Toronto is not exactly a giant playground, but it’s certainly one of the more family-friendly cities around. There are plenty of great attractions and activities in and around the city for those travelling with children, with plenty of variety the choose from. Several of the available options can make quite extreme boasts and include some of Canada’s biggest and best amusement parks, aquariums, zoos and museums. There’s quite a lot of focus on making learning fun and interactive, so a day’s diversion for the children can also be educational.


    Royal Ontario Museum

    Explore Canadian and world history and culture

    • Families
    • History
    • Photo

    Opened in 1914, the Royal Ontario Museum is among the oldest and largest museums in Canada. It has a collection of over 6 million artefacts across 40 galleries, covering a diverse range of subjects from natural history to Near Eastern and African art and, of course, Canadian History. It’s located on the campus of the University of Toronto in a building that is both classically historical and dazzlingly modern. Entry costs about $20 for adults and $14 for kids.

    Location: 100 Queens Park, Toronto, ON M5S 2C6, Canada

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 5.30 pm (open until 8.30 pm on Fridays in summer)

    Phone: +1 416-586-8000


    photo by 宋世怡 (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Hockey Hall of Fame

    See the Stanley Cup

    • Families
    • History
    • Photo

    Torontonians love their sports, with ice hockey naturally among the most popular. The Hockey Hall of Fame is the home of the Stanley Cup – the sport’s most coveted prize – as well as a huge range of exhibits. These include a to-scale recreation of the Montreal Canadiens dressing room and seemingly endless items of hockey memorabilia and equipment. The Great Hall is the real highlight, though, and features the names and histories of some of the sport’s greatest stars. Entry costs about $20.

    Location: 30 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M5E 1X8, Canada

    Open: Summer: Monday – Saturday from 9.30 am to 6 pm, Sundays from 10 am to 6 pm. Winter, Spring and Autumn: Monday – Friday from 10 am to 5 pm, Saturdays from 9.30 am to 6 pm, Sundays from 10.30 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 416-360-7735


    photo by brownpau (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

    See some of the weirdest creatures in the world’s oceans

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Group

    Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is found right at the foot of the CN Tower, and holds more than 20,000 sea creatures in about 5.7 million litres of water, making it one of Canada’s largest aquariums. There are 10 galleries to explore, with exhibits ranging from those local to Canada to sea life from Pacific reefs and lagoons. It being under the brand of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not?, there’s naturally a focus on the weird and wonderful. Check out The Gallery to see some of the most delicate creatures in the ocean, or get hands-on in the Discovery Centre. Tickets cost about $35 for teenagers and adults, with kids getting in for about $25.

    Location: 288 Bremner Blvd, Toronto, ON M5V 3L9, Canada

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 11 pm

    Phone: +1 647-351-3474


    photo by RipleysAquaCA (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Ontario Science Centre

    Enjoy more than 500 interactive experiences

    • Families
    • Group

    Ontario Science Centre has the ‘learn-through-play’ concept right at its core, with many of the exhibits being interactive and engaging. It covers geography, biology, astronomy and a bit of chemistry across 8 exhibit halls. The Planetarium in the Space Hall is particularly popular, but it’s also good to walk through a rainforest or watch a movie in the IMAX theatre. The exhibits change on a regular basis, keeping everything fresh and exciting. Entry to the North York museum costs $22 for adults, $16 for teenagers and $13 for kids, but the IMAX cinema costs a little extra.

    Location: 770 Don Mills Rd, North York, ON M3C 1T3, Canada

    Open: Monday – Friday from 10 am to 4 pm, Saturdays from 10 am to 7 pm, Sundays from 10 am to 5 pm (hours may vary by season)

    Phone: +1 416-696-1000


    photo by Dennis Jarvis (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Toronto Zoo

    Explore one of the world’s largest zoos

    • Families
    • Photo
    • Adventure
    • Group

    Covering 287 hectares of the Rouge Valley, about 20 km north-east of downtown, Toronto Zoo is among the largest zoos in the world. It’s home to over 5,000 animals from 450 species, with clouded leopards, greater one-horned rhinos, pygmy hippos and western lowland gorillas among the star attractions. There are also ziplines and rope courses for families who like a bit of adventure, as well as 10 km of hiking trails if you want something a little calmer. Entry prices vary through the year and are a little cheaper in winter. In summer, tickets are around $30 each and about $20 for children under 12.

