This summer, we wanted to head out on a little family vacation. We decided that a little trip to the big city of Toronto was in order. It’s about a 4-hour drive, that we usually make once or twice a year for a day trip, but we decided to make this a week long trip. It was great because it was a trip that wasn’t going to break the bank thanks to a little deal hunting and CityPass for the major attractions.
Our first day was spent travelling. You don’t get very far very easily (or quickly) when you are travelling with a little one. We also made a stop at the Vaughan Mills Mall on our way down. It was a nice chance to have a break and do a little shopping. We continued out drive, checked into our hotel and headed straight for the pool. We spent the rest of the evening just relaxing.
The next morning we got up and headed out. Our plan was to check out Ripley’s Aquarium and the CN Tower. The aquarium was amazing! We got there around 10am and spent the better part of 3 hours. We loved exploring and seeing all the different fish in the huge tanks. There was also a large moving belt that took you through the large overhead shark tanks.
Alexie particularly loved the tunnel through a tank of nurse sharks. While other children, 7 and 8 years old, were nervous about going through the acrylic tunnel. But, Alexie had no fear. She crawled, by herself, into the tunnel. She even stopped in the middle for a minute to watch the sharks as they swam by. We had such a great time.
After a little lunch break and a nap, we headed for the CN Tower. We got there around 2:30pm and it was quite a wait. We walked right through security so we thought it would be quick. About 2 hours later we were just getting up the elevator. Once we got up there, it was nice and lots to look at. The glass floor was cool (I’m terrified of heights so I wasn’t really loving it, but Ste liked it and Alexie is fearless so she was fine with it). There was a lot to see while we waited in line. I think it would have been better with an older child but we still had fun.
Wednesday morning, we planned on heading to Casa Loma. That was a really interesting. A historical location built by a slightly eccentric and wealthy man in the early 1900s. It’s been in several Hollywood movies like Chicago, the Vow, and the X-Men. It’s a really kinda cool if you’re into historical stuff. They have some old cars, carriages, and clothes from that time period. The only downside was that it was hot and the old building isn’t air-conditioned. They also suggest that you don’t bring your stroller around the building since there are lots of stairs. But with a little one who doesn’t walk, it was not good advice. After 2 floors, I went back and got the stroller. It was just too hot and she’s getting so heavy, that it was easier to carry an umbrella stroller up and down some stairs.
A quick bite to eat and we headed off to the Royal Ontario Museum. We only did the second floor. That’s where the children-focus area and activities are. There were several activity stations and some volunteers who were able to show us some cool skulls. We toured around and looked at the dinosaur bones and we really enjoyed it.
We spent the next day at the zoo. We packed a lunch, loaded up the wagon and headed out on a hot but overcast day. It was fantastic and we got to see all kinds of animals. It was well worth the walk. We arrived at the polar bear exhibit just in time for a feeding.
Alexie loved watching the bear dive down after carrots and fish. It was one of her favourite moments. We also loved the orangutans, some of whom were jumping and swinging around.
A few friends gave us some great tips about the zoo. One told us to go when it was overcast. This was huge. Fewer people go when there’s even a threat of rain. It had rained early that morning and the clouds still lingered around until about 2pm. It was so nice and quiet as we walked around the zoo. Once the sun came out, the number of people double in about 1 ½ hours. Luckily we were on our way out by then.
Another friend warned us about the Grizzle Trail through the North American animals. There is a huge hill (like HUGE). It’s only worth going there if you’re going to pay for the tram. Otherwise, it’s just not worth the walk, especially since we have bears where we live. So we opted to skip that trail since we had a wagon to pull. We took our sweet time walking around, stopping frequently for snacks and diaper changes. But it was great!
Friday, we headed for home. Again, we took our time. And we made a very important pit stop along the way. We stopped at Ikea! It’s one of my favourite stores and we were able to do some shopping for a basement which should be fully done by September. And who can beat a 99 cent frozen yogurt cone as you leave? It’s really my favourite store. A few traffic delays and a few pit stops later we finally arrived home, tired but so happy after our first family vacation.