18 Best Things to Do With Kids in Toronto, Ontario

Canada, Ontario, Exterior
Walter Bibikow / Getty Images

From kid-friendly museums and galleries to amusement parks and farms, Toronto is full of opportunities for family-oriented fun and adventure. A great destination for people of all ages, Ontario’s capital city is best known for its impressive CN Tower, the interactive exhibits at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), and for being home to Canada's largest aquarium.

Budget-conscious visitors should consider purchasing the Toronto CityPass, which provides discounted entry to five citywide attractions—CN Tower, Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, Casa Loma, the Toronto Zoo, and the Royal Ontario Museum—within a nine-day period for a set price. Fortunately, most of Toronto's points of interest are easily accessible by foot or public transit, so you won't have to factor in too much extra cost for travel once you get there.

01 of 18

Get Lost in the Gardens

Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, Ontario

DebraLee Wiseberg / Getty Images

If you're seeking some family time outdoors, head to Edwards Gardens or Toronto Botanical Garden, each about a 20-minute drive from the city center. Both are beautiful places to visit year-round, with different types of flora blooming throughout the spring and a seasonal garden cafe available in the warmer months should you and your group need a snack. 90-minute guided tours are also available seasonally if you'd like to learn more about the plants, trees, and flowers around you.

For a family-friendly day trip, Royal Botanical Gardens is a beautiful place to spend some time wandering nature paths among the flowers in this 2,700-acre green space about an hour away in Burlington, Ontario. Visit in winter to see the Mediterranean Garden; in spring to see the cherry blossoms, magnolias, and lilacs in bloom; in summer for blooming peonies, roses, iris, and perennials in the rock garden; and in autumn to see the leaves in all their colorful glory.

Address
777 Lawrence Ave E, North York, ON M3C 1P2, Canada
Phone +1 416-397-1341
02 of 18

Visit Casa Loma, Toronto's Coolest Castle

Casa Loma in Toronto

DebraLee Wiseberg / Getty Images

About 10 minutes north of the city center, Casa Loma is a stunning 64,700-square-foot castle built in 1914 by Canadian financier Sir Henry Pallatt, who was clearly fond of European art and Gothic revival architecture. Stroll through the beautifully decorated halls and rooms of this elegant estate, now a national historic site, wander the terrace and gardens, peek into fancy bedrooms and libraries, and check out The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada Regimental Museum, housed in the castle's third floor. Due to the nature of this attraction—and an interesting exhibit that focuses on Canada's darkest times during the depression and prohibition among other questionable times throughout the country's history—this attraction might be best for older kids or teens with an interest in history or grandiose European-style estates.

Casa Loma is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is part of the Toronto CityPass list of attractions. All children must be accompanied by an adult, while kids three and under get in free.

Address
Casa Loma, Toronto, ON, Canada
03 of 18

Day Trip to the Ontario Side of Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls on the Toronto Side in Canada

Naeem Jaffer / Getty Images

Just a 90-minute drive from downtown Toronto, Niagara Falls awaits with plenty of exciting attractions for the whole family. While you can always view the waterfalls for free from scenic viewpoints along Niagara Parkway, you'll be able to see them from all sorts of unique angles on a guided tour with Journey Behind the Falls. For an even more memorable experience, bigger kids can take on WildPlay's Zip line to the Falls for epic views 220 feet above the Niagara River.

Those not afraid of heights can take a ride on the Clifton Hill Skywheel, Canada's largest Ferris wheel at 175-feet high, or venture to the top of Skylon Tower to view the falls from its 764-foot high perch. Little ones and kids-at-heart will also love checking out the splash pools and water slides at Fallsview Indoor Waterpark and Waves Indoor Waterpark. Otherwise, experience the natural wonder aboard a Niagara City Cruise by Hornblower or take the family on a scenic hike along the Niagara River Recreation Trail. Whatever you decided to do, it's a great day trip to squeeze in during a trip to Toronto.

