Things to do with kids

Surprise Trip to The Shaw Festival!

Both my kids birthday’s are so close together- like 3 weeks apart to be exact. Every year I always have a hard time trying to decide what to get them for their birthdays. They get so many toys from family and friends, so I always like to get them something different, and a bit more special. So this year, we decided to surprise them with tickets to see The Magician’s Nephew at the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake.  We thought it would be a fun day trip that would make a memorable experience for them, and something that we could all enjoy together as a family to celebrate their birthdays.

We kept the whole thing a surprise until the day of. We got the kids up early, put them in the car, and told them we were taking them on a little road trip to somewhere fun for their birthdays. They were so excited, and loved the suspense!



Once we arrived at the Shaw Festival to pick up our tickets for the show, we told the kids everything we had planned for the day. They were so thrilled! My son LOVES plays, he has been to a few over the years for school trips, and always enjoys them.

Prior to the show we attended a fun hands-on workshop, and helped create The Magician’s Nephew. It was a 1 hr interactive workshop where the kids got to build a keepsake prop, create a soundscape, learn a song from the show, and discover what a Dream Detective is. They even got their own Dream Detective badge which they were super excited about!

The cost of the workshop was only $5 with the purchase of a show ticket. It was held at the Court House on Queen Street, which was walking distance to the theatre, so it was very convenient. I highly recommend attending this workshop, it was so much fun for the kids. For an extra $5, it’s totally worth it. Plus, by attending the workshop, and learning one of the songs in the show, the kids felt extra special singing the songs in the show – unlike the others in the audience.

You can even participate in a Backstage Tour as well for only $5 more with purchase of a show ticket. That’s something I am definitely interested in doing next time.

The Magician’s Nephew Workshop at the Shaw Festival Theatre

The Magician’s Nephew Workshop at the Shaw Festival Theatre  The Magician’s Nephew Workshop at the Shaw Festival Theatre

The Magician’s Nephew Workshop at the Shaw Festival Theatre

The Magician’s Nephew Workshop at the Shaw Festival Theatre

Review on Livin' Life with Style -The Magician’s Nephew Workshop


Once the workshop was over, we walked back to the Shaw Festival for some lunch at their Cafe. They had a selection of sandwiches, salads, soups, and desserts to choose from. It was nice to sit outside on their patio, relax, and enjoy a bite to eat before the show.

They also have a 15 minute intermission half way through the show, and the cafe was open for that as well if you wanted a snack, or something else to eat later on.




When we walked into the beautiful theatre and took our seats, I looked around and could see there wasn’t a bad seat in the house. The stage is wider than the rows of seats, so it looked like everyone had a great view of the performance.

The Magician’s Nephew was such a good play. It’s all about a young boy, and his friend, who sneak into his odd uncle’s study and discover these rings that can transport them into another world. So, when the Uncle catches them, he decides to test the rings out on the kids, instead of using guinea pigs. Along the way, they awake a sorcerer that is very powerful, who tries to destroy the earth. You’ll have to go see the play to find out how it ends, as I don’t want to give everything away!

 A perfect show for families to enjoy. It was so creative, and the acting was amazing! We loved all the costumes, props, and how they interacted with the audience as well.

Review on Livin' Life with Style- The Shaw Festival Theatre

The Magician’s Nephew at the Shaw Festival- Review on Livin' Life with Style

The Magician’s Nephew at the Shaw Festival- Review on Livin' Life with Style

After the show, we stayed in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and took the kids out for dinner. It was such a gorgeous night! We got to eat outside on a patio, walked the streets, and did a little shopping afterwards.

I can’t wait to take the kids back to The Shaw Festival to see another show. They had so much fun, and it’s a great memory for all of us to remember.

I was even thinking next time, we could bring both sets of grandparents, so they could enjoy the show with the kids as well.


The Magician’s Nephew is playing until Oct 13. To book a show, or for more information on The Shaw Festival, visit their website here.



