View My Stats

Sunday, August 14, 2011

History in the City for the young and the young at heart

So, you've done Centre Island and they've been to Canada's Wonderland. You went to the zoo and they spent the day at the beach. Now what? And why was any sort of museum programming the last thing you thought of? Don't worry, it's not just for the nerdy children amongst us. Often they have so much fun they don't realize they're learning something. Or they don't learn anything, which is fine too, because you might, and they would learn the same nothing at Canada's Wonderland and they'll still have fun.

Studies often show that most of us did not retain the history we do know from what we were taught in school. Many of us remember snippets of movies, books or, mostly, the museums we visited as children. And don't worry if you don't remember what the population of Toronto was when it was founded in 1834, if you remembered that it's only really been around for less than two hundred years, or even if you got the sense that the city was kinda old you did take something away from the experience, whether you meant to or not.

I loved going to museums when I was little (surprise, surprise). Living history museums shaped a large part of the trajectory of my life. I felt like I was stepping into a story. That interested my sister less, but she always liked things like art and making things, and there was always something interesting for everyone to do.

So if you live in the city and are wondering what to do with these last dog days of summer, here are some of the programs aimed at children being put on until the end of August at Toronto Heritage Institutions (which I think includes things like Halls of Fame, Art Galleries and Science Centres, but that is a debate for another day):

Colborne Lodge

Colborne Lodge
has Pay What you Can Sundays. Go and see what you can of the house of High Park founders John and Jemima Howard. And while you're at it, spend the day in the park.
Hours: Tuesday - Sunday noon-5 p.m.
Admission: Adults: $5.71
Seniors (65 +): $2.62
Youth (13-18 yrs.): $2.62
Children (4-12 yrs.): $2.38

Fort York

Fort York has special programming going on all summer. See the cannons fire at 12:30, see the fife and drums in the afternoons, and enjoy the hourly drill demonstrations. This one of the larger living history museums in the city, and certainly represents the oldest time period for Toronto (Fort York was founded when this area was made Upper Canada's capital, around 1796).
Hours: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Admission: Adults: $7.62
Seniors (65 +): $3.81
Youth (13-18 yrs.): $3.81
Children: (4-12 yrs.): $2.86

Gibson House

The Gibson House has a special tour on Sundays, noon to 5 pm, of their 1850s kitchen. This includes a taste of what's cooking and, of course, the hands-on children's activities available in the Discovery Gallery.
Hours: Tuesday - Sunday, noon - 5 p.m.
Admission Adults: $5.48
Seniors (65 +): $3.10
Youth (13-18 yrs.): $3.10
Children (2-12 yrs.): $2.62

Mackenzie House

Mackenzie House, home of Toronto's first mayor has kids crafts on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4:30.
Hours: Tuesday - Sunday, noon - 5 p.m.
Admission: Adults: $5.71
Seniors (65 +): $3.81
Youth (13-18 yrs.): 3.81
Children (5-12 yrs.): $3.33
Children (4 and under): Free

Scarborough Museum

The Scarborough Museum has special activities for adults and kids every Saturday and Sunday for their Summer Victorian Extravaganzas. Shows, music, merriment; experience early life in Scarborough.
Hours: Tuesday - Sunday, noon - 5 p.m.
Admission: Donation

Legislative Assembly of Ontario

The Legislative Assembly of Ontario, perhaps not one of the first places we think of when we think of history, but has been there since 1893 and is one of the rare historic buildings that is still in use today. Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. until the end of the summer there is a scavenger hunt on the grounds, aimed at children between the ages of 6-12. Pre-register or drop in.
Hours: 9:00-5:00
Admission: Free

Royal Ontario Museum

At the Royal Ontario Museum the ongoing exhibit Water includes many hands-on activities and panels aimed at kids. This is in addition to their usual galleries, where the natural history (dinosaurs, bugs, birds and the like) is usually a big hit.
Hours: Saturday - Thursday 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Admission:Adult: $24 + exhibit $31 ($24 + $7)
Senior (65+ years): $21 + exhibit $28 ($21 + $7)
Student (15 to 17 years): $21 + exhibit $28 ($21 + $7)
Child (4 to 14 years): $16 + exhibit $19.50 ($16 + $3.50)
Infant (3 years & under) Free

Bata Shoe Museum

At the Bata Shoe Museum host Weekend Family Fun every weekend, save for when they have other big events. There they can try on shoes, paint a clog or go on a treasure hunt in the galleries. This too is in addition to their usual hands-on exhibits.
Hours:Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Thursday: 10:00am – 8:00pm
Sunday : 12:00pm – 5:00pm
Admission:Adults: $14
Senior citizens (65+): $12
Students (with ID): $8
Children (5-17 years inclusive): $5
children under 5 are free

Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art

At the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art every Sunday is family day. The first Sunday of a month is a movie and a themed scavenger hunt. The second Sunday is themed paper crafts in the lobby. The third Sunday is the guided kids tour and on the fourth Sunday of the month there is typically a performance by storytellers, musicians and other entertainers, though this month the last Sunday will be more crafts in the lobby.
Hours: Monday to Thursday: 10 am – 6 pm
Friday:10 am - 8 pm
Saturday & Sunday: 10 am – 5 pm
Admission:Adults: $12
Seniors: $8
Students: $6
Children: FREE (under 5)

Black Creek Pioneer Village

At Black Creek Pioneer Village, another living history museum, everyday at 2:00 they have a demonstration of something, perhaps butter churning, harness making or something else. They also have daily animal programs, as well as a hands-on history centre. Collect an historic passport and get it stamped at five of the different historic buildings once you complete a task or explore a Country Kids Trail. All these activities are available all summer.
Hours: Week days: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Weekends: 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Admission: Adult (Age 16-59): $15.00
Child (Age 5-15): $11.00
Infant (Age 4 and under): Free - does not apply for group bookings
Senior (60+): $14.00
Student (16+): $14.00

Ontario Science Centre

At the Ontario Science Centre join them for KidSpark, an activity happening each weekday at 11:00 in July and August. It could be a number of things, including a science demonstration or an art project.
Hours:10 am - 6 pm
Admission:Adult (18-64): $20
Child (4-12): $13
Youth (13-17), Student (with ID), Senior (65+): $16
Infant (3 & under): Free!

Canadian Air and Space Museum

The Canadian Air and Space Museum has a Future Pilots program running on August 20-21. This is a hands on full day activity for teens.
Hours:Wednesday, 10:00am - 8:00pm
Thursday - Saturday, 10:00am - 4:00pm
Sunday, 10:00am - 4:00pm
Holiday Mondays, 10:00am - 4:00pm
Admission: Adults 18+: $ 11.00
Seniors 60+: $ 9.00
Students with school ID: $ 9.00
Military with ID:$ 9.00
Children 5 & under: FREE
Family: 2 adults & 2 Students: $ 27.00

And don't forget the other museums etc. around the city:

Art Gallery of Ontario

The Hockey Hall of Fame
Historic Zion Schoolhouse
Montgomery's Inn
Spadina House: Historic House and Gardens
Todmorden Hills Heritage Site
York Museum
Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art

For more information of upcoming events check out Toronto Museum Events, or the ROM, AGO, Hockey Hall of Fame, Black Creek Pioneer Village etc. websites.

No comments:

Post a Comment