If your family is looking to spend a day outdoors without having to travel too far from Toronto, consider a day on one of the islands.
Yes, Toronto has several islands that can be reached via ferry.
This is a fun trip in itself for little ones and my kids both get excited when a boat is required to get to our destination – they think we’re leaving the country even though it’s only a 15 to 20 minute ride over to Centre Island.
Why Visit Centre Island and Centreville Amusement Park
These types of day trips give families a break from the busy-ness of the city. A visit to Centre Island is an affordable summertime tradition for many Toronto locals (and the surrounding areas).
Every June, after the school year ended, my parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents would plan a family play day at Centre Island.
You can go fishing, watch the boats sail by, relax on the beach, have a family picnic in the park and of course the kids’ favourite thing to do on Centre Island – Centreville, an amusement park geared towards families with young children.
Family Fun at Centreville
With just over 30 rides, attractions, games and a small farm, children can enjoy a day of fun on Centre Island at Centreville.
Trains, a ferris wheel, kiddie roller coaster, log ride, antique carousel, and vintage cars and fire trucks are just a few of the rides you’ll find at Centreville.
Our daughter loved driving the antique cars and riding the carousel while our son spent the majority of his time on the fire engine and touring cars. I think he went on those rides 5 times each.
There are some “winner every time” type games which are great for my kids (age 6 and 3) and my wallet! If you happen to get hungry there are a handful of food vendors with traditional amusement park fare – think pizza, funnel cakes, soft serve ice cream.
The best part about Centreville is that there is no admission for the amusement park or Far Enough Farm.
You can walk around and pay for only the rides you’re interested in. Alternatively you can purchase a day pass which gives you unlimited rides for the day. You can spend as little or as much as you want at Centreville.
Families can explore at their own pace – great for parents with toddlers and you won’t feel pressured to see and do everything just to get your money’s worth.
There’s plenty of picnic space as well on the island and if your kids need some down time in between games and rides you can set up a blanket or tent for a cat nap. Many families during our weekend visit seemed to be doing this – alternating between rides on the train, swans and cars and then playing on the grass while, filling up on picnic or BBQ foods and drinks they brought from home.
Our kids however were having too much fun they weren’t too interested in taking a break (or giving Mommy and Daddy a break!). We spent 5 hours going on rides, playing a few games and stuffing our bellies with funnel cake.
Tips for Families Heading to Centreville
Families can get to Centre Island/Centreville via ferry from the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal. You can find directions and rates here.
Debit and credit cards are only accepted at one kiosk (the one furthest west), and there are signs to indicate if you are in a cash or credit/debit line. The rest of the lines take cash so make sure you check which line you are getting in before your trip out to Centre Island.
Tickets for Rides
Ride tickets can be purchased once you arrive at Centreville or online before you go – All Day Ride Passes, Family All Day Package or Season Passes can be purchased ahead of time. Sheets of 25 or 65 ride tickets are available at Centreville Ticket Booths and cannot be purchased online.
Tickets are non-refundable but do not have an expiry date.
Centreville is open every weekend in May and September and every day from June 1 to September 1.
You can view the 2015 Operating Schedule here.
Bring a Stroller, Wagon or Bike
Bring a stroller, wagon or bike with child seat attachments if you are planning to spend the day on the island. Centreville is not a large park by any means – you can view the map here – but little legs will probably get tired quickly if you’re walking back and forth from the rides and games to the picnic area. The ferry boats are stroller, wagon, bike and wheelchair friendly.
*This post was generously sponsored by Centreville, but the opinions and images are my own. For more information, visit www.centreisland.ca
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