When visiting a world-class city like Toronto, there’s no shortage of things to do. And if you’re travelling with children, you’re in luck – from thrill rides and theatre shows to sports and scenic tours, Toronto offers the best in family entertainment. With Four Seasons Hotel Toronto serving as home base for your family vacation, even the youngest guests will feel welcome. And at d|bar they’ll find a children’s menu featuring a gourmet, not-so-pint-size burger. For downtime, you can opt for a family movie night in your suite, or make use of the stunning relaxation pool.
But you won’t want to stay still for long. With so much to do in Toronto, we recommend discovering the city through these attractions and activities – aimed at school-age children, but guaranteed to please kids of all ages.
Scale new heights
It’s no secret that children like to climb to the tops of things – and the taller the better. Mini daredevils can enjoy a bird’s-eye view of Toronto and the surrounding area from the observation deck at the CN Tower, one of the tallest free-standing structures in the world. Take an adrenaline-pumping ride up in a glass elevator and capture the heart-stopping moment when your child jumps on the glass floor.
Take a deep dive
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, the country’s largest aquarium, opened in 2013 just steps from the CN Tower. The aquarium covers 135,000 square feet (12,550 square metres), holds more than 1.5 million gallons (5.7 million litres) of water, and is home to 15,000 animals, including sharks, jellies, rays and green sea turtles. Set aside time to discover Dangerous Lagoon, where a moving sidewalk, the longest of its kind in North America, allows guests to see marine life up close.
Explore the wild
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Add some learning to a day of discovery at Royal Ontario Museum. Of special interest to children are the popular Earth Rangers shows, where young adventurers can awaken their wild side and learn about the diversity of animal life and nature through interactive science lessons, complete with appearances by animal ambassadors. Don’t forget to check out the ROM’s famous Bat Cave, where you can and meet live bats.
Enjoy old-fashioned fun
Located on Toronto’s Centre Island (taking the ferry ride to the island is half the fun), Centreville Amusement Park is reminiscent of simpler times, featuring pony rides, a windmill-style Ferris wheel and an antique carousel. While most rides are geared to children ages 12 and under, the whole family can enjoy a lazy summer day on the island. Pack a picnic and spread out on lush green spaces after a family bicycle ride, or cool off in the wading pools.
Talk to animals
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The Toronto Zoo houses more than 5,000 animals amid seven zoogeographic regions: Indo-Malaya, Africa, the Americas (North and South America), Eurasia, the Tundra and Australasia. Outdoors, animals live in naturalistic environments, with barrier-free viewing at many levels so that kids have no trouble getting a good look. Don’t miss the new TundraAir ride, the Gorilla Rainforest and the interactive Kids Zoo.
Cheer for the jousting
A display of pageantry from another century, Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament encourages young and old to discover their inner knights and ladies during an evening of feasting and festivities. Enjoy a hearty royal dinner of chicken, spare ribs, bread and potatoes (or a vegetarian plate, if you prefer) with the court while you admire the feats of daring performed by brave knights and their trusty steeds.
Make a visit to wonderland
Although it’s a bit of a hike from the downtown core (1 hour by car or 2 hours by public transit), no visit to the Toronto area is complete without taking in the thrills, family rides, live shows and incredible water park at Canada’s Wonderland. Small children can interact with Peanuts characters at Planet Snoopy, while older kids and roller coaster aficionados will enjoy the new Wonder Mountain’s Guardian, which takes riders through an interactive rush with medieval dragons and 3-D animation.