Summer is always busy in our home with lots of family birthdays so I haven’t been participating in #WW the last few weeks but my linky is back! Join us on our adventure to Centreville Amusement Park in Toronto (and check out more of our fun here).
Make sure you link up below so that I can come visit you too!
Family time is special time in our house. We always make sure we do one small activity a week together (usually hiking, biking or swimming) and once a month a larger bonding activity (which usually involves some travel). Finding the right venue is extremely important for family bonding – you can’t enjoy each others company if you are miserable waiting in lines or can barely hear each other over the crowds.
This past weekend, we spent the day at Centreville on Toronto Island. This was our first time experiencing the ferry and Centre Island (even for me who grew up just north of Toronto!) and we were all excited. We weren’t quite to sure what to expect but we were ready for our special adventure and our mission to get on as many rides as possible and capture a selfie doing it.
When you are looking for a family friendly venue or attraction to take the whole family to like Centreville Amusement Park, here are some helpful areas to look at before deciding where to go:
A family oriented environment like Centreville is important to encourage bonding, learning and fun. Not only are there opportunities for fun but with lots of benches, breaks and nature everywhere you go, you can really focus on family and enjoying each other’s company. There is no pressure and you can just take your time at each area and even step away from the amusement park to take in some pretty spectacular views of Toronto.
A relaxed pace. One of the very first comments I made to my husband was that I felt like we had stepped off the ferry into another time. People were riding bikes, roller blading, ducks were walking across the grass and above all there were no angry guests, no shouting and no loud noises. This is so different from what I am used to at any amusement park and I LOVED it. It truly made the difference to us as a family.
It is so important that there is something for every one of all ages. My kids are seven years apart so planning activities for them can be hard. We have been to several places where they can’t go on rides together (one is too small, one is too big or maybe they just aren’t interested). This never happened at Centreville. Our eldest took his little brother on the brand new Toronto Island Mine Coaster, they played mini putt, we went on The Centreville Train ride together and even went down the log flume ride (and I still deny that I screamed the whole way down). It was an incredible experience for us a family, we have not laughed like that in a long time. And with over thirty rides to choose from, we were never once bored and actually stayed four hours longer than we had originally planned to.
A variety of food choices located conveniently near the attractions. We like to pack light and always have since our eldest was a baby. I prefer to only bring refillable water bottles and some small snacks so that I can enjoy my day just as much as my kids. Centreville had a conveniently located centre space (which resembled a small town square) that sold a variety of refreshments, drinks and meals. Located just outside the attractions (and under a five-minute walk) was a delicious restaurant, Carousel Cafe, that accommodated my boys love of meat and my need for a vegetarian meal (their spicy black bean veggie burger is incredible!!). We were able to sit outside on the patio right by the water, watching canoes go by and ducks swimming while we ate and planned our afternoon.
Quiet spaces to rest, for when the little ones get tired after all the walking and rides. I’m lying a bit here because this was a must for my husband and I, especially after lunch! It was extremely hot on the day that we visited Centreville so it was nice to just sit down in the shade by the water edge or even by the splash pad area.
The cool factor is always a must. My son and I were on a mission to get a selfie on each and every ride we went on. We hit up each ride (except for the windmill as my stomach can’t quiet handle the circular motion) in the park and managed to snap a selfie on over half the rides. The log fume ride and the Toronto Island Mine Coaster were by far some of the wilder rides but the Centreville train was exciting as it passed by Far Enough Farm. Far Enough Farm definitely added a great late afternoon treat as we walked through and met the animals. It was awesome to see how much the animals loved their farm handlers, at one point we were calling to Darby (the Centreville horse) who ignored us but when Darby’s farm handler called, the horse came trotting over excited to see him.
Tips for Your Next Trip to Centreville:
Arrive early to take advantage of the small line ups for rides. While the boys never waited more than five minutes for a ride, when we first arrived they were able to go on the same ride over and over because not too many people had arrived yet.
Make a mission for the day! For my eldest son and I, this was to snap as many selfies as we could mid-ride. We had so much fun snapping these photos.
Pack light and enjoy the amenities. When you pack light you have less to worry about and can just relax and enjoy yourself.
Buy the all day ride pass – it is worth it. The rides are so much fun and I can still picture my kid’s faces as we went on the rides together. Since there is no admission fee to get into the area you are already saving a lot so take advantage of this.
Use the Far Enough Farm experience to educate your child about animals and the need to love and protect them.
We noticed some pretty awesome historical signs up in the park, like the one near the Carousel ride. Check them out with your older child and when you get home do some research about Centre Island and the ferry. You may learn some new and cool facts.
Have you been to Centreville and if so what is your favourite memory of Centreville?
This post is generously sponsored by Centreville, but the images and opinions are my own. For more information please visit www.centreisland.ca.
I love attending plays and this was a huge part of my childhood. My parents took us to Beauty and the Beast, ballet, Phantom of the Opera and so many more fantastic live shows. I love the architecture of the theatres, the thrill in the audience and the raw emotions from the actors. Sometimes I feel as though children are not encouraged to attend because they have shorter attention spans or they may act out. While this can be true at times, you should always encourage them to attend with you. These are social experiences that will last with them for a long time. One of the best places to experience live theatre is at the Shaw Festival!
