Ontario Family Activities With Teens

Dog sledding, skating and combat games are some of Ontario’s attractions for teens and parents alike.

Families with kids in their teenage years often struggle to find things to do together that will not only entertain mom and dad, but their hard-to-please teenage sons and daughters, too. Families in the Canadian province of Ontario are no exception, but, luckily, the area, with its array of both indoor and outdoor pursuits, provides plenty of opportunities for successful family outings.

Combat Games

These include so-called laser tag games, where players are armed with infra-red guns that fire harmless rays of light. Players try to score points for their team by shooting one another. For example, Paintball City allows both teenagers and parents to participate in an arena-based sport in which players fire paint capsules at one another. In Mississauga, families can step into the virtual cockpit of an F/A-18 fighter jet at Air Combat Zone Inc. Players are seated in a jet simulator that replicates the thrills of flying a real aircraft in a war zone.

Museums and Exhibitions

Ontario has fascinating museums and visitor centers. They house both permanent and temporary exhibitions showcasing artifacts, experiments and photography that will appeal to teens and adults alike. The Royal Ontario Museum, for example, explores natural history, with previous exhibitions examining China’s Terracotta army, South African fossils and Canadian quilts. The Ontario Science Center, meanwhile, remains one of Canada’s most popular attractions, according to its website, and presents science in an interactive fashion.

Winter Adventures

Thanks to Ontario’s climate, opportunities for activities in the snow during the chilly winter months are plentiful. In northern Ontario, the region nicknamed “Sunset Country,” adults and teenagers alike can get involved in sports such as ice fishing on a lake, or skiing on the slopes, or touring through a winter wonderland on a snowmobile or a sled pulled by dogs. After enjoying these activities, families can relax at a nearby bed-and-breakfast inn or log cabin.

Festivals and Events

Ontario hosts festivals and similar events throughout the year, but many of these cater for specific interests or hobbies. These events may otherwise feature activities that kids may like, but not teens. Exceptions include the Pakenham Frost Festival, held each January; the program includes a teen dance, live fiddle music and a sledding party. The Voyageur Winter Carnival, hosted by Fort William Historical Park, is another seasonal event; the lineup includes a Wii games tournament, skating opportunities and a chance to go dog sledding, all of which may appeal to teens.