Whether you are visiting Toronto for a family vacation or a specific event, it is important to know what are the best things to do in Toronto with kids as well as the whole family. From Centre Island to the Toronto Islands and everything in between, there is always fun for everyone.
From the CN Tower to the Rogers Centre, you and the kids will have a blast in Toronto. It is not difficult to enjoy Toronto with kids since there is so much to do and see including the Toronto waterfront, Canada's Wonderland, and Toronto Blue Jays games.
Visiting Toronto with kids is especially fun during the summer when the amusement parks and beaches are open. Why not take one of the Toronto tours? Not only does this get you and the kids out and about but you can all learn about the culture and history of the city.
Some of the tours take you along the Toronto Harbour while another will take you to see Niagara Falls. You can walk through the downtown neighborhoods for a few hours and learn all about the natural history of the city's waterfront.
There are many family-friendly activities in Toronto from taking a ride on the antique Ferris wheel to learning about world cultures while you spend time with each other in this fantastic city.
But you cannot have fun if you have your bags with you. Drop them off at a suitcase storage site in Toronto while you and the family visit the historical sites, get some fresh air on the walking trails, or check out the public transit system.
Royal Ontario Museum
Also known as ROM, the Royal Ontario Museum in downtown Toronto is perfect for kids of all ages with its variety of interactive exhibits that are so much fun. The hands-on exhibits are enough to keep young fans busy while the older ones learn more about Ontario and Canada. Tip: Grab a Toronto Citypass to get free and reduced prices here and all over the city.
Ontario Science Centre
For even more interactive fun things to do, the Ontario Science Centre is one of the world's leading museums with fun things and hands-on activities to entertain younger kids as well as adults. In fact, it is one of the most popular museums in Ontario. The hands-on centre teaches kids about the human body, Toronto Argonauts, and history. Don't skip the gift shop where you can get some awesome souvenirs.
If you want to get the best view of Toronto, go high. The CN Tower is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere at just over 1,800 feet and is located in downtown Toronto. Kids will be in awe of the dizzying view on the way up on the glass elevator. At the top, seeing the world at your feet is amazing and the little ones will love jumping up and down on the glass floor. The CN Tower really is a must-see for everyone.
High Park Nature Centre
Another great place for having fun in Toronto with kids is the High Park Nature Centre. Find it in downtown Toronto, Ontario on Bloor Street. The large green space boasts more than 40 rare plants including the cup plant, wild lupine, and the woodland fern leaf. The park offers programs for kids like a guided tour to learn more about the flora and fauna as well as getting up close and personal with some of the creatures.
Also located in High Park, the Toronto Zoo is a favorite for kids of all ages and adults too. There are more than 5,000 animals on 710 acres. It is the largest zoo in Canada and gets more than 1.4 million visitors per year. Some of the most popular activities at the Toronto Zoo include the Gorilla Climb Ropes Course, a carousel, and a splash pad to cool off in the summer.
Fort York National Historic Site
Museums and galleries are fun for kids, especially ones like this. Fort York was the site of a major battle during the War of 1812, which was an important part of Canadian military history. Today, the fort, constructed in the 1800s, is a tourist attraction right in the middle of downtown in Fort York. It was built to protect the entrance of the harbor and features 41 acres of blockhouse, cannons, cemeteries, and a fun visitor center. Take a guided tour to learn more and to see cannon firings.
Hockey Hall of Fame
The Hockey Hall of Fame has a plethora of educational play spaces and information about the National Hockey League. See the awesome trophy room, take some practice shots, call the scores in the broadcast pods, and learn all about Canada's number one sport. Don't miss the gift shop where you can find all sorts of hockey memorabilia for young people as well as adults.
Canada's Wonderland is a large theme park and has a variety of kiddie rides too, but the majority of the rides are for kids over 12. The 330-acre park boasts 70 attractions with 17 roller coasters and 11 water rides. Open from May until Labor Day, the park is divided into eight themes including Splash Works, which is a water park.
Whether you are in Toronto during the summer or winter, the 29-acre Toronto Waterfront area always has something to do for everyone. The western side features Etobicoke Creek has several private parks and beaches to enjoy. The harbor has a multitude of skyscrapers with dining, shopping, and sightseeing. The eastern side features the Scarborough Bluffs. And the Beaches section boasts four sandy beaches with turquoise water.
