Family skating
Not sure what to do with the kids this Family Day weekend? Take them to one of Ontario's provincial parks, where there are a number of family-friendly programs and activities scheduled.

Get closer to wildlife

Saturday, February 18, 10 a.m - 8 p.m.
Algonquin Provincial Park

Ontario's oldest and most famous park is always worth visiting, but you don't want to miss Winter in the Wild. Courtesy of the Friends of Algonquin Park and Ontario Parks, you'll be able to:

  • Take a guided bird walk along the Spruce Bog Trail, where you'll see spruce grouse, Boreal chickadees, and more. (There's a limited supply of binoculars, so if you've got your own, bring 'em.)

  • Enjoy a chili (beef or vegetarian) lunch at the Visitor Centre, where you can check out exhibits and learn more about the park's history.

  • Get an exclusive look at the collections room—usually open only to park staff—which stores hundreds of natural history items collected over the past 80 years, such as bird and mammal skins, as well as plant and insect specimens.

  • Strap on snowshoes and follow less-travelled trails, where you'll have the chance to spot animal tracks.

  • Go skating, sit by a fire, and enjoy a BBQ dinner at Mew Lake Campground.

  • Learn all about the wolves of Algonquin Park by the fire, and then take a hike to see if they'll answer the park staff's howls.

Read the full schedule.

This new, one-day-only event is accessible by purchasing a day permit to the park ($16 per vehicle). Meals, snowshoe rentals, and overnight yurt stays cost extra.

Skate through the woods

All weekend, weather permitting
Arrowhead Provincial Park / MacGregor Point Provincial Park

If skating is your family activity of choice, Arrowhead Provincial Park—located near Huntsville—has a new 300-metre skate path that runs through the East River campground, complete with path-side picnic tables and campfire rings for wiener and marshmallow roasts. Call the park at (705) 789-5105 for weather conditions and booking skating parties. If you'd rather stick to a rink, you'll find one overlooking Mayflower Lake. Arrowhead will be open until 9 p.m. every night this weekend, and will have tiki torches, big campfires, and barbecues.

A day use permit costs about $10.50 per vehicle. Skate rentals are available at an extra cost.

Another prime Ontario skating destination is MacGregor Point Provincial Park, which is just a few hours outside of London. Located on Lake Huron, this park has a 400 metre skating loop that is perfectly lit for night skating. On Monday, February 20th. weather permitting, you'll be able skate from 8 'til 10 by candlelight.

Note: Because Ontario has had such a warm winter, skating may not be possible. (Call the park at 519-389-9056 for the latest updates.) MacGregor is offering other weekend events, including an Owl Prowl and Coyote Howl Saturday at 8 p.m., and a guided hike on Sunday at 2 p.m.

Daily access to the park is $10.75 per vehicle or $6.50 for 4 hours. Like Algonquin, MacGregor also offers heated yurt rentals for those who want to stay overnight.

Stargazing, snowshoeing, and more

February 18 and 19
Killarney Provincial Park

The Friends of Killarney Park have organized an action-packed Family Day weekend at Killarney Provincial Park. As long as the skies are clear, the fun starts with stargazing at the observatory from 7-9 p.m. Most of the activities take place on Sunday, beginning with a complimentary BBQ lunch at 11:30 a.m. There will also be guided snowshoe hikes from 12:45 - 4 p.m., Quinzee-building workshops between 1 and 4 p.m., and an astronomy presentation from Bruce Waters at the nearby Killarney Bay Inn at 5:30 p.m. There are some snowshoes available for rental, but call the park at (705) 287-2800 to make sure you can reserve some—and confirm that there's snow.

Buy your day permit for $14.00 per vehicle at the George Lake office. If you'd like to stay in the park overnight, consider booking a heated yurt.

Information provided by Ontario Parks.