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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Good summer things happening in Ontario

   One-Tank Trips travel column for July 2-3/2011
   (c) By Jim Fox

   With so many great things to see and do, terrific weather and the high price for gasoline, this could be the summer of the “stay-cation.”
   Explore your own backyard or “be a tour guide in your home province and invite friends and family for a visit,” suggests Ontario Tourism.
   “With many exciting options to choose from, residents and visitors alike can enjoy the province’s natural beauty, outdoor adventures, unique festivals and events, wine and culinary experiences, cosmopolitan cities, and cultural and heritage attractions,” said publicist Luanne Walker.
   The tourism promoters have prepared a “wish list for your kids,” and another for getaway packages.
Everyone loves Marineland and the dolphins put on quite a show.
 
   Are we there yet?
   Summer is the time to “splash away at water parks, explore enchanted forests, experience wacky arcades and attractions or go wild on an animal safari.”
   - Niagara Falls: Wonders of the world for family fun are the funky attractions of Clifton Hill, the scenic Niagara Parkway and Marineland, with its dolphin, walrus, killer whale and sea lion shows along with thrill rides, and, of course, the falls. niagaraparks.com, niagarafallstourism.com, www.marineland.ca
   - Canada’s Wonderland, Vaughan (north of Toronto) catering to roller coaster “thrill-seekers of all ages.” Kids can hang out in KidZville, ride the Taxi Jam or cool off at Splash Works. www.canadaswonderland.com
   - Long Point Eco-Adventures, Turkey Point: Take a 2.5-hour canopy tour high above the forest floor that includes eight zip lines, two suspension sky bridges and a 12-metre rappel. www.ipfun.ca
   - Calypso Theme Waterpark, Limoges (east of Ottawa): Canada’s largest themed water park has the highest free-standing waterslide tower in North America. Kids make a splash at Pirate’s Aquaplay and Zoo Lagoon. www.calypsopark.com
   - Ontario Place, Toronto: The waterfront destination for fun celebrates 40 years with free admission, special events and some 2,000 live performances all summer. Chill out at Froster Soak City. www.ontarioplace.com
   - Wasaga Beach: Having the longest freshwater beach in the world, this is sandcastle heaven. www.wasagabeach.com
   - Toronto Zoo: Kid favourites include polar bears and Arctic wolves at Tundra Trek or interacting with sharks and stingrays. www.torontozoo.com 
   The people are “caged” while curious giraffes and zebras roam free at the African Lion Safari in Cambridge.
   - African Lion Safari, Cambridge: Go wild and get up close with lions, zebras, baboons and giraffes at this wild game reserve. Kids monkey around at the Jungle Playground. www.lionsafari.com
   -  Amethyst Mine Panorama, Thunder Bay: Kids will dig North America's largest amethyst deposit and can take home a geological piece of Ontario's past.www.amethystmine.com

   Gotta get away
   Travel packages, suggested by Tourism Ontario, can help create new memories starting at $155 for a family of four.
   - Muskoka Your Way: Stay at Deerhurst Resort for one night with a $100 spending credit while enjoying Peninsula Lake, golfing, trails, stage shows and dining.
   The historic Deerhurst Resort, host to last year’s G8 summit on Peninsula Lake in Huntsville, offers the Muskoka Your Way getaway package. (Jim Fox photo)
   - Wild Family Getaway: Admission to African Lion Safari for two adults and two children (three to 12 years) and a one-night stay at a nearby hotel.
   - Giant Tastes: Explore Thunder Bay and taste the local flavours from the land of the Sleeping Giant, such as local cheese, Finn pancakes and fresh fish (your catch). Enjoy a personalized dinner and kitchen tour on a two-night getaway with bed-and-breakfast accommodation.
   - Ahhhh….Spa!: Pampering in historic Kingston with spa treatments, afternoon tea, homemade cookies and two nights’ accommodation with breakfast at the Rosemount Inn and Spa.
   - Outdoor Urban Adventure: Thrill-seeker? Outdoor enthusiast? Nightlifer? Ottawa has the outdoor urban adventures visitors are seeking. The package includes a choice of overnight accommodation.
   - Lake Superior Lodge Adventure: Unwind in cozy accommodations with breakfast at the Rock Island Lodge on Lake Superior. There are self-guided day hikes with lunch and sea kayak instructions.
   - Unforgettable Stratford: Escape and take in a Stratford Festival performance and overnight accommodation.
   Package details at: www.ontariotravel.net/summer
   In future columns, we’ll look at a wish list of culinary attractions, fishing and camping options in Ontario.

   ---

   If you go:
   To learn more about family fun in Ontario: www.ontariotravel.net/family; 1-800-ONTARIO.
   Request (or pick up at a travel centre) the Attractions Ontario Passport Magazine and Coupon Book that’s crammed full of deals.

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Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com

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