If you're hoping to get out of the house with the kids, but would like to practice "social distancing," one of the preventative measures being recommended by the World Health Organization, we've got some great ideas for things to do outdoors in Niagara.
Things to Do Outdoors in Niagara
1.Take a walk on one of the family-friendly walking trails in Niagara.
Woodend Conservation Area (1 Taylor Rd, St. Catharines)
The trails at Woodend are wide and easy to walk on and most trails can be walked in under an hour. There is a nice natural playground for kids to play as well.
St. Johns Conservation Area (3101 Barron Road, Thorold)
St. Johns Conservation Area has a small trail around a large pond, great for tadpole/frog and turtle watching. There are also several longer trails (but still short enough for young kids).
Heartland Forest (8215 Heartland Forest Road, Niagara Falls)
Heartland forest is a great nature area for the family to enjoy. There are trails, frog and turtle ponds, picnic shelters, a small playground for young kids, mini-putt and one of Canada’s largest tree-houses that offers a panoramic view of the forest. It's free to the public and trails are open daily from early morning to dusk.
Dufferin Islands (Niagara Parkway, Niagara Falls)
Dufferin Islands is a quiet, secluded park containing several small islands connected by small bridges and footpaths. There is a 'catch and release' fish program, which is great for the kids. Dufferin Islands is free to the public and open daily, year round. It's located just south of the Falls on the Niagara Parkway, between the Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse and the Rapidsview Parking Lot.
Ball's Falls Conservation Area (3292 Sixth Avenue, Lincoln)
Ball's Falls Conservation Area has three short trails: Forest Frolic Trail (850 m), Switch Back Trail (725 m) and the Cataract Trail (1.3 km to Lower Falls and 1.7 km to Upper Falls). The trails are fairly easy, and great for kids. There are two waterfalls, an operational mill, and numerous historical buildings.
Shorthills Provincial Park (Pelham Rd, St. Catharines)
Shorthills consists of seven forested trails, ranging from 0.8km to 6km. The Palaeozoic Trail is an easy 0.8km trail and is most suitable for strollers and young kids.
Burgoyne Woods (70 Edgedale Rd, St. Catharines)
Burgoyne Woods is a nice place for a picnic or family gathering or just to go for a walk. There are two trails through wooded terrain. The first trail loop is about 650 metres and is wheelchair and stroller accessible, while the second loop will take you into a more forested area with woodchips, pavement and dirt. The winding hill in the back portion of the park is pretty steep. There are two fenced areas for large and small dogs and there is also a big playground.
Malcomson Eco Park (345 Waterfront Trail, St. Catharines)
Malcolmson Park is located on the north side of Lakeshore Road at Niagara Street. It is adjacent to the Welland Canal at Lock One. The Welland Canal Parkway Trail and the Waterfront Trail both travel through this park. There are several short trails through forest, meadows, and wetlands. Great for kids and strollers.
Glenridge Quarry Naturalization Site (400 St David's Rd, St Catharines)
The Glenridge Quarry Naturalization Site is a large public open space with attractions for families, school children, environmentalists, walkers, joggers, hikers and bird watchers. Only half of the trail is treed, the rest of the trail doesn't offer much shade. Kids will love walking the boardwalk by the pond filled with catfish and geese, climbing the big rocks, and going through the small tunnel.
Welland Canal Parkway
A wide paved trail running along the Welland Canal from St. Catharines to Port Colborne, this trail offers a lot for families. It's great for strollers and bikes. There are several playgrounds along the way, a museum at Lock 3 and you can also watch the ships go by as you walk.
2. Visit a Local Playground
After a long winter with a lot of snow, it’s nice to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather. Visiting local parks whenever the weather allows it is a great way for kids to get some fresh air and exercise. Playgrounds can get quite muddy on spring days, so we’ve put together a list of some local playgrounds that have a soft rubber ground and are less likely to be muddy and messy!
Woodstream Park, 87 Spruceside Cres., Fonthill
Merritt Island Park, Welland
Centennial Sports Park, 1565 Four Mile Creek Rd., Virgil
West Park, 78 Louth St, St. Catharines
Pearson Park, 352 Niagara St., St. Catharines
Memorial Park, Memorial Park Dr., Welland
Catherine Street Park, 69 Catherine St., St. Catharines
Fireman’s Park, 2275 Dorchester Rd., Niagara Falls
3. Play at the Beach
We’re lucky to have access to so many different beaches in the Niagara region. Even outside of the summer months, it can be fun to play at the beach, building sandcastles, throwing pebbles into the water, treasure hunting, playing catch, and walking along the shore. Here is a list of the beaches in Niagara.
Charles Daley East and Charles Daley West
Address: Charles Daley Park North Service Road Jordan, Ontario
Chippawa Creek Conservation Area
Address: 84646 Regional Road 45 (Creek Rd.), Wainfleet
Long Beach Conservation Area
Address: 12965 Lakeshore Road, Wainfleet
Wainfleet Public Beach
Lakeside Park Beach
Address: 1 Lakeport Rd. Port Dalhousie
Map to Sunset Beach: http://goo.gl/maps/7Fdla
Address: 142 Broadway Dr. End of Broadway Avenue off Lakeshore Road in Grantham Ward
City of Port Colborne Beaches
Bay Beach (Crystal)
Bernard Avenue Beach
4. Visit the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority
During this period of social distancing, it is important to spend time outdoors for physical and emotional well-being. The NCPA day camps and education programs are designed to allow children to spend as much time outside as possible and to provide learning opportunities that revolved around the nature surrounding us.
For many parents, finding these learning opportunities can be difficult, and the NPCA would like to offer their assistance during this time. NPCA Program Assistant Jenna Moorhead is an OCT certified teacher with a background in geography, environmental science and outdoor education - but she also has experience teaching almost every subject, to all ages and grade levels.
The NPCA hopes families make use of these resources for at-home learning that will allow your families to find the joy of outdoor education in your own backyards. Through the weeks ahead, the NCPA will continue to share new resources at www.npca.ca/our-voice.
If you or other parents you know are struggling to find resources or ideas for activities for your families, please connect with the NCPA! Send an email to [email protected].
We do our best to provide accurate, useful information about event and activities in the Niagara Region. This information (such as times and locations) is gathered from user submissions, press releases, local newspapers, other websites, signs around town and word of mouth. We do our best to confirm details before they are published here. Sometimes details change. Whenever possible, we strongly encourage you to confirm the details before you go.