Day trips your grade schoolers will love

Ask any parent of ‘tweens or teens when the sweet spot of parenting is and they’ll likely tell you it’s when kids are between the ages of six and ten. They’re much easier to travel with than toddlers, yet still enjoy spending time with their parents and are interested in discovering new things. All of these factors make them an ideal age group to take on a Great Canadian Day Trip this summer. Here are some easy escapes that the grade schoolers in your life are sure to love.

View our complete collection of summer offers, or download a convenient printable version with 21 featured deals.

Treat them to some time travel

Teach them the roots of that smartphone they can’t stop staring at with a trip to learn about one of the most important scientific breakthroughs in history, the telephone, at Bell Homestead National Historic Site.

Grade Schoolers 1

Westfield Heritage Village is an amazing place to visit to give kids a great sense of what life was like for pioneers. There are over 30 carefully restored heritage buildings, costumed interpreters and fun events throughout the summer.

Grade Schoolers 2

Dundurn Castle is a 40-room castle that tells the story of the family who lived above stairs and the servants who lived and worked below stairs to support their affluent lifestyle in the late 1850’s. Be sure to check out the Hamilton Military Museum, also on site, so the kids can see original uniforms from the War of 1812.

Grade Schoolers 3

Head for the Hamilton Harbour and climb aboard the HMCS Haida for a tour of Canada’s most decorated war ship. Read about one blogger’s HMCS Haida day trip. Read about how another blogger combined a trip to see the HMCS Haida with a Grand River paddling adventure.

Have an amazing animal encounter

For children eight and up, it doesn’t get any more exciting than the behind-the-scenes access of African Lion Safari’s Wake Up The Wild experience. One of the park’s game wardens will guide you on an unforgettable open-air truck tour where you’ll watch lions devour their breakfast, hand-feed a giraffe and create memories that will last a lifetime. Read a blogger’s account of his Wake Up the Wild adventure.

Grade Schoolers 4

Mountsberg Conservation Area’s Douglas G. Cockburn Raptor Centre is home to two dozen different birds of prey, each with their own unique story. Learn about native birds of prey, ask questions and see Mountsberg’s raptors up close at daily shows.

Take them on a dinosaur dig

Thrill your favourite budding paleontologist with a day of searching for ancient fossils embedded in the Niagara Escarpment. In addition to miles of trails for exploring, Dundas Valley Conservation Area has a fantastic Discovery Centre where visitors can examine fossils found along the Escarpment and kids can make fossil crafts.

Then, head to Robert Hall Originals in nearby St. George, where you can browse through the fascinating showroom that houses the largest worldwide collection of rocks in Ontario. See Orthoceras, which are 400-million-year-old squid-like fossils found at the bottom of the ocean, and Apache’s Tears, which are volcanic rock glass created by the sudden cooling of drops of lava coming into contact with water or ice. 

Fascinate them with First Nations culture

Let them explore a 15th Century Reconstructed Iroquoian Village and learn from hands-on displays, exhibits and seasonal demonstrations at Crawford Lake Conservation Area.

Spend the day dancing to a new beat at one of the region’s amazing Pow Wows. The Grand River Champion of Champions Pow Wow on July 22nd – 24th and the Three Fires Homecoming Pow Wow and Traditional Gathering on August 27th – 28th are great options.

Grade Schoolers 5

Stimulate their STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) cells

Introduce train fanatics to a steam engine that puts Thomas the Tank Engine to shame at the Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology

Give them the ultimate lesson in physics and a thrill. Visitors to Hamilton’s Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum can navigate the legendary Lancaster bomber or a supersonic CF-101 Voodoo jet on a flight simulator. 

Biology lessons don’t get any more beautiful than a trip to Canada’s largest botanical garden. Burlington’s Royal Botanical Gardens is filled with trails and exhibits that make for a really fun day of exploring. Read a blogger’s account of her afternoon of blooms at Royal Botanical Gardens.

Grade Schoolers 6

Take it outside

The Grand River’s gentle currents make it a great choice for first-time paddlers. Area outfitters such as Grand ExperiencesGrand River Rafting and Heritage River Canoe and Kayak Co. make it so easy to gear up and go. This summer, Grand River Rafting is offering a Turbo Tube Trip package for 4 for just $99.99 (plus hst) and Grand Experiences is offering 50% off regular children’s prices

Forget indoor climbing gyms. Take a family lesson on the limestone cliffs of Milton’s Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area. Read about some outfitter suggestions.

Cool off and splash the day away in one of Canada’s largest wave pools at Wild Waterworks.

Grade Schoolers 7

Learn the in’s and out’s of mountain biking on Kelso Conservation Area’s new Mountain Bike Skills Zone, which features wooden bridges, rollers, rocks, and logs to help riders learn how to properly tackle technical features in a controlled environment.

Want even more ideas for Great Canadian Day Trips? Become a Hamilton Halton Brant insider and receive the latest trip ideas, offers and promotions delivered right to your inbox each month. Sign up now.

Be sure to check our summer offers before you head out on your next Great Canadian Day Trip. There are several 2-for-1 admission offers at kid-friendly attractions mentioned here including the Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology, Bell Homestead National Historic Site, Dundurn Castle, Wild Waterworks and One Axe Pursuits.

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Great Canadian Day Tripping
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