Previous posts about our trip to Toronto:
We didn’t have a ton of time in Toronto but did manage to squeeze in a few fun activities.
Rogers Centre/Toronto BlueJays:
A short walk from a bunch of downtown properties, Rogers Centre is a good place to take in a baseball game. It’s got a retractable roof which gave way to a sun-filled baseball day. The stadium was probably no better than half full, a good barometer of a last-place team. On Saturdays during the summer, the team caters to kids. There are kids activities on all levels of the stadium, including face painting, balloons, tattoos and other games. Setting aside the horror I experienced when my daughter got a Blue Jay on her arm, these activities helped keep our kids occupied long enough to enjoy the stadium. They also let the kids run the bases after the game. Kid’s tickets on Saturdays are discounted, so it can be a fairly affordable day at the ballpark.
It’s also the only stadium in North America that has hotel rooms overlooking the playing field (left and right of the scoreboard in the picture of my daughter on the field below).
CN Tower: Another family friendly venue, right next door to the baseball stadium. We decided to purchase a City Pass. If you have a few days in Toronto, this can be a pretty good value. We ended up saving over $100 on the various attractions using City Pass.
Great images of Toronto. A couple of my favorites are the stadium at the base of the tower and Billy Bishop airport, a great place to fly into if you’re coming from elsewhere in Canada and a few places in the Northeast US and just a short boat ride from downtown.
No question the way to see the CN Tower is early. We got there around 10am and by the time we were done (about 90 minutes later) the place was packed. We did the main observation level and the Skypod. Skypod is another 33 stories up from the main observation deck and a truly unparalleled panoramic view of the city. Catherine and I also did one of the interactive shows. While you could spend more than 90 minutes here (for example, there’s a separate attraction where you can walk outsidethe tower and peek over the edge), this seemed like a good amount of time to set aside.
Casa Loma: About 2 miles from downtown (just about 3 from CN Tower), we decided to walk to Casa Loma. This turned out be a bit of a mistake, mostly because the last 1/4 mile is either a stairway or straight uphill. Casa Loma itself is worth an hour if you have it. It’s a massive castle built by a millionaire back in the early 1900s. There are a few secret passages, a tunnel underneath a street to another building and a secret stairwell, all great things for kids. There’s foodservice there, and with a quick snack stop we spent about an hour there. A few pics below, my favorite of which is my daughter imitating a statue.
Ontario Science Centre: We’ve done our fair share of children’s museums and science centers in various cities. They’re always popular for our kids. This was, by far, the biggest one we’ve been to. I’d call it more children’s museum than science center. We spent about 4 hours here and easily could have spent a couple of days.
The circus area was probably the most interactive. On top of the costume area, kids could walk a tightrope 20 feet off the ground or get strapped up in a harness and do acrobatics in the air. The building has 6 floors with each floor yielding thousands of square feet of kids’ activities. If you’re traveling with young kids, this is a must.
Joe Badali’s Restaurant: Not far from the Sheraton, CN Tower and Rogers Centre, we settled on an Italian restaurant called Joe Badali’s. Family friendly, it actually turned out to be a pretty good meal. We had an gnocchi dish that was pretty awesome. Shrimp, spinach, peppers and what had to be fresh made gnocchi. A bit of garlic and spice, this was well worth the price of admission. The meal finished with a sorbet trio, most of the other dessert choices were pretty basic.
We spent a total of about 2 full days in Toronto. While I feel we were a bit rushed (for example, we missed the Toronto Islands amusement park which is supposed to be another great family activity) I don’t think you need a ton more time to explore the city with your kids. Maybe 3 or 4 days, but beyond that probably isn’t necessary to get a good feel for the city.
Toronto is clean and easy to get around for the most part, and an easy city to put your list of places to take the kids.