In amongst the summer camps and commitments of keeping your kids busy... why not consider a few day trips close to home? If you live in York Region, you have a lot of options that are accessible at low cost.
Below are some of my family's favourites - along with some tricks of the trade and special offers to maximize your fun.
Open Daily 10am-8pm (Closes Labour Day weather depending)
M-F 10am-5pm; S/Su 9am-5pm (May-September)
Lionel’s Farm is a clean and safe fun Petting Farm. Family run for over 50 years, the zoo is a pokey little farm with a great range of goats, ducks, sheep, deer, rabbits, ponies and more. The charm of this zoo is that, at Lionel's, you're allowed to feed the animals. Younger kids will love the experience and outdoor space. You can even have them host your next party. Visit their website for feeding rules and portion sizes.
M-Su 8am to 10:30pm
Timber Creek is a 35 acre park in Stouffville, Ontario that features 37 holes of Adventure Miniature Golf, extensive Driving Range & Chipping Green, Batting Cages, Gemstone Mining Area, Jumping Castle & Slide.
The centre is pure fun for all ages and abilities and at $8-$10/person, you can pretty much participate in any of either the batting cages, gemstone mining, mini golf or driving a small bucket of balls at the range. If you have a wide age spread in your crew - or are looking for a fun way to include the in-laws/grandparents...this is your spot. The grandparents can treat for Kawartha Dairy ice cream in the air-conditioned Club House after the round ;)
Cost: starts at $8-10 per person.
Newmarket Riverwalk Commons is a massive outdoor space that features an outdoor stage, wading pool with fountain and is host to various Newmarket events all year long. Attractions include KIds Downtown, a Saturday Farmer's Market and Music in the Park.
The area borders Newmarket's Main Street which is a stellar example of historical charm meets modern day "must shop". With plenty of parking lining the commons as well as overflow street parking, the Riverwalk is a place you can come, shop and stay for the day.
Little ones will love the huge wading pool with fountains. This shallow feature is 1-10" deep and perfect for frolicking in the summer heat.
Photo source:Photographer, Greg King / Landscape Architecture, Janet Rosenberg & Studio
Nicknamed "The 99 Steps", this conservation area is for the active in your circle. The demands of this park stem from the substantial vertical drop from the top of the steps > 99 steps down....a larger change in elevation than the drop over Niagara Falls!
Water bottles and comfortable footwear are strongly recommended for hikers targeting these woodland trails. Among the wildlife that can be found in this ravine-like setting are pileated woodpeckers and white tailed deer.
Hikers be aware that 99 steps is widely accepted as "un-official" off leash dog trail. Be prepared to see some loose dogs along the paths.
Our favourite all ages pass time is to plan a digital scavenger hunt here. A "digital" hunt is where you prepare a list of items kids have to find and photograph (birds nest, feather, acorn etc...). The first to complete their list wins. It's a great way to get kids excited and tuned in to nature without the "Mom speech" about fresh air and unplugging.
Open Sundays only 11am-5pm
Dog Tales is a world-renowned dog rescue and horse sanctuary set on an incredible 50 acres of green fields, rolling hills, and wooded areas in King City, Ontario.
Their picturesque location - complete with kilometres of walking trails, therapy pools, and a grooming spa - is the perfect setting for abused and neglected animals to heal and be rehabilitated while they wait for forever homes.
Dog tales is a wonderful spot to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon and feel inspired by the generosity, hard work and passionate care the owners and staff have given the cause. Visitors are invited to walk the property and tour the kennel free of admission charge however consider a donation or, even better, sponsor a horse on an ongoing basis.
If coming to adopt a dog, please set up a private appointment via their application process in order to interact with the dogs. Photography courtesy of Dog Dales.ca (credit:@freyaeverafter)
Wherever you go, remember to take only pictures and leave only footprints. Post pics of your travels and share them with us @thedoodlepost. Happy Summer!