Treating your kids to fun, affordable activities can be a challenge! Your pocketbook doesn’t have to suffer in Ontario, however! I’ve already a huge list of free things to in Toronto ( most but not all activities are kid friendly), and a list of summer activities for kids in Toronto, as well as summer activities for kids in Hamilton. Those lists pretty much cover the Toronto and Hamilton area so this list is going to focus on everywhere else, and is not meant to be comprehensive as Ontario is full of wonderful things to do with your family all year long without breaking the bank.
Here are some free or cheap activities for kids in Ontario! (Prices noted are in Canadian dollars.)
1) Enjoy Art Sculptures
Windsor Sculpture Park is the perfect, free place to take in breathtaking sculptures from internationally-known artists. This outdoor, public gallery is within Ambassador and Centennial Parks, on the shores of the Detroit River. Open year-round, kids will delight in the 31 gorgeous sculptures. Start art appreciation early without spending a dime!
2) Bring Out Your Inner Scientist
Stones ‘N Bones Museum houses over 6,000 artifacts including fossils, dinosaurs, minerals, and more! Prospective paleontologists will delight in viewing common backyard fossils along with dinosaur displays. The nonprofit museum is an affordable attraction for kids and adults alike. Admission for children under 12 is just $3; adults get in for just $7. Enjoy a trip to the past and discoveries of the future at Stones ‘N Bones. Take advantage of a family membership for only $30 for a year!
3) Enjoy Canada’s National Parks
Multiple Locations throughout Ontario (and other provinces)
As a celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary, in 2017, visitors to Canada’s many National Parks will enjoy free admission with a Discovery Pass. Order one for your family (or anyone you are traveling with) at no cost. Ontario boasts National Parks including Bruce Peninsula National Park in Tobermory. Trails are accessible for even novice hikers. During the warmer months, you can explore the crystal blue waters surrounded by cliffs above the Georgian Bay. The winter view is spectacular, however, and tourists and natives alike enjoy the snow-covered cliffs for picturesque beauty. Another park to discover with your kids is Georgian Bay Islands National Park in Honey Harbour. You may want to bring some money on this affordable trip to rent a boat. Afterall, Georgian Bay Islands showcases the world’s largest freshwater archipelago. Pukaskwa National Park in Heron Bay is another place to take your kids to experience the rugged beauty of the natural Canadian landscape of forest and waters along Lake Superior’s shoreline. Finally, rent an affordable kayak and boat around Thousand Islands National Park in Mallorytown. Your children will experience the magnificence of nature throughout Ontario with a free Discovery pass good through the entirety of 2017.
4) Enjoy Some Fireworks
After spending the day taking in the view of the falls, be sure to watch the free fireworks shows at Clifton Hill at Queen Victoria Park in Niagra Falls. Admission and parking is free. If you want to enjoy the amusement attractions, the fun pass for Clifton Hill is $25.95 for adults, $19.95 for children, but it doesn’t cost a dime to enjoy the fireworks show often coupled with free concerts in the warmer months! Visit the park in the spring to see 500,000 daffodils bloom to announce the arrival of this beautiful season. See shows in the winter months as well with the Winter Festival of Lights. Bring a picnic to the park, watch the spectacular lights dance across the sky, and have a night with your kids they’ll remember for a long time!
5) Let them run Wild
Bingeman’s Funworx Indoor Playland is a indoor, three-level playground is huge and offers fun for kids ages 2-12 years old. Your kids will love running through tunnels, tubes, up ladders, down slides and jumping into a pool of balls! Admission is $9.95 per child 2yrs-12yrs and adults are always free.
6) Bring Nursery Rhymes to Life
Storybook Gardens is a classic attraction has been around since the late 1950s. Inside you will find a nursery rhyme themed park complete with playground structures, a mini village, Old McDonald’s Farm, a splash pad and more. You can check out my review from our visit with my daughter a few years ago. There are also carnival type rides there as well which require extra tickets. A Family pass (2 adults and 2 children) for the park is $26 on weekends, and $5 a person on weekdays as rides and concessions are closed.
7) Enjoy a Day at the Park
The DMG Chinguacousy Park is home to a large variety of fun outdoor activities all year round. The park’s sport facilities include a curling facility, winterized tennis courts, beach volleyball courts, ski hill, an outdoor skating trail, and a state of the art track and field. In the summer your family can enjoy mini-putt golf, formal gardens and greenhouse, paddle boats, petting zoo and barn, splash pad and children’s playground, and a BMX/skateboard park.
8) Play, Learn and Explore
THEMUSEUM is a unique environment for families to explore and experience cultural content from the worlds of art, science and technology. With five floors of interactive exhibitions, programs and events, you are sure to leave inspired and enlightened. Visit on Wednesdays for $5 entry and access to all the exhibitions. Leave nearby? Check out the membership options for unlimited, any-time access to THEMUSEUM at very affordable prices.
You won’t lack for incredibly fun and even free activities to do with your kids in Ontario. Experience nature, enjoy art, and unleash their inner scientists with these free or cheap activities for kids in Ontario!
Elizabeth Lampman is a coffee-fuelled Mom of 2 girls and lives in Hamilton, Ontario. She enjoys travelling, developing easy recipes, crafting, taking on diy projects, travelling and saving money!