Top 5 Best Kids’ Activities in Guelph
Greetings one and all! Today we are going to look at the best activities for kids one can find in Guelph.
5. Tiny Town Children’s Discovery Centre
What matters first of all is the age of the children for whom you’re seeking out activities. Teens and tweens, for example, would likely not be overly thrilled to visit Tiny Town Children’s Discovery Centre. But the toddling demographic? The toddling demographic will find plenty to love in Tiny Town. Tiny Town is a fully-stocked play village with a ‘street’ full of buildings that range from mini houses to tiny workshops, and an abundance of toys everywhere. There are costumes for kids to play dress up (both super hero capes and sparkly dresses, depending on the imagined situation), little train sets, and so much more. Playing and having fun is, naturally, the primary goal in Tiny Town, but extra opportunities include developing problem solving skills and socializing with other children. Admission is $10 per child, but there are two ways to save some money: Tiny Town has a loyalty card that, when filled (you get a stamp for every visit), can be redeemed for free admission; and if you check in to Tiny Town’s Facebook page, you’ll get 20% off your next admission. Tiny Town also runs a Tiny Campers Day Camp in July and August for children over the age of 4; sessions consist of four nine-hour days. Oh, and you can also hold parties here. Tiny Town is located at 66 Arrow Road D, in northwest Guelph. Check out their website here.
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4. Funmazing Play Centre
For those who don’t know, a portmanteau is a word made by combining two other words into a brand new one: for example, ‘breakfast’ and ‘lunch’ combine to make ‘brunch,’ and ‘spoon’ and ‘fork’ combine to become ‘spork.’ Originally, though, a portmanteau referred simply to a type of suitcase. To quote Humpty Dumpty on the matter of portmanteaus, and why they’re named after a suitcase: “There are two meanings packed up into one word” (Dumpty, H.). All of this is to say that Funmazing Play Centre features a delightful portmanteau right there in its name: ‘fun’ and ‘amazing’ become ‘Funmazing!’ But wait: perhaps there’s yet another level to this name, as Funmazing Play Centre has a giant, rather maze-like play structure. Fun-mazing, indeed! Funmazing Play Centre is a great place for children to play, have fun with friends, and get in some exercise. The facilities are large, clean, and well-stocked, and the aforementioned play structure is incredible. Other activities include a car track with ‘plasma cars,’ an enclosed ‘sport court’ (no chasing after the ball!), a colourful ‘piñata pit,’ a crooked little house that wouldn’t look out of place in Tiny Town, and an arcade. As for pricing, there are different rates for kids under 2 years old, and those between 2 and 12 (kids 8 and under will likely have the most fun here). Beyond those basic facts, there are a variety of deals based on quantities of kids, membership offers (3, 6, and 12 month options, or 20 visit passes), and set rates for arcade tokens. The Funmazing Play Centre is located at 785 Imperial Road North in western Guelph. Find more details at their website here.
3. The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada
It’s a donkey sanctuary. ‘Nuff said.
But to elaborate just a little, you can pet the donkeys, learn about the donkeys from well-informed volunteers, eat a picnic and watch the donkeys, sponsor a donkey, and if you’re so inclined, you can even try chatting with the donkeys (but don’t try horsing around). It’s 100 peaceful acres filled with beautiful donkeys, mules, and hinnies that were abandoned or mistreated (currently, 86 of them). So it’s not just fun to visit – it’s serving a noble purpose. No matter what neigh-sayers may say, the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada is a true gem. You can find the donkeys just south of Guelph in Puslinch – check out their website here.
2. Riverside Park
Guelph’s idyllic crown jewel has it all: history, natural beauty, and a wide range of available activities. You can learn everything you need to know about the park in our article on the Top 5 Parks in Guelph (we won’t spoil which comes in first, though), so we’ll be brief here: during the summer, Riverside Park offers two delightful activities for children. The first is a historic carousel with a menagerie of trotting creatures (horses, mostly, but a pig, too. Who doesn’t want to ride a trotting pig?). The second is an adorable train that boasts a very serious name: ‘the Riverside Express.’ Kids can ride alone, or with parents, on a pleasant little trip through Riverside Park. Individual tickets, as of 2018, are $2.54, which isn’t bad. But the real value comes in a season pass, which costs only $20. It’s usually worth the investment, as kids will often want to go on multiple times (particularly the carousel, and particularly if you live in Guelph and come here often). While maybe not as flashy as some of the other Guelph kids’ attractions, these two activities are good fun. And being located in Riverside Park means you can combine the rides with anything from a stroll through the gardens to a picnic by the water (or the amazing floral clock). Riverside Park is located in the north end of Guelph, and it’s worthy of repeat visits by young and old alike.
1. Children’s Art Factory
The Children’s Art Factor started out as a simple idea, and it’s now become one of the best places in Guelph to take kids aged ‘toddler’ to ten. The idea is simple: children are born with both the ability and the desire to create art, and at the Children’s Art Factory (CAF), they have access to all the supplies and encouragement they need to create their very own mini masterpieces. The studio space itself is incredible and a true joy for anyone who visits: art adorns every wall, and every surface is bright, colourful, and unique. It’s like stepping into a sort of waking dream in which imagination can flourish and ideas can come to life through art, play, and creativity. One of the things that distinguishes CAF is how much freedom kids have to create what they want to create: discovery and imagination are the priority, not adult instruction. Creativity is key here! Also key is the idea that messy art is great art, particularly for kids: messy, freeform art is fun, after all, but it also involves imaginative independence and social engagement. As noted on the Children’s Art Factory website, they believe this artistic freedom can foster confidence, critical thinking, and problem solving. So the Children’s Art Factory is a lot of fun, but it’s not just fun – there’s quite a bit going on below the surface, too! Art is the main focus here, but the Children’s Art Factory also features everything from a puppet theatre to a stage with microphones, in addition to well-stocked play areas.
Though the Children’s Art Factory is still fairly new (it was founded in 2011), it has quickly become one of the best places for kids in all of Guelph. Melissa Mazar, the factory’s founder, loved art and innovative ways of looking at the world for most of her life, and after developing a toddler program through the Guelph Public Library, she unveiled the Children’s Art Factory to eager Guelph children and parents. Her passion and vision shines through every aspect of the studio. Why did Children’s Art Factory secure the coveted #1 spot on this WRX Property Group Top 5? Three reasons: it combines many of the elements available in other Guelph kids’ locations (play areas, socialization, imagination); it fosters artistic and personal growth in a fun, encouraging environment; and, perhaps most importantly, kids simply love it. The Children’s Art Factory runs as a ‘drop-in art studio,’ and there are set prices per child (with discounts for groups of siblings); there are also discounted ‘Frequent Visitor Cards’ in groups of 5, 10, and 20 visits. There’s no time limit, but on popular days (holidays and PD days, for example) the studio can fill up quickly. If you’re interested, you can book the studio for 2 hours of private use for parties. The Children’s Art Factory is located at 297 Woolwich Street near downtown Guelph. Check out their website here for hours, prices, and more.
Written by Will Kummer