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Thursday, August 27, 2015

10 fun things to do with kids outdoors in Toronto

kids outdoors torontoFun things to do with kids outdoors in Toronto depend almost entirely on whether it's minus 25 or plus 25. Late summer / early fall tends to be the weather sweet spot in this city - all the better to get out there and explore the many options we have of experiencing the great outdoors without ever leaving the 6ix.

Here are my picks for 10 fun things to do with kids outdoors in Toronto.

See also: 10 fun things to do with kids indoors in Toronto

Get on the water
There are plenty of beautiful and interesting places in and around Toronto to explore by kayak, canoe, or paddleboard, and you'll get some good exercise while enjoying the inherent tranquility that comes from being on the water. Places like the Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Centre and Toronto Adventures offer equipment rental, safety instruction, and guided tours.

Walk the plank on a pirate ship
I dare you to find truer fanatics of pirate lore than the infectiously enthusiastic crew of A Pirate's Life, an interactive theatre experience aboard pirate ship the Island Rogue, complete with a cruise around the Toronto Islands. Participants can bring their own costumes or get suited up using the troupe's collection.

Practice patience with some bird watching
It's hard to top the look of excitement in your child's eyes as a chickadee eats right from the palm of his hand. High Park Nature Centre regularly hosts Family Nature Walks (by donation) and bird-related programs like Night Hawk Night, Dawn Chorus, and Family Day for the Birds. Tommy Thompson Park is also an excellent place to take in avian wildlife.

Ride a horse
At Sunnybrook Stables, kids 9 and older can sign-up for 50-minute private and semi-private lessons (starting at $120) in an outdoor, pastoral setting. Just outside the city at Claireville Ranch, kids under 10 can enjoy a pony ride ($25 per hour), while family members 10 and up go on a 1-hour trail ride ($30 per person) through different terrains. More horseback riding options here.

Develop a need for speed by go-karting
Get that adrenalin pumping with a race around the track. Centennial Park Mini-Indy Go-Karts has a 2km track and karts for different age groups that move at varying speeds. They run a special on Tuesdays and Thursdays where you can fulfill your racecar dreams for a very reasonable $2.50 per lap, which takes about 3 minutes. Bigger kids can drive the ¾ km course at Go-Karts @ Polson Pier.

Get lost in the maze
There's something magical about wandering around and getting lost in a life-size labyrinth. With the recent re-opening of the William Meany Maze on Centre Island, visitors young and old can experience the dizzy, giddy fun that comes from getting lost & disoriented. Take a leisurely stroll, play a game of tag, or time each other to see who can get through the fastest.

Pitch a tent
Did you know you can go camping right within the city limits? Glen Rouge Campground is located on the banks of the Rouge River and runs from May to October. Another option is the Toronto Zoo's Serengeti Bush Camp Overnight Experience, which operates from July to early September.

Get soaked
Cool off at one of the city's many splash pads, which run from mid-May to mid-September. Located in Scarborough, Kidstown Water Park is an awesome (and free!) waterpark that's definitely worth checking out. Or enjoy the sound of the waves and the sand in your toes on one of the city's lovely beaches.

Connect with animals
A visit with the animals at High Park Zoo, Riverdale Farm, and Far Enough Farm is a wholesome family outing that you can experience year-round and for free! Located on Centre Island, Far Enough Farm has more than 40 different species of animals including ponies, rabbits, and a black swan.

Take a hike
You might be surprised by the quantity and quality of nature trails we have right here in the city. Hiking trails at Crothers Woods and Glen Stewart Ravine allow visitors to feel completely immersed in nature. The Evergreen Brick Works offers family scavenger hunts and guided tours of the Don Valley, both great ways to learn about the ecology and history of the area.

ritzThanks to Ritz for sponsoring this post.

What did I miss? Add your suggestions in the comments.

Photo via A Pirate's Life

by Jenna King via blogTO

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