Is “I’m bored” a constant refrain during the winter school break?
Boredom can be good for kids’ creativity, but it can be demanding on a parent’s last nerve.
Out of ideas? We have you covered.
Southwestern Ontario boasts nine parks which are open over the school break, offering a variety of indoor and outdoor programs, events and activities!
Where to go
That really depends on how “winter-y” you feel.
Some southwestern parks — like Awenda, Wasaga Beach, MacGregor Point, and Pinery — are likely to have snow. The parks along the Lake Erie and Lake Ontario shorelines (Rondeau, Mono Cliffs, Forks of the Credit, Komoka and Bronte Creek) are more likely to be what we like to call low-to-no-snow outdoor destinations.
These parks all make perfect day-trips being within a two-hour drive from Barrie, Toronto, London, or Windsor.
Fun that doesn’t need snow
Our southwestern parks have lots of fun events planned over the holiday break.
Visitor Centres will be open at Pinery and Rondeau over the break (MacGregor Point’s Visitor Centre will be open for select times), but here are a few special events you won’t want to miss:
Feathered friends make-and-take and live animal show (Wild Ontario) — MacGregor Point Provincial Park
Stop by the Visitor Centre between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm to make a special bird seed ornament to bring home for your backyard birds! While your ornament sets, take a walk around the boardwalk, feed some chickadees, and learn more about the winter birds of the park.
From 11:30 am to 1:30 pm come support the Friends of MacGregor Point Park by purchasing lunch at the Visitor Centre. The Friends will also be setting up a cupcake decorating station!
At 2:00 pm, our friends from Wild Ontario will bring live birds of prey to teach us about the amazing raptors that live in Ontario! Meet and greet opportunities at the end of the show. Please leave pets at home.
Join us on December 21 (events 11:00 am to 3:00 pm).
Victorian Christmas — Bronte Creek Provincial Park
Spruce Lane Farm will be trimmed and decorated in all its seasonal splendour. Wander at your leisure around the rustic barns of Spruce Lane Farm where you will find a variety of farm animals and just the right setting for a family photo.
Your Victorian Christmas experience may include traditional Christmas games and activities, tours of the elegantly decorated Spruce Lane Farmhouse and seasonal stories and carols in the parlour.
Join us Thursdays through Sundays during the winter break (December 27- 30, Jan 3-5), between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Winter Break Activities — Rondeau Provincial Park
Looking for something to do now that the kids are off school? Come out to the Rondeau Visitor Centre for daily activities!
There will be a different activity each day, including scavenger hunts, movies, and games, as well as make-and-takes. Check the park’s Facebook page for the schedule.
Join us December 27 though January 5.
Live animal show (Speaking of Wildlife) — MacGregor Point Provincial Park
Come see some of Ontario’s coolest animals up close! Our pals from Speaking of Wildlife are bringing their animal ambassadors for you to meet! Please leave pets at home.
Join us on December 21 (make-and-take 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, live show at 2:00 pm).
New Year’s Eve coyote howl hike and countdown for kids — Bronte Creek Provincial Park
Our Discovery Program team delivers a series of guided evening hikes, leading groups of people away from the lights of the picnic shelter into the darkness of the forest.
These brave visitors are rewarded with an exceptional experience: learning about the ecology, distribution, and common misconceptions surrounding this “urban wolf.”
The night is capped off with an opportunity to hear coyotes howl their response to our imitation calls.
Join us on December 31 at 6:30 pm.
First Day Hikes
A First Day Hike is a fun and healthy way to kick off the New Year. The concept is simple: on January 1, visit a provincial park near you for a hike!
Want a guided hike? Visit:
- MacGregor Point Provincial Park (2:00 pm at the Visitor Centre)
- Wasaga Beach Provincial Park (1:00 pm at the Wasaga Nordic and Trail Centre)
Prefer to ramble on your own? Visit:
Fun for the chionophiles (snow lovers)
Check out our Ski Report for up-to-date info on snow levels in our parks, and ice conditions on the MacGregor Point skate surfaces.
When there is deep snow (30+ cm)
Keen to try snowshoeing and cross-country skiing? Visit:
- Awenda Provincial Park
- MacGregor Point Provincial Park
- Pinery Provincial Park*
- Wasaga Beach Provincial Park*
*these parks offer equipment rentals
When there is deep-ish snow (15-30 cm)
Try tobogganing or even disc golf at Bronte Creek Provincial Park.
Want a more nature-centred experience? Head out for some hiking or snowshoeing at:
When there is little to no snow (0-14 cm)
It’s a great time to go hiking especially at Rondeau Provincial Park or Bronte Creek Provincial Park.