Stars over Killarney 2018

What happens when two great organizations work together to promote astronomy and dark skies? An incredible experience that captivated visitors from all over Ontario and beyond.

On September 22, 2018, we launched Ontario Parks’ first Dark-Sky Preserve in Killarney Provincial Park (the other is in Lake Superior Provincial Park) with a special “Stars over Killarney” program. Joining us as co-hosts for this special event were our friends at Science North, one of Canada’s best hands-on science museums.

Continue reading Stars over Killarney 2018

Halloween treats for little ghouls & goblins

If you’ve never celebrated Halloween in one of Ontario’s parks, you don’t know what you’re missing! You can decorate your campsite, carve a pumpkin, do a night hike, go trick or treating and finish up in front of a bonfire with a few spooky ghost stories and some devilishly good snacks.

Here are some scary good Halloween treats that are easy to make and will delight your little ghouls and goblins.

Continue reading Halloween treats for little ghouls & goblins

9 tips for eco friendly Halloween decor

Many of our in-park Halloween events feature campsite decorating contests.

But certain decorations can be harmful to the environment.

Here’s how you can create a super spooky campsite AND protect Ontario’s ecological integrity at the same time.

Continue reading 9 tips for eco friendly Halloween decor

A bonding family experience in the #OPescape RV

Today’s post comes to us from Paula Schuck (@inkscrblr), the writer behind Thrifty Mommas Tips, and our next #OPescape content creator to travel around Ontario’s provincial parks in our wrapped RV

A few weeks ago, I listened to a podcast about the brain and nature’s impact on health, and I learned that time spent in natural surroundings impacts immune function, weight, and blood pressure as well as attention deficit disorder.

The impact of even a three day break when spent outdoors enjoying nature lasts months and leaves you in better health mentally and physically.

After learning that, I was more eager than ever to leave on our first ever RV trip (in celebration of Ontario’s Parks 125th anniversary). I needed to see for myself if it was true. Would the experience change us?

Continue reading A bonding family experience in the #OPescape RV

5 cool facts about skinks

If you’ve ever seen a Five-lined Skink, you know just how cute they are!

The Five-lined Skink, which looks a bit like a salamander, is the only lizard species native to Ontario. And while researchers continue to study skinks, we still don’t know very much about what they do on a day-to-day basis, particularly from September to May when they’re hibernating.

Here are five cool things we DO know about Five-lined Skinks, courtesy of Alistair MacKenzie, Resource Management Supervisor at Pinery Provincial Park.

Continue reading 5 cool facts about skinks

Mental health benefits of the outdoors

Today’s post comes from Sarah McMichael, Ontario Parks’ Healthy Parks Healthy People Coordinator.

Do you ever find yourself feeling calmer, more relaxed, or more focussed after spending time in nature? That’s because time outside has studied and proven benefits for your mental health.

Mental illness affects one in five Canadians in any given year. This World Mental Health Day, let’s talk about what some Vitamin N (nature) can do for your mental health.

Continue reading Mental health benefits of the outdoors

Algonquin’s second fall colours peak: the golden encore

Today’s post comes from Ian Shanahan, Natural Heritage Education Specialist at Algonquin Provincial Park.

 “Algonquin’s blazing landscape” is a term used to describe the park during the peak of fall colours, when the mid-slope of most Algonquin hillsides along the Highway 60 corridor truly seem ablaze with the bright oranges and reds of Sugar and Red Maples.

Continue reading Algonquin’s second fall colours peak: the golden encore

Falling in love with the colours of Ontario’s southwest

“There is nothing permanent except change.”

— Heraclitus

As the blissful haze of summer fades, we confront the realities of the changing season: colder weather and back to school. Autumn brings change to our lives, and to our parks as well. Change can seem overwhelming, but southwestern Ontario is a shining example of the beauty of change.

Continue reading Falling in love with the colours of Ontario’s southwest

Slithering into fall: hibernation for Ontario’s reptiles

Today’s post was written by seasonal student Heather Van Den Diepstraten from Rondeau Provincial Park.

It’s not just students and birds on the move this fall.

As the cold weather approaches, reptiles are trekking across Rondeau Provincial Park in search of hibernacula (places in which wildlife overwinter). Researchers for Wildlife Preservation Canada are busy tracking the movements of snakes, turtles, and skinks within the park as they find suitable habitat for their hibernation.

Continue reading Slithering into fall: hibernation for Ontario’s reptiles