BY CARA SMUSIAK
Friendly, safe, and packed with fun attractions, Toronto is terrific city to travel to with the whole family. Don’t believe us? These 25 great things to do in Toronto with kids ensure everyone’s time in town will be filled with excitement and discovery.
Explore the Deep
Everyone in the family will find something to ogle at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. The main attractions are the sharks and stingrays—and you can even get up close and personal with the latter at Ray Bay, where visitors can dip their hand in the water in hopes of touching a ray as it skims by. You’ll also see lots of tropical fish, Pacific kelp, seahorses, jellyfish, lobsters (including famed blue lobsters) and more. Interactive and educational elements are at every turn; toward the end of your journey you’ll even get a behind-the-scenes look at the aquarium’s complex water systems. General admission $29.98, students (ages 6-13) and seniors $19.98, kids (ages 3-5) $9.98.
Spend a Day (or More) at the Museum
Bats and mummies and dinos, oh my! The Royal Ontario Museum is a Toronto institution known for its impressive collections that are as fascinating to adults as they are to kids. First stop: The Bat Cave, where you’ll find as close to a real bat cave experience as you’ll ever get. Then head for the Schad Gallery of Biodiversity, where kids can see about an array of species. When your half-pints are getting restless, the hands-on CIBC Discovery Gallery (with its own area for preschoolers) and Patrick and Barbara Keenan Family Gallery of Hands-On Biodiversity offer educational, kid-friendly activities. Last but certainly not least, make sure you spend some time visiting with the dinosaurs—a 27-metre long Barosaurus, and, of course, the ferocious T. Rex are sure to wow. Also not to be missed are the Egypt and Canada: First Peoples galleries. General admission $16, students (ages 15-25) and seniors $14.50, kids (ages 4-14) $13, kids age 3 and under free.
A visit to the Art Gallery of Ontario might not seem the most obvious thing to do with kids (and their short attention spans), but young ones hardly need to spend their time simply standing quietly and appreciating the artworks. The AGO’s 35,000-square-foot Weston Family Learning Centre is a gathering place for patrons to explore the creative process and boasts a hands-on centre where little art lovers can partake in manner of artistic activities. Included with general admission $19.50, seniors $16, students and youth (6 to 17) $11, kids age 5 and under free.
Put on Your Thinking Caps
With rotating exhibitions that explore all things scientific, the Ontario Science Centre is a perfect attraction for a curious crew, and well worth the trek to the east end. Kids under eight can explore science through creative play in KidSpark, a cool space where they can build a roller coaster or discover the science behind blowing giant bubbles. The whole family can rest their tourist-weary feet and catch at flick at the centre’s IMAX domed theatre—the only one in the province (additional charges apply). General admission $22, students (ages 13-17) and seniors $16, kids (ages 3-12) $13, kids age 2 and under free.
Celebrate Hockey’s Heroes
Home of the Stanley Cup and the largest collection of hockey memorabilia in the world, the Hockey Hall of Fame is a must-visit for hockey fans big and small. Your kids can call play-by-plays on some of the biggest games in history, or test their skills against some of the best players and goaltenders in the NHL with state-of-the-art virtual-experience games. And of course they’ll have plenty of chances to learn more about their favourite games bygone legends. General admission $18, seniors $14, students (ages 4-13) $12, kids age 3 and under free.