Family Day Trips (and Short Getaways) from Niagara

Even though the Niagara region has such amazing family fun attractions, sometimes it’s great to get away and explore new and different places. Whether you’re looking for a short day trip or a weekend getaway, here are our top picks for trips within a couple of hours of Niagara.


Featuring five floors and 55,000 square feet of interactive exhibitions, THEMUSEUM has a little bit of everything…and a whole lot of imagination, education, and good ol’ fashion family fun. The Museum offers a diverse array of exhibitions, programs and events for children, youth, families and adults guaranteed to awe, inspire, and enlighten all audiences. Great for younger children and even infants.
Location: 10 King Street West, Kitchener, ON, 519-749-9387,
Distance from Niagara: ~130km


The Strong is a highly interactive, collections-based museum devoted to the history and exploration of play. The Strong owns and cares for the world’s most comprehensive collection of toys, dolls, board games, video games, other electronic games, books, documents, and other historical materials related to play. You’re never too big for this much fun! With 100,000 square feet of dynamic, interactive exhibit space, The Strong museum provides educational, entertaining, and unforgettable intergenerational fun.
Location: One Manhattan Square, Rochester, NY, 585-263-2700,
Distance from Niagara: ~160km


The Ontario Science Centre aims to make all things scientific come alive for kids. There are hands-on exhibitions on topics from geology to music to human anatomy, and an Imax theatre. KidSpark, with programming for children under eight, ensures everyone can get in on the learning.
Location: 770 Don Mills Rd., Toronto, ON 416-696-1000,
Distance from Niagara: ~130km


With more than six million artifacts reaching back thousands of years, the ROM is one of Canada’s great institutions for the exploration of natural history and world cultures. It’s also a blast to visit with children, who love the dinosaur and prehistoric mammal skeletons, Egyptian mummies, sparkling gemstones and more. The CIBC Discovery Gallery offers even more things to do with kids, like dig for dinosaur bones, rub fossils and dress in costumes. The Schad Gallery of Biodiversity helps to teach families about the relationship between humans and nature.
Location: 100 Queen’s Park, Toronto, ON, 416-586-8000,
Distance from Niagara: ~120km


The Hamilton Children’s Museum invites young visitors to stretch their imagination as they touch, build and experiment in a friendly, child-focused setting. Home to interactive, hands-on galleries, the museum encourages learning through self-directed play. Housed in an 1875 farmhouse in beautiful Gage Park, the museum was once home to Hamilton’s Gage Family. It has been providing family-friendly learning opportunities to the public for more than 30 years.
Location: 1072 Main Street East, Hamilton, ON,
Distance from Niagara:~ 60km


A small hands-on museum that focuses on the educational and social development of children from infancy through age twelve. Each day, the Children’s Museum facilitates a variety of activities, demonstrations and experiments based on children’s interests.
Location: 21 Wharncliffe Road S, London, ON,
Distance from Niagara: ~200km


Storybook Gardens provides families with fun and special memories to last a lifetime. Open all year round, they have something for the whole family no matter the season. From the On the Riverbank Splash Pad in the Summer, a skate trail in the Winter, to rides, games, entertainment, and beautiful gardens, Storybook is a special destination for a family outing at any time of the year!
Location: 1958 Storybook Lane, London, ON, 519-661-5770,
Distance from Niagara: ~200km


A heritage honey farm in Aylmer, Ontario- just 20 minutes outside of London, there are many fun activities for the whole family. Activities include: A-Mazing CORN Maze, Giant Jumping Pillow, Noah’s Ark, Mist Maze, Live Display Hives, Friendly Farm Animals, Zipster Pedal Go-Karts, Little Bee Tricycle, Track, Wagon Rides & Bee Barrel Train, Straw Jump & Straw Fort, Bee Line Zip Line, Spider web, Tractor tire climb, Play Zone & Play Train, Slides, sandbox, fort, and Super Bee Rope Swings.
Location: 11302 Imperial Road, Aylmer, ON,
Distance from Niagara: ~190km