Art Gallery of Ontario
You may not expect the kids to enjoy an art gallery but even the little kids will enjoy the Art Gallery of Ontario. With its 90,000+ works of art in its permanent collection by contemporary artists as well as Inuit art, you could spend all day there. The kids' gallery is full of fun exhibits as well as the hands-on centre where they can create their own art, dress up, and enjoy storytelling.
Centreville Amusement Park
The Centreville Amusement Park on Centre Island, one of the Toronto Islands in Lake Ontario, is perfect for everyone because it has dozens of rides like spinning teacups, pony rides, and giant bumblebees for the young kids. Take a ride on the Ferris wheel to see some stunning views of the Toronto skyline. Although it is a small amusement park mostly for kids under 12, older kids and adults enjoy the log flume and rollercoasters.
Fantasy Fair Indoor Park
If it is too cold to enjoy the outdoor parks, check out the Fantasy Fair Indoor Park at Woodbine Centre. It is the largest indoor amusement park in Ontario. There are a dozen rides including a train, Ferris wheel, 1911 antique carousel, spinning cups, and bumper cars as well as a triple-level playground and a rock-climbing wall. There are some thrill rides for the older kids too like the XD Simulator and the Drop & Hop.
Rogers Centre Tour Experience
Even during the off-season, you can enjoy the only major league baseball stadium in Canada. Take a guided tour to see the locker rooms of the Blue Jays MLB team and go behind the scenes to learn more about the life of a major league baseball player. Everyone will love seeing the Blue Jays Hall of Fame, the media centre, and the SkyDome.
LEGOLAND Discovery Centre
Whether your kids are toddlers or teens, everyone loves LEGO. Even the adults enjoy creating a LEGO masterpiece of their own in the LEGO Build and Play Centre at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre. Take a guided tour to see how LEGO bricks are made, see the world's biggest LEGO flag, and watch a movie in the 4D Cinema. There are also two fun rides, the Kingdom Quest Laser Ride and Merlin's Apprentice.
Black Creek Pioneer Village
What used to be Dalziel Pioneer Park is now a special open-air museum in North York where you and the family can get an idea of how people lived in the 1800s. See what kids did for entertainment before cell phones, the internet, and television. The village has more than 40 buildings including a blacksmith, general store, and grist mill to name a few.
See more than 20 thousand marine animals at Ripley's Aquarium in downtown Toronto by the CN Tower. With over 1.25 million gallons of water, you can view thousands of cool creatures like sharks, jellyfish, starfishes, and even an octopus or two. Learn about the native freshwater animals in Lake Ontario as well as those from all over the world. You can even see a diving show and play in the water.
As Toronto's only castle, Casa Loma Gothic revival mansion is now a museum and historic house created back in 1911 for Sir Henry Pellatt, a Canadian financier who wanted to live in a medieval castle. Explore the hidey holes, secret passages, and mysterious rooms with a guided tour, or just explore on your own. There are special tours for kids as well as adults.
Who can pass up a visit to Cherry Beach on Leslie St. where you can all partake in some fun water sports like windsurfing, kiteboarding, or just wading in the water? If you are visiting Toronto during the summer, this is the place to go for a peaceful beach experience. The shallow waters are great for the little tykes and there is even a playground and some sports fields to enjoy.
The Museum of Illusions
This place is fun and exciting for kids and adults alike with a plethora of stunning illusions to boggle your minds. The Infinity Room full of mirrors is awesome, the Antigravity Room will blow you off your feet, and the Vortex Tunnel will have you spinning for hours. Don't miss the Infinity Tunnel, True Mirror, and Head on a Platter. It is a popular place for selfies.
Happy Kingdom Playground
The Happy Kingdom is a place where you can let the little ones loose to run about and have some fun kid time. After viewing attractions all day, this playland is the perfect way to tire them out while you relax and just watch. The Arcade area boasts more than 100 arcade games in over 8,000 square feet. From air hockey to Pac-Man and everything in between, gamers of all ages can spend hours having fun here.
See Toronto With Kids in Tow
Once you've toured some of the city and worked up an appetite, take the kids to one of the fantastic child-friendly food spots in town for brunch or lunch. You can get pizza at Queen Margherita Pizza, a variety of mac 'n' cheese dishes at Bobbie Sue's Mac and Cheese, or spaghetti and meatballs at the Pickle Barrel.
One of the favorites is Barque Smokehouse where the kids are treated like royalty, so they'll like this activity too. They each get a coloring book, crayons, Play-dough, and a special surprise. The kids' menu is also great with chicken tenders, mac 'n' cheese, smoked meat, fries, and eight other delicious delights.