Article by Caitlin Carpenter, with the scoop on two kid-friendly Toronto day trip options via mass transit.
Getting outside the city for a day or weekend can be the key to recharging and discovering new adventures. If you’re looking for a way to cut down you carbon footprint, save a little gas money, and avoid sitting in traffic jams, a day trip on mass transit may be the ticket. All you’ll need is a book to enjoy as you sit back and let someone else drive for a change.
Whether you’re looking for an Ontario exploration with the kids, a romantic evening, or a girls’ weekend, we’ve got you covered. Today we’re sharing the first of a three-part series on a few memorable trips you can take from Toronto on mass transit.
Day Trip Adventures with Kids
Seen through the bright eyes of children, part of the fun of a day trip is the journey itself. While bus and train rides may be commonplace for some adults, for kids, travelling outside the car seat is an adventure on its own.
Here are two day trip suggestions – going in opposite directions – that will give your little ones a new appreciation for their province. From the world’s most famous waterfalls to a historic railway experience just for them, there’s plenty for kids to enjoy – with no car necessary.
Niagara Falls is a must-visit destination for all Ontario kids. With kitschy fun at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, getting showered on the Maid of the Mist, braving a massive indoor waterpark, or an awe-inspiring view of the whirlpool on the Aero Car, there’s lots to keep a family busy here.
During the summer, the GO Train runs to Niagara Falls from Union Station at 9:00am, and stopping at a few other GTA stations. During other times of the year, take the GO Train to Burlington and then the GO Bus to the Falls. The entire trip is about $20 and three hours one way, so you may want ideas of places to eat and stay overnight.
York-Durham Heritage Railway
The GTA’s only tourist railway, The York-Durham Heritage Railway packs in nostalgia with its classic diesel locomotives from the 1950s. The rail line was built in the 1860s to allow William Gooderham, a well-known Toronto businessman, to carry grain to his distillery. Today, a non-profit organization manages the trains and lines to preserve this important equipment and pass on the romance of train travel to the next generation.
The train takes a day trip from the Uxbridge station (with its distinctive “witches hat” roof) through the countryside to Stouffville – nearly an hour-and-a-half each way. Adults tickets are $24 and kids are $16.
There are plenty of theme days and special events on the railway (and you can make your own event by hosting a birthday party on board), including fall colour trains, engineer-for-a-day, and the upcoming Hallowe’en on the Heritage Train, running on weekends from October 19 to 27, 2013. Kids in costume ride free.
If you’re looking for something to do in Uxbridge, the Blue Huron Bookstore is right around the corner from the station and the Perfect Scoop gelateria is less than a kilometre away. To get to Uxbridge from Union Station, take the GO Bus 71 towards Uxbridge – an hour-and-a-half trip.