Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Top 10 Things To Do With Kids In Toronto - Fall Activities

Fall is coming and while many of us will miss the warm and sunny days of summer, autumn is a great time to get outside and explore this colourful season in Toronto.

We have found 10 great outdoor activities for your family to enjoy in the city:

1 Evergreen Brick Works

Evergreen Brick Works is located in the heart of Toronto's Don Valley. The unique environmental community centre invites Kids of all ages to have some planet-friendly fun!

Open Saturdays and Sundays (between 10am -4pm)

Visit the Chimney Court for a morning of traditional crafting and seasonal cooking. Inspired by the four elements and drawing on themes of sustainability, community, the seasons and local history, children are guided through a variety of hands-on activities using traditional skills, materials and recipes. Kids and adults can join in to make a clay vessel, whittle utensils, or share a story around the fire.

The courtyard is an experimental landscape the children co-create with our play-learning experts through story and hands-on learning that reflects the surrounding geography, streams, forests and wetlands of the Don Valley.
Here you will find natural materials for building, raised garden beds for growing food, a greenhouse, a traditional wood-fired oven and a fire pit.

How to get there:
Located at: 550 Bayview Ave, Toronto, Ontario (view it with google maps)
Daily Parking Rates: $6
TTC: Bus 28a (wheelchair accessible) departs every 30 minutes from Davisville subway station
A FREE shuttle bus runs every 40 minutes from Broadview Station

Admission: suggested donations of $5

2 Edwards Gardens

A visit to the Teaching Garden in Edwards Gardens is fun for the whole family. My kids love the flowers and to watch the fish and birds down by the stream that flows through the grounds. Don't miss the Teaching Garden, located on the west side of Edwards Gardens, across the wood bridge over the creek and up the curved path. You'll see a red-roofed garden house and a giant monarch butterfly, letting you will know that you're in the right place. Dinosaur footprints on the ground guide you through the gardens. The garden is open from dawn until dusk, 7 days a week.

The Teaching Garden features a series of demonstration gardens (described below) and two large plots reserved  for children to plant, cultivate & sow vegetables and flowers.

Alphabet Garden: Children are guided along a winding path, visiting plants with names that begin with every letter of the alphabet. Can you think of a plant that begins with the letter X?

Sensory Garden: Use all five senses to explore the magic of this garden. Plants that smell like pineapples and lemons, that feel like the softest lamb's wool, and that shrink from your touch are featured in the Sensory Garden.

Dinosaur Garden: In this garden, which is home to a friendly stegosaurus, children will see and touch plants that dinosaurs once munched on. This garden's purpose is to help children discover the history of plants.

The Spiral Butterfly Garden: Marked with a giant butterfly sundial, this garden teaches children how the movement of the sun affects plants, and features plants that are especially attractive to butterflies.

The Teaching Garden also features an Herb Garden, Rocky Mountain Garden, Organic Vegetable Garden, Sandpit and more.

Borrow a free explorer backpack for children from the information desk for the duration of your visit. Backpacks include a magnifying glas, bug collection kit, a book about local birds and insects and more! Activities are geared toward children aged 4-12.

How to get there:

Located at: 777 Lawrence Ave East (view it with google maps)

Admission: FREE

3 HabourKIDS Festival at Harbourfront

The third HabourKIDS festival this year will run October 8-10, and looks interesting:

Got monsters? Under the bed? In the closet? Keeping you up at night? Sounds like you need to tackle those monsters. Put on your brave face and visit HarbourKIDS: Monster – where monsters become manageable. Come explore your ideas about monsters in a fun, safe environment!

The HarbourKIDS festivals aim to engage kids and their families by encouraging their participation in activities that explore "Big Ideas" like respect, fearlessness and community through the lens of arts and culture. These Big Ideas challenge kids’ notions, validate and illuminate their values and ask some questions that aim to ignite imagination, creativity and thought.

HarbourKIDS programs are designed for kids 5 to 12.

How to get there:

Located at: 235 Queens Quay West (view it with google maps)
Daily parking rates at Harbourfront Centre: $8

Admission: FREE

4 Whittamore's Farm

Pumpkinland and the Harvest Festival Weekends run from September 12 through to October 31. Kids can pick out a pumpkin for Halloween and run through the corn mazes or take a wagon ride through the "haunted forest". Kids also love the play structures, the tree fort and slide, bouncing castle, tractor track, and more.

Pumpkinland is open daily from September 12 to October 31 between 10am-5pm.

