Written by: Robin Ashton, Marketing Specialist
Tonight is the night for little Halloween goblins and ghouls. After all the tricks are played and the treats are distributed, the kids might benefit from a little outdoor activity. Here are three suggested locations for your family to explore, play, and discover cool things. Who knows, you might even learn a thing or two along the way!
Visit Mountsberg Conservation Area with your little ghosts, and burn off the sugar at the Cameron Farmyard. Mountsberg is brimming with goats, sheep, rabbits, and horses after the baby boom this past spring. Let the kids loose in the Play Barn. Walk over to the Mountsberg Raptor Centre afterwards and come nose-to-beak with our resident birds of prey. You can learn about the Raptor of the Month for November: Scout, the Merlin.
There’s more to Mountsberg besides the raptors and the farm animals: there is a Wildlife Walkway to explore and see animals you don’t usually see like the bison! Are you a keen birder? Look up in the trees for our feathered friends flitting about in the trees before they migrate.
Complete your visit to Mountsberg with a hike in the Sugar Bush. Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus set up shop here during the holidays, busy making preparations for Christmas. The Sugar Bush is literally a “sweet” walk during the Spring when sap runs from the trees for Maple Town.
Are your kids interested in history? Take them to Crawford Lake Conservation Area to experience the Iroquoian village, and learn more about local Indigenous history.
Learn what life may have been like for people over 500 years ago in the reconstructed Iroquoian village. The village is dotted with interpretive signs that convey aspects of Iroquoian culture and explore how these early people lived in harmony with nature.
Inside the Turtle Clan longhouse, the smells of wood smoke, animal hides, and tools recall the daily existence of the Iroquoians. The Wolf Clan longhouse contains a simulated dig to help you understand the science of archeology and the lives of the village’s previous inhabitants. The now open Deer Clan longhouse blends native tradition with modern teaching and interpretive features.
After you’ve visited the Iroquoian village, play hide-and-seek along the Hide and Seek Trail. Many species at risk hide within the forest at Crawford Lake and throughout Southern Ontario. As you walk down the blue trail toward the lake, you will discover 10 massive chainsaw carved sculptures that represent species at risk in Ontario. This Hide and Seek Trail raises awareness and aims to help teach ways to preserve these creatures for generations to come.
Last but not least at Crawford Lake is the rare meromictic lake. A walk along the stroller friendly boardwalk surrounding the lake is typically a peaceful experience. But for those brave individuals interested in a good ghost story, it is also the setting for a spooky tale about mysterious haunted waters.
Legend has it that late one winter day, a horse-drawn sleigh carrying lumber across the frozen waters broke through the ice and sunk to the bottom of the lake. A meromictic lake contains layers of water that don’t mix, so the horses remain preserved in the bottom layer. Unhappy to be there, these horses awaken at sunset and glow their eyes red toward people on shore.
Head out on the yellow loop trail to see the 10-metre waterfall: a 4km round trip hike. Kids love a picnic by the campfire, and they can feed chickadees right out of their hands. The hike through the woodlands is great in any season and perfect for a dog too.
Before you head out, here are a few tips for hiking with kids:
- Wear appropriate clothing (including footwear)
- Pack lots of snacks
- Make it fun along the way!
- Leave enough time for little explorers to discover creatures and plants along the trails (look but don’t touch)
- Leave only footprints, and take only memories!
Have fun out there this weekend! Happy hikes and Happy Halloween!