I was invited to bring the kids and spend the day at Canada’s Wonderland, so I did something a little wacky. I grabbed my sister and my five year old daughter and we took the train to Toronto. We left at five in the morning and didn’t get home until almost midnight. It was a four hour train ride, one way. G-Girl’s first time on the train, which she loved. When we arrived at Union Station I used the Via Rail baggage check to store our carry-on bag with my netbook and all of the keep the girl busy on the train stuff. We then hopped on the subway, and from the subway we purchased a ticket to ride a GO Bus. All of which resulted in us arriving at Canada’s Wonderland a bit after 11 o’clock in the morning.
Upon entering the park we headed straight for Dinosaurs Alive. I had warned G-Girl ahead of time that the dinosaurs were giant robotic puppets. She absolutely loved walking through and meeting the various dinosaurs. The dino foot imprints in the cement pathway intrigued her. Was I certain they were all merely robots? Hadn’t they walked across this path to leave these marks? We spent a little over an hour at Dinosaurs Alive. We could have easily spent longer. After walking through and learning about all the various dinosaurs and enjoying their various robotic movements we backtracked to the fossil pit. My daughter was entranced with digging in the sandpit, using the tools of an archaeologist and searching for dinosaur bones. I appreciated that there were umbrellas providing shade for much of the sandpit area. Overall, I think Dinosaurs Alive is definitely worth the extra $5 per person admission fee and will be sure to go again when returning to Canada’s Wonderland.
On the day of our visit, it was HOT outside, ridiculously hot. My girl wilted a bit in the heat. The sun beating off the pavement was relentless. I found the lines up for rides like Thunder Run quite bearable, as they were for the most part in the shade. The park has a no outside food or drink rule, but they do allow you to bring in bottles of water, and given the number of bottles we went through that day I certainly wish I had brought some in with me.
We had lunch at The Marketplace International Buffet. The main thing this place had going for it was that it was indoors and air-conditioned, a welcome break from the merciless sunshine. It was also quite large, clean and open, with plenty of seating. To be honest, the food did not look that appetising. It was standard buffet fair, sitting out under heat lamps waiting for patrons to ladle it onto their plates. But everything we tried was surprisingly tasty. The meatballs were my personal favourite. My only real complaint was the lack of drink options for the kiddos. There were limitless amounts of fountain pop available, but I would have liked to have given G milk or fruit juice, instead, she had to settle for water. (Coffee and tea were available, so maybe there was also milk and I missed it). I did, however, love that my daughter was able to choose a plate full of pasta, chicken and steamed broccoli. Not exactly what you expect to be eating at an amusement park.
When we first entered the park we went over to a height station where they measured G-Girl and gave her a colour coded armband. The armband showed her height and which rides she qualified for. I loved this small detail, which made choosing and lining up for rides so simple.
The week prior to heading to Canada’s Wonderland the girls and I had visited Blue Mountain, and after a ride (or three) upon the Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster, I discovered much to my surprise that my G-Girl is an adventuresome lover of rollercoasters. Knowing she loved her first coaster ride so much, Thunder Run was the first thing we lined up for. I was happy for her that the height restrictions allowed her on many of the “grown-up” coaster rides.
We went on the Thunder Run coaster, the Ghoster Coaster, and the Silver Streak. The Silver Streak is the type of coaster where you dangle from the track above you, my personal favourite style of coaster. Though of the three “thrill” rides we went on, I think Thunder Run was everyone’s favourite. The rollercoaster cars are designed to look a bit like mine carts, and the ride zoomed through the iconic Wonderland mountain, with the darkness inside the fake caverns broken up by flashing lights. Time restrictions prevented us from lining back up for a second go, but if we weren’t worried about making our GO Bus I’m certain we would have ridden on Thunder Run a second (or third) time.
G-Girl got her face painted, which she found ridiculously fun and exciting. We also went on the Antique Carousel and the Kidzville Station train ride. G-Girl ate it up. She loved every minute of it. For her riding on the merry-go round was every inch as thrilling as riding on the rollercoasters.
The kiddie train ride was our last ride of the day. My sister stood waiting off on the sidelines as G-Girl and I sat in our own little train engine, slowly riding around the little track. After this, we needed to trek back across the park, out the gates to the Go Bus stop. This train thing? By my jaded grown-up standards, it wasn’t much of a ride. I mean you sit in a train and it slowly scoots along the rail in a loop. I had second thoughts about having chosen this as our final ride for the day. It seemed like the perfect ride for a two or three year old, but I worried my thrill seeking coaster lover would be bored to tears.
As we sat riding in our train engine I asked G-Girl, “So what was your favourite part of today?” And after a moment’s thought she replied quite seriously, “Well, I don’t know yet. It’s not done. THIS might be the best part.” I thought to myself, “What this, right here? riding on this silly train ride that I had almost just apologised for putting us on? This might be the best part?” I said to her “Um… we’re almost done. We have about half a minute of straight ahead and back to that spot to get off, and I don’t think anything too exciting is going to happen between here and there. So think about it, what was your favourite part?” Again she said, “I don’t know yet. We’re not done.” and then she gave me the biggest grin, and muttering “Chugga, chugga, chugga, chugga. Choo, choo.” raised her hand up to tug on her imaginary train whistle and holler out “Woot-woot!” And this is what I loved most about our day at Canada’s Wonderland. Getting to experience this with my daughter. To be five again. To live in a world where riding on the silly train ride was silly fun, and where the merry-go round has every single bit as exciting as the “grown-up” rollercoasters.
We arrived at the park a bit before noon and had to leave by 4 pm to catch our GO Bus back to Union Station. In the four or so hours we were at the park we managed to fit in a surprising amount, thanks to the relatively short line ups and the great layout of the place. We had a blast. It was well worth the time spent getting there. I would love to spend a day at the park from open to close. I would love to see some of the shows and to see the fountains lighting up at 10pm to close out the day. Heck, we didn’t even look at the water park section. I could easily see spending two or three days to fully enjoy everything that Canada’s Wonderland has to offer. And they really did have something to offer patrons of all ages. I definitely look forward to visiting again, bringing my youngest along, and experiencing the fun through my kid’s eyes.
For G-Girl’s viewpoint on our day at Canada’s Wonderland you can check out this vlog that we shot on the train ride home.
|Aunt Holly and G-Girl ready for the train ride home.|
Check out the rest of the Maple Leaf Mommy
Summer of Awesome: Guide to Summertime Fun in Ontario
Disclosure: We received complimentary entry to Canada’s Wonderland as well as lunch and entry to Dinosaurs Alive, as part of a special Bloggers Day event. As always my words and opinions are my own.