Like most big cities, there are tons of things to do with kids in Toronto. From kid-friendly museums and galleries to amusement parks and farms, the capital of Ontario is a great place to visit with children. If you are bringing children to Toronto, here's our list of the coolest activities that your kids will love!
AddressCN Tower, 301 Front St W, Toronto, ON M5V 2T6, Canada
Get a bird's eye view of the city and surrounding area from the top of the CN Tower. At 1,815 feet, the CN Tower is the tallest free-standing structure in the western hemisphere and is located in downtown Toronto. Kids will be awed by the ride up in a glass elevator and will 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 up to get in, consider making reservations at the 360 Restaurant. Meals include the price of admission, so though dining there is relatively expensive, when you factor in snacks and time spent waiting in line, it can be worth it.
Renovated into a unique, jagged looming structure, the Royal Ontario Museum's building is a sensation in itself. But beyond the bizarre exterior is an incredible dinosaur skeleton collection, a bat cave simulation, and oodles of other displays of the world's most incredible natural and cultural highlights. The museum's discovery gallery and other interactive exhibits mean everyone's senses get a workout and kids stay interested.
Families should allow at least two hours to spend at the ROM and may want to consider purchasing a Toronto CityPass, which gives you entrance to five citywide attractions, including the ROM, CN Tower and more. The central location makes it an easy trek for the family, especially if you're planning on packing mores sites into your day.
Located on Toronto’s Centre Island, Centreville Amusement Park is reminiscent of simpler times and features pony rides, antique Ferris wheel, and carousel. The short ferry ride to get to the island is an adventure for children in itself, but once you're there, the island has loads of green space and bicycle paths plus wading pools for little ones to burn off energy. This park is ideal for children younger than 12 as it has many rides that entertain but don’t scare.
Convince Kids that Learning Is Fun at the Ontario Science Centre
Learning can be fun, and the first step to convincing your kids of this may be a trip to the Ontario Science Centre. They can touch a tornado, listen to a heart murmur, or crawl through a cave in this educational and interactive facility. It's a little outside the center of town but well worth the trip.
Especially suitable for kids under 10, the Riverdale Farm is 7.5 acres of green land set in the heart of Toronto. This replica of early 20th century Ontario farm life lets kids step inside a world where cell phones, fast food, and TV do not exist. Riverdale Farm is in Old Cabbagetown, a beautifully gentrified and historic part of town, and well worth visiting afterward.
Get a Dose of Sporting History at the Hockey Hall of Fame
Though it's hard for Canadians to believe, not everyone is a hockey fan. Nevertheless, the Hockey Hall of Fame is an outstanding facility, full of interactive exhibits that put kids or adults in the heat of NHL 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!" Also featured is a replica NHL dressing room, a trophy room, and of course, a gift shop.
See More than 5,000 Animals at the Toronto Zoo
Animals from all over the world live on 710 acres of the beautiful Rouge Valley in Toronto. The Toronto Zoo is well laid out, with six different zoological zones each filled with animals from a particular area of the world. There can be a lot of walking, so bring comfortable shoes and don’t miss the award-winning African safari, the gorilla rainforest, and the interactive kids' zoo.
Visit the Country's Largest Aquarium
The aquarium is a 135,000 square-foot behemoth boasting more than 1.5 million gallons of water. More than 15,000 animals, including sharks, jellies, rays, and green sea turtles, call the aquarium home.
Despite this, Ripley's will not be home to dolphins, seals, or other mammals. No doubt some lesson has been learned by the Marineland scandal in which the Niagara Falls family attraction was called out publicly for its inhumane treatment of its animals, namely the marine mammals.
Canada's Wonderland is a bit of a trek out of town but if you're into theme parks, it's an easy way to keep kids occupied for a day. Canada's Wonderland is big, has loads of thrill rides, family rides, live shows, and a water park. Think a mini-Disneyland! Luckily, one admission gets you onto all the rides. If you're visiting near Halloween, the park stages an impressive haunted house.
Play With Legos at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre
Kids can let their imaginations run wild at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Toronto, a scaled-down version of a LEGO theme park. The center has rides, a 4-D movie theater, and 10 different open play areas (with plenty of legos), making it a paradise for parents and their young children. Tickets are a must, so reserve online to save your spot.
Visit the Art Gallery of Ontario
With a collection of more than 90,000 works, the Art Gallery of Ontario is a great place to expose young children to a variety of artworks. The gallery's permanent collection has a strong focus on Inuit art, but the changing exhibitions run the gamut from Impressionist works to ultra-modern, contemporary artists. Children can also visit the hands-on center where they can make their own art, using different techniques and mediums.
Check Out the Toronto Waterfront
The city's waterfront has been redeveloped to highlight the numerous boardwalks and piers. These spaces host a variety of activities for the general public, including restaurants, public art installations, even gardens, and the famed Sugar Beach. It's easy to access CN Tower and Toronto's many ferries from here, as well.
Learn All About Shoes at the BATA Shoe Museum
Yes, you read it correctly. This quirky downtown Toronto museum covers 4,500 years of footwear within its collection. The permanent exhibition, All About Shoes, has a special section just for children. Check the museum's schedule for weekend activities, which can include treasure hunts and arts and crafts workshops, all centered around, well, footwear.
Let the Kids Run Wild at High Park
AddressToronto, ON M6P 2T5, Canada
Toronto's High Park covers nearly 400 acres and has a variety of activities kids will enjoy. The vast playground, designed in part by kids, is the main attraction, but this tremendous green space also houses a zoo, greenhouses, and trails. During the spring, it's popular with visitors hoping the catch of a glimpse of cherry blossoms in bloom.
Learn About Canadian Life in the 19th Century
Travel back in time to learn about Canadian life in the mid-1800s at the Black Creek Pioneer Village. This open-air historical museum consists of 40 different buildings, along with period-dressed guides who can explain to children how Torontans lived during that period. Hands-on activities for kids include dressing up on their own and learning how to bake as the pioneers did.
Tour the Rogers Centre
Canada's major sporting arena, the Rogers Centre, is home to the Toronto Blue Jays, the Toronto Argonauts, and some of the city's biggest concerts. Even if you're not watching a game or an event, young fans can get a behind the scenes look at the stadium as part of the Rogers Centre Tour Experience, an hour-long tour that includes visits to the press box and a luxury suite.
Meet Friendly Farm Animals at Riverdale Farm
If the sprawling Toronto Zoo seems a little overwhelming for your little one, visit the tranquil Riverdale Farm, in Cabbagetown. The early 20th-century grounds are enjoyable for adults to stroll around, but kids will get a kick out of hands-on experiences with goats, chicken, sheep, and more on this working farm.
Discover Canada's Military History at Fort York
Fort York, the site of a significant battle during the War of 1812, is a crucial part of Canadian military history. Today, the 19th-century base is a national historic site. Located right in downtown Toronto, Fort York is open year-round and has a variety of different events open to the public, ranging from general guided tours to exciting cannon firings.