Does your family enjoy Amusement Parks & Theme Parks? Here are a few you're going to love in Southern Ontario.
When I was a kid one of my family’s favourite summertime daytrips was Crystal Beach Park. Alas, Crystal Beach is no more… the beloved behemoth was torn down in 1989. But never fear! There are still plenty of parks in Ontario. And they’re bigger and better than ever. If you go frequently (say three or more times a year), then you will probably save money if you buy the annual pass that many of these sites offer.
**NOTE: If you’re looking for parks with animals, see my page on Zoos in Ontario.
Okay, here’s my list:
Adventure Village in Confederation Park
Hamilton. Offers mini-golf, rock climbing, an arcade, and bumper cars, etc. Not far from Wild Waterworks (see below). Nice location in a regional conservation area, so after the rides you can take the kids for a picnic in the park, walk along the beach along the shore of Lake Ontario, or stop for an ice cream cone at Hutch’s or dinner at Baranga’s.
Kitchener. Big Splash Waterpark with wavepool and slides. Funworx Indoor playground, rock climbing, mini-golf, etc. Part of the Bingeman’s Camping Resort.
Vaughan (about a 30-minute drive north of Toronto). This is both a water park and amusement park, with some of the biggest rollercoaster rides in North America. Kids and adult thrill-seekers will enjoy this. For more details see my detailed 2-page article on Canada’s Wonderland.
Toronto. Located on Centre Island, one of the islands forming Toronto Island Park. Part of the fun is the ferry ride over to the island; the short, inexpensive trip offers a grand view of the Toronto Skyline from the lake (cheap cruise!). Rides, a small petting farm and a wading pool. Geared to younger kids (7 and under).
Thunder Bay. This park turned 90 years old in 2011! It features an historic carousel, midway rides like the rollercoaster, bumper cars and the tilt-a-whirl.
Niagara Falls Ontario. This is more of an Animal Park but I’m including it here because they also have features of an amusement park, such as costumed characters and thriller rides like the “Skyscreamer” tower (according to my great-nieces who just went this summer for the first time, this is the BEST ride!).
Ontario Place - CLOSED
Toronto. The government of Ontario announced in Jan 2012 that they were closing this park and will be redeveloping the land into something else.
Mississauga. Bumper cars, go-karts, mini-golf, video games and batting cages in the sports dome are just a few of the entertaining attractions here.
Bracebridge. One of the old-time favourite theme parks. We went here as a child, and I distinctly remember arguing with a friend that indeed there WAS a Santa Claus, because I had MET HIM in PERSON that summer. Has themed rides such as the Christmas ball ferris wheel, cruises, trains, a splash pad, and of course Santa! A camping area too.
London Ontario. This is a theme park geared to younger children with rides like the merry-go-round, miniature train, ferris wheel. Your kids can pose with costumed animal characters, play in the splash pad or visit the Castle. Adults and kids alike will enjoy the small zoo with a pair of Canadian lynxes, porcupine, hawks and peacocks.
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