Sadly, much of Ontario Place is closed for 2012, pending revitalization: the Ontario Place grounds, Cinesphere, waterpark, rides, attractions and restaurants are closed for revitalization.
It had been years since I’ve been to Ontario Place for anything other than a concert at the Molson Amphitheatre. And it’s been years since I’ve gone there too, quite frankly. Our daughter went to Ontario Place with her day camp last summer, and really really really really wanted to go back, so we made sure to make Ontario Place a part of our Toronto Staycation.
I L.O.V.E.D. Ontario Place as a kid, and now that it’s bigger and better, my big kid loves it too – and frankly I’m a little envious! But visiting with a toddler (Bub) presented a few challenges.
At 5, our daughter is the perfect age to enjoy Ontario Place. She can (and did!) participate in mostly all the rides and attractions. The waterslides were a little big, but otherwise the entire park was at her disposal. At 2, Bub thought he was big enough to participate in everything, and seeing his sister do stuff that he could not did not go over well…
Of course, what endeared Ontario Place to me right off the bat is the fact that there is information for nursing mothers right in the main section of the park guide. Mothers are welcome to nurse anywhere they like, and there is a baby care station is located in the Arcade in the Go Zone. They state that the first aid station can also be used as a baby care station, when available. All the washrooms have change tables, and the park is fully accessible, making using your stroller a breeze. The rules state that you may bring in your own food only if you are visiting with little ones, but we saw many families enjoying picnics in places other than the specified picnic areas. Our usual M.O. is to bring in our own water and most of our snacks, but purchase a pizza or something similar there. This worked well for us on this visit but do note that the Pizza Pizza did not sell milk here – chocolate or white.
Soak City is the mega splash pad that didn’t really exist when I was small. Again, our daughter loved it, and so did Bub. I found it a little intense for small toddlers. The big kids were busy and sometimes playing quite rough, and it was a bit of a challenge to make sure he stayed safe while also not being a big spoilsport to everyone else. I was delighted when he decided he loved hanging out in the swing, although I realized after the fact that he was WELL OVER the recommended weight limit for that particular device 😉 We all got soaked at Soak City, which felt great as it was a particularly hot and sunny day. One other note is I hope they’ll install a couple more of the giant umbrellas that offer shade – everyone was pretty cosy under those brollies!
Ontario Place ground admission is free, and it is lovely to wander around by the lake. Bub loved the boats, telling the birds to “Shoo”, and watching the helicopter that offers tours land and take off. It would be a great place for a walk with a smaller baby, and obviously it’s super fun for an older child. It might have been an easier visit if Bub didn’t have to see his big sister do stuff that he could not, but he still really enjoyed himself.
*One note about the pedal boats… They do have tiny life jackets that will fit a small toddler. I’m not certain I’d recommend it if your baby is quite mobile. We ended our boat ride early. I’m still surprised we didn’t all end up for an impromptu swim!