Activities include: swimming in the 1.8 acre outdoor pool, Five great hiking trails that showcase the natural beauty of the park, Children’s Farm with live farm animals, Turn-of-the century Spruce Lane Farm House (c.1899), Disc Golf Course, Excellent interpretive programs – Maple Syrup Festival in March, Ghost Walks in August, Camper Halloween and Homestead Christmas in December, Skating, tobogganing, cross-country skiing (weather permitting).
Location: 1219 Burloak Drive, Oakville, ON, 905-827-6911,
Distance from Niagara: ~75km


Shangri-La is a gorgeous property nestled close to home in the Niagara Escarpment. You can go for the day with a day pass and have access to all facilities. Activities include swimming in their large swimming pool or wading pool, mini putt, shuffle board, outdoor pool tables, ping pong, and Foosball.
Location: 17th Street Lincoln,, St. Catharines, ON,
Distance from Niagara: ~15km


What was life like around Toronto in the middle of the 19th century? Kids can find out at this open-air historical museum featuring 40 heritage buildings plus guides in period costumes who explain how people in the region once lived. Beyond tours, there are a variety of things for kids to do, like posing for photos in old-timey garb, making mittens and learning to bake the pioneer way.
Location: 1000 Murray Ross Pky., Toronto, ON, 416-736-1733,
Distance from Niagara: ~130km


Emerald Lake is close enough for a quick getaway and packed with your choice of fun things to do and centrally located to shopping and many area attractions. Activities include, a water park with plenty of fun things to do, a 200 foot waterslide, 3400 square ft. splash pad, kiddie pool, water toys, 3 trampolines, rock-climbing wall, teeter tottler, and a catapult, picnic areas, a playground, pollution free “lake” with high and low diving boards, snack bar, volleyball, basketball, and a sandy beach area.
Location: 7248 Gore Rd., Puslinch, ON, 1-800-679-1853,
Distance from Niagara: ~100km


Earl Haig Family Fun Park is a fun-filled adventure for families and children of all ages, located conveniently in the centre of Brantford. With a variety of water attractions including a spray pad, swimming pool, waterslide, and a lazy river, and activities including batting cages, mini putt, picnic areas and inexpensive day passes, Earl Haig Family Fun Park is not simply an attraction, but a destination!
Location: 101 Market St. S., Brantford, ON, 519-758-0963,
Distance from Niagara: ~100km


If the ferry ride across Toronto Harbour wasn’t exciting enough, there’s lots more fun for the gets at the Islands. In the warmer months, the Islands offer beautiful views and wide-open recreation space for picnics, bike rides and canoe trips. Families will also fall for Centreville Amusement Park on Centre Island, which caters to little ones with an antique carousel, pony rides and much more.
Location: Centre Island, Toronto, ON,
Distance from Niagara: ~120km


Discover what you can build in the Model Builder Academy, reach out in the 4D cinema, pedal as fast as you can to become Merlin’s Apprentice and save the princess in the Kingdom Quest Laser Ride. All of Legoland’s attractions are under 1 roof, the perfect LEGO playground for children aged 3-10 years.
Location: 1 Bass Pro Mills Drive, Vaughan, ON,
Distance from Niagara: ~140km


Experience Canada’s largest indoor aquarium, with 16,000 aquatic animals, 100+ interactive displays, nine galleries, and three touch exhibits featuring sharks, rays and horseshoe crabs.
Ride a moving walkway through the underwater tunnel in Dangerous Lagoon and get close-up views of the aquarium’s most fearsome-looking animals, including sharks, stingrays and sawfish.
Explore the Great Lakes and Canada’s surrounding seas in the Canadian Waters Gallery, where you’ll find 17 curated habitats that spotlight the diversity of Canada’s treasures, including the stunning Pacific Kelp exhibit, which features a wave maker that simulates the surge conditions of the British Columbia shoreline.
Location: 288 Bremner Boulevard, Toronto, ON,
Distance from Niagara: ~120km