Address
Niagara Falls, ON, Canada
04 of 18

Check Out Chudleigh's Farm

Chudleigh's Farm in Toronto

Chudleigh's

Address
9528 Regional Rd 25, Milton, ON L9T 2X7, Canada

About an hour outside Toronto in Milton, Chudleigh's Farm gives families the chance to learn more about how food is grown, pick their own apples and pumpkins (mid-August thru fall), meet farm animals, hike along nature trails, go on hayrides, and otherwise enjoy a few hours of life in the country during the spring, summer, and autumn months (the farm is closed to the public each winter). Visit in summertime for the farm's popular Summer Music Nights events and to let your children check out the slides, hay bale jumps, and other kid-friendly activities.

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05 of 18

Take in Views From the Top of CN Tower

CN Tower

TripSavvy / Kristjan Veski

Address
290 Bremner Blvd, Toronto, ON M5V 3L9, Canada
Phone +1 416-868-6937

Get a bird's eye view of the city and surrounding area from the top of the CN Tower, which is accessible with the Toronto CityPass. The lines are usually quite long to ride to the top, so be prepared to wait whether you have a pass or not. At 1,815 feet, the CN Tower, located in downtown Toronto, is the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere. Kids of all ages (and fun-loving adults) will be awed by the ride up in a glass elevator and enjoy the pure fun of jumping up and down on the glass floor once they're at the top. 

If you would like to skip the line to get in, consider making reservations at the 360 Restaurant. Meals include the price of admission, so although dining here is relatively expensive, it can still be worth it if you don't want to wait and can afford to spend a bit on your family meal.

06 of 18

Visit the Royal Ontario Museum

royal ontario museum

TripSavvy / Kristjan Veski

Address
100 Queens Park, Toronto, ON M5S 2C6, Canada
Phone +1 416-586-8000

Renovated into a unique, jagged, looming structure, the Royal Ontario Museum's building is a sensation in itself. But beyond the bizarre exterior, you’ll find an incredible collection of exhibits and attractions that provide learning opportunities for guests of all ages.

Popular features of the Royal Ontario Museum include an extensive dinosaur skeleton collection, a bat cave simulation, and oodles of other displays of natural and cultural highlights from around the world. The museum's discovery gallery and other interactive exhibits help kids stay interested and entertained throughout the experience. Families should plan to visit for at least two hours, though its central location in the city makes it an easy trek, especially if you’ll be packing mores sightseeing into your day.

07 of 18

Take a Ferry to Centre Island's Amusement Park

Centre Island toronto

Josh Evnin / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Located on Toronto’s Centre Island, Centreville Amusement Park is reminiscent of the bygone era of simple fun. Featuring pony rides, an antique Ferris wheel, and a colorful carousel, the small amusement park is a great destination for a few hours of entertainment, especially for children under 12. The short ferry ride is also an adventure for children.

Once you're there, Centre Island offers plenty of green space and bicycle paths, plus wading pools for little ones to burn off some energy. Centre Island and the Centreville Amusement Park are open seasonally from May through October, while the ferry operates year-round. You can catch the a ride—ferries depart every 15 minutes in the summer but run less frequently in colder months—from the Toronto Ferry Docks at the foot of Bay Street.

08 of 18

Have Fun Learning at the Ontario Science Centre

Ontario Science Center

TripSavvy / Kristjan Veski

Address
770 Don Mills Rd., North York, ON M3C 1T3, Canada
Phone +1 416-696-1000

The Ontario Science Centre makes learning fun for kids of all ages. Guests of this educational and interactive facility can touch a tornado, listen to a heart murmur, crawl through a cave, and check out dozens of other interactive exhibits.

Located about seven miles northeast of downtown Toronto, this unique science museum is a bit of a trek but definitely worth the effort, especially if you have the Toronto CityPass. To get to the Ontario Science Centre, take the Yonge Street subway line north to Eglinton Station and transfer to the Eglinton East (Route 34) bus to Don Mills Road.

