Amusement Park

Now that spring is upon us, it’s time for our families to crack a few windows and take a deep breath.  Better yet, lets get outdoors and explore our neighbourhoods and cities.  If your little ones are like mine, they can’t wait to get outside and would rather stay out there than come in and have dinner.  With that in mind, it’s time to start planning a few family activities that will keep the little ones engaged and allow them to experience new things.  I hibernate during the winter and love to take full advantage of the outdoors once things heat up.  With that in mind here are a few events the family might take in this month.

HARBOURKIDS

This is an annual event that takes place at Harbourfront Centre which is known for its culturally diverse events.  This particular event is a great chance for kids to take in the circus in the city.  The event runs from May 21 – 23 (perfect for if you’re staying local for the long weekend and looking for ways to entertain the kids) and is absolutely FREE.  Their website lists a variety of events for the family to enjoy over the weekend.  From animal shows to LEGO activities to a play area and of course acrobatic shows, this year’s event is shaping up to be a good one.

RIB FEST

Rib Fest season is upon us folks!  If you’ve never been to one, this is a great opportunity to find one near you.  Almost all cities across the GTA host their own.  Check out To Do Canada for a list of the top 20 Rib Fests taking place from May to August.  They’re perfect for a family outing now that the weather’s warming up.  Many offer live music, face painting for kids, small carnivals with rides & prizes and oh…finger licking ribs that fall off the bone!

2 tips I’ve learned over the years:

  • If you’d rather avoid crowds and long lineups, consider attending on a Friday evening vs. Saturday.  Alternatively, late Sunday afternoons tend to be a little less crowded as well
  • Once there, there are A LOT of rib teams to choose from.  If you’ve never been to one in the past, it’s hard to know which teams serve up the best choices.  A tip I picked up a few years ago is to pick the team with the longest lineup.  Simple right?  It makes sense that a long lineup means the folks there know what’s good.  It’s worked for me, let me know if it works for you as well

Miss O attended her first Rib Fest before her first birthday so she was a little too young to enjoy all that it offered (don’t get me wrong, it was great adult time as well).  Now that she’s almost 3 she’ll no doubt be able to interact a little more and remember the experience.

CENTRE ISLAND

If you’ve lived in the GTA for a few years, chances are you’ve ventured over to Centre Island at least once.  From May 21 – 23, they’ll be hosting Beasley Bear’s Teddy Bear Picnic.  The picnic runs from 11 – 4 and is FREE.  Since the picnic is at the Centreville Amusement Park, the family can also enjoy the rides, performances and activities while on the island.  These activities will cost you a few dollars but are definitely worth it.  Set aside a few hours to take full advantage of what the island offers because you’ll need them.  There’s so much to see and do, plus, the little ones will love the ferry ride over to the island.

CARASSAUGA

If you’re in the West end of the GTA then Carassauga is for you.  Running from May 27 – 29, families can learn a few things about different cultures.  There are 28 pavilion locations scattered throughout the city of Mississauga and each offers an introduction to a specific culture.  You can sample various foods, activities and performances at each one.  You’ll have to purchase an event “passport” in order to take advantage of the events but you get full access to all of the pavilions AND you can ride local transit (MiWay) or festival shuttle buses for FREE to get to each pavilion.  No need to worry about parking at each location!  Passports cost $10 until May 27 (online or at libraries, community centres, etc) or $12 afterwards at any pavilion during the festival.  Keep in mind, kids under 12 are free when accompanied by an adult.  If you plan ahead, that’s only $20 for a family of 4 for a weekend of fun!

FAMILY ART & YOGA @ PAMA

Located in Brampton, the Peel Art Gallery, Museum & Archive (PAMA) offers families the opportunity to practice yoga together and then work on creating a unique piece of art afterwards.  Classes are offered on alternating Saturdays (the next one is May 28) from 2 – 3:30pm.  Participation is free with your admission to the gallery but it’s best to pre-register for the yoga/art class.  This is technically not an outdoor activity but still a great activity for the whole family while staying healthy together.  All yogi levels are welcome, just remember to bring a yoga mat.

What are some of your plans for getting outdoors with your family?