Story & Photos submitted by: Linsey De Ruysscher
As a Mom of two young boys, I’m always searching out fun places and activities we can enjoy as a family. Living in Hastings County makes it a little bit easier because there are so MANY amazing things to see and do. If you’re like me and enjoy taking the kids on fun, summer day trips, we’ve planned a pretty awesome day for you! Oh, and it’s been kid-tested and given two big thumbs up from each of my two boys! It gets two thumbs up from the adults too!
Our day trip in Hastings County started at the Tyendinaga Caverns & Caves. I had heard a lot of positive things about this place, but none of us had ever been. It’s Ontario’s largest known natural cavern and it was a pretty cool experience. We showed up just after opening and were part of the first tour. Our tour guide’s name was Claire and she was fantastic! She took us around to a fossil exhibit where we could hold and touch fossils, and then to a couple sink holes above ground before we went down into the cavern. This is where I should tell you to wear sensible shoes and maybe bring a sweater…it’s quite the temperature drop down there.
Down in the caverns, Claire told us all about the history of the caves as she showed us passages, a wishing well and carvings on the cave walls over 200 years old!
Near the end of the tour, Claire shut out all the lights and it was so dark, you couldn’t even see your hand in front of your face. That’s how dark it is down in the caves, and your eyes won’t ever adjust. This was my 8-year-old’s favourite part. The tour takes about 45 minutes and at the end, you can sign the guest book and tell them YOUR favourite part, and also pick your own crystal souvenir to take home.
After the Caverns & Caves, we headed north to the Centre Hastings Park in Madoc. Also known as the Madoc Park & Splashpad. It’s right on highway 62 as you come into Madoc. You can’t miss it. In fact, I wish you luck trying to drive by it with kids in the vehicle and not have them stare and ask to stop! It’s a pretty impressive park.
There’s a skate park, canteen, picnic area, splashpad, and park area. You could EASILY spend an afternoon here – maybe even most of the day. If you do plan to spend the better part of your day at the Centre Hastings Park, you can bring your own food and enjoy it under the covered picnic area, or you can buy food from the on-site canteen.
The skate park area is pretty big! While we were there, plenty of kids of all ages were having fun and zooming around on bikes, scooters, inline skates and skate boards. If you forget to bring wheels for your kids and they really want to test it out, there’s a shop on-site where you can rent equipment.
The splashpad area is set up quite nicely. It’s completely fenced off and has chairs, picnic tables, umbrellas and gazebos. No need to bring your own! Parents can stay cool in the shade while the little ones splash and play.
Our guys spent the majority of our afternoon on the impressive play structure! They absolutely LOVED all the climbing, swinging and sliding! It’s their favourite part of the entire park. They ended up spending a good hour or more playing a pretty intense game of tag with about 15 other kids they met there. Some parents even joined in!
We definitely had a great day exploring a couple of the fun, family attractions Hastings County has to offer. Where will we be exploring next? Stay tuned to the Hastings County blog to find out where we’ll be wandering to!
Story and photographs by Linsey De Ruysscher
As one of our six Local Wanderers exploring Hastings County, Linsey enjoys making memories with her family hiking on new trails and discovering new hidden attractions along the way. If there is a river to be paddled, they'll be there!
Learn more about Linsey through her bio, as well as for a link to the other adventures she has shared with us. You can also read about our other five Local Wanderers and the excursions they've experienced across the County.
Our Local Wanderer Initiative is funded and supported in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Sport and Regional Tourism Organization 11 - Ontario's Highlands.