In cities like Toronto, there’s never enough time.
With so many cool activities for families, we barely scratched the surface of things to do. Being there for less than 48 hours forced us to narrow our itinerary down to just three things. But those three things we did were awesome. So let me share:
1. Hockey Hall of Fame.
I know almost nothing about hockey. Yet, I enjoyed this place as much as my 7-year-old hockey-obsessed son did.
Besides historical memorabilia that celebrates players and teams, our favorite place was the “interactive” area. That’s where my son put on goalie gear and blocked real pucks shooting out of a screen. It looked, on the video screen, like Wayne Gretzky was skating up to you and taking a shot. So cool! In another interactive game, we got to be the shooters against a digital, life-sized goalie.
Even my 9-year-old daughter, who knows/cares little about hockey, said, “That place was fun” as we left. Most of the museum’s features are for hockey lovers only, however.
See: interactive play area
Skip: the movie. It was a cheesy made-for-TV styled movie about brothers playing hockey.
Tip: Beware of the pricey parking at the garages next door. There is no parking validation, and I had to pay $38 to park for 2 hours. Ouch!
2. Ontario Science Centre.
While the museum has many hands-on areas, the highlight for us was the The Game On 2.0 exhibit (which runs through Labor Day), on the history of video games.
You get to play more than 100 of them — everything from Pong to Wii. While it’s better in concept than in execution (who has the patience for the slow-moving old games anymore?) it’s a fun trip down memory lane for parents, and lots of buttons and screens for kids.
See: Game On 2.0, the history of video games exhibit, which runs through Sept. 2, 2013).
Skip: The space exhibit. It’s in the same location as the little kids play area, so it’s congested with strollers and people. The space exhibits seemed outdated, many were broken, and none of it held my children’s attention at all.
Tip: Buy your tickets in advance. We got stuck in a 40-minute line to buy tickets (no, that’s not a typo). It was torturous.
3. Swimming pool at the Ritz Carlton Toronto
We were going to spend the morning at the St. Lawrence Market, as I wanted to try Toronto’s famous Peameal Bacon Sandwich from Carousel Bakery. But we so enjoyed the saltwater pool at the Ritz Carlton hotel, we canned the idea and swam until 20 minutes before checkout.
The pool has floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook Lake Ontario, the CN Tower, and much of downtown Toronto. Go at night, and stare at moving lights as it goes up the CN Tower.
The saltwater is not only easier on everyone’s skin, you aren’t subjected to that heavy-chemical chlorine smell. Very classy. (Here’s my full story on our experience at the Ritz Carlton Toronto)
See: the view from the pool area at night. Be hypnotized by the light that travels up the CN Tower and the lights of downtown Toronto from the floor-to-ceiling windows.
Skip: the jacuzzi. It’s a perfectly fine hot tub, it’s just ordinary, and buried in the back of the room.
Tip: Sit along the wall full of jets. It’s like being in a Jacuzzi, but staying within arms distance of the kids.
Check out our video tour: Family visit to the Ritz Carlton Toronto
One free adult ticket was provided to the Hockey Hall of Fame and the Ontario Science Center. A discounted rate was provided for one night at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. But the opinions expressed are my own.