Whew, January was a long year but we made it. (We’re barely into the new decade but doesn’t it already feels like it’s been forever?) This Family Day weekend, don’t keep the kids cooped up inside, get them out and about to check out some wholesome fun that’s free of admission. There are cool things happening all around the city — stop by with the entire family or check it out with a group of friends. No need to get super fancy — at the end of the day, it’s less about what you do and who you do it with.
Here are 8 free things to do over the Family Day weekend in Toronto!
A classic Toronto city pastime is ice skating by city hall at Nathan Phillips Square. The rink is open regular hours from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Stop by between 1 to 4, though, for a special skating party hosted by Tim Horton’s! (This is peak Toronto, people.) If you’re no whiz on the ice, don’t fret because there will be informal skating lessons available, and once you get tired of skating, relax in the Tim’s House lounge with a hot chocolate or a French vanilla!
Did you know the High Park Zoo has been entertaining folks for 120 years — and it’s free?! This zoo is an underrated, quaint attraction with a mix of domestic and exotic animals like llamas, reindeer, highland cows, and bison as well as the famed capybara duo, Bonnie and Clyde. Monday’s forecast doesn’t call for snow either, so it’s the perfect chance to get some fresh air and see some animals while you’re at it!
Fort York is turning it up for Family Day, making the best of the Canadian winter with performances, pop-up exhibitions, and mostly importantly, s’mores hot chocolate! The Toronto History Museums — Gibson House, Mackenzie House, Montgomer’s Inn, Spadina Museum, and Todmorden Mills — will be bringing crafts and family-friendly activities to the Blue Barracks Hall.
Do you (and your kids) love scavenger hunts? Well head to Family Day at the Scarborough Museum for an ice cube scavenger hunt. Got history on the brain? You’ll feel like you went back in time with historic props, a live blacksmith demonstration, and old-style hot potato soup and fresh bread by the fire! Part of Toronto History Museums’ Welcome to Winter programming, this is a fun one to check out with the family.
You think you have a lot of plants? Wait ‘till you see this place. This indoor botanical garden is the perfect spot for enjoying nature while not actually having to be outside. Plus, the six greenhouses have all the warm weather inspiration you need, from the Tropical Houses and the Palm House, to the Arid House filled with desert plants and succulents. One last bonus: this place makes for great Instagram pics!
Did you know that the city of Toronto has a farm? Well, you do now. Riverdale Farm used to be the Riverdale Zoo from 1894 to 1974 (until all the animals were moved to the Toronto Zoo). There are still plenty of interesting buildings to explore, like the Victorian-style farmhouse, Simpson House and the Francey Barn. Admission is free, so check it out if you and the fam like farm animals and a little bit of Toronto history!
Head to Evergreen Brick Works for a slew of family fun that’s, you guess it, totally free. This Family Day in Toronto, there will be a variety of indoor and outdoor activities taking place that are perfect for the whole fam. Choose from shopping local vendors, skating on the rink, joining an on-site tour, and more!
If you’re in the neighbourhood, why not make Family Day the time to explore the historic Distillery District and check out the displays of Toronto Light Fest? It’s free and you’ll not only see some stunning light installations by talented artists, but just think of all the cute family photos you’ll snap, too!
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