Toronto’s famous castle on the hill, Casa Loma, took 3 years and 300 men to build. Completed in 1914, the historic manor of Sir Henry Mill Pellatt is a great stopping spot for kids interested in mystery and history. It’s open for exploration for most of the year—check out its turreted towers, stables, secret passages and posh suites—but the gardens are beautiful when they’re in summer bloom.
Casa Loma, 1 Austin Terrace, Toronto, ON, 647-723-1822,
Distance from Niagara: ~120km


Kids will never forget the experience of Toronto’s highest high. Families ascend 112 storeys in a glass elevator to the observation deck, which offers amazing views of the Toronto region and glass floor that looks onto downtown. Go up another 36 levels to the SkyPod, and you can see all the way to Niagara Falls. Daring adults can also book an appointment for the EdgeWalk, a thrilling open-air walk around the circumference of the tower’s iconic bulb.
Location: 301 Front St. W., Toronto, ON, 416-868-6937,
Distance from Niagara: ~120km


With over 5,000 animals and 10 kilometres of tree-lined trails, the Toronto Zoo is the ultimate outdoor experience for kids who love animals. Organized by continental ecosystems like the African Savanna and Arctic Circle, Toronto’s wildlife park features all sorts of familiar and exotic beasts. Watch the polar bears take a dip, crane your neck to greet the giraffes, delight in the chimpanzees and more. You can even meet the zookeepers to learn straight from the experts how the zoo’s animals spend their days.
Location: 361A Old Finch Rd., Toronto, ON, 416-392-5929,
Distance from Niagara: ~150km


The Brantford Twin Valley Zoo is an enjoyable environment where children (and adults) can learn about animals of the world. During observation of the wide assortment of animals at the Zoo, children can learn about the animals’ adaptations, needs and characteristics. The Creatre Showcase runs 4 times daily and gives you a chance to get some greater insight into the spotlit specimens, with some handling opportuntities available. There is also a petting zoo section, accessible nature trail and a children’s adventure playground designed for under 5s.
Location: 84 Langford Church Rd, Brantford, ON,
Distance from Niagara: ~100km


This 23.5 acre urban zoo has the distinguished honor of being the third oldest zoo in the United States (est. 1875), and it houses some of the world’s most exotic, endangered, and even local wildlife. At the Zoo, animals move freely in large and modest enclosures with trees, streams, pools, and other natural-like features. They house a wide variety of animals representing all corners of the earth and have even been known to occasionally invite a traveling koala or white alligator. Although it is a big zoo, it is smaller than the Toronto Zoo and an easier walk for smaller kids.
Location: 300 Parkside Avenue, Buffalo, NY,
Distance from Niagara: ~50km


Get closer than you ever imagined…to over 1,000 exotic birds and animals from around the world including majestic lions, graceful giraffe, and a crash of rhino! Experience animals up close as you drive through the 5 to 50 acre reserves.
Admission to African Lion Safari Includes: Driving through large Game Reserves in your own vehicle. (Alternate transportation, Safari Tour Bus, available for an additional charge), Leisurely cruise aboard the “African Queen” Boat, Journey on the “Nature Boy” scenic railway, Pets’ Corner, and Misumu Bay Wet Play – a great interactive water adventure for children.
Location: 1386 Cooper Road, Hamilton, ON,
Distance from Niagara: ~100km


It’s no surprise that the nation’s largest amusement park has plenty of fun things to do with kids, including screaming-fast roller coasters and wet-and-wild fun at SplashWorks water park. Younger kids don’t miss out either, as there are plenty of carousels, mini-trains and tame rides.
Location: 9580 Jane St., Vaughan, ON, 905-832-7000,
Distance from Niagara: ~140km


Darien Lake is a spectacular theme park located 45 minutes from Buffalo and just a short drive from the Niagara Falls border. It’s the area’s best entertainment value with more than 45 thrill rides, a 10 acre water park, a wide array of live shows, plus pay-as-you-play classic midway games, paddle boats, mini golf, batting cages, go-carts, and unique thrills such as the Slingshot and SkyCoaster experiences.
location: 9993 Allegheny Road, Darien Center, NY,
Distance from Niagara: ~90km


