Activities for every kind of family
In Georgian Bay, we cherish our environment. We are lucky enough to be located near both the water and mountains, to experience an incredible four seasons, and to be able to participate in so many outdoor activities in our own backyard. For most local families, teaching kids about outdoor activities helps them develop better social skills such as teamwork and communication. Parents model healthy lifestyles to their kids in which each day can bring a new place to explore, path to hike, apple to try. Check out this list of family adventures below so you can take advantage of the happy moments, life lessons and good health that comes from the outdoors.
1. Wild Edibles Experience
Spend an eye-opening day outdoors with your family through The Wild Edibles Experience offered by Free Spirit Tours. You’ll join expert forager “Barefoot” Brian for an educational walk through their blossoming Heathcote forest and garden.
Learn which plants you can use for food and medicine, and the best way to harvest and prepare them. Brian encourages participation by incorporating games into the experience to see what you already know. You’ll embark on a scavenger hunt when you arrive, investigating dozens of plants and flowers as a beginner botanist! Through your 2 hour experience, you’ll taste test common flowers and eat plants that are unique to our area. If they’re in season, be sure to try a ground cherry – they taste just like candy! Learn to recognize the mint and mustard family distinctions so when you’re on your next hike you can identify edible plants for yourself.
Brian emphasizes that plants are trying to communicate with people through the shape they take. Plants grow externally first, so you can look to their “organs” on display for clues about what they do. He’ll describe how if you follow the vital life force of the plants through the year, you can notice that they change shape depending on the season. Make sure to ask Brian any and all questions you have, as he’s passionate about everyone learning as much as possible throughout the day. You’ll also talk about the best ethical foraging guidelines to follow, in which you as a forager are an active contributor to the land.
2. Scenic Caves
Scenic Caves is the place to go when you want your family to have fun and spend a meaningful day in natural surroundings. The natural beauty of the caves combined with the number of activities offered often leave visitors in awe. The rich landscape is one of Canada’s 18 UNESCO sites, and was once home to the Petun First Nations people.
If you prefer to explore on your own, grab a map and begin a self-guided tour. All ages are welcome to the caves, but your younger ones may enjoy playing in the Children’s Adventure Playground. Another kid favorite is Gemstone Mining, where the kids pretend to be early miners and look for hidden quartz crystals, gold ore and other semi-precious stones. After kids collect their treasures, they can use a Mineral Information Card as a reference point to learn more about the stones.
One Scenic Caves gem is southern Ontario’s longest suspension bridge – 420 feet long, hanging 82 feet above the forest floor. Take a walk along this bridge with your loved ones – just don’t look down! In warm weather, Scenic Caves offers mini golf, tractor wagon rides, and eco adventure tours. During the cold season, enjoy everything from nordic lessons to snowshoeing under the stars at the famous caves.
No matter how you structure your day, you can always complement long hours of adventuring with a satisfying meal in nearby Blue Mountain Village. Compare fun facts and photos from throughout the day, and enjoy a newfound appreciation for the caves and caverns of the area.
3. Good Family Farm
If anyone in your family is passionate about healthy eating habits and local agriculture, Good Family Farms is a must-visit. The Good family farm has been operating for generations with the goal of providing “local, healthy, organic food, from our family to yours”. But what does a commitment to organic mean, when so many products claim it these days? For this family, organic means they don’t use any synthetic chemicals on their farms, and don’t use any genetically modified organisms (GMO). Their soil and animals are fed nutrient dense and organic food. A peaceful afternoon at this Certified Organic Farm will leave your family with healthier eating practices and a renewed interest in eating locally.
Enjoy the breathtaking drive to Good Family Farms as your kids daydream of hay bales in the seats behind you. Arriving on the farm, you’ll see tons of land filled with animals and crops. After taking in the scene, begin your pre-booked hour long educational tour with one of the farmers. You’ll sit in one of the farm’s tractors as you ride around the 4000+ acres of field and forest. Make sure to wear shoes and clothes you feel comfortable getting a little dirty in, as these farmers want you to get the genuine experience!
After you make friends with the farm animals, learning about the unique ways they’re raised and other Good Family Farm values, stop by the Farm Store to get food for a long picnic under the sun. Organic, regeneratively raised meat and vegetables will taste even better after you worked up an appetite on the tractor. Say goodbye to the farm and this idyllic afternoon as you and your family pile back in the car, sun setting on your scenic drive home.