Credit: Ontario Parks
On Family Day weekend, six Ontario Parks—Algonquin, Bronte Creek, Wasaga Beach, Killarney, MacGregor Point and Pinery Provincial Parks—plan special events.
Most activities are free to valid park vehicle permit holders, with refreshments served at some events for a small fee. Twenty-six parks across Ontario are open this winter. Ski, snowshoe, skate and even stay overnight in a cozy camp cabin or yurt. The six Family Day celebrations planned for 2016 are listed below. For more winter outing ideas, check this Parks Blog post.
Ontario Parks also reminds families to book their July camping trip in February thanks to its five-month advance booking window. This Parks Blog highlights family friendly parks in different Ontario areas that local families love.
Family Day Celebrations:
Weather-permitting, the giant outdoor skating rink at Oakville’s Bronte Creek Provincial Park will be open February 15 with skate rentals available. Staff at Bronte Creek's Nature Centre will lead craft-making sessions and at the Play Barn, there will be lots of indoor fun. Bronte Creek’s farm animals will also be on hand to greet visitors.
Wasaga Beach Provincial Park’s 30 kilometres of ski trails are one of Ontario’s best-kept winter secrets! On February 14, bundle up the kids, pack a winter picnic and head to this Georgian Bay park for a day of discovery. Ski the Blueberry Trail, one of several trails maintained by the Wasaga Nordic Club. The club also rents skis, serves light refreshments and keeps trail huts warm for picnicking families. A special Family Day ski pass on February 14 is just $6.
Kids love Algonquin Provincial Park’s Winter in the Wild event. This day-long Family Day celebration is the perfect introduction to Ontario’s most famous park in winter. In 2016, Winter in the Wild takes place February 13 with activities planned along the park’s Highway 60 corridor. There is a menu of activities to choose from including a naturalist-led nature walk or snowshoe hike, cross-country skiing, or skating on Mew Lake Campground’s outdoor rink. The Algonquin Visitor Centre is a great spot to warm up and take in the exhibits, the bookstore and view from the platform. Park naturalists plan an evening program and marshmallow roast at Mew Lake Campground. Most activities are free with a valid park vehicle permit. A Visitor Centre chili lunch and evening refreshments will be available for a nominal fee.
In Southwestern Ontario:
From tiny creatures living under the snow to songbirds and night-time predators, The Pinery Provincial Park is full of winter wildlife. On Family Day weekend, join an Owl Prowl and learn about the great horned owl or make a nature craft to take home. Rent skis or snowshoes and hit The Pinery’s groomed trails. This winter, The Pinery has heated yurts and a camp cabin for rent.
MacGregor Point Provincial Park, near Port Elgin, is the ultimate winter skating party for kids. They love to sleep over in a heated yurt and skate MacGregor Point’s well-lit 400-metre ice trail through the woods. Each yurt sleeps six comfortably. From February 13 to 15, visitors can join the MacGregor Point’s Family Day Challenge and discover all the things that make this Lake Huron park cool.
In Northern Ontario:
Killarney Provincial Park and the Friends of Killarney invite you for a Family Activity Day and a night of stargazing on February 13. Experts will be on hand at Killarney’s observatory to point out winter constellations with the help of a powerful telescope. Other activities include quinzee-building, cross-country skiing, a guided snowshoe hike and a winter barbeque. A camp cabin or six heated yurts are available for rent all winter long or stay at the nearby Killarney Bay Inn or Pines Inn.
Before heading out, families can check the latest snow conditions on the Ontario Parks Ski Report.