Thursday, August 8, 2013

Perfect timing for Franklin Children's Garden

Another gem on Toronto Islands

The young kids I've visited Toronto Islands with were always so content with Centreville Amusement Park that I never could drag them beyond. A few weeks ago, I finally had the chance to visit Franklin Children's Garden and I loved it!

As it turns out, Friday and Saturday August 16 & 17, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., will be a very good time to visit the place thanks to the first Teddy Bear Picnic to be held at Centreville Amusement Park. Following free activities at the amusement park (you still need to pay if you want to do the rides), Franklin and Beasley Bear will lead a parade over to the Children's Garden for storytelling and giveaways.

To Franklin Children's Garden
To get to the Garden, you have to walk past Centreville Amusement Park (near Centre Island ferry) and cross the bridge to go towards the fountains. To your right, you will eventually notice the cute splash pad (beyond the reflecting pool with fountains). 

I suggest you walk by it and reach the lovely entrance to the Children's Garden further west (promising the kids you'll return to enjoy the water fun once you've explored the Garden).

The site is peppered with bronze statues of characters from Franklin the Turtle (Kids Can Press beloved books for 6 to 7-year-old readers). They're part of the decor, enjoying the place as we do. Expect Franklin, Bear, Rabbit, a goose, a snail and a beaver.



I was impressed by the attention to landscaping and detail. The microcosm of Franklin Children's Garden encompasses a pine grove, a storytelling stage, a wetland with turtles, frogs and birds, a treehouse, a vine tunnel, the elevated Unilever Snail Trail and a cute hands-on gardening section (offering craft activities and watering opportunities daily from 1 to 5 p.m.). 

Kids 8 years and under were having a ball when I visited. The treehouse was very popular, and so was the elevated trail, from which we can see the beach. 

Water fun
Centre Beach, the beach just south of the Garden, is protected from the waves by a wall and perfect for young kids. Gibraltar Beach, less than 5 minutes west, on the right, is more secluded and, on a windy day, offers fun waves bigger kids will appreciate.

The pretty splash pad is located right by the playground structure just east of the Garden.

Facing Centre Beach
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