Centre de la Nature Laval

I don’t like to “recommend” places, because inevitably someone complains about it, but this is one destination park that I highly suggest you visit.

We last came here back in 2016, and though we had an amazing time and wanted to come back, I’ve been putting off a revisit because both playgrounds were being renovated and an elaborate new splash pad was also installed, so we wanted to see the “after”. We finally came back on the first beautiful day of spring, and were happy we came super early (8am) because it was HOT!

This place is like a mini Upper Canada Village, playgrounds, Botanical Gardens, Mount Royal Park, and farm all in one.

The farm area will probably be your first stop as this is where you’ll find the large accessible and inclusive playground, the farm animals, pony rides, and the greenhouse. Make sure to check the opening hours for everything, because while the park itself is open from 8am, some activities only start later. We arrived at 8 because I wanted to take pictures, and it was very quiet, but by 9ish is was getting busier. Which isn’t to say that the place is packed, because it’s so BIG, but just that people were arriving for the opening of the farm, coming to rent boats etc.
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. 

So cute and small back in 2016!

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, and rabbits. There’s also a nicely shaded path with benches near the pony rides where you can see geese swimming and look at some beautiful birds…whose names I don’t remember. 

Across from the farm section is a very large playground which is open daily from 8am-10pm. The play structure is wheelchair accessible and inclusive with ramps, wide stairs with transfer stations, tons of sensory/activity panels, and an adaptive swing and a tandem Expression swing all on bright carpeted surfacing. Despite the tons of kids on it, there was still place to play and run around. Nearby are two baby swings and adult swings on sand, a GIANT cable climber, and a climbing structure 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. Or rather it should be, but none of the electronics on the three different products were working, and the balance board for one was completely missing. 🙁

The kids bolted past the greenhouse, so again, I didn’t get to see the inside, but we stopped and literally smelled the flowers in the gorgeous gardens, and then spent almost 30 minutes at the lovely pond watching turtles, frogs and ducks, and being thankful for the cool shade!

Towards the middle of the park are huge greenspaces with picnic tables, the picturesque gardens and pond, and there are other areas with tables that are good for groups (check the map).

Then…..we watched the koi in the lake, wandered past canoes and kayaks ready for rent, and had a cooling ice cream snack in the resto. 
Heading back to our car we did some more playing in the adorable new playground beside the mini village.
We were a week too early, but a great ending to your packed visit would be splashing in the new and impressive splash pad (CHECK IT OUT!!) and the Saint-Vincent swimming pool (you can find pool info HERE)
For the hours and rates of everything (the farm, train rides, pony rides, restaurants etc), visit this handy-dandy link.

Things we didn’t even have a chance to see included the skatepark, the “giant games” zone, the large climbing wall, and the beehives. And we didn’t explore all the walking and biking trails this time. 


ACTIVITIES: This is a park you REALLY need to read about first before visiting, especially if there is a certain activity you want to try out, or a specific area you want to visit. Click the links below which will bring you to the Centre’s website with hours and prices. 
– Summer/fall Activities
– Winter/spring Activities
-You can find events happening throughout the year (and there are tons!) at THIS LINK.

PARKING: On our first visit in 2016, we parked near the swimming pool/splash pad just north of de la Concorde. While parking here was free, it was a hike to the lake, animals, and playground.
Luckily, I’d had the forethought to bring the Little Tikes wagon and there is a paved path through the park leading to the activities. If you’ve got little people, a wagon or stroller is a must, and happily the entire park is accessible including having an elevator in the resto/chalet to bring you from the farm/playground area down to the lake. 
BUT, if you want to park closer, continue north along Avenue du Parc and there are more parking lots (cost is 8$) or you can find free parking along the street. P3 & P4 are the closest to the playgrounds, lake, and farm. 

PRICES: Access to the Nature Center is free. Parking, as well as some services or activities such as a pony ride, or train ride have a fee.  Only cash is accepted on the site, but you’ll find an ATM at the chalet-restaurant.

-There are bathrooms and drinking fountains throughout the park, check the map below, and bring your water bottles!

You can click on the map below to bring you to an enlarged version.

Le Centre de la nature


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