20+ Things to do with Kids in Prince Edward County 🍦
The County is kid paradise. In addition to beaches and baseball fields, alpaca farms and apple orchards, there are cooking classes, tennis courts, plentiful library programs, free skating sessions, jungle gyms and indoor swims and a wealth of year-round outdoor activities to keep your half-pint County-ites busy.
PLEASE NOTE: COVID-19 containment measures are keeping us hopping – new announcements about what’s open are being made every day. Please call ahead to be sure activities are still available.
Beyond the beach.
1. There’s a splash pad on the historic fairgrounds in Picton, for when you’ve had it with sand in swimsuits. Built with a nautical theme – ships and water cannons firing water around the pad – it has the latest in high-tech to manage water runoff.
2. Caddy Shack is a mini-putt place right outside the entrance to Sandbanks where the 18-holes have been professionally designed with water hazards and sand traps, enough to challenge any golfer.
3. When you need a break from sun and surf, try the historic Regent Theatre for blockbusters, art films and documentaries. (The theatre is currently unable to open, but is offering films and other cinematic delights online.)
4. The infamous Mustang Drive-in opens under new management for summer 2020, and they’re eager to take film-goers back in time. It’s a memorable experience for any kid!
Back to the land.
5. For all its hip restaurants and vibrant artistry, The County is, at its heart, a rural destination. Visit the Lavender Farm, Millefleurs Lavender & Honey Farm, The SHED (an alpaca farm with a great gift shop), Honey Pie Hives and Herbals, Campbell’s Orchard (with playgrounds and walking paths), Curious Goat General Store, Quinta do Conde or Hagerman Farms to get a sense of how what’s for sale at the grocery store gets grown. Hops & Heifers takes visitors in a safari truck to see (and pet!) their herd of water buffalo and sells cheese and meat the farm gate.
6. Littlejohn Farm is offering a Family Farm Experience for Summer 2020, for those wanting to learn more about where their food comes from and the process that goes into making some of the foods found in our pantries. Guests will learn about sustainable farming practices, spend some time with the Zach and Luhanna’s herd of goats and chickens, and work together in preparing a delicious farm-to-table meal.
7. To get up close and personal with farm animals, stop by Carsons Garden + Market to commune with their small herd of highly entertaining goats. The petting zoo at Waupoos Winery also fits the bill, with pigs, goats, sheep, ducks, mini-mules and chickens. (Remember that other farms are working farms – please refrain from feeding those cute cows or fancy strutting chickens and keep the safety of you and the animals in mind by staying off fences and out of fields.)
8. Give those kiddos some space and just let them run. Get a breath of fresh air and reconnect with nature at our three provincial parks: Sandbanks, North Beach, Lake on the Mountain. Or, roam the trails and search the ponds for frogs at any of the local conservation areas: Little Bluff, Massassauga Point, Macaulay Mountain, Beaver Meadow.
History and heritage.
9. The County has a rich history, reflected in our five museums – Rose House, Macaulay Heritage Park, Mariners, Ameliasburgh Heritage Village, Wellington Heritage – each presenting a slice of life in Prince Edward County by different people at different times. Ameliasburgh Heritage Village lets kids literally step back in time, with 20 buildings to explore and volunteers in period dress.
10. The Mariners Park Museum has a lighthouse, awesome playground and lots of lore about pirates, rum runners, treasures and shipwrecks!
12. A visit to Macaulay Heritage Park includes displays on early life in The County and a new exhibit made in collaboration with our neighbours at Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory that focuses on Indigenous history, an under-told story from this region’s past, present, and future.
Please note that County Museums will have limited availability for the summer 2020 season. Please call ahead.
Build art appreciation.
13. The Sculpture Garden at Oeno Gallery is a great way for kids to experience art in the great outdoors. Contemporary and abstract sculptures of vibrant colours and head-scratching construction pair beautifully with the perennials around them. The garden was designed to make use of the limestone, sand dune and grass paths that shape the garden’s acres acres, with the art nestled perfectly among groves of maples and poplars, a grapevine arbour, an herb garden, a quarry and a rose garden. By appointment only for Summer 2020.
For bigger kids.