How to get there:

Located at: 8100 Steeles Ave East (view it with google maps)
Parking: FREE

Admission:  Weekends and Holidays - $10.00 (+tax)
                    On Weekends Family of 4 for $36.00(+tax)
                    Weekdays - $6.00 (+tax) per pers. 2 years of age & older

5 Toronto Music Garden (concerts only until Sept. 18)

Treat your kids and yourself to outstanding performances of classical and traditional music from around the world.
FREE concerts take place in the Toronto Music Garden most Thursdays at 7pm and Sundays at 4pm and are approximately one hour in length. Bench seating is available but limited, so feel free to bring a lawn chair or a picnic blanket.
Enjoy the delightful lanscape design of Toronto Music Garden all year around.

How to get there:

Located at: 475 Queen's Quay West on the waterfront between Bathurst Street and Spadina Avenue (view it with google maps)

Admission: FREE

6 Take your kids for a bike ride at Leslie Spit (Tommy Thompson Park)

The park is a 5km long peninsula build from lakefilling which extends into Lake Ontario just east of downtown. It is accessable from either the waterfront trail or Leslie Street.
The Spit has been transformed into an extraordinary wildlife reserve. It is home of over 300 bird species and many kinds of reptiles reside here including Garter Snakes, turtles and several species of frogs. Beavers, otters, red foxes, and even coyotes have been seen on the Spit. In late August and early September, the Spit is used as a staging area for thousands of Monarch butterflies.

How to get there:

Located at the base or foot of Leslie Street where it meets Unwin Avenue, south of Lake Shore Boulevard East (view it with google maps).
Open from 9am-6pm April to November

Admission: FREE

7 Riverdale Farm

Have your kids ever seen a goat getting milked?
Your children will be delighted to see the animals at Riverdale Farm. The farm is home for a variety of farm animals, including a horse, donkey, cows, rabbits, pigs, chicken, turkeys, goats and the ducks and turtles at the ponds.
Riverdale Farm is fun and has been a hit for our kids since years. Riverdale Farm is located in the heart of Cabbagetown.
Riverdale Farm is open all year round from daily from 9am-5pm.

How to get there:

Located at: 201 Winchester Stree,  3 blocks east of Parliament Street along Winchester Street or 3 blocks north of Gerrard Street (view it with google maps)
Parking: on neighbouring streets

Admission: FREE

8 Allan Gardens Conservatory

Allan Gardens is a nice place to visit on a rainy day. Little greenhouses are connecting a world of beautiful flowers over an area of 16,000 square feet. It contains tropical plants from all over the world from palm trees to cacti.

How to get there:

Located at: 19 Horticultural Avenue (view it with google maps)
Parking is available right at the building (enter laneway off Gerrard Street)

Admission: FREE

9 Toronto Zoo

Take your kids to the zoo. The zoo gets quieter in the fall which can make it a nice time for a visit. The Polar bear habitat with underwater viewing area, the Gorilla Rainforest and the orangutans are always highlights.

Don't miss the Kids Zoo where kids can meet and interact with domestic animals like donkeys, miniature goats, and pigs. There's also a play area where kids can burrow through a plexiglass prairie dog tunnel, dig for dinosaur eggs, slide down the treehouse's two storey slide or bird watch in the giant aviary. It's a special place for kids where they can have fun and learn about Canadian habitats.
The Kids Zoo is open until Oct. 30 from 10am - 4.30pm.

How to get there:

Located at: North of Hwy 401 on Meadowvale Road, Toronto (view it with google maps)
Parking: $10

Admission: adults $23
                    children (ages 4 - 12) $13
                    children (ages 3 & younger) FREE

10 High Park

It doesn't matter how often you had been in High Park already, it's always fun again. Plan a stroll through the park with the entire family this fall and enjoy the beautiful colours of autumn. Let your kids find the nicest leaves and accorns. Visit the lamas, buffalos, bisons, deer and peacocks at High Park's mini zoo or go for a walk along the pond to find ducks, geese and the beaver lodge. End the day at the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground, a one-of-a-kind, family meeting place inspired by the imagination and creativity of local community children, with castles, ropes, swings, ladders, slides and artwork.

Visit High Park Harvest Festival
Sunday, October 2, 2011 from 12 – 4:30 p.m.
A great day of family fun including music, drama, storytelling, wagon rides, nature crafts and activities, traditional lawn games, seed collecting and a free Children’s Garden harvest lunch while it lasts!

How to get there:

Located at: 1873 Bloor St W (view it with google maps)

What are your nicest family activities? Share them with us!

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