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10 Great Things to do with kids in Burlington, Ontario this summer

by TourismBurlington
One of the greatest joys of summer is having the kids at home, but it also presents one of the greatest challenges to parenting: how to keep the little ones busy, outside and entertained. Fortunately, Burlington is full of gems to keep your little ones happy throughout the coming months!
 
Fun in the sun at Burlington Beach!
Photo courtesy of Banko Media
Looking for a beach vacation? One needn’t venture to far-away lands to find a piece of paradise, as Burlington Beach offers a close, cost-free place to kick back and enjoy the summer heat!  Bring the kids down to the waterfront where they can swim, romp around the playground or build a spectacular sandcastle. After all that activity they’ll no doubt have worked up an appetite for a tasty ice-cream cone from one of the concession stands on site. Don’t forget your camera, this is a beach where family memories are made, and you won’t want to miss a single one!
 
Older youth certainly won’t be left out at this beautiful sandy strip. Suggest they pack up their tanning oil, ipod or guitar and head out to this lake-side getaway. Whether they can bring their friends for some frisbee or go solo to get some colour, however they choose to spend their time in the sun, they’re guaranteed a beautiful escape. Far enough from downtown to enjoy peaceful serenity, but close enough to nip across the street for a delicious gelato or iced coffee.
 
Visit the Waterfront  for picnics and play
Grab the kids and hop on your bikes for a ride by the water, where the bike trail will take you from the far east side of the park straight through to Hamilton.  Take a break from your ride to visit the playground outside Spencer’s restaurant, and remember the kids’ bathing suits: there’s the Dofasco Waterjet Plaza here that is sure to put a smile on their faces and keep them cool in the summer heat.  Whether you bike, walk or drive there is plenty to do at the waterfront. Bring a blanket and your family pooch and have a seat on the green of Spencer Smith. Pack up the little ones and a picnic or stop The Bite for some takeout then relax and enjoy the park and the beautiful lake view.  Bask in the sun or cool off in the shade of the gazebo and if you’re lucky you might just be fortunate enough to catch one of Burlington’s many talented young musicians busking by the water.  Or for guaranteed entertainment plan a visit during one of three afternoon concerts in the park at Spencer Smith.  Burlington’s waterfront is the perfect place to spend time with the people you care about.
 
Discover the outdoors at Conservation Halton’s Parks
At Crawford Lake
There is no better place to be active than Conservation Halton’s 6 parks and 10,000 acres of beautifully preserved natural lands. Hiking, cycling, fishing, boating and wildlife viewing are only some of the activities available at these parks, right in the heart of some of Ontario’s most lush  forests and only minutes from the city. Trying to narrow down which park is right for you, consider these unique features at each site.  At Crawford Lake  take a walk around the Rare meromictic lake and give your kids a taste of history by stopping by the 15th century reconstructed Iroquoian Village. Over at Kelso Conservation Area you can enjoy the beach and watersports. The gr
eat part is that you can rent kayaks, paddle boats and canoes on-site to get out on the water. Mountsberg Conservation Area offers you a chance to get up close and personal with 15 different species of native birds of prey at their Raptor Centre and visit the farm animals at the barn.  Visit Hilton Falls where visits from the chikadees, who happily munch on birdseed from visitor’s hands are a great photo op with the kids then head out to the viewing station at the 10 metre waterfall that cascades over the Niagara Escarpment and the mysterious mill ruins that surround it. And if hiking and mountain biking is not quite enough adventure for your older kids, join them on a visit to Rattlesnake Point or Mount Nemo for the added option of rock climbing!
 
Explore, swim and even camp at Bronte Creek Provincial Park
For folks looking for a family vacation, Bronte Creek is the perfect place to escape for an overnight adventure with their 144 electrical campsites. Don’t have a tent?  Bronte Creek also offers yurts but book early as these fill up quickly. Bring the kids for fishing, boating, swimming, hiking, biking and wildlife viewing during the day and retire back to a campsite for a barbecue and a campfire. Cozy up in your sleeping bags, crack open a skillet of kettle corn and conjure up a good ghost story: this is a place the kids are sure to enjoy at any age! If that’s not enough to tucker out the kids, the park store also rents rollerblades, bicycles, tennis equipment and basketballs to ensure that your family never tires of options for fun!  The park also offers picnic areas for day use and access to the pool, playbarn and nature centre.  On the day use side of the park you can step back in time and explore the Spruce Lane Farmhouse, a turn of the century living history museum.
 
