Our kids always love a trip the Ontario Science Centre. But on a recent visit we switched up our normal indoor circuit and instead, stayed outside.

There is so much to do inside that it’s easy to miss the great outdoors. But a pause and peek out the windows and you’ll remember that the Ontario Science Centre is beautifully nestled in nature, surrounded by trees and wildlife along the Don River Valley ravine.

So we say get outside and enjoy it. The newest place to play is the Cohon Family Nature Escape, a natural playground located along the escalators on Level 6. From there, a pathway turns into a short boardwalk past birdfeeders, a pergola and into the Nest House, a cool space designed as an oversized walk-in Baltimore Oriole’s nest.

A short trail, perfect for little legs, loops around where you can explore the natural habitat of the Don River Watershed, old and new trees along the ravine, and a portion of the Maple Leaf Forever tree that fell during a storm a few years ago. (You can also listen to the song near the display.)

Then, be prepared to watch the kids climb a small hill and slide down the 125-year-old tree trunk – a hundred times.

Click on the images below for a closer look.


Getting there: All you need to know about getting there.

Stay outside longer: Ontario Science Centre staff lead daily Nature Walks  behind the building. The hour-long walk starts at the Tree Root in Forest Lane at the bottom of Level 6 at 11 am.

naturewalk2  Trees

And longer: Solar Observing with specially filtered telescopes takes place outside the main entrance hosted by members of the Royal Astronomical Society. Check calendar for next one.

And longer: No visit is complete without a run through the blue tunnel outside the main entrance. The TELUScape Plaza also has interactive exhibits that respond to climate, wind and time of day.

Eat outside: The Terrace Grill BBQ is open during July and August. Access is from Level 3. We’ve also packed snacks and lunch and found picnic tables west of the Science Centre. There is a huge grassy field with huge trees and a disc golf course.