Forster Park and Splash Pad in Oakville

Forster Park and Splash Pad in Oakville

Summer time is here and that means pools and splash pads! Forster Park is a nice little neighbourhood park in Oakville with a good playground, splash pad, tennis court and washrooms.  There are lots of nice tall trees, shade and a few picnic tables.

We’ve been to this park many times before but this was the first time our kids have ventured into a splash pad.  Our previously splash pad hating children finally tried a splash pad!

Forster Park playground area.
Forster Park playground area.

I loved that the splash pad area was right next to the playground.  We set up our blanket on the grassy area in the middle and then didn’t have to exert any energy moving around to different parts of the park 😊  It was a perfect spot for me to be lazy AND have a good view of my kids in each area of the playground.

Forster splash pad
Forster splash pad

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Lakeside Park

Lakeside Park

If you are not quite ready to spend each weekend at a farm and want to head out to a good ol’ fashioned park before the weather turns, you might want to consider Lakeside Park in Oakville.  We were pleasantly surprised by Lakeside Park, 6 years in Oakville and this was our first visit!

Playground at Lakeside Park.
Playground at Lakeside Park.

 

In our search for nice bike paths for young kids, I thought Lakeside Park and surrounding areas might be a good choice.

Lakeside Park is located at 2 Navy St. in Oakville, and as the name suggests, it’s right beside the lake.

Our Plan: Take the kid’s bikes; go for a short ride and then end up at the playground.

Our Reality: bike chain came off 30 seconds into the trip and we couldn’t get it back on.  Kids saw the playground first and didn’t want to leave…so that’s where we spent our time.

There is nothing extraordinary about the playground here, regular swings, slides etc. but what made this a neat park were the small heritage buildings on site.

Oakville Historical buildings FREE to take a look

There are two historical buildings here.  Oakville’s first post office and Thomas House (a farm house from 1829).  Lakeside Park was not the original location for either; they were moved there by the Oakville Historical Society. https://www.facebook.com/OakvilleHistoricalSociety/

I had no idea these buildings were at the park and I was very excited to take a look!  Both are FREE to go in (they are very tiny structures).

The post office has a staff member who can answer questions and provide you with information. There are also plaques along the wall with interesting facts (young kids won’t give a crap about these though J

But they do have a couple of small activities that kids might enjoy.  Colouring pages and writing with a feather and ink.  My kids really liked this and they seemed to be a natural at it!

Some fine lettering in the historic post office.
Some fine lettering in the historic post office.

 

Using a feather to 'write' her name.
Using a feather to ‘write’ her name.

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Bronte Beach Park

Bronte Beach Park

A sandy beach with clear water, so close to home!  If, like us, your trips to the beach usually include one of the non Lake Ontario popular destinations (Crystal, Dover, Wasaga etc) and you are looking for something a little closer to home, then you might want to give Bronte Beach a try.

Bronte Beach
Bronte Beach
View of the marina at Bronte Beach
View of the marina at Bronte Beach

Our family really enjoys the beach and we’ve visited Bronte Beach a couple of times in the past.  I’m not quite sure why we forgot about it this summer – up until now – but perhaps it’s because I heard it was a victim of the 2017 summer flooding of Lake Ontario.

But as we were driving back home from Shell Park one day, I noticed a bunch of beach umbrellas so we decided to investigate….

Right in our own backyard

If you’re a fellow Oakville dweller then you’ll appreciate the closeness of this beach.  I recently wrote about our trip to Valens Lake in Hamilton and thought that it was a fine place if your kids were just looking for a beach.  If I compare these two places, on beach alone, I prefer Bronte Beach.

A view from the beach
A view from the beach

Bronte Beach is just west of Bronte Rd, south of Lakeshore Rd. W. off of W River St.

If you turn left into the driveway that leads to the beach (just off W River St.) you will get to an itsy bitsy teeny tiny parking lot.  Don’t go there.

Parking lot
Parking lot. If you can’t find a spot here then park in the area just outside this entrance.

Instead, park in the little ‘park’ area just south of Lakeshore Rd W.  When you turn left onto River St. it will be on your left.  This is your best bet to find a parking spot.  Learned that the hard way! All parking is free!

Nice Sand and Water and the fish were alive!

