hiker using Adventure Lab app while on trail

Adventure Lab: are you ready for an adventure?

Ontario Parks is pleased to unveil a new outdoor activity that we hope will help connect you and your family to our amazing system of parks!

We’ve teamed up with Adventure Lab to create eight unique “Adventures” that teach you about our protected spaces!

What’s Adventure Lab?

Geocaching Adventure Lab is a new platform that allows you to create, play, and share location-based experiences.

The Adventure Lab app guides players through the process of finding clues, solving puzzles, and completing Adventures, one location at a time.

Geo – what?

For some of you, geocaching may be a new term. Think of it like orienteering, but instead of a compass, you are using GPS coordinates right on your phone.

cellphone being held by hiker. Adventure Lab app open on screen

Traditional geocaching involves physical “caches,” where searchers try to find hidden containers or objects (not permitted in provincial parks).

The virtual-style geocaching used in Adventure Lab has searchers locating specific spots and landscapes (instead of physical objects), like a scavenger hunt, but following a story.

This year, our Discovery Program staff have been challenged to come up with new ways to reach our visitors in the safest way possible. The use of technology has helped bridge this gap. The Adventure Lab app provides park visitors with an easy-to-use, self-led tour through our parks.

It’s like having your very own naturalist leading you on a guided hike!

How do I get started?

  • grab your electronic device with cell service (and be sure to turn location services ON)
  • download the Adventure Lab app (available for iPhone and Android)
  • create a free account/ profile

screen shot of red marker in bronte creek Adventure LabOpen the app and search for tours. Click the red markers (see right) to open the title page of that adventure. You can then read the description, location, and comments on the activity log.

Once you are in the park, click the “start” tab on the title screen your chosen adventure. The compass icon in the top-right corner of the screen will point you in the direction of the first/next point of interest on the tour.

The cool thing about using GPS is that the location you are trying to find is shown on the screen and the metres will actually “count down” to tell you if you are moving in the right direction.

When you’re close to the point of interest, click on the spot of the map to view details. Read the description or listen to the video clip. Then answer a question to unlock the next stop on the adventure.

Which parks offer Adventure Lab?

There are currently two parks offering Adventure Lab, with more in the works!

Bronte Creek Provincial Park and “The Story of Succession”

Bronte Creek is perfectly suited for this virtual scavenger hunt! The park has great cell coverage, and is convenient for GTA and Golden Horseshoe residents.

hiker using Adventure Lab app while on trail

This tour is entitled “A Story of Succession,” which we thought was fitting for this year. After all, change is all around us – in our lives and in nature.

The fact is: nature is always changing. Sometimes the change is gradual and sometimes it happens suddenly from unexpected events like storms or fires. Whether it is quick or slow, change is part of an important natural process called succession.

Rondeau Provincial Park and “A Story of Protection”

Rondeau is nestled in the heart of Carolinian Canada, and is home to species of plants and animals that can’t be found anywhere else in the country! Many of these species are considered “species at risk,” and rely on the integrity of Rondeau’s diverse habitats for protection.

Rondeau’s Adventure Lab, “A Story of Protection,” leads you through our popular Tulip Tree Trail. It introduces you to the Prothonotary Warbler, a rare bird who travels thousands of kilometers each year to nest in Rondeau’s flooded forests.

yellow bird -- Prothonatory Warbler
Photo: Allen Woodliffe

Discover why Rondeau is such a great home for these birds, and how you can help protect Ontario’s species at risk as you hike through prime breeding habitat for this iconic species.

Planning a trip?

Both adventures can be completed in 45 minutes or less.

Leave yourself lots of time; you’re bound to get distracted looking at birds in the nesting boxes or the dragonflies and butterflies warming themselves in the sunny patches along the trails.

green trail

You might even pack a picnic and make a day of it! Learn more about individual parks and park facilities on our website.

Check back to this blog to learn when other Ontario Parks Adventures are added to the list!