    Location: 2000 Meadowvale Rd, Toronto, ON M1B 5K7, Canada

    Open: Monday – Friday from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm, weekends from 9.30 am to 6 pm (hours may vary by season)

    Phone: +1 416-392-5929


    Centreville Theme Park

    Old-fashioned amusements for younger kids

    • Families

    Centreville Theme Park is a little old-fashioned, by amusement park standards, but still a lot of fun for young children. The classic rides include a Ferris wheel, twirling teacups, a small rollercoaster and a log flume, among others. The carousel is a genuine antique, dating back to 1907 and featuring 52 hand-carved animals. Being located on one of the Toronto Islands, you need to take a ferry to get to the park, which costs around $35 for an all-day pass.

    Location: 9 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5J 2H3, Canada

    Open: May – September: daily from 10.30 am to 8 pm (hours may vary by season)

    Phone: +1 416-203-0405


    photo by Alex Laney (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Fort York National Historic Site

    Visit an important battlefield from Canada’s early years

    • Families
    • History
    • Photo

    Fort York played quite an important role in the early years of the city of Toronto. It was built in 1793 to protect the fledgling settlement and was then destroyed during the Battle of York, in the War of 1812. However, it was quickly rebuilt to protect the town of York from future raids. The site is now home to Canada’s largest collection of buildings from the period, allowing visitors a glimpse back into history. Visit in summer for the best experience, when you’ll see special events and exhibits, including reenactors in military uniforms of the time. Entry costs about $14 for adults.

    Location: 250 Fort York Blvd, Toronto, ON M5V 3K9, Canada

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm (closes at 4 pm on weekdays in winter)

    Phone: +1 416-392-6907


    photo by The City of Toronto (CC BY 2.0) modified


    High Park

    The playground was designed by kids, for kids

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Budget
    • Photo

    Among the many green spaces of Toronto, High Park stands out as the most family-friendly. Found to the west of downtown Toronto, the 161-hectare park has a huge playground, which was partially designed by children. You’ll also find sports facilities, 18 picnic areas, hiking trails and special events throughout the year. Check out the mini-zoo to see llamas, deer, buffalo and peacocks. The waterfront, along Grenadier Pond, is particularly beautiful, but best enjoyed in spring, when the Sakura trees are in bloom.

    Location: 1873 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6R 2Z3, Canada


    photo by Jeff Hitchcock (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Black Creek Pioneer Village

    Step back into the past to see the early days of Toronto

    • Families
    • Photo
    • Group

    As the name suggests, Black Creek Pioneer Village is a recreation of the village which eventually grew into the city of Toronto, located near the Black Creek Parkland, by York University. A living history museum, it shows what life was like for the pioneers who arrived in Canada in the early 1800s, with a blacksmith’s shop, weaver’s shop, bake oven, cider mill and more, most of which are actually operational. With costumed guides and period buildings, it’s like stepping back into the past. Entry costs about $15 for adults and $11 for kids.

    Location: 1000 Murray Ross Pkwy, North York, ON M3J 2P3, Canada

    Open: April – December: Monday – Friday from 10 am to 5 pm, weekends from 11 am to 5 pm (hours vary slightly by season)

    Phone: +1 416-736-1733


    Canada’s Wonderland

    One of the country’s oldest and largest amusement parks

    • Families
    • Group

    Canada’s Wonderland is among the largest and most popular theme parks in the world, with about 70 rides in the 130-hectare park. Among the 17 rollercoasters are such thrill rides as the Behemoth, the Time Warp flying coaster, the wooden Mighty Canadian Minebuster and the Flight Deck, which features inverted loops. There’s also a water park, live shows, an animatronic dinosaur park and family-friendly rides, some of which are themed on Snoopy characters. Ticket prices start from around $40.

    Location: 1 Canada's Wonderland Drive, Vaughan, ON L6A 1S6, Canada

    Open: May – August: daily from 10 am to 10 pm, September: weekends from 10 am to 8 pm, October: weekends from 10 am to 6 pm


    photo by Jeremy Thompson (CC BY 2.0) modified


    LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

    See the world’s largest flag made of Lego

    • Families
    • Group

    The LEGOLAND Discovery Centre is found inside the Vaughan Mills shopping mall, on the outskirts of Toronto. It’s effectively a scaled-down theme park, with 10 play areas, a few rides, a 4D theatre and, of course, plenty of a certain famous little plastic brick. Kids can test out their creations on the Earthquake Tables or on the racetrack or look around the replicas of Toronto landmarks in Miniland. It’s a popular place, so booking your tickets online in advance is highly recommended. Entry costs about $20.

    Location: Vaughan Mills, 1 Bass Pro Mills Dr, Concord, ON L4K 5W4, Canada

    Open: Monday – Saturday from 10 am to 8 pm, Sundays from 10 am to 7 pm

    Phone: +1 905-761-7066

    Ben Reeves | Compulsive Traveller

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