I didn’t see a single dead fish! 🙂  Seems like most of us have been conditioned to have an aversion to Lake Ontario beaches, but the water quality checked out and the beach area was nice.  We saw schools of little fish near the shore, my son enjoyed trying to ‘catch’ them.

Kids playing on the beach with their toys
The sand here is nice and the kids enjoy playing with their beach toys

The water is clear and the temperature varies from ‘Canadian warm’ to freshly melted ice age glacier (as it was last weekend).  Lots of people are swimming or wading in the water each time we’ve been there.

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Shell Park

Shell Park

I decided to give Shell Park a try based on the description of the flower garden.  This is a simple park, no extraordinary attractions here, but it was a decent area for my kids to practice riding their bikes.

Shell Park flower garden
Flower garden at Shell Park

It was a mostly pleasant drive across Lakeshore Rd. in Oakville to get to Shell Park (3307 Lakeshore Road West).

I say ‘mostly’ because, we were coming from the east along Lakeshore, meaning we pass Coronation Park.

Meaning my kids saw Coronation Park from the car window.

Meaning they wondered why we weren’t stopping where all the other kids were playing.

Meaning we had to listen to ‘no fair!…’ a hundred times as we drove to our destination.  (Repeat the process on the way back home too…)

Anyway….

Bike Path

My kids are fairly new at bike riding so we were looking for a relatively safe, enclosed area for them to take a spin.

Kids riding their bikes
Taking a spin along the park road.

There weren’t any formal bike trails here, just a winding road that made it’s way around the different areas of the park.   We were there on a hot summer Saturday afternoon and the park was pretty empty.

Although the speed limit was only 10k along the road, it would have been nice if there was a dedicated bike area.

Kids having fun on their bikes.
Kids having fun on their bikes.

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Sherman Falls and Tiffany Falls, Hamilton

Sherman Falls and Tiffany Falls, Hamilton

It’s obvious why Niagara Falls gets all the attention, but did you know there are a TON of other Waterfalls in the Hamilton area?

They’re not as big and thunderous as Niagara Falls and they don’t come with an abundance of overpriced trinket shops, but they’re still a great little excursion for your family.

A few weekends ago we visited two waterfalls.  Tiffany Falls and Sherman Falls.

Hamilton Waterfalls Close to Home

Hamilton is known as the waterfall capital of the world and there are some good sites out there to help you navigate them.  Such as http://www.waterfalls.hamilton.ca/ and http://tourismhamilton.com/hamilton-waterfalls and http://www.cityofwaterfalls.ca/

I chose Tiffany Falls and Sherman Falls for a few reasons;

  1. Easy access to the falls from the parking area (no long/difficult hiking with little ones and one of the paths is stroller friendly)
  2. Easy to get to these falls from the highway and close proximity to each other
  3. Free and almost free (Sherman Falls is free, Tiffany Falls was just 2 bucks for parking)
  4. Prettiness

As I mentioned in my About page, my husband and I are originally west-coasters and we still love spending time there.  We are always on the lookout for hikes and trails in the Halton area that come close to that beautiful scenery (not fair I know, but we still look!).

These 2 waterfall areas are pretty close to meeting that criteria!

Tiffany Falls
Tiffany Falls
Sherman Falls
Sherman Falls

 First up – Tiffany Falls

I really liked the trail to the falls and I would definitely go back.  I’ve seen some pics of this area in the winter and I think it would be a neat spot to check out when everything is frozen over.

Path to Tiffany Falls
Path to Tiffany Falls

Tiffany Falls is located near Wilson St. E. and Lower Lions Club Rd. in Hamilton.  There is a very small parking lot and if you are coming north on Wilson St. E. there is not a lot of warning that it’s coming up.

The trail to the falls is really beautiful and stroller friendly.  It is not perfectly flat and you will encounter a few spots with some rocks and uneven ground.  When you arrive at the falls, there is a viewing platform with stairs, but everything before that should be easily navigated with a stroller.

kids on trail
3 and 5 year old can easily walk the trail

 

Viewing platform at Tiffany Falls
Viewing platform at Tiffany Falls
Rocks on the trail
A few rocks on the trail but I would still consider it stroller friendly up until the platform.

 

I think it took us a leisurely 10-ish minutes to reach the falls from our parked car.

Path to Tiffany Falls
Leisurely stroll to Tiffany Falls.

