Summer in Burlington
Recently we were invited to visit Burlington as part of the Tourism week activities. Burlington is a beautiful town less than an hour from the GTA and we have visited on our own many times. One of our most favourite times to visit is in August for the Enchanted Weekend at the Royal Botanical Gardens. We went last year and will be going back again. The idea is that for one day only the fairies are granted permission to be big and they walk around the garden interacting with the children, giving out seeds to plant in the garden, sharing fairy secrets, and reading stories with the kids. My kids were 4 and 8 when we visited last year and they had a truly magical experience. After meeting all the fairies and taking part in the activities you can walk around the garden, have lunch at the café, take a look at the reflecting garden, or go one of the trails to see if you can find the fairy homes hidden among the trees. Mark your calendars. The event will take place from August 1st to 3rd this year. Your kids will have a great time!
For this trip we stayed 3 days and 2 nights at the Hilton Garden Inn, about 15 mins from downtown Burlington. This is a nice option for families and it includes a delicious buffet breakfast with lots of options and lots of seating for busy mornings. The rooms are standard size and worked well for our family of four.
The great thing about Burlington is that for a relatively small town (under 200,000) it offers a variety of activities, services, and attractions that are great for the whole family. My Mother-In-Law was passing through so we had her join us for the afternoon and she loved it so much she came back with my Father-In-Law for the whole day. For a family of 6 people of different ages, and abilities we all found something to do that was fun and exciting.
The 4-year old loved Springridge Farm. There is so much to do here; wagon rides, farm animals, little cars, and pit with lots of tractors and tools for digging fun, slides, pony, and for the adults delicious lunch, tarts, and goodies in the shop.
The cyclists in the group took bikes and went out on the trails and declared this their favourite. This is a great way to take in the waterfront and the scenery. Don’t want to have to pack your bike, no problem. Urkai Bikes has got you covered, for a very reasonable rate. Just their luck there was a cart doing rum tastings. Feel free to stop at the beach and chill for a while.
The City of Burlington has closed the beach at Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Park—the Beachway—until further notice due to high water levels. The closure includes all beach rentals and services. The closure takes place to protect public safety and will remain until the lake-level goes down. There is significant sand erosion and debris at the shoreline.
While the guys were cycling, my mother-in-law I had took the kids to the Creative Hub at the Art Gallery of Burlington. This is a great free activity that is offered every Sunday, with a few exceptions from 1-4pm. Be sure to visit their website before you go to see which weekends are not available. The great thing about this is there are lots of different options provided for the kids: Painting, molding, crafting. Now before you think, “my kids are way too active to do this activity”, my little ants in the pants energizer bunny was calm, and played with the various activities for over an hour. Not a peep out of him! I wouldn’t have believed it if I didn’t see it myself. They really have a way of getting the kids involved. My 4 year old spent about 20 mins at each activity while my 8 year old spent the time painting one item. They encourage the kids to leave their items that will be showcased throughout the year and then sent back at the end. My little artiste was very happy to know her work will be on display. All in all a very fun way to spent three hours. I cannot believe this is a free program. If you live in Burlington and not taking advantage of this – do it now! If you are visiting consider addition this no-cost option to your itinerary.
A favourite of my mother-in-law‘s was the Royal Botanical Gardens. You can spend an entire day in the gardens because there are quite a few spots to see. I recommend driving from one garden to the next if you can, there is also a shuttle. If you are driving from garden to garden be sure to get the parking pass when you purchase your tickets. For this visit we went to the newly opened Rock Garden, the Laking Garden, Hendrie Valley Sanctuary, Hendrie Park, and the Mediterranean Garden at RBG Centre. The Rock Garden is a must, beautiful! The picture of our family below is at the waterfall in the Rock Garden. Of course, a visit to the natural playground is a must. Can you spot the suspension bridge and slide in the picture below? Since the kids seem to always have an abundance of energy this is a great spot to sit back and enjoy the beauty of the space while the kids get the rest of their sillies out before heading back into the car for another activity.
Looking for something to do in the evenings? Splitsville makes a great choice if your kids like bowling and arcade type activities. For kids, they have ramps which make it easy for them to play, you just help them set up the ball and then the position the ramp and it rolls along. Another cool option is to have them put up the sides so that the balls do not go into the gutter, perfect for families with young kids.
Along with bowling, they have an arcade and laser tag. My four year old couldn’t wait for the laser tag portion to start and he ran around playing with the big kids squealing with delight the whole time. He loved it so much he went a few
During the summer months, they have a stage that is lowered from the ceiling and hovers right above the lanes with live music playing every other weekend.
Our trip to Burlington was right before our daughter’s 9th Birthday so it was a bit of a celebration as well. We visited The StoneHouse for dinner and if you are celebrating a special occasion this is definitely a great choice. The prices are extremely reasonable, especially when compared to the usual price tag of a fancy restaurant in Toronto. We needed options that were vegan and gluten free and there were lots of tasty options. Their kid’s meal is the most reasonable I’ve found anywhere. $10 included a meal (good sized portion) drinks and dessert. The beet salad was amazing and it was our first time trying white beets. Considering the amount of borscht my mother-in-law has made in her lifetime we were all surprised to know that white beets existed.
For lunch, we visited the Water Street Cooker for brunch. There is your traditional breakfast type items, pastries, salads, soups and a beautiful and bountiful seafood area with lots of variety from salmon to oysters. The seafood lovers in our family were in heaven. When you arrive you will be given the option of mimosas, yes, please! My favourite thing about this restaurant was the view. This is a place we plan to visit again just adults so we can sit and lounge a bit longer.
Whether you are visiting for the day or a weekend, Burlington has something to offer everyone in your family.
Guest Writer, Claire Kerr-Zlobin
Healthy Start, Healthy Future – Founder/Program Director