Toronto is full of fun places to visit for the family, but perhaps you want to engage your kids intellectually as well as emotionally. Thankfully, there are some awesome attractions and historical sites that will both entertain and educate. Here are four of them.
Ontario Science Centre
Image via Flickr by Dennis Jarvis
The home of Toronto’s only public planetarium, the Ontario Science Centre has plenty of mind-engaging activities to keep the family busy. There aren’t many places you can go to touch a tornado or experience a coral reef, all under the same roof. With over 500 interactive exhibits in eight halls, including outdoor activities from spring through fall, it’s worth starting early and planning to stay all day.
Given that the Ontario Science Centre is located outside the town center, you should consider hotel accommodations nearby. This will reduce your travel time, which will, in turn, give you more time at the Centre and keep the kids from getting restless.
Royal Ontario Museum
Boasting a collection of over 6 million objects and 40 art galleries, there’s certainly a lot to see at the Royal Ontario Museum. But for kids who want to play, the museum offers many fun learning activities too. They can write their name in Egyptian hieroglyphics, make mummy cases, and create Chinese imperial costumes. ROM’s “CIBC Discovery Gallery” gives younger visitors (12 and under) the opportunity to dig for dinosaur bones, touch and examine specimens, and try on period clothing.
If your kids are into hand-crafts, then a visit to the Gardiner Museum is a must. The Gardiner is Canada’s national ceramics museum, featuring over 2,900 pieces from Ancient America, China, Japan, and Europe. As well as looking at the vast array of pottery on display, children can engage in clay making and tile painting.
There are “Drop-In” classes every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday where participants can learn how to use a potter’s wheel and make use of a professional ceramics studio. Be sure to check ahead for class times and ticket costs. You can find that information posted on the Gardiner Museum website.
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
Located next to the CN Tower, Canada’s largest aquarium has a wide variety of underwater life on show, including sharks, rays, and jellyfish. Get on the moving walkway through a water tunnel and see sawfish and turtles swim overhead or visit Rainbow Reef and admire the colorful fish of the Indo-Pacific Ocean.
Ripley’s also has an interactive “Discovery Centre” to give the kids a more hands-on educational experience. Feel a live shark or stingray in the touch tanks or experience a deep-sea dive in a submarine simulation. There are plenty of activities to keep young minds engaged. Arrive early to avoid lines or purchase tickets online.
There are, of course, many more things to see and do in Toronto. These four, however, are among the most popular educational family attractions. Check them out, and your kids will thank you. They may even want to make a return visit.