Disclaimer: Thanks so much to The Shaw Festival for Sponsoring this post. All thoughts, and opinions are my own. Photos of the play courtesy of Shaw.

Our Visit to Centreville!

With summer in full swing, we are always looking for different places to take the kids to that are outdoors. Something that gives us a little exercise, but is also fun at the same time! So, a few weeks ago we decided to take the kids to Centreville on Centre Island!

This is our second time visiting Centreville at Centre Island. We took my son when he was younger, and now that my daughter is a perfect age, we decided it would be a great time to go again, so they both can enjoy it together.

What I love about going there is the experience for the kids. It’s like a mini trip for them. Since Centreville is on an island in Toronto, you need to take a ferry to get there. The kids loved that part! They got so excited to go on a boat- it’s such a scenic ride. The ferry ride is only 7 minutes, but to them it’s like an adventure, lol. For ferry schedules and fares click HERE. Once we got off the boat it was just a short walk to Centreville.

Review on Centreville in Toronto on Livin' Life with Style

There is no admission fee to enter the amusement park, you just have to pay for the rides.  There are 3 types of all day ride passes you can buy- under 4 feet tall, over 4 feet tall, or a family pass. You can buy a season pass if you plan on coming back more than once.  If you or your child do not plan on going on more than 5-6 rides, the individual tickets are the way to go. If you buy online it’s cheaper too!


Bumble Bees Ride

Review on Centreville in Toronto on Livin' Life with Style

Twirling Teacups

Review on Centreville in Toronto on Livin' Life with Style



Merry go round

Review on Centreville in Toronto on Livin' Life with Style  

Ferris Wheel

Review on Centreville in Toronto on Livin' Life with Style

Bumper Boats

Review on Centreville in Toronto on Livin' Life with Style

Swan ride

Review on Centreville in Toronto on Livin' Life with Style

Another thing I love about Centreville is that it’s a perfect size. The distance between most of the rides are steps from one another, which worked out great for the kids. My husband would watch my son on one ride, while I took my daughter on another ride, which was right next to each other.

Fire Engines

Log Flume Ride

Review on Centreville in Toronto on Livin' Life with Style

 Bumper CarsReview on Centreville in Toronto on Livin' Life with Style

Kiddie Boat

Review on Centreville in Toronto on Livin' Life with Style

Touring Cars

Review on Centreville in Toronto on Livin' Life with Style

Leapin’ Lily Pad

We spent a lot of time at this splash pad as well, so definitely bring bathing suits for the kids. It was a pretty hot day, so it was a great way for the kids to cool down.

I also recommend stopping by Far Enough Farm as well. They have over 40 different species of farmyard animals and exotic birds.


Pony Express

Review on Centreville in Toronto on Livin' Life with Style

I think the kids (and us too!) favourite ride is the Centreville Train. It’s awesome because it gives you a tour of the whole park including “Far Enough Farm”. You also go over 2 bridges with water underneath, and through a dark tunnel. I think we went on it 4 times during our visit, the kids just loved it!

Train at Centreville on Livin' Life with Style


If you want to take a break from the rides, they also have a bunch of games you can play too! Both the kids won some games, and were so excited to each take home a stuffed animal.


There are many different places to purchase food while at the park. From pizza, hot dogs, fries, ice cream and much more. They also have a gift shop if you want to purchase a souvenir.


We ventured over to the pier this time around and we loved it! We regret not making time to go last year, because it was beautiful. Heading to the pier you pass some gorgeous fountains, gardens, and grassy areas for a picnic, or just to sit and relax on a bench. We walked along the beach together and the kids loved playing in the sand. They just didn’t want to leave!

If you are thinking about visiting Toronto, or have plans to come here soon, going to Centre Island is a must see! You also get the best view of the City too!

Skyline of Toronto on Livin' life with Style


To purchase tickets for Centreville, find out the hours, or read more information on what Centre Island has to offer, visit their website HERE


Disclaimer: Thanks so much to Centreville for partnering with me on this post. 

