Looking for something to do this weekend with the family?
My suggestion would be to check out Colasanti’s Tropical Gardens in Kingsville, located less than an hour’s drive from downtown Chatham. The entertainment venue is open 365 days of the year and has something to offer for every family member no matter their age.
For years I’ve heard people rave about their outing to Colasanti’s but it wasn’t until last weekend that I checked out the highly popular destination myself with a couple of the grandchildren and friends. And we weren’t alone. In fact, more than 4,000 other people had the same idea last Sunday.
One of the first people we met was owner Joe Colasanti who informed me it’s not unusual to have 8,000 or 9,000 visitors in one day. It’s an amazing tourism draw for south Essex County.
Parking is free and there is no entrance fee. Activities include 18-hole indoor mini golf, indoor rides for all ages including bumper cars, mini roller coaster, inflatables and tea cup ride as well as a petting zoo and a large arcade room. There is a huge restaurant featuring some of the most mouth-watering broasted chicken I’ve ever tasted along with pizza, apple cider, homemade doughnuts and butter fudge, a candy store, ice cream shop, craft store, a huge home decor shop and thousands of home grown cacti and exotic and tropical plants for sale at reasonable prices.
It’s a tropical wonderland covering 3.5 acres.
Joe Colasanti tells me the secret of the business success is providing the public with top-notch family entertainment and food at affordable prices in a clean and friendly environment.
Check it out with the family this spring – you will be glad you did and so will the kids.
Southwest Airlines will keep its 34 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft out of its flight schedule through May. The move aims to reduce the travel impact on passengers and crew by minimizing last-minute cancellations. Meanwhile American Airlines is cancelling 90 flights per day through April 24 after removing the Max 8 from its fleet. Boeing has upgraded software for their Max 8 and says its ready to be reviewed by the Federal Aviation Administration, which plans to review and potentially approve it later this month.
Air Canada has revised its checked baggage policy for customers who purchase an economy class ticket on or after March 27 for travel between India and Canada or India and the U.S. Customers can now check one bag free of charge and a second bag for $100.
Spring is in the air and birders are busy digging out their binoculars. The birding experience at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington can be as relaxing as watching nighthawks and swifts during the evening summer music series in Hendrie Park or as dramatic as a hike out to the Spencer Creek delta to see thousands of swallows and blackbirds. Common species include broadwing hawks during rock garden tulips, rose-breasted brosbeaks during Arboretum lilacs, Baltimore orioles during laking garden irises and chimney swifts during Hendrie Park roses.
It’s a nationally designated important bird area and provides easy access to some of the most diverse birding in Ontario. Annually about 300 species can be observed with four of the busiest and most rewarding birding months being April, May, September and October.
It’s most easily accessible site is the Marsh Boardwalk Platform overlooking the Spencer Creek delta.
Native birds of prey are the stars at the Mountsberg Conservation Area at Halton where the Raptor Centre is home to 15 different species including eagles, owls, falcons, hawks and vultures. Many of the birds that call the centre home have experienced injuries that have left them incapable of surviving on their own in the wild. Birds of Prey shows, held daily during July and August are a chance to see the birds up close.
At Mount Nemo Conservation Area, the thermal updrafts and air currents off the Niagara Escarpment create a perfect playground for turkey vultures. Hiking the Nassagaweya Canyon Trail between Crawford Lake and Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area is another spot where you can look up to watch these prehistoric-looking birds that glide on their six-foot wingspan for up to six hours.
There are excellent birding opportunities in the Grand River watershed where more than 300 bird species have been recorded. Hot spots include an 18-kilometre stretch that runs from kilometres north of Paris to Cambridge and includes Pinehurst Lake Park and the Cambridgev to Paris railt rail. A total of 119 species of birds have been recorded in the area where Caroliniann forests are habitat for yellow-billedand black-billed cuckoo, pileated woodpecker, blue-gray gnatcatchers, wood thrush and scarlet tangers.
There is still time to purchase a ticket for a 3 minute shopping spree in a contest sponsored by CK Animal Rescue. The draw will take place April 20 at the organization’s head office on Inshes Avenue in Chatham.
