A Theme Park Summer

Growing up there were very few options for theme parks in Canada. Oh, there were the usual suspects of course, the Wonderlands, the La Rondes, and they had their appeal – if you were into roller coasters.

Every year, people come up with new and more inclusive ideas for theme parks, which is amazing for the weak-stomached and the families with young’uns. If you’re looking for things to do with kids across our nation (that won’t include biting your fingernails), we’ve discovered a few sure-fire options.

Voiles en Voiles in Montreal

Theme park in Montreal: Voiles en voiles
Source: @patrick_fournier on Instagram

This new park takes aerial courses to a new level (heh heh), on a pirate ship. Hold the phone. Did we say Pirate Ship? Oh yes, we did. This unique park has not one, but two ships to choose from, with aerial courses (think walking the plank, but with a safety line), climbing walls and other activities for everyone, starting with the wee toddlers as young as two. The skill-testing aerial courses start at two feet off the ground (a great height for learning), and go up to 35-feet for the brave-hearted buccaneers.

Insider’s tip: As the summer rolls in, this park is going to get busier. To avoid a chockablock ship, plan your adventure for between 9AM – 12PM. Or for a more romantic view without the kids, go after 6PM, when the course is lit up by lanterns.

Get all the info here.

Jurassic Forest in Edmonton

Things to do with kids: Jurassic Forrest in Edmonton
Source: @annamacrey on Instagram

If Pirate ships aren’t your thing (is that possible?), and you’re planning to be in central Canada, might we suggest a train ride to Edmonton to visit the dinosaur-laden Jurassic Forest? Wear your best Dr. Grant garb and pretend to flee from the life-sized (read: gigantic) dinosaurs. It’s a bit of a trek from the city, but the concept is so original, and the grounds – set in an old-growth forest – so beautiful, your family will thank you. You’ll walk in as dinosaur prey, but walk out as quasi-paleontologists. Families with kids as young as two can walk the dinosaur trails, dig for fossils, romp around in the adventure park or play a round of (very historic) mini-golf.

Get all the info here.

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre in Vaughan

Things to do with kids in Toronto: LEGOLAND

Though LEGO has never disappeared from the playrooms of our youth, its popularity has sky-rocketed, following the release of the Lego Movie a couple years ago. How popular are we talking here? Well, NASA’s choice for passengers aboard their spacecraft Juno, which recently reached Jupiter, was three LEGO figures. Not surprisingly, the city of Vaughan (an easy drive from Toronto) is thrilled to have its own LEGOLAND, the first and only location in Canada. Boasting over 3 million LEGO bricks, the Discover Centre decided to hold a competition to find a master model builder (we prefer calling him a Lexpert) for inspiration on how to use them all. Go on a factory tour, feel like Godzilla in Miniland and build to your heart’s content.

Insider’s tip: Buy your tickets online for guaranteed entry, even on the busiest days. To avoid crowds, arrive in the afternoon (after the school tours are gone) and benefit from discounted admission.

Get all the info here.

Castle Fun Park, Abbotsford, BC

Perfect for the little ones, tweens, and early teens, Castle Fun Park has so much under one roof, you might want to spread out the fun over a couple days.  Step aside lazer tag, the lazer maze means you get to go all Mission Impossible. Or, if breaking things is more your kid’s speed, bust through as many lazers as you can before your time runs out.

There’s also Go-Karting, bowling and an arcade with a giant version of Hungry, Hungry Hippos and rubber axe-throwing.  Arrive with a lot of energy to burn, and leave knowing your kids will sleep well. Hilarious memories guaranteed!

Éco-Odyssée, Wakefield, ON

Rent a pedalo, canoe, paddle board or kayak at Éco-Odyssée to explore the marsh, which has been carved into the most a-maze-ing maze (yes, I went there). At the reception, make sure to ask for an impressive aerial view of the water and walking mazes in the hundreds of acres of fields, forests and marsh before heading out.

Choose your level of adventure, from easy to intermediate, where your knowledge of Canadian fauna is tested. The water paths are in the shape of a raven, one of the seventy bird species found here that you might catch of glimpse of while exploring the march. Keep those eyes peeled for other creatures along the way, like the wood turtles that enjoy sunbathing on logs and ruby-throated hummingbirds.

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