Get creative at the Art Gallery of Burlington and take in history at the Museums of Burlington
If your children are less inclined towards the outdoors, or simply need a change of pace, try a visit to the Art Gallery of Burlington. The Art Gallery is host to several breathtaking exhibits by local artists, and is home to seven guilds plus they own the largest collection of Contemporary Canadian Ceramics in the world, all of which is sure to inspire the minds of your children. The best part is that admission to the Burlington Art Centre is always free! Of course, once inspired, you may wish to enroll your young artists in one of the many classes offered by The Gallery, where they can explore the reaches of their imaginations.   
 
Camp @ Ireland House
If you want to step back in time and learn some local history there is no better place than the Museums of Burlington.  Joseph Brant Museum is a replica of the original homestead of Joseph Brant ‘Thayendanegea’ and hosts exhibits in the Eileen Collard Gallery in addition to the collections on display throughout the museum.  Ireland House at Oakridge Farm was the home of Joseph Ireland, one of Burlington’s earliest settlers. The homestead has been restored to illustrate three distinct time periods that represent the generations of Irelands who lived in the house: 1850s, 1890s and 1920s. Ninety percent of the furnishings are original to the Ireland family and give you a great perspective on how they lived. The property consists of 4 acres of woodland, gardens, potting shed, cottage/drive shed, and picnic areas. Tours of the property, living historical demonstrations, special events and educational programs are offered.
 
Become one with nature at the Royal Botanical Gardens
A horticultural dream, the Royal Botanical Gardens offers 24 000 acres of gardens, beautiful walking trails, more than 50 at-risk plant species and countless beautiful migratory birds. Bring your young explorers on a guided tour, or wander around at your own pace and observe the beauty of nature, accented by 20 original works of Earth Art created by renowned Canadian artists. If your kids just can’t get enough of what the RBG has to offer, might also wish to enroll them in one of the garden’s children’s gardening programs, day camps or teen leadership programs. Once they’re dropped off you might even have the time to sit down and unwind in one of the beautiful tea houses in the botanical gardens or head back solo to enjoy Tranquil Tuesdays or Red Hot Jazz & Cool Blues on Wednesdays in Hendrie Gardens.
 
Get your hands dirty at local farms
If your little ones have an affinity for animals, don’t miss a change to visit Spruce Lane Farm, located in Bronte Creek Provincial Park, here children can run, jump and climb for hours in a the play barn, and can even get up close and personal with a variety of farm animals including pigs, chickens, rabbits, and goats. If this is a hit, your kids will love a trip to Country Heritage Park, an interactive heritage park depicting the evolution of agriculture and rural life over the past 170 years.  Springridge Farm is always a hit with kids.  Spend the day playing in the family fun yard, trek up the escarpment to the lookout for a breathtaking view, enjoy a tractor ride around the farm and then stop at the café for lunch (and I dare you to try leaving without picking up something from the bakery). For those who wish to bring a bit of the farm back home, visit one of the many farms and markets located across Halton.  Many of the farms offer pick your own and on-farm markets so the kids can see where their food comes from and you support your local economy at the same time.
 
Learn a new dish at Paradiso Kid’s Cooking Classes
For culinary whiz-kids, or those who aspire to be such, bring your children to Paradiso the weeks of July 16-20 and August 13-17 for a fun introduction to the kitchen. Paradiso has put together a collection of 3 hour classes to introduce some basic techniques to children in the kitchen. Sign up for individual classes or for a full-week.

Festivals and Events
In addition to the exciting goings-on throughout the summer, Burlington also plays host to many festivals and events throughout the summer. From large scale events in Spencer Smith Park like the Canada Day Festival, Country & Blues BBQ and Children’s Festival to smaller community events, there is something for everyone.  Check out our blog on fun, fantastic (and mostly) free festivals in Burlington.
 
Cast a line at one of our many fishing spots
Summer is the perfect time to relax, and there is no better way than by grabbing your fishing pole and heading out to the serene waters of Burlington’s many fishing spots. For a tranquil outdoor adventure treat your kids to a visit to Grindstone Creek, Sixteen Valley, Carlisle Conservation Area, Kelso Conservation Area and more for the chance to relax on the shores, in shallow waters or in a non-motorized fishing boat to let your kids try their hands at catching trout, pike, perch and other delicious fish! Remember a valid Ontario Fishing License is required for those 18 years of age and over and Onta
rio Fishing regulations apply.   For more information on fishing in Burlington visit our website.
 
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