Bigger Kids

5 family-friendly water parks in Toronto and the GTA

Whether you're looking for a day trip or a weekend vacation spot, these awesome water parks around Toronto are a must-visit.

Photo: Typhoon - Canada's Wonderland Photo: Typhoon via Canada's Wonderland

1. Splash Works – Canada’s Wonderland Located in one of the country’s best-known amusement parks, Splash Works will have you feeling as awestruck as Alice in (Canada’s) Wonderland. The thrills and rides are enough to keep families busy all day, but the water park is a great place to cool off in the afternoon. New in 2015 is the Typhoon, where sliders will get twirled and swirled until they drop through the gaping 18-foot funnel. The younger kids can float down the Lazy River with mom or dad. Or get a two-person tube and go for a gentle slide on the Splash Island Waterways. Tiny tots can splash around under the mushroom waterfall, located in the shallow kiddie pool. Or for some real splish-splashing fun, there's the Splash Island Sprayground and the Pump House—complete with waterfalls, water jets and a gigantic bucket ready to drench swimmers. For the thrill seekers, check out the Black Hole (prepare for complete darkness) or pair up on the Barracuda Blaster. Super Soaker is great for daring groups wanting to get wet—you go through a dark, winding tunnel before getting soaked. If you just want to ride the waves, head over to White Water Bay, one of Canada’s largest wave pools. Splash Works has it all, including cabana rentals, great food and shopping.

Dive in: 9580 Jane Street, Vaughan 905-832-8131

Photo: City of Toronto Photo: City of Toronto

2. Kidstown This hidden gem in Scarborough is the perfect place to take the kiddies on a scorching-hot summer day. There are no crazy water slides here, but it's still a barrel of fun for younger kids. Get ready to yell "Timber" as your little ones stand under the tipping bucket, waiting for it to fill with cool, refreshing water before tipping over. Kids can clamber up the jungle gym, which is full of spray shooters waiting to get them wet. Around the park you’ll also find a splash pad, squirting animals, a wading pool and spray rings. There’s also a water slide for your tots to swoosh down into shallow water. If you don't want to join in on the wet fun, there are lots of benches around the park that serve as a good perch from which to watch your kids. When it's time for lunch, lay out a blanket in the grassy picnic area and enjoy a nice sandwich and juice box. You can even host a birthday party at Kidstown. Oh, and did we mention it's free?

Dive in: 3159 Birchmount Rd., Toronto 416-396-8325

Photo: Niagara Rapids Run - Great Wolf Lodge Photo: Niagara Rapids Run via Great Wolf Lodge


3. Great Wolf Lodge Who hasn’t heard of this amazing indoor/outdoor water park in Niagara Falls? About an hour-and-a-half drive from Toronto, this lodge is definitely worth the drive because your kids will be all tuckered out (and quiet!) on the way home. Now, where to begin in this fun zone? Start at Fort MacKenzie, a multi-level treehouse, where your little monkey can climb over the suspension bridges while trying not to get wet. At the end, kids can whoosh down the Beaver and Squirrel Falls slides, where a big bucket of water drops on them at the bottom. Toddlers will love Chipmunk Cove, a forest full of mini water slides. Your preschooler can practice balancing on the Frog Pond—an agility course where your little frog has to jump from lily pad to lily pad. But don't worry—if she falls off, you'll be right beside her in the water. This gigantic amusement centre is also home to the Canada Vortex, a slide with a huge drop, where you and a family member get shot into a cannon bowl and either drop forwards or backwards—it’s a surprise! Niagara Rapids Run is a water rollercoaster that features a 52-foot drop and will scare the screams right out of anyone. And if you're looking for a raft ride, check out the Woolly Mammoth or the Grizzly Falls, Eagle Falls and Bobcat Falls. If the temperature drops, you can take a dip in the heated outdoor pool, Loon Lagoon. Great Wolf Lodge has your family covered for a splashing good time, no matter the weather.

Dive in: 3950 Victoria Avenue, Niagara Falls 1-800-605-9653 (reservations) OR direct line 905-354-4888

fallsview-indoor-waterpark Photo: Fallsview Indoor Waterpark Facebook

4. Fallsview Indoor Waterpark Here’s another fantastic indoor water park, located in the tourist mecca of Niagara Falls. If you book a stay at any of the four premier hotels (Sheraton on the Falls, Crown Plaza Niagara Falls-Fallsview, the Skyline Inn Niagara Falls or the Clifton Victoria Inn at the Falls) you’ll have convenient access to the Fallsview water park. If you and the kids love a little competition, then the Extreme Racing Slides are for you—who will reach the finish line first? The Toob Tower is a completely enclosed slide that kids can whoosh down alone or with mom or dad. For those looking to ride the waves, jump into the Tidal Wave with a tube, and patiently wait for the tsunami wave to rise up and shake all who float in its path. There's something for the little water-lover too: the Beach House is a jungle-gym home to eight slides—kids have to climb rope ladders and stairs to reach the slides. And tell them to watch out for the Niagara Tipping Bucket—it could tip over at any second. The Tiny Tots Splash Park is great for your toddler, as he can run under the mushroom fountain, swim in the streams or go down the little slides. Finally, Jungle Beach Playland (on the second level of the park) is great for those who don't want to get wet, but still want to slide and swing. Fallsview Beach offers lots of lounge chairs and a huge pool for basic swimming. When the kids get hungry, head over to Planet Hollywood Beach Club for chicken fingers, burgers and more kid-friendly foods.

Dive in: 5685 Falls Avenue, Niagara Falls 1-888-234-8413 (reservations) OR direct line 905-374-4444

Photo: Wild Water Kingdom Facebook Photo: Wild Water Kingdom via Facebook


5. Wild Water Kingdom Wild Water Kingdom in Brampton is only a short GO Train ride away from the city. Unfortunately, the popular park is closed this summer due to renovations, but when complete will feature bigger and better slides and attractions—bonus! But when you do stop by next season, be sure to say hello to Hugo the Hippo, the Kingdom's mascot. Little ones will enjoy Dolphin's Bay, a water-filled playground complete with heated water slides and two awesome tipping buckets just waiting to soak unsuspecting revellers. The Lazy River is also great for those looking for a quieter ride. Older kids looking for some twists and turns can zoom down the Night Rider (not surprisingly, this slide engulfs you in darkness), hurtle through the super-fast Midnight Express, or take a dip into The Abyss. After a morning of slides, spend the afternoon in the Caribbean Cove, which includes numerous pools and beautiful waterfalls—the kids will certainly want to stick their heads under those! Make your visit a little more relaxing by renting a private cabana, which offers a shaded space for the whole family, complete with lounge chairs, a lunch table and food and drinks service. If the kids get sick of the water, take them for a round of mini-golf, or hit the batting cages. And don't forget to check out the bumper boats.

Dive in here: 7855 Finch Ave W, Brampton 416-369-0123

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