Parenting & Family

Short Road Trip with Kids

  • Last Updated:
  • Oct 29th, 2018 10:41 am
[OP]
Sr. Member
Feb 26, 2016
656 posts
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Vaughan

Short Road Trip with Kids

I live in the GTA and considering making use of the minivan with a short road trip sometime in December. I'm hoping the drive will be limited to a maximum of 8 hours (one way). I have two kids (3 and 1) and I was wondering if anyone has suggestions? I'm considering great wolf lodge right now but not sure how much fun it will be for my three year-old as I'm sure there are a lot of height restrictions for the slides. Other possibilities are Montreal, Ottawa and maybe somewhere in the states.
15 replies
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2001
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You know your child better than others, but if taking them to a place like Great Wolf Lodge they would need to be very open around others making noise / splashing. Our son loves slides, but for whatever reason at the last hotel we stayed at he would only go down the slide a couple times (with me of course). He had fun getting splashed by all the others going down the slide, but when others were around he didn't seem keen on trying. Other young children his age were the same - they seemed to get a little nervous going down with the older kids going down. Because of this I would hesitate to bring him somewhere where the slides are the "big" attraction.

If you do not have something already you may want to look into some sort of swimming vest or something for your 3 year old.
Sr. Member
May 12, 2014
716 posts
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Markham, ON
The Strong Museum is a 3 hour drive, in Rochester. Our 3 year old liked it there and it wasn't busy during the weekday.

They have classic arcade games, play some Street Fighter, Street Fighter II, and Street Fighter II Champion Edition.
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2011
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Ottawa
GWL is a blast for both parents and kids.
While it's not an AI, it's close enough, where you can do everything within the compounds (eating, gift store, daily children activities and an arcade).
We were there a few months ago for the weekend and was at the water park from morning until night.
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Apr 8, 2007
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vkizzle wrote:
Oct 9th, 2018 4:04 pm
GWL is a blast for both parents and kids.
While it's not an AI, it's close enough, where you can do everything within the compounds (eating, gift store, daily children activities and an arcade).
We were there a few months ago for the weekend and was at the water park from morning until night.
Yeah we took our 4 year old (along with a 3 month old) to gwl about 2 years ago and had a blast... The water park is great and there's enough other stuff to do as well..... they really do a great job catering to families. We didn't have any issues with the slides, etc. As they have enough stuff in the little kids section to keep them busy. They also have life jackets available to wear.

My husband also enjoyed it due to the availability of beers everywhere lol... it did feel like an all inclusive.
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Sep 21, 2004
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Bobberts wrote:
Oct 9th, 2018 10:33 am
The Strong Museum is a 3 hour drive, in Rochester. Our 3 year old liked it there and it wasn't busy during the weekday.

They have classic arcade games, play some Street Fighter, Street Fighter II, and Street Fighter II Champion Edition.
We go annually for a couple days as part of our road trip. Absolutely love the place. Kids love it. Parents love it. We're on the cusp of buying an annual pass even though we're 4 hrs away.
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Apr 16, 2002
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My kids at those ages and even now love the streetcar museum near Milton.

they have Christmas events there and you get to ride the old trains!

https://hcry.org/events/

highly recommended!
An earlier version of this article incorrectly described a behavior of crows exposed to crow corpses. Live crows only touch, attack and attempt intercourse with crow corpses, they do not scavenge them. (Actual NYT correction)
Member
Nov 23, 2015
492 posts
237 upvotes
Winnipeg
Great Wolf Lodge strikes me as a little intense for a 3 year old. I guess there's the kids area but that kind of defeats the purpose of going there.

With young kids, I find going to a hotel with an above-average pool area to do the job. Go on a weekday when it isn't too busy and it's great. Honestly, for a 3 year old something like this is probably as good as GWL... they're usually still into splashing around and not quite looking for the big thrills yet:

Image
Newbie
Apr 17, 2018
4 posts
2 upvotes
In terms of road trips, we found a decent hotel in Leamington of all places. It's the Best Western, located right by Pelee Point National Park. Obviously, the park is better during warmer months, but the drawing for us is the hotel is great for kids, with a huge courtyard with kids activities, including a big play structure, and the pool has waterslides and fountains so better than your average hotel pool, but not GWL levels.