Here are some helpful tips for your child’s first visit to a live play:
Arrive early and walk around the city. Niagara on the Lake is stunning in the summer months with the flowers and scenery, so take advantage of this with your child. Pack a lunch to enjoy in one of the parks or try out one of the fabulous restaurants that line Queen Street. This walk really helped our youngest burn a lot of energy while allowing us to see lots of beautiful architecture in the city as well as the lake.
Visit the local shops along Queen Street. We found so many unique shops and this one particular shop really caught the attention of both of our boys with the wind chimes. They fell in love! We spent twenty minutes in this store alone and they came home with a special chime just for them to remember the day.
Niagara on the Lake is rich in history and everywhere you turn there is a sign or flag to display that heritage. Why not really make it a day and visit Fort George for an hour or two? During the War of 1812, Fort George served as the headquarters for the Centre Division of the British Army. This was an important part of our trip as well as we were able to blend some education value into this stop as well as having fun walking around the site (and pretending to shoot cannons!).
The doors to the Royal George open an hour early, so make sure you get in there and take some time to relax in the downstairs lobby. Use this time to make sure your children go to the bathroom, get a small snack and maybe something to drink. The boys loved the mini stage and tables that were set around it. We enjoyed some cool, quiet time before the show started.
The play will make your trip so research what you will see and talk about it with your children. We attended Peter and the Starcatcher, which was fantastic and was a perfect fit for our family! It was full of humour, action and adventure. At one point our youngest was so involved in the action scenes with the Black Stache that he called out no when he was attacking Peter. It was adorable to watch how involved they were in the play and to me this is what theatre is all about, drawing you in to the raw emotions and feelings of the play. The actors in Peter and the Starcatcher did an amazing job drawing you and keeping you entertained throughout the whole two hours. We did not want the show to end!
End your day with ice cream! We stopped in at the Il Gelato di Carlotta, which serves the most divine gelato! I had the Dolce Vita and was in love at first bite. This was the perfect way for us to celebrate the wonderful day we had. Not only is their gelato delicious, they also source all of their fresh fruit from local farms (a win win in my mind!).
The Shaw Festival is the perfect opportunity for you to introduce your child to live theatre, which will be an experience they will not forget!
What other tips can you offer to parents taking their child to live theatre for the first time?
Disclosure: I received tickets to Peter and the Starcatcher. All opinions expressed are my own.
The warmer weather has finally arrived! The return of the summer also brings with it fishing trips, beach days and road trips. While we begin to plan out our summer adventures it is important to remember to prepare your car before all the fun begins!
Here are some helpful tips to prepare your car for the summer season:
Service your vehicle!
This is one area that I know a lot of people personally forget to do and I get it, it is easy to forget to book these appointments when you are booking three to six months in the future. It is important to make sure you are keeping up to date with your oil changes and services. Before you leave on any road trips, check your oil fluid. If you don’t know how to do this, either have someone teach you or make sure you have it checked by someone who is familiar with this process (for me, it is my husband that does this as I just can never remember how to check the fluid). Top up your windshield washer fluid and maybe think about storing an extra bottle in your trunk.
Remove Unnecessary Items from Your Car
Make sure you don’t clutter your car with unnecessary accessories from the winter including your car brush (which as I am writing this I know mine is sitting in the trunk of my car). Remove any extra salt that you may be keeping in your trunk. Clean out the inside of your car, removing toys, coffee cups, sippy cups and all the fun stuff that collects over the winter in your back seat. Try to leave as few items in your car as possible that are not tied down, as these items can become dangerous if you were ever to be involved in an accident.
Update Your Emergency Kits & First Aid Kits
Take out your emergency and first aid kits, check them for missing items and update them for the summer months. For our car that means adding in Reactine, Benadryl and AfterBite (you have to love extreme seasonal allergies!). You may want to include sunscreen and extra hats.
Clutter stresses me out, I can’t stand looking at it (even if it is not my own mess!), I just feel like I need to rearrange the items. Trunk space should be viewed as the same, it is important to keep the area tidy and organized (if only for your own sanity!). You can pick up easy items from the Dollar Store to help organize your trunk space.
Ensure You Have the Insurance Coverage You Need
I can not stress the importance of having up to date insurance that is reflective of your current needs. If you don’t understand your policy, have the company review it with you. You don’t want to find out in an emergency that you don’t have appropriate car coverage. Don’t settle for your insurance rates, make sure you shop around for the best deal. If you have a good record, your rates should be reflective of this. You can now get an instant quote from Lowest Rates from the top Canadian insurance companies ensuring you are getting a top rate that is reflective of your driving records. You can use this to decide whether or not it would be financially wise to stay with your current company or make a switch.
Now that your car is prepared for the summer months, you can hit the road with confidence that you will be riding in a safe car that is fully protected!
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