The Ontario Parks Discovery team is hard at work coming up with creative ways to connect visitors with the special stories and values protected in our parks.
If you visit any of the parks offering Discovery programming, you may connect with Discovery staff along a trail, as they rove through the campground, at a drop-in program, in a Visitor Centre, or at a scheduled program.
What is a Discovery program?
Discovery programs come in lots of different shapes and experience levels.
Whether you’re a first-time park visitor or a lifelong camper, Discovery programs and staff are there to help you foster a deeper connection with our parks.
Programs provide you with an opportunity to explore a new area of the park, understand the park’s value, and appreciate the diversity of living things that make the park beautiful.
This can be done along a trail on a guided hike, at an Exploration Station, or in a peaceful moment during an Art in the Park program.
Discovery staff bring the tools and knowledge needed to help guide you on your own learning journey.
We know learning, exploring, and discovery isn’t a one size fits all. That’s why we offer lots of different types of Discovery programs across the province.
Time to get exploring!
Some parks offer Exploration Stations during the months of July/August.
These Discovery programs are drop-in programs that are often paired with a Discovery Book activity (available for free) and other props or tools to help spark curiosity and exploration. Exploration Stations are designed to get kids and their guardians exploring nature and discovering the park.
Many parks that offer these programs also offer free Discovery rental kits to help you continue exploring on your own. Ask a park staff member which kits are available for you to borrow.
Some parks have Discovery buckets with nets and other tools available to sign out!
Our Discovery programs — enhanced!
Enhanced Discovery parks (marked below with an asterisk) have at least one experienced naturalist on staff.
These parks offer a variety of interpretive programs, from guided hikes to children’s programs to evening presentations!
Be sure to check out each park’s events page on our website before your trip to see upcoming programs.
Once you arrive at the park, you can find out about upcoming programs and park facilities by speaking with staff or checking the parks events listings, typically posted at comfort stations, main beaches, and office buildings.
This season, Discovery is encouraging visitors to Take a Hike!
On August 9, you can join Discovery staff on a guided hike, explore the Take a Hike Exploration station, walk a story book trail, or pick your favourite trail or a new spot to hike on your own.
Guided hikes have a long-standing tradition in the Ontario Parks Discovery program. Credited as the first interpretive program offered in parks, they are the catalyst that sparked the Discovery program, which has introduced millions of visitors to the stories of Ontario’s natural and cultural heritage.
Say hi to our Discovery team!
Whether you see Discovery staff walking a trail, clearing invasive species, or monitoring species, be sure to say hello and take the opportunity to ask questions.
There is no better way to connect with the many park stories we have to tell then seeing them happening firsthand.
Many parks have other Discovery products available to help you explore and discover, including:
- trail guides
- interpretive signs
- Adventure Labs Geocaches
- Visitor Centres
- and more!
These parks are offering staff-led Discovery programs this summer:
- Algonquin Provincial Park *
- Arrowhead Provincial Park *
- Awenda Provincial Park *
- Bon Echo Provincial Park *
- Bonnechere Provincial Park
- Bronte Creek Provincial Park *
- Charleston Lake Provincial Park *
- Chutes Provincial Park
- Darlington Provincial Park *
- Driftwood Provincial Park
- Earl Rowe Provincial Park
- Emily Provincial Park
- Esker Lakes Provincial Park
- Fairbank Provincial Park
- Fitzroy Provincial Park
- Fushimi Lake Provincial Park
- Grundy Lake Provincial Park *
- Halfway Lake Provincial Park
- Inverhuron Provincial Park
- Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park
- Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park
- Kettle Lakes Provincial Park *
- Killarney Provincial Park *
- Killbear Provincial Park *
- Lake Superior Provincial Park *
- Long Point Provincial Park
- MacGregor Point Provincial Park *
- Marten River Provincial Park
- Mikisew Provincial Park
- Murphys Point Provincial Park *
- Nagagamisis Provincial Park
- Neys Provincial Park *
- Pancake Bay Provincial Park
- Petroglyphs Provincial Park *
- Pinery Provincial Park *
- Point Farms Provincial Park
- Presqu’ile Provincial Park *
- Quetico Provincial Park
- Rainbow Falls Provincial Park
- Rene Brunelle Provincial Park
- Restoule Provincial Park
- Rideau River Provincial Park
- Rock Point Provincial Park *
- Rondeau Provincial Park *
- Rushing River Provincial Park
- Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park *
- Sandbanks Provincial Park *
- Sauble Falls Provincial Park
- Selkirk Provincial Park
- Sibbald Point Provincial Park *
- Silent Lake Provincial Park
- Silver Lake Provincial Park
- Six Mile Lake Provincial Park
- Sleeping Giant Provincial Park *
- Turkey Point Provincial Park
- Wasaga Beach Provincial Park *
- White Lake Provincial Park
- Windy Lake Provincial Park
(* = Enhanced Discovery programs)
Select enhanced Discovery parks also offer staff-led programs into the fall and winter, including school programs.