Algoma is home to nature and outdoor experiences like no other. The water and land trails were once the liquid roadways of early explorers and First Nations people. Today they are shared with paddlers, hikers and kayakers. Flanked by two of the greatest Great Lakes and dotted with thousands of inland lakes, streams and surrounded by the Canadian Shield, the geography is ideal for your adventure. Picture yourself hiking or mountain biking on one of the traditional trails and experiencing the true northern Ontario.
You have until April 9 to purchase your Eurail Global Pass for a 10 per cent discount. It’s your ticket to over 40,000 destinations across Europe. Explore your favourite country from top to bottom and see it all up close from the big cities to the hidden gems. The pass gets you tons of freebies and discounts from 100-plus partners across Europe including hostels and ferry routes. For more information visit Eurail.com.
Fans of New Kids on the Block will want to jot June 18 on their calendars. The popular group will perform on that date at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. And Pink will take centre stage at the same venue on April 26. Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band will perform June 8 at the DTE Engery Music Theatre in Clarkson, Mich.
Did you know the Adam Sandler classic film Billy Madison was filmed in Oshawa at Parkwood Estate, home of Colonel Sam McLaughlin? Yes it’s a totally awesome claim-to-fame.
But there is so much more to Parkwood than just a movie set. Within this grand estate’s walls is preserved heaps of local history including stories, artifacts and archives, which paint a picture not only of the founder of General Motors Canada and his family but also how his life and legacy shaped the great city of Oshawa.
Parkwood Estate is a historic house museum, which represents the life of Colonel Sam. The estate offers guided tours of the house and grounds. There is also a new tour developed recently that looks at Parkwood from the servants’ perspective. It includes the kitchens, the housekeeper’s quarters and the third floor, which was reserved for the unmarried female residences.
One of the unique things about Parkwood that is rare amongst historic house museums is that when McLaughlin died in 1972 the house opened to the public as a museum only six months later, meaning that many of the home’s items were left intact. For more information on the estate visit http://www.parkwoodestate.com.
Jet Express officials in Ohio tell me there are no plans to launch a submarine service this spring from Port Clinton, Ohio to Put-in-Bay in Lake Erie. All the hype this past week was nothing more than an April Fool’s joke. But it sure got people excited.
The reports indicated a 65-foot submarine would begin carrying passengers to the island in May as well as explore underwater shipwrecks in Lake Erie.
Sounds great but not happening.
A program entitled Spies, Swashbucklers and Superheroes will be presented May 4 at Webber Auditorium in Wallaceburg, sponsored by the Wallaceburg Concert Band. Admission will be free.
A hub for entertainment in north Muskoka, there’s always some entertainment brewing at Lake of Bays Brewing in Huntsville. Gather with friends for weekly trivia nights or beer n’ board games nights. Check their site for updates on open mic nights and watch their ever-changing roster of live music performers.
The Brewhouse is also located just down the street from the Algonquin Theatre, making it a great place for a pre or post-performance get together.
Check out upcoming shows from the Huntsville Festival of the Arts to pair your outing with some of Lake of Bays bevies.
For the best campsite selection at Ontario’s provincial parks, the time to book is now. Ontario Parks start accepting campsite reservations up to five months in advance of arrival date, which makes this prime time for savvy summer bookings. There are seven Ontario Parks that offer overnight camping in southwestern Ontario including Pinery Provincial Park, Rondeau Provincial Park, Port Burwell Provincial Park, Long Point Provincial Park, Selkirk Provincial Park and Rock Point Provincial Park.
The five-month reservation window for making a reservation for a campsite starts at 7 a.m. each day. Reservations can be made online or by calling 1-888-668-7275 between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.
Friends in Collingwood where I spent the past three years tell me there is a new homeowner in the area. Stratford native Justin Bieber has purchased a $200-million home in the Blue Mountains about 20 minutes north of Collingwood.
I’ve been through the home and can tell you it’s amazing and includes not only an indoor swimming pool but a huge indoor hockey arena fully stocked with equipment for two teams of players.
Readers are invited to submit their questions or suggestions on travel close to home or far away to travel writer Bob Boughner at email@example.com