8 Ontario kid-friendly gardens
While Ontario is home to hundreds of gorgeous gardens and green spaces, here's a selection that offers engaging, kid-friendly activities and programs so everyone in the family can benefit from nature’s goodness.
Once a quarry and brick factory, this Don River Valley site has been transformed into an engaging local attraction with community events, activities, markets, a café and a Children’s Garden. This interactive playground welcomes kids of all ages to explore nature and learn about the environment in a safe, fun way. Open weekends, year-round, admission by donation.
Location: 550 Bayview Avenue, Toronto
Abbey Gardens is a multi-disciplinary attraction that features organic gardens, a café and craft brewery, hiking trails and, tucked away at the back of the sprawling property, a dedicated kids’ outdoor play area and crafts centre. There are also stables for rare Ojibwe and Miniature Appaloosa horses onsite. Open Victoria Day of May long weekend through to Thanksgiving in mid-October.
Location: 1012 Garden Gate Drive, Haliburton
Exploring nature is one of the best ways for families to grow together, so RGB offers year-round, kid-focused experiences from special events to gardening workshops to the natural playground that the whole family can enjoy. Some activities like the playground are included in general admission, workshops and special programs require registration and additional cost.
Location: 680 Plains Road West, Burlington
Inspired by the book series Franklin the Turtle, this interactive attraction on Toronto Island Park features several different stations, including a learning garden with drop-in summer programs, an activity garden complete with bronze sculptures of Franklin and Rabbit and a turtle pond and wetland area. It’s the perfect place to entertain and educate budding biologists.
Open Mon-Thurs 2-6 p.m., Fri-Sun 12-6 p.m., there’s no admission fee for the garden, however, you’ll need to purchase ferry tickets from the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal city-side 9 Queens Quay West to access the Toronto Islands.
Location: Behind the Toronto Island Nature School on Centre Island, Toronto Islands
The Toronto Botanical Garden within the Edwards Gardens welcomes visitors of all ages with a variety of horticultural activities. This includes special children’s programs for both groups and individuals designed to stimulate children's curiosity about nature and gardening through hands-on experiences. The gardens are open year-round from dusk to dawn and admission is free.
Location: 777 Lawrence Avenue East, North York
This 40-hectare park is home to a greenhouse and tropical gardens, as well as several fun activities geared for kids. Meet the animals in the mini moo farm, warm up in the playgrounds and skateboard park and cool off in the wading pool or at the splash pad. Free admission to the park, some activities cost a nominal fee, seasonal operating hours.
Inspired by one of Canada’s favourite authors, Lucy Maud Montgomery, each corner of these gardens feels as though it’s straight out of one of her novels. There’s a picturesque gazebo, a cascading waterfall, hopscotch stepping stones, as well as a carefully structured section of the garden designed for people, especially kids, with visual impairments, called the Sensory Garden. More programs are offered for guests with special needs. Open year-round, free admission.
Location: 477 Guelph Street, Norval
Encourage your little ones to explore the green spaces and natural environment within Canada’s largest city. Although many of the Eco Programs at the Children’s Garden are curriculum-based school outings or summer camps, the facility does offer free family drop-in programs and hosts free community events.
Location: 1873 Bloor Street West, Toronto
Last updated: October 13, 2023