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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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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