an interactive three-level indoor play structure. You can also try 1of 3 thrilling escape rooms at EscapeworX on the same property. Toronto’s Fantasy Fair – Ontario’s Largest Indoor Amusement Park- has 12 full size rides including a rollercoaster, train, drop & more. Midway Family Fun Park is Ottawa’s largest indoor amusement park. And The Factory (London) is Canada’s biggest indoor adventure park with Ziplines, high ropes, trampoline park, warrior course, escape room, virtual reality, arcade & kids’ indoor playground. Don’t forget about Museums too!
The holiday season can be expensive with all of the parties and gifts, so it is great to find free stuff to do during Ontario winters. Sometimes it is hard to remember what a truly dark night feels like and the best place to experience it is at the Torrance Barrens Dark-Sky Preserve in Muskoka. Check out the Northern Lights which are visible periodically (plan ahead) or come to see The Milky Way and The Andromeda Galaxy with the naked eye. Others? Go skating in Nathan Philips Square or enjoy DJ Skate Night at Harbourfront’s Natrel Rink (both Toronto). Visit the High Park Zoo and see bison, deer, llamas, peacocks, highland cattle and more, year round. Go hiking at one of Ontario’s many Conservation Areas. Did you know that 135 of them have free admission and each is different?
The great thing about Niagara Falls is that it is possible to day trip it from quite a few places in the province. And you don’t have to spend a lot while you’re there, unless you choose to do so. To begin with, the view of the Falls is free. If you’re lucky, you might even be there on a day when it freezes, which is a very cool sight. Once you’re there, visit some of the awesome paid attractions such as the Clifton Hills attractions or Niagara Parks attractions, and you can also visit the Niagara Falls History Museum which offers free admission from 5-9 pm Thursday nights. Or watch the fireworks over the Falls (free too). Or visit Dufferin Islands (Free) to hike or view the Winter Festival of Lights in which animated lighting displays are placed around the perimeter of the islands.
If we’ve missed some of your favourite family fun activities, please send us a note. Happy holidays to you and your loved ones from all of us at Summer Fun Guide!