Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory

When you need to get out but can’t brave the cold or the snow, indoor activities are the answer! We have created a list of fun, exciting, educational and active day trips from Toronto to keep the whole family busy during the winter doldrums. So dig out the car and get on the road. It’s time for a family day-trip adventure!

Cambridge

A must-do for nature lovers is The Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory. Waterfalls, tropical plants, streams, and reflecting pools set the scene for this 10,000 square foot space filled with finches, quails, turtles, and thousands of butterflies. Forget the blustery snow outside – you’ll feel like you’re exploring in the tropics!

Kids can enjoy STEAM, art, and discovery projects for FREE at the six locations of the Idea ExchangeHoused in rejuvenated heritage buildings and public libraries, these spaces aim to enhance learning with fun activities, events, and movies.

Head over to the newly christened “gaslight district” and check out some shows at the Hamilton Family Theatre Cambridge. (On the way there, parents may notice filming locations from a decidedly not-for-kids show, A Handmaid’s Tale.)

Hamilton

The Hamilton Toy Museum focuses on play, for kids of all ages. There are vintage toys on display, so while the kids are playing you can take a walk down memory lane. There are lots of interactive activities, such as colouring, a doll fashion station, air hockey and foosball, and plenty of toys to go around.

The kids will love a step back through history when they tour Dundurn Castle. There are over 40 rooms to explore, hands-on activities and historic food to try. Check out their special events for more.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is a great place to visit, and not just because it has one of the top natural wonders in North America. It is driving distance from anywhere in the GTA and if nothing else, it promises some beautiful views. The falls look amazing in winter, but we all know the kids will have very little patience for standing around, looking out over the water.

As we can never get enough of those lovely Lepidopteras, the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory is an absolute must. The lush tropical temperatures inside the conservatory are a perfect setting for a cold winter day. With over 2,000 butterflies (45 different species) flying free, the kids will love taking a walk through the winding green paths.

What better way to ignore the snow than pretending you’re on a tropical island? With the summer temperatures inside the Fallsview Waterpark, it’s easy to imagine. There are three acres of inside water fun and sixteen waterslides. And if the kids are over 12, you can enjoy the adult-only hot springs while they are off splashing.

Just up the street is the fabulously garish Clifton Hill. A golden mile of fun houses, carnival rides, arcades, and wax museums, the kids will love this tacky block of unadulterated fun.

Oakville

At one point or another, everyone dreams of flying. At iFly Toronto, you can make it happen! And the great thing about indoor skydiving is that even those with a fear of heights can participate because there is no jumping off or falling down involved, just a free-fall simulation! Kids as young as 4 years old can defy gravity and spread their wings with the help of the trained instructors.

If your child likes to hit the links with you, or even enjoys a round of mini-golf, they may appreciate the Golf Hall of Fame. They can try their luck with some antique irons, practice their swing in the mini driving range, and discover the history behind the game.

End the day by visiting some of Oakville’s museums, looking at the history of the printing press at Howard Iron Works and of the city itself at the Oakville Museum at Erchless Estate.

Smith Falls

Smith Falls is a charming town about a three-hour drive from Toronto, located on the historic Rideau Canal, Ontario’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are great museums and galleries, including the Rideau Canal Museum and Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario.

Take a trip to the past at the Smith Falls Heritage Museum. There are period rooms, workshops, exhibitions, art shows and special events to keep you busy. It doesn’t cost much and the kids will learn a thing or two.

Parrot Partners is a unique way to spend a weekend afternoon. It is a charitable organization that helps train, adopt, and rehabilitate parrots. They raise awareness of the needs and issues surrounding their birds. Families can take a tour and learn more about parrots and their environment by feeding the parrots, putting on some rain gear to shower with the birds in the rain room, and helping with training and rehabilitation. Kids can also snap photos with their favourite parrots, some of which are near extinction.

Stratford

In the warmer seasons, Stratford is known for its theatre and related events. However, in the winter, the Stratford Area has different activities for the kiddos. 

For those Justin Bieber fans, stop by the Stratford Perth Museum for the Steps to Stardom exhibit, focussing on Stratford’s favourite pop star son.

Schedule a trip to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum to learn more about the Blue Jays and other Canadian greats, past and present. Afterwards, take a drive down to Beachville to see where the first recorded game of baseball was played in North America.

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