London, Ontario may not be an ideal weekend road trip destination from Ottawa (after all it’s about six hours away by car and that is providing Toronto traffic is light), but when you have in-laws and a new baby niece to visit, it becomes the perfect road trip. :)
I enjoy our visits to London, Ontario and there are certain spots we make a point of visiting with the kids; so I thought I would share them in case you ever find yourself in this delightful Southern Ontario city.
If you brought your bikes make your way to Gibbons Park to enjoy the paved paths along the scenic Thames river. The trail system goes to other parks, including Harris Park and all the way to the larger Springbank Park. In addition to the paths there is also a playground, public pool, mature trees and a splash pad. There is also plenty of parking and shade-covered spots for picnicking. If you love wide-open parks with mature trees then you will love this park! There is always something going on: kids flying kites, a soccer game or just lots of families enjoying the area's natural beauty.
Storybook Gardens has been a family attraction in London for decades (since 1958), but they recently renovated and improved the park by removing the animals and zoo and replacing it with an amazing playground, large splash pad and fun playhouses. Storybook Gardens centers around popular fairytales and nursery rhymes and there are traces of those around the park, but more so there are rides, slides and a giant jumping pillow that is perfect for kids preschool aged and up. My daughter loves the giant slides and playground. It’s a fun-filled way to spend a day in London!
London’s Children’s Museum
For over three decades, the London Children’s Museum has been a popular destination for children. They have interactive exhibits and encourage children to learn by playing and touching. Admittedly some of the displays are worn out, but there is still plenty to see and do – especially on those rainy days when the kids are itching to run and get some energy out.
Fanshawe Pioneer Village
If you have ever gone to Upper Canada Village with your family and had a good time, then you will probably enjoy Fanshawe Pioneer Village as well. There is always interesting period-related activities going on in the historic buildings as well as throughout the village grounds. As with most pioneer villages, this interactive museum tells the story of rural communities, this one related to London and nearby counties from 1820 to 1920. It’s a great way for children to experience life in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Located in the heart of the city, Victoria Park is usually the hub of activity with festivals and musical entertainment. If there is an event going on in the City of London – it will be at this park. It’s also full of history and there is a memorial to the Boer War, which may be interesting if you are travelling with a history buff.
Above all, I recommend visiting the many scenic parks in London. The massive mature trees are stunning and the wide-open space is perfect to let little ones run free (especially after a six hour drive).
Have you travelled to London, Ontario? Where is your favourite spot to visit with the family?