Over the years, Blue Mountain and the Town of Collingwood (more like a city if you ask me), nestled at the bottom of the mountain and against the shores of Georgian Bay has really taken on a life of its own. Local residents, weekenders, vacationers and tourists enjoy all the attractions and amenities in both winter and summer. One facility that takes advantage of the elements all year long is Scenic Caves Nature Adventures.
We’d heard great things about the Scenic Caves and in August finally had the chance to see it for ourselves. Open year-round (except for November), you can take advantage of all the joys of the seasons. The facility offers a variety of packages (contact them about seasons passes) and we got the value package. This included unlimited access to the Caves, Bridge and Mini Golf. For a Family of Four, it cost around $90 plus we added on the Gem Mining Package which was well worth the price. The suggested duration for our activities was 2-3 hours but after 5 hours of fun, The Kids were still going strong and we could have stayed until 8pm (Summer hours).
The day started out overcast and a bit damp which was a good thing because we dressed accordingly with hiking boots and light long sleeves. Turns out that fully closed running/hiking shoes are mandatory and must be worn at all times**. Wearing light long sleeved clothing helped protect us from the sun (although there are lots of trees and shady areas) and kept us warmer in the cool parts of the cave like the “Natural Refrigerator”.
We started out hiking up the mountain and the first cave we came to was the “Natural Refrigerator”, Climbing down into the earth, you can feel the drafts of cool air. Even on a warm day, it was really cool in the cave.
As we continued on our journey, there were lots of different animals to look out for and The Kids enjoyed the short hike to the other caves. After hundreds of years, paths had been made through the rocks and with the addition of rails, even The Kids were able to safely maneuver around.
This turned out to be my favourite event. It was so interesting reading all the historical markers along the way telling of love stories lost and won as well as the history and uses of the area. To me, what looked like any old rock meant so much more to the people that lived there.
Ontario’s Longest Suspension Footbridge
Next up was the suspension footbridge which turned out to Ed’s favourite. You can’t beat the breathtaking views! Built in 2003, the goal was to bring something unique to Ontario and take advantage of the natural scenery. Measuring 126 metres long and 25 metres above the valley floor, you are towering above the treetops. As with the caves, there are informational signs along the way explaining the engineering feats that were required in order to construct the bridge.
The bridge sways ever so slightly (but more so because people try and make it do so) but rest assured it’s safe. In fact, It’s so strong that it can hold the weight of 4 people standing tummy to butt, shoulder to shoulder, stacked 4 high the entire length of the bridge!
Opened in 2004, this tour features 600 meters of gently swaying suspension bridges linking 18 trees and with heights of up to 60m above the forest floor. But that’s not all. In order to get from one location to another, you have to zipline there!? The longest zip trip is more than 1/3 of a kilometre and it’s Canada’s longest twin-zip line that allows you to control your own speed which is unique to this installation. While we didn’t do the Tree Top Walking and Zip Lines, there were plenty of other things to do as we watched people whizzing by above us.
At only five years of age, The Kids were able to to fully experience the Caves and Bridge, however, there were many other things for them to do like; Mini Golf, Gemstone Mining, Trout pond, Rocky the Train and Tractor Wagon Rides, Huge Jungle Gym, Picnic area and snack bar. The facility has something for people of all ages.
To say that the Mini Putt was Max’s favourite part of the day would be an understatement. He could have played there all day. Even after two hours (yes, TWO HOURS straight), he wasn’t bored in the least. Hole #14 was his favourite by far. Needless to say, he’s added a golf set to his birthday wish list.
Artemis enjoyed spending her time panning for gems and admiring her finds. In the beginning, as far as we could tell, she’d just been given a bag of sand so it would have been funny to watch our faces when all the local gems, rocks and even an arrowhead appeared from within the sand. The bonus was that we got to take our finds and a guide home with us for additional hours of educational fun.
There are lots of sunny and shady places to relax and eat throughout the facility. Bring your own food or take advantage of the BBQ options or cool summer treats in the Gift Shop. Speaking of which, they sell everything from maple treats to clothing to toys and even some cool mining hats in a variety of colours including pink!
Just because the kids are back at school doesn’t mean that the fun is over so take a weekend and head to the Blue Mountain area. Don’t forget to pick up a Visitor Guide, Local Map and Pamphlets highlighting the local activities and amenities and make sure to include Scenic Caves Nature Adventures in your holiday fun.
Have You Ever Been to Scenic Caves or Blue Mountain?
** Knowing me, I would have just worn my flats. If that happens to you, The Gift Shop sells hiking shoes (similar to the ones that I currently own).
— Journeys of The Zoo (@zoojourneys) September 14, 2015
Disclosure: Journeys of The Zoo received free admission to this attraction for the purposes of sharing our experiences with you.