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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Family Day togetherness across Ontario

   One-Tank Trip for Feb. 13/16

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Get the family together and head out to celebrate “your” day on Monday.
   There’s fun with activities across the province to mark Family Day on Feb. 15 and throughout the weekend in many places.
   Events range from free ice fishing and snowmobile trail access (where winter has provided) and fun at Ontario Parks, along with a visit to a maple syrup bush in London.
Learn how to snowshoe at Ontario Parks for Family Day. (Ontario Parks photo)
   Here’s a sample of what’s happening and where on Monday:
   - Exeter: Family Day WinterFest South Huron starts with breakfast at 8 a.m., clowns and face painting at the Lion’s Club. There’s skating, snowshoeing, a scavenger hunt, giant snow hills, watching the Good Dinosaur and fireworks at 7 p.m. in MacNaughton Park.
   - Point Pelee National Park near Leamington from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. offers a chance to “chase the winter blahs away over a roaring fire, complete with roasted marshmallows.”

   Organizers say “bring your creativity” to build a classic snowman and there’s a snow sculpture contest.
   - Things are buggy at the Cambridge and Niagara Falls butterfly conservatories.
   The Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory is a tranquil place with waterfalls, streams, flora and fauna. (Jim Fox photo)
   Come Hug-a-Bug for Family Day in Cambridge from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. while Niagara Falls from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. has a new “colourful, family friendly exhibit featuring live insects.”
A popular Family Day activity at Ontario’s parks is learning about birds and owl prowls. (Ontario Parks photo)
   - Colasanti’s Tropical Gardens in Kingsville on the weekend and Monday has mini-golf, bumper cars, inflatables, kiddie rides and four zoo shows each afternoon.
   - There are free Family Day activities from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kinsmen Club of Greater London’s Fanshawe Sugar Bush (21201-c Lakeside Drive) in Thames Centre.
   The first 50 families can tap trees and there will be walking tours, demonstrations, campfires, roasting marshmallows and a pancake house breakfast.
Breakfast of pancakes and sausages is served at the Fanshawe Sugar Bush.
   Dan and Mary Lou Smoke will perform the “forest-awakening ceremony” at 10:30 a.m.
   The Sugar Bush Maple Festival runs weekends next month and daily during March Break.
   - Hamilton’s Kids-Fest, billed as “Canada’s largest inflatable festival,” is on through Monday with fun activities for children to age 12. It’s at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Mount Hope.
The Stanley Cup at the Hockey Hall of Fame with free admission on Monday for kids. (Ontario Tourism photo)
   - Score at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto with free admission on Monday for kids to age 13. There are simulation games, “larger-than-life statues,” theatres, the greatest collection of hockey artifacts in the world and the Stanley Cup.
   - The Ontario Science Centre’s new exhibition is Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age with hands-on displays along with DNA and genetics activities, planetarium shows, electricity demonstrations and papermaking workshops daily.
   - Also in Toronto this weekend is Family Fun Fest, an indoor amusement park, at Downsview Park and the Spring Fishing and Boat Show at the International Centre.
   Winter carnivals are also taking place Monday in Ameliasburgh, Aurora, Cochrane, Gravenhurst, Hamilton, Kirkland Lake, Markham, Ottawa, Parry Sound, Penetanguishene, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay and Wasaga Beach.
   For a list of events, including winter carnivals and links from Ontario Tourism: 1tanktrips.blogspot.ca/2016/02/ontario-family-day-weekend-events-and.html#more

   Park it
   Six Ontario Parks are holding special events for the weekend – Algonquin, Bronte Creek, Killarney, MacGregor Point, Pinery and Wasaga Beach.
MacGregor Point Provincial Park has a lighted ice trail through the woods. (Ontario Parks photo)
   Pinery has a weekend Owl Prowl to learn about the great horned owl and making a nature craft to take home. Visitors can rent skis or snowshoes for the groomed trails and there are heated yurts and camp cabins for rent this season.
   MacGregor, near Port Elgin, offers the “ultimate winter skating party for kids” at the point’s lighted 400-metre ice trail through the woods and there are overnights in heated yurts.
   A giant outdoor skating rink is at Oakville’s Bronte Creek Provincial Park, open on Monday with skate rentals available.
   The Nature Centre will hold craft-making sessions, the Play Barn will have indoor fun and there are the park’s farm animals to visit.
   Wasaga Beach park has 30 kilometres of cross-country ski trails, with a special Family Day weekend ski pass on Sunday for $6.
   The park’s Blueberry Trail is maintained by the Wasaga Nordic Club that rents skis, serves light refreshments and keeps trail huts warm for picnicking families.


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

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