Bronte Creek Maple Syrup Festival

Bronte Creek Maple Syrup Festival

This was not the ol’ fashioned, trek in the woods, maple-ly experience that I envisioned when I think of ‘maple syrup festival’.

We arrived at the Bronte Creek Maple Syrup Festival at 2pm on a Saturday during March Break.  It cost $17 to get in and we were told the festival closes at 3pm.  Really, 3pm? On a Saturday? During March Break?  Yes I know I should have planned our arrival time better and the times are clearly displayed on their website….

With the clock ticking, we raced to park in section D which is where the “pancake house” was located.

**EDIT:  Please take a look at the comment from Sheila @ Ontario Parks below this post.  She offers some good tips to get the most out of this experience!

Maple Syrup Festival – Fantasy vs. Reality

When I think of ‘maple syrup festival’ I imagine:

Maple Syrup Festival image from Google
Maple Syrup Festival image from Google
Maple Syrup Festival image from Google
Maple Syrup Festival image from Google

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The reality….

You park in a bland gravel lot and then walk across a bland field to get to the snack shop which is doubling as the pancake house.

Walking from the parking lot to get the pancakes.
Walking from the parking lot to get the pancakes.

As you come around the corner you see the line up.  It’s a long line up, snaking all the way through the building and outside the door.

While you wait in the cold concrete surroundings, you can enjoy the view of the park’s garbage wagon to your left, or the recycling bins to the right.

The view, while we wait in line for pancakes.
The view, while we wait in line for pancakes.
More of the view as we wait for our pancakes.
More of the view as we wait for our pancakes.

After 30 minutes, out of our ONE precious hour before closing, we reach one of only TWO cashiers.  We paid around $20 for our pancakes, sausages, juice boxes and a hot chocolate.

More lineup as we made it inside the building.
More lineup as we made it inside the building.

 

Pancake prices.
Pancake prices.

After ordering you have to endure another line up to get your food. The servers plunked our pancakes and sausages on the plate with about as much enthusiasm that my husband had when arriving for root canal day.

There are two outdoor eating areas with picnic tables (one area was covered) and when we finally sit down to eat we realize we picked up 4 knives and 1 fork.  I went back to get some extra napkins and forks only to find that the doors shut and lock behind you.  If you want back into the building then you have to go to the main door and squeeze and snake your way past the long line of people…

Eating area with picnic tables.
Eating area with picnic tables.

So how did they taste?

Pancakes were good, sausages were good, syrup was good.  Everything was good.  But so are the pancakes I make every weekend for about 50 cents worth of ingredients 🙂

Kids eating pancakes.
The kids seemed to enjoy the pancakes.

Activities For Kids

After the long wait to eat we had to rush to see the rest of the festival.  We had to go back across the bland field and get in our car to drive to another parking area.

There were booths selling different items, pony rides (for a fee), maple taffy (or whatever it’s called – for a few and the line up was too long so we didn’t get to try).  If you wanted to eat or drink anything, it’s an extra cost.  This was a big disappointment.

There is a barn with some old fashioned games, my kids enjoyed (free).

Kids playing wooden games.
Old fashioned games, my kids enjoyed them.

Cows and hay bales to see (free).

Hay bales for jumping.
Hay bales for jumping.

 

Checking out the cows.
Checking out the cows.

 

More cows.
More cows.

There were a couple of gift shops but we didn’t go in them.

Image of gift shop entrance.
Gift shop, due to festival closing, we didn’t have tome to go inside.

My kids enjoyed opening the lids of the maple sap buckets.

Kids looking inside maple syrup buckets.
Taking a peek inside the buckets.

The Bottom Line

My kids enjoyed themselves, so I guess that’s all that matters right 😉  But they would have probably enjoyed themselves on any regular day at Bronte Creek Provincial Park as well.  I didn’t find this experience to be all that much different from any other day at that park.  We showed up right before closing so maybe we missed a number of demonstrations and other events?

My husband and I wanted more of an actual maple syrup festival feel (see images above 🙂 ) and we don’t feel we got that here.

What maple syrup festivals have you been to in the Hamilton/Oakville/Burlington/Milton area?  How do they compare?

  • The park areas we visited were stroller friendly
  • Washrooms in a few places throughout
  • Your park entrance fee doesn’t include any of the food or drinks
  • Pancakes and sausages were good, but nothing spectacular
  • Free parking with admission
  • The other park areas, not a part of the festival are still open (play barn, slides)

 

Chudleigh’s Farm

Chudleigh’s Farm

Well here we are folks, the eve of pumpkin spice season!

If you happen to be a fern or a hydrangea then you probably loved the summer of 2017.  But alas, we now approach Autumn….time for farms, fall leaves, cursing yourself because you’re last minute with Halloween costumes again – even after the fiasco of last year when you swore you were going to be on top of things this time…

To help break up the stress of 5-year-old-halloween-costume-idea-changes every.five.minutes…let’s checkout a farm – Chudleigh’s Farm in Milton!

 Towers and slides at Chudleigh's Farm

Towers and slides

Apple orchard as seen from the wagon ride
Apple orchard as seen from the wagon ride

A Fun Milton Activity for Toddlers, Kids and the Whole Family

Towers, slides, tire swings, sandbox, animals, nature trail and more….

We haven’t been to too many farms as yet.  Last year we started to sample a few of them and this year they seem to appeal to our family a bit more.

Our 3 and 5 year old enjoyed Chudleigh’s Farm and I think it was a good age range for this farm.

We went on a very windy day in August.  It was too early for pick-your-own apples or any type of corn or pumpkin activities.  But possibly a great time to avoid crowds. I’m not too sure what this farm has in store once Sep/Oct rolls around.

Here’s the rundown.

Tire Swings

My 3 year old loved these! There are a few of them here.

Tire swing shaped like a horse.
Tire swing shaped like a horse!

Towers and Slides

This is a big attraction here.  The slides on each of the towers are wide enough for my bum + my kids to fit comfortably!

Tower at Chudleigh's Farm
One of the towers at Chudleigh’s Farm.
Towers and slides at Chudleigh's Farm
Another view of the slides

These structures are quite tall and some of the slides are pretty steep.  My 5 year old was a bit apprehensive at first, but warmed up fairy quickly.  At 5 years old, he could climb the latter to the towers and navigate the structures and the slides.

Kids running on structures
5 year old had no problem climbing and navigating.

I think they were a touch too big for my 3 year old though.  Some of the slides are not as steep, so she was ok with those ones, but she struggled with some of the ladders to get up to the towers – which meant I had to wedge myself up there to help her out.

3 year old climbing ladder.
3 year old had a bit of difficulty getting up some of the ladders.

If you have a 3 year old (or younger) I don’t think they could navigate independently.  So be prepared to climb up there yourself, or direct them to one of the many other activities…

View from the top of the slide
This slide was too steep for my 3 year old.

Sandbox

Decent size, with a shaded area plus a little ‘house’ and a few sand toys.

View of the sand box area at Chudleigh's Farm.
View of the sand area. A bit of shade, as well as sand toys are provided.

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