14. The state-of-the-art skate park, also on the Picton fairgrounds, caters to beginner and intermediate skaters, and features bowls, hips, spines, a clam shell, flat banks, rails, hubbas, manual pads, ledges, curbs and gaps. (If you know what any of that means, then you know where to go!)
15. Escape Camp Picton takes inspiration from its location at a decommissioned WWII air base – blending heritage, history and an unforgettable game experience. During the pandemic, Escape Camp Picton is offering Virtual Remote plays of “A Spy’s Workshop” – up to 5 players connect through the Internet to direct a live, interactive character who explores the room on your behalf. The game is great for groups as small as two and as large as 10. Families with children of all ages are welcome.
16. Spend a day riding horses at Harper Run Stables,or Diamond J Ranch. Both offer group or private lessons and day or summer camps, giving kids a taste for life on the ranch. Diamond J also offers scenic rides for families, with ponies for kids and inexperienced riders of any level welcome. Archway Connections also offers day camps and retreats with horses and donkeys – for kids big and small alike. Please contact outfitters directly for availability.
17. Of course, there is no shortage of water sports here, from stand up paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking, ice fishing, fishing, even kite surfing. In the winter months there’s snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Find rentals at Cabin Fever Kayak or PEC Kayaks.
18. Outside Bloomfield, Rapidfire Paintball & Airsoft offers junior paintball for kids as young as eight: junior paintball uses low-powered guns that are lighter and easier to hold, as well as smaller paintballs that leave no bruises.
19. Let’s start with the most important food group: ice cream. We’ve no shortage of ice cream shops, including The Old Greenhouse, Cones & Shakes, and Slickers, who were recently voted one of Canada’s top 15 ice cream shops.
20. For charcuterie or picnic items, try the Agrarian Market, GOOD Place PEC or Hagerman’s Farms, a veritable cornucopia of fresh vegetables grown nearby plus their bakery in the back. Bloomfield Public House Market offers grab-and-go options and Enid Grace Culinary can fill a box with Italian-inspired pastries and savouries. Angry Bird’s Rotisserie Chicken has a menu reminiscent of a certain Swiss chicken Chalet, with a wallet-friendly price point to match.
But what about wine?
21. It is a family holiday, so there’s got to be some activities for the grown-ups too, right? And yes, it is possible to taste the terroir with little ones in tow.
- Sandbanks Winery helps kids feel like VIPs, with popcorn and juice boxes on offer. (Speaking from experience, the steampunk moose sculpture at the winery’s entrance is surprisingly entertaining – the village at its feet has roofs that move and my nephews spent a good deal of time moving fallen pine cones from one to the other.)
- The Grange has an absolutely gorgeous setting and board games for kids and kids-at-heart. In cooler months, their grand fire place makes an excellent place for a fam-jam huddle.
- Hinterland has bubbles for the grown-ups and lots of toys and outdoor games for the kids – plus a fleet of those iconic orange and yellow tiny cars that will take just about anyone who can squeeze in.
- Sugarbush Vineyards has an outdoor space and a 2-km loop around its vines, which becomes a snowshoe path in the winter, perfect for kids who need to let off a little steam.
22. Parsons Brewing is just north of Picton and has an excellent selection of beers, a gorgeous patio, big fire pit, great South American food and a huge playground for the kiddos. Socially distant circles help mark the perfect picnic spot.
23. Sweet and alcoholic cider are part of The County scene too. Loch Mor Cider Company has a kids’ corner, complete with pint-sized kitchen, while Apple Falls Cider Co. at Campbell’s Orchards has a pretty awesome playground, hilariously large Muskoka chair you can climb into for pictures, a network of walking trails and usually some sort of festival or special programming on the weekends. Add their ‘all you can carry‘ pumpkin patch event to your fall calendar.
24. Kinsip distills spirits – and hand sanitizer! – in an ancient barn and oast house (where they used to dry hops) and it’s got a venue that is Insta-worthy, with a tree swing and friendly chickens strutting about the farm, both sure to entertain curious kids. Their over-sized jenga and appropriately necessary jenga-hammer also keep the adults entertained while you sip your cocktails.
BONUS: If after all that you just need a little time away from the family, the Bloomfield Beauty Co. offers upscale mani, pedi and massages or dash in to Picton’s Natural Beauty Mini Spa which has been getting raves for its facial massages and nail work.