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11 Free things to do with kids in Thunder Bay this summer: Updated for 2019

Raise your hand if you like free stuff! Here’s our list of the best FREE summer fun for families in Thunder Bay in June, July and August 2019.

1. Go to a Border Cats game Become part of the Junior Cats Club, where kids 12 and under get in free to Sunday afternoon home games, starting at 1:35pm at Port Arthur Stadium. Get some ice cream and cheer on the Cats! More info

2. Visit a fire station

Big red trucks, big rubber boots, big fun: To visit a Thunder Bay fire station, all you have to do is fill out a request form and set a date. The firefighters will take you and the kids on a tour of the station, including seeing the equipment and asking them questions about their job. (Kids must be of school age.)

3. “Fly” a plane

Visit the Northwestern Ontario Aviation Heritage Centre to see artifacts and exhibits about the region’s flying history, and try your hand at the amazingly realistic flight simulator, created by two local aviation enthusiasts. Open Sundays from 1-5pm or by appointment. Donations welcome.

More info

4. Get green

Explore the Centennial Botanical Conservatory, filled with enormous green plants, a tiny fairy house, a waterfall and chunks of amethyst. Outside, there’s a kids’ veggie garden and info about bees and other pollinators. Or, visit the new Adelaide Monarch Garden (on Adelaide Street near Boulevard Lake), created by Urban Greenscapes, to see if you can spot any monarch caterpillars or butterflies amongst the butterfly-friendly plants. There’s a cool metal butterfly sculpture too.

5. See wild birds up close

At the McKellar Island Bird Observatory, kids can help be citizen scientists and monitor migratory bird trends. Visit researchers John and Maureen Woodcock, who carefully capture birds using special mist netting, then weigh, band and release them. Open approximately 7:30am-1pm, starting August 1, closed when it’s raining. (Donations welcome too!)

More info McKellar Island Bird Observatory on Facebook

6. Visit the alpacas Take a little country drive to see the friendly alpacas at Alpaca Valley Farm in the Slate River Valley. Just call ahead to set up a time to hang out with these tall fuzzy dudes.

More info Alpaca Valley Farm on Facebook

7. Catch an outdoor movie

The Movie Nights on the Waterfront series at Marina Park only has a couple dates this year, so don’t miss out. You can watch family movies on Friday August 23 and Saturday August 24, starting between 8 and 9pm. Concessions are available, and bring your own blanket, lawn chairs and some cozy clothes if the lake breezes are cool.

8. Groove to the music Live on the Waterfront is a concert series that runs on Wednesday nights from July 10 to August 28, 2019, 6-9pm. Pack a picnic and enjoy that spectacular view and some spectacular tunes.

9. Experience art and history

Take your bikes and enjoy your art outside with the self-guided Def Sup graffiti art tour that shows off the city’s mural artists. The Ahnisnabae Art Gallery has art for sale, but you can still pop in with the kids to see incredible examples of Indigenous art. Tuesdays are free admission days at the Thunder Bay Museum (and the rest of the time, adult admission is $3, kids 6-12 are $1.50 and kids under six are free). Top three kid attractions, according to staffers: the real jail cell, the wigwam and Albert the Albertosaurus.

More info

10. Love the library

The Thunder Bay Public Library offers all kinds of family-friendly activities in summer 2019. Visit their events page to get all the listings of all the events, but here are a few standouts: space science with Science North (July 3, 2:00pm, MJLB), get a tour of a fire truck (July 8, 2:30pm, County Park), see a magician (July 10, 2:30, Waverley), paint windows (July 15, 2:30, County Park), watch movies (every Monday except holiday Mondays, July 8-August 19, Brodie, 2:30), learn about exotic pets (August 6, 2:30, MJLB), play the Price is Right (August 7, 6:30, County Park) and make a tabletop biosphere (August 12, 2:30, Waverley).

More info Starting on page 11 in the pdf

11. Splash around

Shriek, giggle, spray: splash pads are always a winner. Why not take a tour of the city’s four splash pads to figure out which one is your family’s fave?

Don’t miss out on the fun! Like us on Facebook to see posts from throughout the month.

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