Family Day is February 16, but instead of letting your little angels bounce off the walls at home this year, why not venture out? Head to one of Toronto’s kid-friendly attractions and embrace the “family” part of Family Day.
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
There’s so much to do at Canada’s largest indoor aquarium, you’re guaranteed to come away water-logged and happy. But if you don’t want to spend your day packed like sardines with the rest of Toronto’s fin-loving families, the best Family Day strategy is to arrive as soon as the doors open, at 9 a.m. With smaller crowds, you can soak up the spooky vibe of the underwater tunnel in the Dangerous Lagoon, where a moving sidewalk transports you beneath the glinting eyes of the giants of the deep. You’ll need nerves of steel to face the pale white underbelly of a tiger shark. Ever wondered what you’d be worth if you were a tuna? Of course you have. Stand on the tippy Catch of the Day scale and you’ll find out – that’s a lot of sushi. And, if you’ve made your Stingray Experience reservation online, you can slap on some wetsuits and channel your inner Cousteau – with an in-water experience in Ray Bay with a school of graceful cownose and southern stingrays.
Royal Ontario Museum
With a collection that includes a real-life shrunken head and a bat cave so realistic it comes with a warning, the Royal Ontario Museum is anything but boring. Your little ones can strap on a pair of goggles and dig for dusty dino bones, while teens will enjoy gawking at the ROM‘s collection of real Samurai warrior armour and weapons. Wrap up your visit in the Schad Gallery of Biodiversity, where you can take turns spotting Nemo in the live coral reef, and marvel at Bull – a 4,500-pound Southern White rhino. This big fella lived at the Toronto Zoo until he passed away at the record-breaking age of 45. As you stare up at this towering behemoth, you’ll have to admit: He’s pretty scary for a stuffed animal.
Ontario Science Centre
Another fun family-friendly mecca is the Ontario Science Centre, where kids can pack in as much activity as they can handle – like traversing a steamy, slippery suspension bridge in a rainforest filled with poison dart frogs, and touching a tornado in the Living Earth. Don’t miss the opportunity to zap yourself silly at the Science Centre’s most shocking demonstration. Happening throughout the day in the Science Arcade, the Van de Graaff electricity generator will channel static electricity through your body, which won’t hurt a bit, but will literally make your hair stand up on end – a bad hair day display that’s perfect for photo ops. When its time to chill out (and snag some much-needed down time for the grownups in the crowd), head to the planetarium and flop down in comfy beanbag chairs. Now all you have to do is gaze at the moon, planets, and sparkly constellations in the night sky – and relish this rare moment of tranquility.