A Kid-Friendly CNE

Ourfaves has teamed up with Toronto4Kids.com to bring you the best in kid-tested fun across the Greater Toronto Area.

Making of the most of your visit to the EX with young kids in tow…

So you’ve decided to take your wee ones to the CNE this year. This annual fair can be tons of fun but a carnival of this magnitude can be intimidating for younger children. Besides its obvious attractions like the livestock and amusement rides, the EX has a variety of offerings for even its youngest attendees. The CNE runs from August 20 to September 6.

Here’s how to make the most of your outing…

Kiddie Midway

While kids 10 and up will sprint for the crazy, twisting, whiplash-type rides and the scariest of roller coasters, it’s not for little kids. Instead, you’ll want to flock over to the children’s area – the Kiddie Midway. It offers 28 different rides designed just for smaller riders. Open daily from 11 am – 11 pm weekdays and 10 am – 11 pm on weekends. You’ll find it next to Kids’ World. Rides this year include Dizzy Dragon, Bumper Cars and the Wacky Worm Coaster. You’ll also find a selection of games designed just for kids.

Kids’ Shows at the CNE

So much to see… so little time. This year’s CNE is packed with an amazing line-up for the younger crowds.

Kids World is the hot spot for children 12 and under. See the hilarious Craig Douglas aka The Comic Juggler who has been thrilling audiences across the world for over 20 years. Then there’s Doo Doo, a silly, funny Clown with unbelievable comedy magic shows. Watch daily Birds of Prey demonstrations presented by the Canadian Raptor Conservancy, and see more than 120 animals from around the world with very special animal stars you can pet and feed at the Ken Jen Petting Zoo. There will special appearances and ‘Meet & Greets’ with some beloved kid’s characters such as Dora™ and Diego™, SpongeBob SquarePants and Strawberry Shortcake™.

Love the circus? Kids can learn how to stilt walk, juggle, tightrope walk, perform acrobatics and form a human pyramid all under one little top! Or they can become the star of the show at an old fashioned dress-up circus! Kids can also join in a lively parade working with a diverse selection of multicultural rod puppets. Let’s not forget the YTV W.O.W! Patrol that will be planning tons of fun activities! And if that’s not enough, kids can participate in the Pizza Nova Pizza Making Workshop where they’ll make pizza like a chef and flip the dough in the air with flair like the experts. They’ll event get to sample a FREE slice of pizza at the end!

Feeling musical? Become a drummer, rapper, guitarist, keyboard artist, DJ or singer. At KidScience, kids can enter the CNE lab and let the experiments begin! All shows and events take place at Kids World Stage, Kids’ World Park and KidStreet.

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The Farm

A usual favourite is the farm, located indoors on the west side of the Better Living Centre. The Building is open from 10 am – 10 pm. Here, children will spend lots of time cooing over the farm animals, but there’s also a lot to learn, like what it takes to run a thriving farm, including caring for animals, planting crops, and even milking a cow! The Farm also provides visitors the opportunity to take things at a slower pace and get acquainted with rural life. Meet a wide variety of farm yard animals ranging from piglets (cute!) to ostriches.


As part of your afternoon at the CNE, visit HorseCapades. It’s a fun introduction to horses, but you can also watch the professional horse competition in the coolness of the Ricoh Coliseum. Cheer your favourite horse on to win the first place Red Ribbon! Horsecapades runs from August 2 to August 29 (Admission is free before August 20). Events take place at Ricoh Coliseum and the Horse Palace.

And finally … there’s more?

All kids love pets so don’t miss the President’s Choice SuperDogs Show and the 39th Annual Cat Show. The Dog Show takes place daily in the Direct Energy Centre. The 2010 SuperDogs show returns with BFF LOL WOW! Brilliant new lights, sparkling original props together with music from today’s hottest artists make this a show not to be missed! There are more than 50 dogs representing 30 different breeds. The 39th Annual Cat Show takes place Saturday, Aug 28 & Sunday, Aug 29, at Cafe Soleil, in the Direct Energy Centre. There are more than 125 cats from across Ontario, showcased in display and in competition.

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Park underground! You’ll pay a little more but it’s totally worth it (last year’s rate was $20). When your kids are barely able to walk at the end of the day and you have to carry them, you’ll be happy not to have to hike endless kilometres to your car! (Underground parking is at the Direct Energy Centre.)

To ride or not to ride?

Making the switch to the big kid rides…

The Fun or Scary House – Decide carefully when considering fun houses, especially the scary houses, painted with typical horror scenes. While regular fun houses might mean a quick twist through a mirrored maze and a long slide down, the scary fun house could have a youngster screaming with their eyes shut tight during the entire ride. You may want to try the ride yourself first.

The Long Slide – How is your child’s coordination? Ensure your child can the climb long stairs on their own and that they won’t be scared once they reach the top, when they have to slide down on their own. Or, if you’re up for it, ride with them.

Spinning Rides – Go easy on these! Whether a teacup or a friendly dragon, these rides can scare children if they go too fast or turn around too quickly. Tommy may end up showing everyone what he had for lunch!

The Ferris Wheel. Even the classic Ferris wheel can be frightening for a child who ends up sitting alone or swinging (and stuck) way at the top.

The Merry-Go-Round – Enjoy this ride together. What could seemingly appear to be a harmless ride could be a scary one for the youngest of riders. Stand next to your child and make sure she holds on with both hands. Chose an animal that does not move until your child feels more secure on this ride.

So don’t be afraid to take your wee ones to the EX… It will be a blast for the entire family and before you know it, a trip to the CNE will be an annual ritual!

For information, visit the Kids World page at: www.theex.com/attractions/kids-world.


Toronto4Kids is a free directory for parents in the Greater Toronto Area. Find resources for after-school programs, birthday party planning, camps, shopping, kids’ services, sports, family travel & more. Visit our calendar for kid-friendly events and entertainment happening in & around the city.

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