I have visited the Ontario Science Centre. A lot. For Years. It is one of my favourite family-friendly destinations in Toronto because it offers fun experiences, hands-on learning, and bilingual (English/French) environment for the whole family. I also know – as a long time member – a few Tips For Visiting The Ontario Science Centre which might make your visit a little easier…
Parking is $10 (reduced rate if you are a member – and I recommend being a member if you live in or around Toronto because membership pays off in about 2 visits and gives your discounts not only to parking but to food and more). It is also TTC accessible.
If you visit during school breaks – expect it to be busy. Really busy at March break. But before you enter the building…
Be sure to check out the awesome permanent activities just outside the front door. They are free, fun, and pretty fantastic.
Baby Care, Special Needs, and Accessibility
The top reason I love the Ontario Science Centre so much is that they are so welcoming to all people of all needs. Taking a wheelchair or a stroller? Elevators access every level. Need to nurse your infant? There are baby care rooms. Need a washroom? Not only do you have lots of WC choices on every level – there are family washrooms (even washrooms with a big toilet and little toilet in the Kidspark areas for those toilet training visitors).
A “destination/attraction” which finally offers healthy food choices! I love that there are tons of brown bag lunch areas where you can enjoy snacks from home. And kiosks where you can buy fresh fruit and water. And although you can buy the regular pizza and burgers in the Ontario Science Centre restaurant (and I admit – buying a slice of pizza the OSC is a ritual for us) I love that they offer granola bars, whole fruit (apples, bananas), and crackers in addition to salads and yogurt.
What to see at the Ontario Science Centre
Level 4: You have to visit KidSpark (great for younger kids). Also, the ball area on the other side of KidSpark is pretty great. The water area is super fun (just be sure to put one of the aprons on to protect clothing!). The Space area is better for older kids.
Level 6: The Weston Family Innovation Centre is great for older kids. Very hands-on! The AstraZeneca Human Edge area is all new – and pretty amazing (I could spend hours there myself). The Telus Rainforest is just off the beaten path but well worth visiting (tip: look for a turtle in the water!). The Living Earth has a tornado experiment you will not want to miss. And there is also a free paper making presentation in this area daily (where you get to take paper you made home as a souvenir!). The Science arcade is a sure hit for all ages (and you will want to stick around for the daily presentation on electricity – it’s shocking!). 😉
There is also a special presentation hall on level 6. These exhibits change a few times over the year so I recommend checking Ontario Science Centre website to see what’s on (I hope they bring back their Harry Potter exhibit).
I also LOVE that the gift shop – Mastermind Toys (an amazing Canadian toy shop!) is on Level 1 – close enough to the entrance/exit that you can visit but out the way enough that you can pass (in case anyone is having a melt down and needs to leave-right-now).
And as an aside: if you are visiting the Ontario Science Centre you might want to read my Family Outing Tips – 5 Items To Pack #justsayin’
As I mentioned, the Ontario Science Centre is a great English/French place. From the panels to the signs to the staff – you can enjoy your visit in English or French.
Staff and Safety
Those staff members in the white lab coats make your visit easy. They are helpful, friendly, and keep it all smooth.
And my son’s favourite thing about the Ontario Science Centre…
The Ontario Science Centre stamp you get on your hand when you start your discovery. That little symbol is a source of pride!Disclosure: this post is not sponsored at all. This is a complete and shameless recommendation of one of my favourite Toronto family-friendly attractions. You should visit 😉