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09 of 18

Step Back in Time at Riverdale Farm

Riverdale Farm
Brian Summers / Getty Images
Address
201 Winchester St, Toronto, ON M4X 1B8, Canada
Phone +1 416-392-6794

Especially suitable for kids under 10, Riverdale Farm is a replica of early 20th century Ontario farm life set on 7.5 acres of green space in the heart of Toronto, letting kids step inside a world where cell phones, fast food, and TV simply do not exist (gasp!).

Riverdale Farm is located in Old Cabbagetown, a beautifully gentrified and historic part of town that's also worth a visit. Families typically spend around two hours touring the facilities, while some prolong their visit by having a picnic in Riverdale Park West—grab some takeout from nearby restaurants like St. Jamestown Delicatessen, Epicure Shop, or House of Parliament.

10 of 18

Get a Dose of Sports History at the Hockey Hall of Fame

Hockey Hall of Fame

TripSavvy / Kristjan Veski

Address
30 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M5E 1X8, Canada
Phone +1 416-360-7765

If you're traveling with a little hockey fan (or you want to introduce your kids to Canada's favorite sport) the Hockey Hall of Fame is an outstanding facility full of interactive exhibits that put kids and adults in the heart of the National Hockey League action. Broadcast pods even let kids call the action of some of the most famous hockey games, including the 1972 Canada and Russia series: "Henderson shoots, he scores!" You'll also be able to check out replicas of a dressing room and trophy room.

The Hockey Hall of Fame is open daily except on Induction Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day. It’s located in downtown Toronto at the corner of Front and Yonge streets in the lower concourse level of Brookfield Place. Nearby attractions include the CN Tower, Roger's Centre, and Ripley's Aquarium of Canada if you’re looking to line up a day of sightseeing.

11 of 18

See the Animals at the Toronto Zoo

Toronto Zoo
John Knight / Getty Images
Address
2000 Meadowvale Rd, Toronto, ON M1B 5K7, Canada
Phone +1 416-392-5900

Animals from all over the world live on 710 acres of the beautiful Rouge Valley in Toronto. Home to over 5,000 individual creatures, the Toronto Zoo is a favorite destination for locals and visitors alike, offering interactive education and conservation activities for all ages.

The Toronto Zoo is well laid out, with seven different zoological zones, each filled with animals from a particular area of the world: Africa, the Americas, Australasia, the Canadian Domain, Eurasia, Indo-Malaya, and Tundra Trek, featuring animals from the Arctic. There can be a lot of walking, so bring comfortable shoes. Don’t miss the award-winning African safari, the gorilla rainforest, and the interactive kids' zoo.

To get to there, guests can take the 86A bus route from Kennedy Station every day during the summer or from Monday to Friday year-round. Alternatively, take the GO Train to the Rouge Hill Go Station, then board the TTC 85 Sheppard East bus directly to the zoo.

12 of 18

Visit Canada’s Largest Aquarium

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, Toronto

TripSavvy / Brakethrough Media

Address
288 Bremner Blvd, Toronto, ON M5V 3L9, Canada
Phone +1 647-351-3474

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, which opened next to the CN Tower in 2013, is the largest in the country, a 135,000 square-foot behemoth boasting more than 1.5 million gallons of water and more than 20,000 animals including sharks, jellies, rays, and green sea turtles. Take time to explore the many galleries featuring creatures found in Canadian waters, shipwrecks, and an interesting assortment of marine animals. Visit the Shoreline Gallery, where you'll have a chance to touch spotted eagle rays, southern stingrays, cownose rays, and roughtail rays.

The aquarium is open every day from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and is conveniently located in downtown Toronto. It's also part of the Toronto CityPass if you're looking to visit its five covered attractions.

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13 of 18

Amuse the Kids at a Theme Park

Canada Wonderland ontario
Svetlana Grechkina / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0
Address
1 Canada's Wonderland Drive, Vaughan, ON L6A 1S6, Canada
Phone +1 905-832-7000

Paramount Canada's Wonderland is a bit of a trek and is only open May to September, but if you're into theme parks, it can be an easy way to keep kids occupied for a day. The most popular and largest theme park in the country, Canada's Wonderland has loads of thrill rides, family rides, live shows, and an adjacent water park called Splash Works.

