Learning and fun really can go hand in hand. Trust us.
Get hands-on with history this summer at these 8 kid-friendly heritage destinations in Hamilton.
1. Westfield Heritage Village
Unplug and slow down at this living history museum that brings early Canadian history to life. Costumed interpreters lead live demonstrations on everything from butter churning to blacksmithing across 35 historic buildings.
Don't Miss: Reward the kids with a stop at the general store for some old fashioned candy or a bottle of soda!
Summer Highlight: Give into that sweet tooth with a visit to Westfield's annual Ice Cream Carnival (August 4-5) for hand cranked ice cream treats and carnival games. As fun - and delicious – as it sounds!
2. HMCS Haida
Climb aboard Canada's "Fightingest Ship" docked at Hamilton's beautiful waterfront. This WWII tribal class destroyer turned museum ship is the perfect place to get hands-on and discover how sailors lived, worked and fought.
Summer Highlight: Stop by on August 25 to celebrate Haida's 76th birthday! Kids become honorary sailors get their very own anchor tattoo!
3. Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum
The sky's the limit at the Canada's largest flying museum, home to more than 40 military planes and flight simulators. See, touch and even climb aboard aircraft that shaped our history.
Don’t Miss: The historic Avro Lancaster is hands down the museum's biggest draw. It's one of only two airworthy bombers of its kind remaining and the only one in the world you can actually purchase a flight on!
Summer Highlight: Be transported inside a Lancaster bomber on a journey to Nazi-occupied Europe in the unforgettable Berlin Blitz VR virtual reality experience on until the end of August.
4. Dundurn Castle
Visit this iconic Hamilton attraction for a first-hand account of what life was like for a young family member during the 19th Century. Sophia was the daughter of prominent political and business leader, Sir Allan MacNab, and kept a diary about her life. Learn about her pets, hobbies and relationships. The whole family will love touring the estate's many rooms.
Don't Miss: Stop and smell the flowers and taste the many historic veggies growing at Dundurn's stunning two-acre Historic Kitchen Garden.
5. Whitehern Historic House & Garden
Take a guided tour of this gorgeous downtown historic home where the kids can ask questions and compare their lives to the six McQuesten children who grew up there. Then enjoy a visit to the beautiful garden!
Don't Miss: Whitehern is considered one of the most intact historic homes in Canada! Many of the family's original belongings have been preserved - from fine china to photographs and even kids' toys. It's all here and it's all very authentic.
Summer Highlight: If you go down to the woods today… Whitehern's Teddy Bear Picnic (August 11) includes old fashioned games and a teddy bear parade (Don't forget to bring your favourite teddy bear).
6. Battlefield House Museum & Park
Young visitors will get a taste of what it was like to grow up on an early 19th century homestead. They'll learn just how many chores even very young family members were expected to do, like fetching water and firewood, spinning wool and even foraging in the forest for food.
Don't Miss: The museum is famous for its annual Re-enactment of the Battle of Stoney Creek (held every June), which recreates the pivotal turning point in the War of 1812. It's never too early to start planning your return visit!
Summer Highlight: Kick off the fall season with harvest fun at the Apple Festival. Dig into a pancake breakfast, enjoy games and decorate pumpkins!
7. Rock Garden at Royal Botanical Gardens
This National Historic Site is a must-see. Shaped as 'bowl' this garden oasis has winding paths, gorgeous flowers, and of course - plenty of rocks to climb and jump off. This natural playground is an open-air museum, filled with natural wonders.
Don't Miss: After you've worked up an appetite exploring the gardens, treat the family to something delicious at the Rock Garden CafÃ© with a stunning bird's eye view of the garden's lower bowl. The menu even features ingredients picked straight from their gardens. Now that's local!
Summer Highlight: Their annual Enchanted Garden Weekend (August 3 -5) is a summer highlight for any kid looking to escape into a magical world of fairies, gnomes and pixies.
8. Hamilton Children's Museum
Housed in an 1875 farmhouse in Gage Park, this small but beloved museum provides hands-on learning across several exhibit rooms that include a ship and galley kitchen; craft room and performance stage.
Don't Miss: Before or after your visit, be sure to leave time to explore surrounding Gage Park, home to playgrounds, a vintage band shell, a cycling pump track, and a gorgeous iconic fountain. Be sure to visit the park’s new Tropical Greenhouse with gorgeous palm trees, flowers, waterfalls, fish and turtles.
Summer Highlight: One of a kind events are scheduled throughout the summer with themes like Maker Spaces (August 28) and a mini ARTisan Market (August 23).