Best Museums in Toronto to Visit with Kids
Published: January 1, 2023
Just thinking of the word conjures up something very specific - big old buildings filled with fossils, relics and exhibits. There certainly are still quite a few of those traditional museums around, but over the years, the museum has evolved. There are museums for all sorts of things these days; shoes, hockey, trains, video games and movies. Modern kids' museums in Toronto feature just about anything and are more family-friendly and interactive than ever before. Here is a list of the best museums in Toronto to visit with kids and the fun things you can expect at each!
Take the Bata Shoe Museum for example. While it does feature a vast collection of famous people’s footwear throughout history, it also offers several programs and classes that are family-friendly. Want to participate in games night or learn origami? The Bata Shoe Museum has your family covered.
Likewise, the Gardiner Museum houses one of the biggest and best ceramic collections in North America, but it doesn’t end there. There are family, adult and children classes that you can sign up for. Try your hand at creating your own pottery or painted tile. Who knows? Maybe there’s an artisan hidden in your family.
Got more athletes than artists in the family? No problem. Take them to where the hockey greats wind up being enshrined: the Hockey Hall Of Fame. Not only are there loads of displays featuring timeless hockey memorabilia, replica NHL dressing rooms and highlight films, but there are loads of interactive exhibits. Step up and test your slap shot, try stopping a puck as a goalie or play some video game hockey. Everyone in the family scores with a visit to the Hockey Hall Of Fame!
We may be slightly biased, but our next museum is one of our favourites; the Toronto Railway Museum. Learn all about the history of Toronto’s trains and railways, and afterwards, why not go hands-on and learn to drive a locomotive on the train simulator? You can always take a ride on the miniature train or take a tour of the historical roundhouse itself.
Some of the best museums in Toronto are the main exhibit. For example, there is Toronto’s only castle, Casa Loma, where history comes to life as you explore the various rooms, stables, and castle grounds. Want to learn what it was like to bunker down when Canada and the United States were at war in 1812? Then soldier down to Fort York and explore the city’s oldest barracks. Not done time travelling? Explore what settler life was like in 1867 at Black Creek Pioneer Village. You’ll learn an old time trade, visit farm animals, dress up in some pioneer duds or attend a class at the school. Talk about old school!
If it’s less about a time period and more about a culture, try visiting the Aga Khan Museum. Through art, transcripts and other cultural treasures, you’ll learn about Islamic civilizations and the cultural threads that bind us all together. There are also musical performances, workshops and films for the whole family to enjoy and participate in.
We couldn’t possibly talk about the best museums in Toronto without including the Royal Ontario Museum. While featuring the country’s best collection of Natural History exhibits that includes the ever-popular Dinosaur displays, the ROM also has Art & Culture exhibits that explore ancient civilizations. While the ROM is one of the older museums listed here, it has also been one of the most progressive in terms of evolving its offerings and programs. There are Day Camps, City Walks, Speaking Engagements, Family Fun Days and a variety of other programs offered. This is hardly the same old museum it used to be.
With so many museums in Toronto to explore, you’ll need a great way to get everyone out to each of them. Luckily UP Express or GO Transit can get you to all of them. Remember that Kids GO Free on GO Transit and UP has one of the fastest connections to downtown Toronto.