The theme park is located in Maple, Ontario, about 35 minutes north of downtown Toronto off Highway 400 (exit Rutherford Road). While it's easier to access by car, you can also take the TTC Line 1 to the last stop, Vaughan Metropolitan Centre (VMC) Station, then hop on the Route 20 Jane St. North bus from the SmartCentres Place Bus Terminal to Avro Road at the park's eastern border.

14 of 18

Play With Legos at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

 Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Address
1 Bass Pro Mills Dr, Vaughan, ON L4K 5W4, Canada
Phone +1 905-761-7066

Kids can let their imaginations run wild at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Toronto, a scaled-down version of a LEGO theme park. Spend some time checking out the rides, 4-D movie theater, and 10 different open play areas featuring plenty of legos, making it a paradise for parents and their young children.

Located in Vaughan Mills, about 35 minutes northwest of downtown Toronto, LEGOLAND is easily accessible from the city center. Take the Route 61 Gormley GO bus from the Union Station Bus Terminal to Langstaff Road East at Yonge Street, then hop on the 760 NB bus to Canada's Wonderland.

15 of 18

Visit the Art Gallery of Ontario

art gallery of Ontario

TripSavvy / Kristjan Veski

Address
317 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T 1G4, Canada
Phone +1 416-979-6648

With a collection of more than 90,000 works, the Art Gallery of Ontario is a great place to expose young kids to a variety of art styles. Children can also visit the hands-on center, where they can make their own art using different techniques and mediums. The gallery's permanent collection has a strong focus on Inuit art, while the changing exhibitions run the gamut from Impressionist works to ultra-modern and contemporary artists.

While visiting an art gallery may not sound like the best idea with kids, you might be surprised what they'll learn during a two-hour tour of the facility. Centrally located between Old Toronto, Baldwin Village, and Chinatown, the Art Gallery of Ontario is a great stop while exploring the area and easily accessible from the Osgoode metro station.

16 of 18

Learn All About Shoes at the Bata Shoe Museum

Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto

TripSavvy / Kristjan Veski

Address
327 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1W7, Canada
Phone +1 416-979-7799

Covering more than 4,500 years of footwear within its collection, the Bata Shoe Museum is a quirky downtown Toronto museum located at the edge of the University of Toronto St. George Campus. The permanent exhibition, All About Shoes, has a special section just for children. Check the schedule for weekend activities, including treasure hunts and arts and crafts workshops, all centered around footwear.

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17 of 18

Let the Kids Run Wild at High Park

High Park in Toronto

TripSavvy / Kristjan Veski 

Address
1873 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6R 2Z3, Canada
Phone +1 416-338-0338

Toronto's High Park covers nearly 400 acres and offers a variety of activities for children of all ages to enjoy. The vast playground, designed in part by kids, is the main attraction, while this tremendous green space also houses a zoo, several greenhouses, and a number of hiking and biking trails. During the spring, it's also a popular spot for visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of the cherry blossoms in bloom.

18 of 18

Enjoy the City in the Summer

Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto

TripSavvy / Brakethrough Media

Visiting Toronto with your kids in the summer? There are plenty of family-friendly activities and events that are great for all ages. Food and street festivals like the Toronto Food Truck Festival, Taste of the Middle East, and Salsa on St. Clair, as well as numerous outdoor markets like the Toronto Flower Market or Waterfront Night Market, abound this time of year.

If you're in the mood for relaxation and entertainment, Christie Pits, the Harbourfront, and Yonge-Dundas Square all host free movie nights under the stars during the summer while Sunnyside Beach offers a great place to soak up the sun and sand for free all season long.

Address
1 Dundas St E, Toronto, ON M5B 2R8, Canada
Phone +1 416-979-9960
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The Things Your Children Will Love in Toronto, Ontario