This weekend my son and I headed to a media preview for the new Children’s Discovery Centre in Toronto. It opened this Saturday to the public at noon, and now it’s open daily 9:30am-4:30pm. The Centre is located in the Garrison Point neighbourhood at 45 Strachan Avenue in Toronto, but it’s only a temporary location until September 30th, 2015. If this pilot project goes well, a permanent location may pop up in the future as well.
There are 10 themed Discovery Zones, and it’s 20,000 square feet in total so there is lot’s to see and do! The centre is meant for children 6 and under which was awesome! If you have a child that age you know what it’s like when older children are around on the playground – sometimes they push, shove, or just play harder than younger children in general. It was nice to have kids in the same age group hanging out in the same space.
My son’s favourite Discovery Zone was the Mini City. It included kid-sized streets with bikes, trikes and wagons that they could maneuver on the roadway. It also included a construction zone with rocks, shovels, trucks, and construction outfits.
Some of the other rooms included the Make Believe room with a full sized theatre complete with dress up clothing, Maya’s Storyland with books and reading nooks and forts to lounge and read, Pet Vet which is a child-size replica of a veterinary clinic complete with an x-ray machine, and the Art Hive with wall-sized easels, a squeegee wall, and a section with cardboard boxes to make anything imaginable.
Some of my son’s other favourites included The Campground where you could build a tent and go fishing in a canoe, the Boom Room which had a wall where you could bang household objects to make music, Eat Street where children could shop for groceries, make dinner in a kitchen, and set the table for a meal, and Imagination Station which had a felt tile building system and an interactive building system called Imagination Playground.
There was so much to do! You could spend all day in this place just moving station to station. There was plenty of room between Zones so even when things got busy when it became open to the public, there was still lots of room to play!
What I loved were the Quiet Rooms, where family’s could go to take a break. They included a couch, and the door could be closed for a bit of privacy if someone wanted to nurse.
There were also plenty of bathrooms scattered in the building so there would be no waits for those kids still working on potty training
The Sago Mini Pet Café was a big hit with my son – he LOVES all of the Sago Mini Apps. As soon as we walked into the café, he went right for the small door on the wall to see what was inside. He remembered from the Sago Mini Fairy Tale App that something was often behind little doors that looked like that in the game. He loved that every time he opened the door a different Sago Mini character appeared to say hello!
The café is meant for family’s to bring a lunch and relax from all of the playing. It was complete with child-sized tables for the kids.
The cost of entry is $13.00 per person (children 1 year and under are free), and I personally thought it was well worth it! It was a pretty incredible place for children of this age group, and there were lots of friendly staff (trained facilitators with educational backgrounds including ECE’s or teachers) on hand to read, play, or just to add a helping hand.
Most of the rooms also had spots for babies to play as well which I thought was genius – how many parents of two or three children have a hard time finding a space to play where both children have something to do? Either the older child is stuck in the baby play area, or vice versa. This way a parent could have their toddler playing in a room, and also have a space for their baby to play as well.
There is a small amount of parking on site. I was lucky and could park on the street for free (with the help of a lovely construction worker who moved a pylon for me!), but otherwise there are a few parking lots within walking distance. This location is close to Liberty Village where there are a few great spots for lunch as well. And there is stroller parking just inside the centre!