A round-up of some of the summer season activities available at Blue Mountain Resort.
My 9 year-old and I recently had the opportunity to spend a couple of days at Blue Mountain Resort in Collingwood and I was blown away by the range of activities available for visitors during the summer season. Two days simply wasn’t enough time for us to do everything that we wanted.
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Families who have a range of ages among their children will appreciate that the resort has activities which appeal to all age groups and interests. We have a 7 year age gap between our two daughters and it’s often difficult to find a resort where they both can find fun activities – that isn’t the case at Blue Mountain. Some of the activities have an extra cost associated with them, however, guests staying at the resort generally pay less than other visitors and there are packages available for some of the activities as well.
Here are a few of the options to keep your family both happy and busy while vacationing at Blue Mountain.
Scenic Caves Nature Adventures
Scenic Caves, located a short drive from the resort area, offers year-round seasonal recreational activities that will appeal to a broad range of people – from serious outdoor enthusiasts to casual hikers to families with young children whose parents wish to introduce them to nature.
The nature trails to the caves are great for most anyone although the footing in the caves may be difficult for very young children. We enjoyed our hike, pausing to check out the chilly natural refrigerator, explore the caves, and enjoy the panoramic view from various look out points. I’m not the most adventurous when it comes to outdoor activities and cave exploration is not something that I would jump at so this was a fun and easy introduction.
In the main area of the facility there are several activities that will appeal to families of younger children. Kids will be drawn to Rocky, an electric train, which departs from Big Rock Railroad station for a meandering tour around the main park area and past a number of wooden animal carvings. Another highlight is Gemstone Mining where kids can try their hand at panning for mineral treasures. The Adventure Playground, a trout pond where kids can feed the fish, and a mini golf course round out the activities in this area.
Older kids and adults in search of thrills can try the Thunderbird Twin Zip Line (there’s minimum age, height and weight requirements) and soar over the escarpment or participate in a professionally-guided treetop forest canopy walk. There’s also a 420′ suspension footbridge, the longest in southern Ontario, which provides visitors with a view of the countryside and Georgian Bay from 25 metres above the valley. An active family that plans on ziplining as well as hiking to both the caves and the suspension bridge could easily spend the better part of a day here.
The Plunge! Aquatic Centre, located in Blue Mountain Village next door to Westin Trillium House, is perfect for families that love water activities and was the highlight of my water baby’s stay at the resort. The centre, which is designed to look like a cottage boathouse, has an indoor/outdoor pool, an indoor water playground that is perfect for younger kids, slides, and a rope swing. Children who wish to use the rope swing need to see the lifeguard and take a deep water test first as the drop from the swing is into a much deeper pool.
Plunge! also offers swimming lessons, summer camp and Aqua Fit classes. At Plunge! Super Camp, campers aged 4-14 will be kept busy with a number of activities including swimming lessons as well as mountain biking, geocaching, mini putt, kayaking/canoeing and more. There’s even a Leader-in-Training program for teens aged 12-17 to provide them with the opportunity to obtain certificates in Babysitting, Emergency First Aid & CPR, Coaching and Life saving. Entrance fees at Plunge vary by age and there are family passes available as well as full day and multi-day passes.
Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster
The Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster takes thrill-seekers on a 1km ride down the mountain. We skipped riding the coaster because neither my daughter nor I are roller coaster fans but the kids that we saw riding it were loving it. Riders are able to control their speed by using a manual break during their descent and children aged 3-11 are only allowed to ride as passengers.
While a ride on the Blue Mountain Gondola provides an impressive view over the village and as far as Georgian Bay, it’s also a great way to get to the hiking trails at the top of the escarpment without walking up – particularly on a hot day such as the one that we experienced. There are even bicycle racks on the gondola so that mountain bikers can take their bikes up with them and then hit the trails.
Woodlot Low Ropes Course
The Woodlot Low Ropes course is ideal for families whose members are either too young or a little nervous for the Timber Challenge High Ropes as it’s open to guests 6 years of age or over and has three different heights starting less than 3 feet above the ground. Woodlot is self-guided and guests are attached to cables at all times, however, anyone between the ages of 6-11 must be accompanied by an adult.
My daughter is 9 and is sometimes timid about activities that are off the ground but she decided to check out Woodlot. She got harnessed up but backed out when it was time to go on the course with an instructor. Ten minutes later she was regretting that she hadn’t tried and I have promised her that we can return to Blue Mountain for her to attempt the ropes course again. Our experience was atypical as most kids seem to love the challenge of the ropes course and I think it was one of those instances where Emma would have felt reassured if there had been another kid on the course at the same time.
Cascades Putting Course
The 18 hole Cascades Putting Course is located in Blue Mountain Village at the base of the escarpment and has fairways, bunkers and water features that are fun and challenging for both children and adults. As with many of the other attractions, resort guests are eligible for discounted pricing.
During the summer season, Blue Mountain Resort guests have access to a private beach about a 10 minute drive from the resort. Rentals and activities available include badminton, bocce ball, croquet, horseshoes, volleyball and soccer nets, kayak rentals, and a Frisbee Golf course. Food and drink is also available at the beach and there is a courtesy shuttle for resort guests who choose not to drive. Unfortunately, the beach had not yet opened for our mid-June stay so we’ll have to wait for a return trip in order to experience it.
Dockside and Village Activities
In the area around Mill Pond in Blue Mountain Village, visitors can rent pedal boats, use the children’s playground along the boardwalk or just search for frogs in the pond – which is a surprisingly fascinating activity. There are also free activities like guided hikes departing from the Columbia store in the village and free scavenger hunts for the kids.
Visitors to Blue Mountain Resort should head to Activity Central which is a one-stop shop for information and to book many of the available activities both on- and off-resort. In addition to the activities already mentioned, visitors can rent bikes and gear, book guided bike and segway tours, purchase tickets for the climbing wall, or book a round at Monterra Golf course. Off-site activities that can be arranged include tours by ATV, Hummer or helicopter, jet skiing, rock climbing, harbour cruises or spa visits.
In the pedestrian village of Blue Mountain, visitors will enjoy shopping, dining and entertainment. We dined at both Firehall Pizza and Rusty’s at Blue and Emma also liked to visit Hatley Scoops for ice cream and BeaverTails for the famous pastries. The coffee addict in the family will be happy to know that there is also a Starbucks in the village.
There’s also Crock A Doodle where visitors can select a ready-to-paint piece of pottery and get creative. The pottery is kiln-fired overnight and ready for pick up by 4pm the following day. This is another activity that we didn’t have time for and my daughter has added to her list of what she’s doing the next time we visit Blue Mountain.
Nearly every weekend from mid-May until late fall, there is a festival of some sort taking place at Blue Mountain with live music on stage in the pedestrian village. Spending time in the village is the perfect way to wrap up a busy day at Blue.
We had a very busy couple of days at Blue Mountain and didn’t come close to doing everything that we wanted. Blue Mountain is no longer just a ski resort – it has transformed itself into a bona fide 4 season family-focused resort that is enjoyable to visit any time of the year. There are plans to continue adding attractions/activities over the next few years which will serve to make it an even more popular destination for families looking for a resort vacation in Ontario.
Thank you to Blue Mountain for inviting us to experience the resort.
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