We recently discovered Scenic Caves Nature Adventures in Collingwood, Ontario. It's super close to Blue Mountain, and a heartbeat away from Wasaga Beach. Although they offer activities appropriate for ages 10 years and up (definitely bring your teens!), such as treetop walking, zip lining, and cave and crevice exploring, there are lots of other activities that a young family can do together.
The family activities include a visit to the 420' Suspension Bridge, a train ride, a tractor ride, gemstone mining, trail hiking, mini golfing, picnicking, feeding salmon in a pond, and playing on the fun Scenic Caves playground. Stay all day, or stop by to cool off at Wasaga Beach on the way home!
If you are thinking of visiting, you must wear closed shoes like sneakers or hiking boots (no crocs or open-toed sandals allowed). A sun hat in the spring and summer is a must, as well as a light jacket to keep you warm (and clean), while exploring the caves. Although the caves are lighted, do bring a flashlight if you want to explore unlit corners.
If you are pregnant, infirm, babywearing, or with very young children (4 years or under), I would recommend that you avoid the cave segment of the visit. Portly visitors should skip "Fatman's Misery", or risk getting stuck like Pooh Bear in Rabbit's burrow!
|Our Young Family Exploring the Caves & Crevices|
As an adult who loves to explore, I was most excited to start our family adventure with a self-guided tour of the caves. I thought that the caves were fantastic, including an "ice cave" that would have acted as a prehistoric person's freezer, and a 36 cm crevice that had to be circumnavigated sideways!
|Ice Chunk Found In The Ice Cave!|
|An Interior View of the Ice Cave (During the Spring)|
If you are portly, fearful of the dark, claustrophobic, have a large backpack or are visiting with very young children, I would recommend that you bypass cave #10 called "Fatman's Misery". One feature of this cave is a crevice measuring only 36 cm (14") wide. My 6-year old cried because he was scared to squeeze through, which in turn scared my 4-year old. This was no problem, though, and we simply left the cave the same way as we had entered. If you love an adventure, though, turn yourself sideways and squeak right through! My older kids and husband thought it was a hoot!
|The Narrowest Crevice, "Fatman's Misery", Was Only 36 cm Wide!|
I only wished that were more caves to visit once we were done. Our group consisted of our five kids, ages 4- to 9-years old and two adults. I would recommend the cave component of the visit for kids ages 6 and up, due to some trail hazards and one crevice that was frightening for my own children (Fatman's Misery).
Once the cave component is complete, there is a great aerial view of Georgian Bay, as well as a nice nature walk back through the Niagara Escarpment.
|Tractor Ride to Suspension Bridge|
Every 20 minutes to the left of the gift shop, a fun tractor ride takes Scenic Caves visitors on an excursion to the Suspension Bridge (and back). You can also walk there on foot, but if you have kids don't miss the fun!
|The 420' Suspension Bridge|
If you can overcome any fear of heights, I would highly recommend that you visit Scenic Caves' 420 foot wide Suspension Bridge! It affords a great 10,000 sq. km. panoramic view of Georgian Bay on a clear day. If you experience vertigo, don't look down at your feet and instead look straight across to the other side of the bridge. If you do fear heights, don't go on a windy day as the bridge has the potential to really s-ww-aaa-y. The bridge is little kid safe, though, as it is very well fenced in.
If you're on the fence about the gemstone mining package, you should order it for at least one kid. My children really had a blast with it, and were able to take home the semi-precious stones that they "found". Even my husband (and I) were captivated by uncovering stone treasures buried beneath the earth.
|Scenic Caves Train Ride|
Our kids really enjoyed the Scenic Caves train ride, which is free with admission to all visitors (adults with kids included). If you have a Thomas the train fan, don't miss it!
|Modern Scenic Caves Playground|
The kids really enjoyed the modern playground at Scenic Caves, and played there a few times during the day. I loved that there was a picnic table nearby, so we could sit and leisurely enjoy our lunch.
|Pioneer Wagon Monkey Bars|
The kids also occupied themselves climbing the pioneer wagon monkey bars, and the turtle near the train ride (not shown).
|Mini Golfing Is Just Right of the Salmon Pond and Gift Shop|
Adding mini golf to our visit, was a great way to extend our day and change gears when the kids were getting a little tired of physical exertion. Who could get a hole in one? Could anyone beat dad? My youngest to oldest kids all loved having their own golf club and ball. Fun!
I would recommend Scenic Caves Nature Adventures to families with kids ages 4-years old and up. 6-years old would be a good age to start visiting the caves, and 10-years old is the starting age for treetop walking and zip lining. If you do bring kids younger than 4-years old, as mentioned there are age-appropriate activities for them too. Do bring your teens, or if you're 20-55 years old, visit with a group of friends!
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Do you have any adventurous activities planned for the rest of the spring or summer? Have you ever explored caves before?