Centre de la Nature Laval

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Update: Work on the playgrounds will be starting in 2017:

“Rénovation et remplacement d’aires et d’équipements de jeux :
Module de jeux 18 mois – 5 ans dans la section du Village des arts
Remplacement de la surface amortissante sous les aires de jeux situés devant la ferme”


Here’s the original post from 2015:
Wow. Another amazing park/playground…everything kind of place, that I’d heard so much about but had never visited.

We arrived on an early October day and parked near the swimming pool just north of de la Concorde. While parking here was free, it was a hike to the lake, animals, and playground and all the other cool things I’d heard were at this centre. I actually thought we might be in the wrong spot as there was nobody around.
Luckily, I had the forethought to bring the Little Tikes wagon and there is a paved path leading to the activities.
BUT, if you want to park closer, continue north along Avenue du Parc and there are more parking lots (costing 7$) or you can find free parking along the street. 

Le Centre de la nature

Le Centre de la nature

Finally we started to see some people and thought “Aha! this must be it”
And it was. And it was awesome.

This place is like a mini Upper Canada Village, playground, Botanical Gardens, Mount Royal Park, and farm all in one.
We started with the super cute (and super expensive) mini train thinking we’d get a nice tour and could see the layout of the park.
Well…..16$ for 4 of us, and about 5 minutes later it was done. It was cute, and the kids liked it, but that is a lot of money for a very, very short ride. The little one was thrilled with it so I’d probably do it again. And, it was the only money that we spent the whole afternoon.

In the same area as the train is the farm and playground. The farm is open year-round and has animals inside and out. We toddled over to the goat and pig enclosure, and rather than just being outside the fence patting them, you can actually go inside and hang out and pat them. Super fun for the little ones, and the animals are friendly and small. 

There are also outside paddocks with cows, ducks and chickens, donkeys, llamas, horses, ponies, and inside the stable are more animals like peacocks, guinea pigs, rabbits…
We didn’t spring for it this time, but there were many kids enjoying pony rides.
“I wanna ride a pony!!!” “You HAVE a pony!”
Yes, my kids have a pony, courtesy of Grandma and Grandpa and their farm 🙂

Across from the farm section is a very large, spread out playground which is open daily from 8am-10pm. The play structure has THREE wheelchair accessible entrances and is on a carpeted type base (since our pictures it has been changed to wood chips). Despite the millions of kids on it, there was still place to play and run around. Both big and little kids had a blast as there are stairs, rock climbing walls, steering wheels, activity walls, slides and on and on.
There is a GIANT spider web (on sand), big and baby swings, as well as two adaptive swings.
There’s also a small climber with spinny contraptions and electronic modules from Kompan’s electronic ICON line. With different games to play on the modern metal climber, complete with lights and sounds, it’s exciting and different. You could probably spend an hour here just wandering around but…..

There was so much more to see!

We didn’t visit the gardens or greenhouse, so we’ll have to come back next summer for sure. Instead we walked/toddled/wagon-ed over to the pond with the beautiful bridges and gazebo, saw the other small playground with some climbing and sliding toys scattered throughout, and about 50 picnic tables (great area for a family gathering or playdates)

Then…..we watched the ducks in the stream; the koi, geese, and the rentable canoes and kayaks ($) in the lake; peeked into the closed-for-the-season restaurant; and played in the mini village. In the massive park there’s also a skatepark, and a brand new impressive splash pad (CHECK IT OUT!!) and the Saint-Vincent swimming pool (you can find pool info HERE)
I assume that the chapel, barbershop, and other “houses” are open during the peak summer hours (they are), but they were super cute and the boys liked looking through the windows. You can find events happening throughout the year (and there are tons!) at THIS LINK.
For the hours and rates of everything (the farm, train rides, pony rides, restaurants etc), visit this handy-dandy link.

You can visit the centre’s website for opening hours, fees (all we paid was the 16$ for the train, it could be a free outing), activities, events….

Winter 2016-2017: CLICK HERE for winter activities including sledding, skiing, and skating.

 

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