What is a staycation?
A staycation is when you stay at home and enjoy the great things you own city has to offer! With my husband starting a new job, our sport commitments, and the fact that DD1 doesn’t sleep well unless she is in her own bed, a staycation sounded like the perfect way to spend our summer this year.
We are frequent visitors to the Toronto zoo, and we have visited the CN tower, ROM and the science center in the past year so we wanted to try something new and exciting, something that screamed summer fun! When I was given the opportunity to take my family for a day thrills and adventures at Centreville, I knew it would be our perfect summer staycation!
Our Adventure at Centerville!
Centreville is a children’s amusement park built in 1967 as a way to convert Centre Island from a cottage residence to a recreational park. Centreville was built with a 1900-turn-of-the-centry village feel. There is a 1907-vintage carousel, ‘antique cars’, ‘swan boats’, a windmill-style ferris wheel, a ‘Haunted Barrel Works’ and several other kid friendly rides. Centreville creates an almost whimsical feel by creating its own small village that includes the Centreville Fire station ride, a Town hall gift shop and a mini railway that travels around the entire village. If the thrill of the ride is not what you are looking for, you can visit the Far Enough farm as a peaceful escape! The farm is a hands on thrill that allows you to admire and touch several domesticated animals including pigs, chickens, cows, ponies and donkeys. it also includes some exotic animals like emus, llamas, and a few exotic birds!
Our Staycation at Centreville
My DH and I agreed that it would be fun to surprise our children with this staycation. We loaded up the kids in the van only telling them we were going on a family adventure! Being curious kids, they were desperate to know our destination, so we played a guessing game of yes and no questions the entire ride to Toronto.
The first adventure clue they got was when we pulled into a parking lot next to the ferry dock. They were so excited and thought the boat ride was our adventure. We arrived just in time to see the ferry arrive at port. After a beautiful 7 minute ride, we docked at Centre Island, where we finally told the kids we were spending the day at Centreville! Having watched Centreville commercials on television, they had a good idea what they were in for!
If you have never been to Centreville before, I highly recommend it. From trains to rides to swan boats and carnival games there is something there to please everyone! There are two ways to experience Centerville; by tickets or day pass. Each ride requires 2-6 tickets for each child and accompanying adult. Depending on how many rides you intend to ride, this can get pretty expensive. The alternative, the day pass, is a simple wristband that you wear and flash when getting on your rides of your choice. We went the day pass route and loved the ease and freedom it allowed. We were able test out every ride (and our favourites more than once! ) without having to count tickets or worrying about how much money we were spending.
Following the map, we began our adventure at the bumble bee ride then worked clockwise around the park. I was very impressed that we didn’t have to wait in long lines and the kids were able to bounce from ride to ride with ease. The staff was organized, friendly and super strict on safety which reassured me when allowing the boys to ride alone. After a few rides that DD1 was too young for, we made our way to old fashion carousal.
The carousal looked authentic and old fashion. After waiting one turn, the boys eagerly boarded the carousal and choose their animal. DS5 was thrilled that there was a zebra on board as it is his favourite animal. DS7 and DD1 both rode horses. This is DD1’s first carnival ride, so she was unsure what to expect. Fear was quickly replaced with joy and she was loving the ride by the end!
After our carousal ride, we took to the water and enjoyed the swan rides! Again what an amazing ride! I remember coming to Centreville when I was a child and in that hazy memory I remember the thrill of the swan ride. It’s not fast like a race car and it won’t take your breath away like the roller coaster, but the freedom of taking to the water and the thrill of driving the swans themselves, makes it a memorable ride.
Needing a break from rides, we choose to take a tour on the miniature train. I loved this ride. It gave a glimpse of the entire village and allowed the kids to pick and choose the rides they just had to go on.
Next we moved onto the heart of the village, the boys rode a few more rides (fire trucks and antique cars) then we continued our adventure to Far Enough Farm. The kids loved the freedom to run about and pet the animals, I loved the peacefulness of the animals. Some of our favourites were the miniature Donkey (who knew they existed!), the chicken coop and spying a real egg, the Belgium cross horse (a retired police horse) and the baby rabbits. What farm adventure is complete without a pony ride? The boys loved transforming into cowboys on top of Brandy and Bullseye.
After a few more rides, exhausted but thrilled, we returned to the port to ride the ferry. Today was the perfect day! The rides were kid appropriate, no line ups and tons of fun! The farm provided a nice break from the rush of the amusement park and the atmosphere was definitely family friendly. If you live in or visiting the GTA area, I highly recommend that you take the time to explore the island and experience Centreville for yourself.