The courtyard area also makes it easy to bring in outside food and eat while kids play.

Our kids are a bit older than the original poster when we first went (4 and 2), but I think the 3 year old would have enough to do.
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Jul 5, 2004
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I took my 2 year old to GWL and he loved it. Probably going back this winter
Member
Aug 10, 2004
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Toronto
wow, this looks great! never knew about this place and my 2 year old currently LOVES trains, buses and trucks. He would have so much fun here! Will try to see if we can make it out before they close this year or do the xmas ride.
sprung wrote:
Oct 12th, 2018 12:09 pm
My kids at those ages and even now love the streetcar museum near Milton.

they have Christmas events there and you get to ride the old trains!

https://hcry.org/events/

highly recommended!
Newbie
Jan 11, 2017
42 posts
8 upvotes
We go every year to the fallsview indoor water park, buy the tickets from costco.ca and stay at the skyline inn. In the winter it's great because you don't need to go outside. We have been to gwl and recently went to Kalahari and they are awesome but gwl isn't for sub 4 footers at all compared to fallsview. Skyline has movies and popcorn every night in the courtyard too and there are a lot of other things to do (free) that are close. You really only need one day at the park, not 2 or 3 because the kids can only last so long.

Our trip goes like this, take a day or 2 off mid week in the winter so the park is empty and you can enjoy it, stay 2 nights at skyline inn, go to the water park one full day and spend the rest checking out the other fun stuff. hit Walmart for some snacks and breakfast goodies, order a pizza to the room the day of the water park visit to let them rest for a bit before heading back. Until they are 36" they can't do too many slides but there is still plenty of fun. There is an indoor bird place that is walking distance, rainforest Cafe, Midway, sky wheel, the falls, and casino for adults once the kids go to bed. Don't forget to check out the spaceship restaurant that's like a 5 min drive for some great inexpensive food.
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Jul 5, 2004
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GWL is more than just slides. It's absolutely great for young kids. I took my 2 year old there ( along with my niece who was 1 and a half) and they had an amazing time. On top of the big slides (1 of which young kids can go on with an adult), there's several smaller slides, kids pools, splash zone, story time, dance parties, tattoos, arts and crafts, treasure hunt, etc. The big slides are only a small part of GWL. There is likely better value at other places because GWL is quite expensive, but just because your kid can't go on the bigger slides doesn't mean it's not a really fun place to take them.
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Mar 31, 2008
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Shaner wrote:
Oct 27th, 2018 2:32 pm
GWL is more than just slides. It's absolutely great for young kids. I took my 2 year old there ( along with my niece who was 1 and a half) and they had an amazing time. On top of the big slides (1 of which young kids can go on with an adult), there's several smaller slides, kids pools, splash zone, story time, dance parties, tattoos, arts and crafts, treasure hunt, etc. The big slides are only a small part of GWL. There is likely better value at other places because GWL is quite expensive, but just because your kid can't go on the bigger slides doesn't mean it's not a really fun place to take them.
Your son is definitely more adventurous or maybe it's a boy thing. My 3 year old daughter and her cousin also 3 just did a little bit but weren't as adventurous. For our girl's personality type, We would have been better off with the smaller one. Then again, I'm not as adventurous too so I didn't push it and they didn't seem to want to go on the larger ones. It was good, but for the price and optimization, I think some kids and family might be better suited for the tamer one. I will say though, GWL is very impressive in terms of offerings, the whole building (games, kids show), and the buffet food was really good too.
Newbie
Jan 11, 2017
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Shaner this is RFD.

GWL's value is for 5-10 year olds, sure you can drag a 2 year old around but they don't understand or justify the cost compared to other places that offer the same/better services for cheaper/free. I'm not nocking the place but like yourself I took a 2 year old and yeah we did everything they had to offer and had a great time but it was 2x the price of what we get down the street. But the main draw is indoor waterslides and my 2 year old wasn't tall enough to do anything thrilling compared to fallsview where she had full reign of the giant water playground with 2 story slides (calipso let her on 3 story slides).

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