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LaSalle Park and Wading Pool

LaSalle Park and Wading Pool

So Many Reasons to Like LaSalle Park

There are many reasons we like LaSalle Park in Burlington.  In a nutshell –  6 bucks entertains our kids for a few hours!  Specifically, a great wading pool, really nice nature trails with great scenery and a good playground.

Nature trail
Nature trail in LaSalle Park

 

LaSalle Park is located at Lasalle Park Rd and North Shore Blvd E.

There is no charge to get into the park , to use the playground or explore the trails.  The wading pool has a small fee of $3.35 per child and parents don’t have to pay (bonus)!

Finally, a real wading pool!

My kids hate splash pads.  Hate.  Back in my day, wading pools were everywhere, but now, not so much.  Bronte Provincial Park has a sort-of wading pool, but what I don’t like about that pool is that it starts out shallow and just gets deeper and deeper…

The LaSalle wading pool is a nice sized square pool that is shallow (only goes up to my knees!).  There is a lifeguard on duty and even a small splash pad area for normal kids who like that sort of thing 😉

lifeguard
Lifeguard at LaSalle Wading Pool

 

Wading pool
Nice size wading pool with shallow water.

 

Swimming pool
Water toys are available (but limited).

The small pool size + shallow water + lifeguard means us parents can sit back and relax a bit.  We can let our kids wade in the pool without having to constantly be right beside them.

They even have some comfy chairs available for lounging – but they are very limited, so I recommend bringing your own folding lawn chairs.  The deck around the edge of the pool is cement, but you are free to put a blanket down if you like.

deck chair at pool
Deck chairs are available or bring your own lawn chairs or blanket.

I’m a shade lover, so there is a decent amount of shade from the umbrellas and the trees.

There are signs that say no food or drinks but I see lots of parents feeding their kids so I”m not sure if it’s fully enforced.  Outside the pool area there are lots of areas to sit and have a picnic so that’s always an option as well.

Bathrooms – last year they had a portable thing inside the fenced area of the pool.  We went there on opening day this year (2017) and it wasnt there. Not sure if it’s will be back, but if not there are bathrooms located at the gazebo/shelter.

Nature trails

The nature trails at LaSalle park are a nice little trek in the ‘woods’.  Stroller friendly and very scenic. It usually takes us about 30 minutes to walk the trail.  The trail is somewhat of a loop, starting at the main parking lot (if you are facing the playground, the start of the trail will be behind you).

The trail loops around and ends near the boat launch area.  You can then walk up the hill (or the stairs) to get back to the shelter/pool area.

kids on the boardwalk
A lovely boardwalk with great spots to view ducks, swans and geese.

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Lions Valley Park

Lions Valley Park

Lions Valley Park – A peaceful spot in the middle of Oakville

If you’re like us, any place that can entertain your kids for a good amount of time and is FREE, scores big points on the must-do list!

Lions Valley Park in Oakville is indeed free and you will find a playground, a creek, stroller friendly walking trails, a nice pedestrian bridge, frogs, birds, picnic areas and fishing.

This park is often referred to as ‘Oakville’s best kept secret’.  Wanna take a sneak peak?

Here’s a short 23 second clip that was intended to show you a bit of the scenery near the creek.  Instead;

This video perfectly sums up what every.single.outing.ever. is like with a toddler or preschooler…  Ever!

 

Sixteen Mile Creek Trails

Despite the park’s list of features, our kids weren’t (initially) enthusiastic about any of it (more on that later)!

Lions Valley Park is located at Dundas St. W. and Lions Valley Park Rd (although it stretches down to Upper Middle and their are various entrances).

The trails in this park are part of the Sixteen Mile Creek trail system.  You can find some additional trail info on the Town of Oakville website. http://www.oakville.ca/culturerec/sixteen-mile-creek-trail.html.

There are a number of ways to get on to these trails.  We chose to start at the parking lot on Lions Valley Park Rd and Dundas St. W.  The parking lot is directly underneath the Dundas St. bridge.

Bridge in Lions Valley Park Oakville
Underneath the Dundas St. bridge in Lions Valley Park

From the parking lot, there are a few different trails.  There is a map in the parking lot outlining the different options.

Most normal humans would have read those maps before heading out.

Unfortunately we weren’t those people…..

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