From wet and wild fun to hair raising excitement and thrills, Martin’s Fantasy Island has rides for everyone in the family. Enjoy the Kiddie Land, Water Park, Miniature Golf and Thrill Rides! Ride Old Favorites like the Giant Gondola Wheel, Carousel and the two thrilling Roller Coasters. Martin’s Fantasy Island has a big section of kiddie rides, great for ages 5 and under.
Location: 2400 Grand Island Blvd., Grand Island, NY,
Distance from Niagara: ~30km


Ride the waves in one of Canada’s largest outdoor wave pools. Get lost in the dark or race to the bottom as you slide 5.5 stories down mind blowing tube slides and plunge into the lazy river! Enjoy the relaxation of the Eazy River as you float effortlessly and soak up the sun during this ride. Toddlers will love this fun wading pool with slides, sprays, mists and fountains.
Location: 680 Van Wagners Beach Road, Hamilton, ON, 905-547-6141,
Distance from Niagara: ~50km


Bingemans is a big camping resort in the Kitchener/Waterloo area. It includes a large waterpark, a large indoor family playland, bowling, restaurants, and camping. Big Splash, the area’s largest water park, offers days of fun and entertainment for kids of all ages. Activities include water slides, wave pool, splash pad, and more. FunworX is the largest Indoor Family Playland in the region is open year-round and offers more than 35,000 square feet of fun!
Location: 425 Bingemans Centre Dr., Kitchener, ON,
Distance from Niagara: ~130km


A little far for a day-trip but perfect for an overnight, Santa’s Village has three exciting parks and one great campground all onsite! Santa’s Village is a 60 acre family entertainment park nestled on a bend of the Muskoka River in Bracebridge, Ontario. Established in 1955 and located half way between the equator and the North Pole, it’s where Santa spends the warm months relaxing and experiencing the joy of Christmas all summer long. With so many fun things to do, it is a great place to spend time with your family & friends of all ages! Activities include, Santa’s Roller Coaster, Miniature Train, Swan Paddle Boats, Peddle Karts, Air Bouncer, Summer Sleigh, Red Baron Airplane Ride, Jumpin’ Star Dropper, Merry-Go-Round, zip lining, aerial adventure course, and Sportsland (for older kids).
Location: 1624 Golden Beach Rd, Bracebridge, ON,
Distance from Niagara: ~300km


Blue Mountain is a great getaway spot with lots to do for the whole family. In the winter, there is skiing (including lessons if the kids need them), and in the summer there are many fun activities for kids. Plunge! Aquatic Centre provides hours of fun with an indoor-outdoor pool, indoor water playground, rope swing, water slides and hot tubs. Experience Ridge Runner, Ontario’s first mountain coaster, which takes riders on an exhilarating trip. Carts twist through corkscrews, zigzag through the trees, and slides over bumps at speeds of up to 42 km/h. Blue Mountain Resort guests have access to a private beach which is about a 10 minute drive away. There is also zip lining, mini putt, fishing, hiking, paddle boats, and gondola rides up the mountain.
Location: 156 Jozo Weider Blvd, The Blue Mountains, ON,
Distance from Niagara: ~230km


Discover thousands of freely flying exotic butterflies in a lush tropical garden! Children’s drop-in programming daily in the summer, and lots of children`s activities throughout the year.
Location: 2500 Kossuth Road, Cambridge, ON,
Distance from Niagara: ~125km


Let your mind grow at the Gardens! The Royal Botanical Gardens offers over 200 courses and workshops for families, kids and adults in the areas of gardening, nature, botanical arts and wellness. They offer a variety of interactive gardening and nature activities that the whole family will enjoy. From award-winning children’s clubs to the popular children’s gardening programs and special seasonal workshops, the Royal Botanical Gardens is a great place to visit with kids.
Location: 80 Plains Road West, Burlington, ON,
Distance from Niagara: ~65km

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