Where to feed and entertain children in Toronto
July 19, 2008 11:13 AM   Subscribe

Where do two foodies take a family with children in Toronto? And once we've eaten, what are the must see places for boys, 6 and 8?

Two of my best friends from Wisconsin are coming to Torontowith their boys, 6 and 8. They're staying at Bay and Wellseley (not, IMHO, a great area for kids). I want to make sure that the kids have as much fun as the adults.

Can any downtown/ Annex parents recommend restaurants in the area that are both foodie and child friendly in that area?

I'm going to suggest taking them to the Science Centre, the ROM and Riverdale farm. What else shouldn't they miss? They're also going to Hamilton, a city I do not know at all.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk to Travel & Transportation around Toronto, ON (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I had a great time and the most amazing authentic chinese food at Lee Gardens in Chinatown. Several kids were also there and had a great time. We had a big round table and lots of dishes we all shared.
posted by Flying Squirrel at 11:19 AM on July 19, 2008

Best answer: The Monster Factory will be a hit with both parents and kids.

There's always a Blue Jays game. I have never paid more than $9 per ticket for a Jays game and my seats have always been excellent. It is right next door to the CN Tower which is very pricey but a lot of fun, especially for kids.

If the kids need to burn off a little energy, I can't recommend the completely free (and totally awesome) Dufferin Grove Park enough -- it includes a sandpit which alone is worth the drive from any area of the city. (Warning: the kids will get grubby.)

It's wonderful news (for them) that they're going to Hamilton because it makes African Lion Safari (an hour southeast from Toronto) sort of on the way. It is absolutely the coolest thing you can do with a pair of kids. My husband, who is now in his thirties, went as a kid and his face still lights up when he talks about. (Friends have been this year and raved about it so I know the quality of the park hasn't deteriorated since my husband was a kid.)

I think the kids will love the Science Centre but I would probably skip the ROM. (Although, if you want to stop by the ROM for just a quick visit, admission is free on Wednesdays from 4:30 until the museum closes at 5:30. Otherwise tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for kids.)

Very good friends of mine just came to Toronto for vacation and they had a great time -- I hope your friends do too.
posted by kate blank at 12:55 PM on July 19, 2008

Best answer: For Toronto I would recommend the Distillery District (food and neat things) and Centre Island. Skip Ontario Place, if you were thinking of it but Wonderland might be something the boys would like. If you are driving from Toronto to Hamilton you might want to take a longer time driving but more scenic route along Lakshore though different downtowns rather than the subdivision backyard/american chain store views from the QEW. For Hamilton (non-food) places to go with the boys would be African Lion Safari (waterpark included, it is still great kate blank, so if you haven't taken your husband back there you should!), Emerald Lake (waterpark, no need to camp) or Wild Waterworks (Emerald Lake is less busy and more relaxing for parents but if the boys are high energy they may prefer Wild Waterworks). HMCS Haida has moved from Toronto to Hamilton, a ghost walk may be too much for the boys (depends on their personality). There are several museums as well, they may especially like the Steam Museum or the Warplane Museum.The Bruce Trail runs through Hamilton, with gorgeous hiking in Dundas. Another nice hike (no swimming) is Crawford Lake and First Nations reconstructed village in Halton. Burlington also has a nice waterfront and lots of foodie restaurants they may want to explore (that site promotes a weekly tour of various restaurants). Try to catch a movie at Oakville's #5 Drive-In (get there early, looong lines in summer). They ARE going to Niagara Falls, right?
posted by saucysault at 1:30 PM on July 19, 2008

Best answer: Jumping on the African Lion Safari bandwagon here! Kids of all ages will have a blast there. My god mom makes us take her every year for her birthday and she's 47, lol. The elephant walk and swim are so much fun, worth the price of admission alone for that, and driving through the baboon sanctuary is a scream, they swarm your car and give a great show. Also you can ride camels! Don't expect much from the lions though, all they do is sleep in big piles of lazycat.

Here's fixed links for saucysault's suggestions of The Bruce Trail and Emerald Lake
posted by zarah at 2:00 PM on July 19, 2008

For the restaurant suggestions, you might want to check out the Chowhound forums for GTA Toronto. I've seen a few family orientated threads before so there might be some finds.

(And when I was a kid, I thought Ontario Place, ROM and the AGO were all great places.)
posted by tksh at 3:26 PM on July 19, 2008

I enjoyed Casa Loma when I was younger.
posted by Midnight Rambler at 4:09 PM on July 19, 2008

Best answer: Seconding centre island. The ferry out there is the best way to see the Toronto sky line, and centreville is just right for a 6 and 8 year old. It's my favourite place to go if the weather is nice in Toronto. The family can even rent 4 person bicycles which is a fun novelty.

The Science Centre is also a blast for kids and adults alike. They should definitely check it out. The ROM is pretty cool right now because they have the Darwin exhibit with all sorts of neat animals and a separate children's area too. There's also the massive Dinosaur collection which is sure to impressive young kids.

Food wise, I remember always loving Movenpick when I was a kid visiting Toronto. You get to go around and pick what you want to eat and they cook it in front of you. The food isn't super amazing, but it's definitely kid friendly, and a fun novelty experience.
posted by asparagrass at 8:15 PM on July 19, 2008

Oh, your friends may find some useful coupons on the Attractions Ontario site. Personally, I'm going to Santa's Village just for the free elves hat.
posted by saucysault at 11:04 PM on July 22, 2008

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