Our Visit to Mote Aquarium in Sarasota

When we were on our family vacation in Naples, Florida early this month, we decided to take the kids on a day trip to Sarasota.  My in-laws have a condo in Naples, so we are very lucky we get to go every year. Since we go for a longer period of time, ( around 2 1/2 weeks) we always like to take the kids somewhere for a day or two to see something different. Last year we took the kids to Disney. This year, we decided to go to Sarasota.

First on our list when we got to Sarasota, was to visit to the Mote Aquarium! If you are traveling with children, this place is a must see!

Mote Aquarium Review on Livin' Life with Style


We started at the ” Creatures from the Reef” exhibit, where we got to see so many colourful creatures that live in the Florida Reefs. Everything from french angelfish, to coral reefs, to jellyfish!

Mote Aquarium Review on Livin' Life with Style



The “Florida Bay Habitats” exhibit I actually found very interesting. I learned that about 70% of the fish in tropical, and subtropical waters (like in Southwest Florida) are either born, or grow up in rivers that meet the sea. In this exhibit, we got to see cowfish, filefish, puffers, and striped burr fish.  They also had a “Grassflats” exhibit where we saw how animals such as the horseshoe crab, sea stars, and sea urchins hide, and live within seagrass blades.


My son’s favourite exhibit of course was ” Shark Zone.” He just loves sharks! They have a 135,000 gallon Shark Habitat which you can view from above, or below filled with sharks, Florida game fish, and the world’s largest grouper species- the goliath grouper! We probably spent most of our time at this exhibit. Our son just didn’t want to leave. He just wanted to sit, and watch the sharks swim all day.

On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday they have a special narrated training session that takes place at 11 am. It allows you to learn how they care for some of the ocean’s top predators, and the training methods they use to keep the sharks healthy. Also, just on Wednesday’s during the narrated training session for an added fee, you can help FEED THE SHARKS! (click here for more details)

Mote Aquarium Review on Livin' Life with Style

Mote Aquarium

Mote Aquarium Review on Livin' Life with Style


Connected to the “Shark Zone” exhibit, was the Ray Tray touch pool where you can touch, and feel Stingrays! My daughter loved this section!! The pool was nice and low for her to get her hand out and touch the stingrays on her own. I think we all had a really fun time at this exhibit. It was pretty neat to do.  The stingrays were so soft, and gentle.

Mote Aquarium on Sarasota Review



Also connected to the “Shark Zone” was this ” touch & feel” station. Kids we able to put their hands in the water to feel some creatures that are found in the ocean. They were able to feel the sand, starfish, shells etc.



The “Sea Turtles” exhibit is located in another building, but its walking distance from the main building.  We actually were there just in time for the daily presentation where we got to learn about the Sea Turtles, and watch them get fed. One of the turtles they fed was named Squirt 2. He was found floating in a Florida river after being struck by a boat propeller, and wounded. Because of his injury, Florida wildlife deemed him non-returnable, which allowed Mote to display him, and provide long-term care to him.


Once we got to the “Manatee” exhibit, we were lucky enough to see them being fed as well. The 2 Manatees named Hugh & Buffett, eat 72-84 heads of romaine lettuce every single day!

Mote Aquarium on Sarasota Review


Finally the last 2 exhibits we saw during our visit to Mote Aquarium were the Gators, Crocs, Caimans, and the Otters. It was so fun to watch the otters. They were so active. They would take turns going down a slide, and then playing around in the water. There were 3 otters in total named Jane, Pippi & Huck.

Besides the “Shark Encounter” experience, they have many others such as “Breakfast with the Sharks”, “Seahorse Lab Tour”, “Morning Rounds” etc. For a complete list of all the experiences, check out their website here.

                    There is so much to see, and do at Mote Aquarium. I definitely recommend visiting if you’re ever planning a trip to Sarasota!


Disclaimer: Thanks so much to Mote Aquarium for partnering with me on this post. 

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