Top 5 Summer Bucket List
Check out our Top 5 "must do" activities before the season ends!
Go to The Beach
The Details: What's there to say about beaches that you don't already know? And since we certainly can’t enjoy going year round, make sure you get at least one trip in before the season is over! Locally we love Valens, Christie Lake, and the Binbrook Conservation Area. If you’re willing to take a bit of a drive, Port Dover is one of our nostalgic childhood favs and makes for a fun day trip.
Age Rating: Crawlers and up
Why We Love It: The beach is a simple pleasure that has appealed to families for generations. It’s the perfect place to spend a technology free day, swimming and building sand castles together; it’s bonding at its best! And aside from a possible parking or admission fee (depending on where you go) it’s a relatively low cost outing too.
Kids Will Love: Water and sand are almost always a guaranteed kid pleaser. No matter if they’re a newly moving baby enjoying the sensory experience or a big kid tossing a Frisbee, it’s a day the whole family can enjoy.
Good To Know: It's wise to consider bringing proper life jackets for little ones who can’t swim yet, especially if the kids out number the adults! Puddle jumpers, water wings and floaty toys are all great too, but are meant to be used with direct supervision. Binbrook Conservation also now offers a Fun Splash Sports Park in the water. They are giant inflatable obstacle course for ages 4-12, it is at an extra cost starting from $15 per person. There are times when the water quality d oes not allow for swimming check here first
Visit a Midway
The Details: Rides, games and funhouses make for a classically kid friendly day and they are an absolute summer must in our books! Check out the midway at the Winona Peach Festival or for a more adventurous outing take a day trip on the Go Train and visit the Toronto Exhibition remember that kids 12 and under ride the GO for FREE!
Age Rating: The average height requirement for the smallest rides begins at 30-36 inches, so around 2-3 years old depending on the child. Why We Love It: While we all know that midways can get really expensive sometimes you just can’t put a price on fun! It’s almost as much fun to watch your kids on the rides as it is to go on them yourself. It makes for some great photo ops!
Kids Will Love: Going fast, “driving” cars, spinning in circles, going up and down hills? Check, check, check and check! And after all that they might be lucky enough to be treated to some popcorn or cotton candy. Midways are awesome!
Good To Know: Make sure you come armed with plenty of cash, we’re not kidding when we say midways get pricey (typically around $25-$30 per child for a decent number of rides)! And the good news is that if you don’t make it to a midway this summer, you should be able to catch one at a fall fair, so you won't have missed out all together.
Go to The Zoo
The Details: Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Ok, that was cheesy, but we all know a trip to the zoo is a hit with almost any age! Our local fav for little ones is the Twin Valley Zoo in Brantford (it’s just outside of Ancaster) and we also like Safari Niagara and African Lion Safari for their amazing water and play areas!
Age Rating: Zoos can be fun for all ages, our babies have all enjoyed watching the animals from a young age.
Why We Love It: The zoo is simply a great day for family bonding. There is so much to see and talk about together; it’s the perfect place for making lifelong memories.
Kids Will Love: Kids have a natural curiosity about animals, and zoos help feed into that. All the zoos listed above offer educational shows
and a petting area which allows them to get up close and personal with animals they won't see at home!
Good To Know: A trip to the zoo can be expensive so it’s a good idea to plan ahead and pack a picnic lunch to offset the admission fees (you are permitted to bring your own food to all of the above listed parks). To reduce costs further, keep an eye out on Wag Jag and similar sites for admission deals, or if you’ll be going more than a couple of times in a year you may want to consider getting a season’s pass.
Play Mini Putt
The Details: A classic game to enjoy with the family whether you’re avid golfers or just want some active fun. Our three local favourites are Adventure Village which is classic mini putt for the whole family, Eagle Classic which has a new waterfall and the more challenging Rock Chapel which is like a real golf course that has been scaled down and is great for older kids and those who take their golfing more seriously. If you feel like a road trip The Dinosaur Adventure Putt in Niagara Falls is a favourite with an erupting volcano
Age Rating: Usually best for ages 4 and up when they can start to truly grasp basic game rules
Why We Love It: Not only is it a way to bond with the family while keeping active, mini putt has the added bonus of being semi-educational. Counting, turn taking and sportsman like behavior are just a few of the things your kids will be learning and they won’t even realize it!
Kids Will Love: There’s something about picking out your own colourful ball, then getting to hit it over and over again with a big metal putter that is universally kid appealing. Plus they’re getting their energy out while enjoying the great outdoors – what more could you ask for?
Good To Know: Get your mini putt in before the season is over in October, the nearest indoor mini putt is in Oakville so it’s definitely a seasonal affair here in Hamilton!
Go to The Drive In
The Details: Watching a movie on a big outdoor screen while snuggled up in the car is the perfect way to spend a summer evening as a family. There are a few drive ins in the surrounding area, but the one and only here in Hamilton is of course the Starlite!
Age Rating: Depending on how late your kids like to stay up, and how well they sleep in the car this could easily be an all ages outing. For you average family ages 3 and up is probably about right.
Why We Love It: Not only is the drive in inexpensive, you’ll be treated to at least 2 movies which is great for families who may not be able to get to the movies very often. Plus if the kids get unruly you won’t be disturbing a theatre full of other people!
Kids Will Love: What kid doesn’t love getting to stay up late and watch a movie? And the novelty factor of getting to go out somewhere in your pjs and eat popcorn and candy in the car is huge! Oh, and did we mention there’s a playground to enjoy before the movie starts? Yep, all kinds of awesome here!
Good To Know: While it’s common to bring it in, outside food is not permitted at the drive in. We know lots of people do it, but please plan to support the concession in some way, it’s one of the ways they keep the ticket prices low! If you can't make the drive in there are also many movies in the park options. Check out our section for that here Movies in the Park.