Things to do in Toronto with kids
Canada's largest zoo is home to 5,000 creatures that encompass over 450 species, so visitors certainly have a lot of ground to cover. Pavilions such as the African rainforest, Malayan woods and Eurasia, among others, provide a glimpse of wildlife from all over the world. Meanwhile, the Kids' Zoo lets pint-size patrons meet alpacas, woodchucks and other cool residents. Although the giant panda exhibit closed in 2018 after a 10-year run, Da Mao, Er Shun, Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue – who once called the venue home – are ready to say hello to guests at Calgary Zoo's Panda Passage. Family trip, anyone?
This huge tank of a building – which holds a whopping 1.5 million gallons of water – is stationed at the base of the CN Tower and opened in 2013, ultimately stealing some of Toronto Zoo’s thunder in upon its debut. The main attraction, a moving-floor tunnel under the shark tank, sets the tone for the dreamy magic of Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. Those with enough gumption can touch horseshoe crabs, sharks and stingrays in a controlled environment.
If rollercoasters are your thing, look no further than Canada’s Wonderland, which is stationed just outside of Toronto. The beloved amusement park boasts plenty of rides for thrill-seekers and opens during the warmer months. Try going mid-week to beat the crowds or head west to Ontario Place, a lakeside park featuring the world’s first IMAX theatre right on the water. But be warned: the rides and attractions tend to leave you sopping wet.
The Royal Ontario Museum houses a massive collection of cultural and historical items, as well as rotating exhibitions and the Bata Shoe Museum, which features an impressive collection of 13,500 footwear items. However, kids will be particularly drawn to the James and Louise Temerty Galleries of the Age of Dinosaurs and the Bat Cave, which features 800 specimens and models of bats! Who's brave enough to take a peek?!
Although derided for being a tired attraction, Toronto’s icon still boasts astonishing views, even if it lost the title of world’s tallest free-standing structure a few years ago. Different LED light schemes play out on the tower’s exterior from dusk until 2am: the best one lights the main deck to look like a throbbing UFO hanging over the city. Expect plenty of photo-worthy moments when you visit.
Toronto’s other postcard attraction is Casa Loma. This brash 18th-century Gothic revival castle stands outlandishly against the otherwise Victorian architectural sensibility of the city. Built between 1911 and 1914 by the man who established the first hydro-generating plant at Niagara Falls, Casa Loma was abandoned after the family went bankrupt, remaining unoccupied until the city bought it in 1937. Little princes and princesses will love wandering around a real-life castle!
Toronto is home to Canada’s premier ballet company, the National Ballet of Canada. The schedule is ever changing, but always includes the Nutcracker and loads of special programs for kids.
Need we say more? A love of hockey is practically required in Canada. At the Hall of Fame, players and fans can learn all about NHL greats.
If the Blue Jays are playing, Torontonians are showing their support by donning jerseys and blue hats. Catch the action by the waterfront stadium during home games and be sure to grab a hot dog while cheering on the only Canadian team in the MLB.
Give your little thatre buffs a taste of the arts from the get-go at the Young People's Theatre. For over 50 years, the institution has catered its repertoire to kid-focused performances and programming.
2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the iconic kid-focused attraction that celebrates all things science and tech. Little visitors will be able to explore the world around them thanks to various offerings, including a planetarium, science arcade, IMAX theater, interactive studios like Inventorium 2.0 and KidSpark (for those 8 and up) and other cool amenities that'll keep them curious.