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Summer Itinerary for Families

Set off for the entire day at one of these four venues.

ISLAND GETAWAY Teens and tots alike won’t want to sail back to the city after playing at Centreville Amusement Park, located on the Toronto Islands. Get a bird’s-eye view of the isle as you soar on the Sky Ride or take a whirl on the newest attraction, the Twirling Tea Cups. Little ones will love splashing their feet in the wading pool. Take the ferry from Bay Street and Queens Quay West to the Toronto Islands, 416-392-8193. Individual admission to Centreville are based on height, $21 to $29.50, family pass (for four people) $90.
Let’s Eat! Spin by the lakeside patio at the family-friendly Carousel Cafe to recharge on grilled chicken, burgers and salads.

WORLD OF WONDER Prepare yourself for thrills, excitement and smiles aplenty during a day at Canada’s Wonderland, the nation’s premier themed amusement park. The whole family can journey on a log flume at Timberwolf Falls (come with towels—a giant splash of water awaits at the end!), or bring the toddlers to Taxi Jam, a ride designed to be a kid’s first coaster. Take a break from the rush and get ready to sing and dance at Dora’s Sing-A-Long Adventure, where you can help Dora the Explorer search for Big Red Chicken. 9470 Jane St., Maple, 905-832-7000. General admission $42.95, children age 3 and under free.
Let’s Eat! Need to satisfy that sweet tooth? Try the park’s famous funnel cakes—topped with strawberries and ice cream to boot—at various shops located on the grounds.

PLAYING AROUND There’s no age limit on fun at Ontario Place, where everyone can cool off at the H2O Generation Station, the largest outdoor soft-play climbing structure in Canada. Take the plunge at the Free Fall drop tower, or relax at the biggest new arrival this summer: “Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia,” an IMAX documentary at the Cinesphere. Wrap up the day at the Rogers Chinese Lantern Festival (starting July 31) where handcrafted lanterns illuminate the shoreline. 955 Lake Shore Blvd., 416-314-9900. Play All Day Pass $17.75 to $33.50, family pass $104, kids 3 and under free.
Let’s Eat! Delicious food, friendly service and stunning views of the waterfront make the Marina Grille the perfect spot to nosh.

ANIMAL PLANET Check out the cool critters at the Toronto Zoo, a habitat with more than 5,000 animals. Gaze at the dazzling hues of the angelfish and longnose butterfly fish in the vibrant Great Barrier Reef Community Exhibit. At Stingray Bay, connect with nature and stroke the stingrays in a saltwater pool. Take Hwy. 401 to Meadowvale Road, exit 389, 416-392-5929. General admission $20, seniors $14, kids age 12 and under $12, free for kids age 3 and under.
Let’s Eat! Pop by the Peacock Café for fresh summer sandwiches, chilled drinks and yummy frozen treats, or dine at the Simba Safari Lodge while you admire the astounding sights of the African Savannah pavillion.

Enjoy a morning or an afternoon at one of these attractions.

CENTRE ICE Shoot and score by spending an afternoon at the Hockey Hall of Fame. Glide over to the NHLPA Be A Player Zone to try your luck on the simulated rink when you go one-on-one with Ed Belfour, or play goalie against legends Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier. Swing by the Broadcast Zone, where you can videotape your own game commentary or produce your own broadcast clip. And don’t forget to marvel at the original Stanley Cup in Lord Stanley’s Vault. Brookfield Place, 30 Yonge St., 416-360-7765. General admission $13, kids age 3 to 13 $9, children age 3 and under free.
Let’s Eat! Head up the escalator of Brookfield Place to refuel at Richtree Market, an international buffet with choices such as pasta, roast beef, burgers, salads and sushi.

BLAST OFF! The exhibits at the Ontario Science Centre this summer will truly send you into outer space! Experience first-hand the obstacles of living on the red planet in the Facing Mars exhibit. Discover what it’s like to stroll on the red planet and browse out-of-this-world artifacts. Keep the astronaut-themed adventure going with a visit to the newly renovated space hall, where you can launch a spacecraft to Saturn, explore the planets of the solar system and learn about the affects of gravity. 770 Don Mills Rd., 416-696-1000. For entrance to both, adults $20, seniors and youth $15, kids $12, children age 3 and under free.
Let’s Eat! Grab lunch at The Lobby Café, appropriately located in the main lobby. Find dozens of healthy options like sandwiches and salads, and indulge in fresh-baked pastries and coffee.

HANDS ON EXPLORATION The kids—and parents, too!—will love the Royal Ontario Museum‘s CIBC Discovery Gallery, a mini-museum where youngsters can learn more about the world. Dig for dinosaur bones, try on costumes—from South Asian saris to a knight’s armour—or see what it’s like inside a teepee. And don’t miss the exciting Galleries of the Age of Dinosaur, where you can marvel at prehistoric fossils and skeletons, and visit Gordo the barosaurus, the largest dinosaur on permanent display in Canada. 100 Queen’s Park, 416-586-8000. Adults $20, seniors and students $17, kids age 4 to 14 $14, children age 3 and under free.
Let’s Eat! At the ROM’s family-friendly Food Studio, try fresh favourites such as thin-crust pizza, soups and sandwiches.

Keep the gang amused for an hour or two.

SKY HIGH Be on top of the world with an outing to the CN Tower. Pretend you’re in Willy Wonka’s factory with a ride up the new glass-floored elevator, which is North America’s first and the world’s highest rising. Make your way up 447 metres to the Sky Pod, the world’s highest man-made observatory with a full 360° view of the city. 301 Front St. W., 416-868-6937. Adults $21.49, seniors $19.49, kids age 4 to 12 $14.49.
Let’s Eat! Enjoy an unforgettable dinner at 360 The Restaurant at the CN Tower, which rotates so that diners can experience a completely panoramic view of the city. Adults can savour international vintages from the world’s highest wine cellar.

TIME TRAVEL Transport yourself to 11th-century Spain by entering Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament. Take a seat in the arena—strewn with coloured lights—to cheer for one of six gallant knights competing in jousts and tournament games to avenge the murder of a prince and gain the love of a princess. 10 Dufferin St., 416-260-1234. Adults $62.95, kids 12 and under $43.50.
Let’s Eat! A hearty four-course medieval banquet meal is in store for show spectators. Feast on roasted chicken, herb-basted potatoes, tomato bisque soup and pastries. Keeping with the times, your hands are your utensils.

SHOE IN Stroll over to the Bata Shoe Museum—it’s good for the sole! Peruse the Beauty, Identity, Pride exhibit, which showcases more than 90 pairs of Native North American footwear, including boots and moccasins. Dig through the Discovery Drawers to learn more about the crafting of footwear, and even touch moose hair and caribou fur. 327 Bloor St. W., 416-979-7799. Adults $12, seniors $10, students $8, children age 5 to 17 $4, kids age 4 and under free.
Let’s Eat! Savour the south of France at nearby Bloor Street Diner. The Provençal-themed café serves up brioche grilled cheese with white cheddar and pomme allumettes for kids, and crispy calamari with jalapeno-lime dipping sauce for parents.

—Ruth Mestechkin

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