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Rock on: Indoor and outdoor rock climbing for Thunder Bay families

things to do with kids in thunder bay

Boulder Bear Climbing Centre You know your kids can climb walls and monkey around—why not channel that energy into rock climbing? Thunder Bay’s Boulder Bear Climbing Centre has more than 6, 000 square feet of climbing terrain and more than 4, 000 handholds. That ought to keep ‘em busy. Here’s what you need to know about going climbing with the kids.

Local experts

“The centre is designed by climbers for climbers,” says owner Dallas Markall, a dad of two kids age 10 and 12. Markall has been rock climbing around the northwest for 23 years and has led trips for the Manitoba and Thunder Bay chapters of the Alpine Club of Canada. He planned out the climbing walls with a company that specializes in climbing centre construction. “The angles of the walls and the features they create—the overhangs, curves, bends, erects—are what sets us apart,” he says. There are a variety of routes that work for beginners and advanced climbers, and everyone in between. Plus, here’s a fun kid fact: Markall’s kids named the business after their own pet, a big brown Newfoundland dog. “They thought it would be a great name for a climbing centre too!” he laughs.

Just for kids

You can buy a membership, book a lesson for a child or adult, rent gear, buy equipment from the new fully stocked gear shop or drop by for a family climb with your own gear. There are regular sessions to teach climbing and bouldering for kids ages seven and up as well. In the summer, day camp activities include indoor and outdoor climbing, yoga, hiking, crafts and martial arts. Want an active birthday party? Book a 2.5 hour time block that includes lessons, supervision and a private party room.

Fuel up

In the café area, Crepewich offers fresh protein and fruit smoothies as well as delicious crepes with a variety of fillings and toppings. Relax with your snack in the 2,000-square-foot dining and concession area which is outfitted with picnic tables made from massive boards from a local rural property, and be sure to check out the oversized colour photos of various outdoor rock and ice climbing adventures from around the northwest.

Take it outside

Spring, summer or fall, you can book a family rock climbing lesson at one of Thunder Bay’s beautiful outdoor rock sites. Boulder Bear provides the gear and instructor for a four-hour session for $35 per person.

More info

425 Northern Avenue


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