A Visit to Storybook Garden's In London Ontario
The summer has been moving fast and I really craved a new experience that the kids and I haven't done yet. We've managed to visit all the kid friendly attractions in the GTA and after our recent camping trip in South Western Ontario I had discovered that there is a few places not too far outside the city that might be worth the trip.
Storybook Gardens in London, Ontario was a great choice. Why I think it was a great choice and worth the 90 min drive plus the gas to get there. Well for starters the admission is reasonable.
Storybook Garden's is open year round. During summer they operate daily and admission is $7.75 a person or $27 family of 4 and is inclusive of taxes. From Sept 4 to Oct 8 they are open Tues-Fri at $6.50 each or $20 for 4 however weekend prices are same as summer. There is no mention on pricing beyond this but they claim open all year and have skating rink. I'm guessing that it will be posted on site closer to that time.
What you get for the admission? During the summer they have a cute little Splash Pad Area that the kids enjoyed even my older son at 10 enjoyed the area (though it was pretty hot). There was a variety water activities like a slide, large bucket type spill station, some wadding and pop up spray for little tots and a water table area where you control flow of water etc and they kept the theme going here and there in the area as well.
As you go through the park, you'll notice great character statue's that make wonderful photo opportunities. They are throughout the village. As well as well manicured garden areas.
There is a fantastic playground that the kids could spend hours at alone. The biggest and well laid out net climber, a great pirate ship with slides, climbers and hideouts, massive tower slides, a cool rock wall area, a great little toddler area for 5 and under and another more playground structure. Very spacious, lots of benches and shade.
They have a large jumping pillow to fit tons of kids and it's covered to give some shade. You can walk along a frog pond with large fish to be seen swimming around.
There is plenty of spots to picnic and one of the down sides of the park is that pretty much all but one of the concessions were closed. We couldn't figure out why. It was quite busy and it was a crazy hot day in middle of summer that you think cold drinks and ice cream treats would surely be available. The one area that was, was terribly busy and it wasn't clear what they actually had to serve since some items were not available. Even the Beavertail building was closed. We did look up on website before we left and noted some things would be closed like possibly some rides but the concessions weren't mentioned. There is in and out privileges but it would be a bummer to come from as far as we did and have to leave to eat if that was part of the plan so be prepared and plan ahead.
As I mentioned there was some great character statues and they also had small buildings like the little old lady who lived in a boot! There was a great village of miniature buildings that the kids played in like a bank, veterinarian, firehall to name a few.
Most of the building had things inside to play with imagination. They had quite a few animal bouncers spread out along the village too.
We spent almost 4 hours at Storybook Gardens and we actually somewhat rushed through everything. To really get to enjoy we would have liked another hour for sure maybe even two. The extras you would pay for are the ride tickets. There isn't a whole lot of rides and this wasn't the draw for us at all. We did however purchase a 20 tickets book for $35 which is very steep for the rides offered. you could also get 1 ticket for $2.50 or $12.50 for wristbands which isn't so bad if everything is available and you have the time or a must for kids. We split the tickets for 3 kids and 2 adults ended up taking half of them home. They said they don't expire so we'll have to see on our next visit.
The kids enjoyed the slide which you use a ticket per but get 2 slides. The other rides inside the park were an Elephant ride, Ferris Wheel and Swings. The Ferris Wheel and Swings were closed so that didn't help when using tickets and makes a wristband or many tickets not worth it. They have a Carousal and Train just outside the entrance. We all went on the train and it was a ticket each. Not very worthy of a ride even for the whole family. it was just a circle that took about 3 min to ride. At $2.50 each not my idea of good buy. Not only that there wasn't anything to look at buy a few trees and some geese along the track and grass. They could add some features to make it interesting at least.
In the end though I would highly recommend a visit to London, Ontario's Storybook Garden and just be cautious of ride tickets as I mentioned above. You can only get the tickets at the front but you can always go back since the rides are all before of just after entrance anyway. I had 5, 6 and 10 year olds with us and they all thought it was good fun. The entrance fee for what you get is worth while but as I mentioned before if planning to eat there, check on website or call in to make sure of what's available on day you go.