On the southeast end of Niagara Falls in Canada, Heartland Forest has been open to the public since mid-2013 after ten years of development. Heartland Forest has been designed as both a natural reserve and a family-friendly learning centre.
Free and open to the public daily, Heartland is 93 acres of forest trails and outdoor learning centres. Its main complex is the 14 000 square foot Nature Centre. From here there are two easy-going hikes around the forestland, meandering around streams and ponds and through butterfly gardens and picnic areas. Visitors will even discover one of the largest treehouses in Canada.
There’s also a wide variety of activities available in Heartland, most of them perfect for kids. Regular clubs and include junior woodcarving, archery and an art studio. The workshop also supplies an on-site wood shop for anyone wanting a souvenir or handcrafted piece of outdoor furniture.
The focus, however, is on the forest. For kids, there are several hikes and forest activities to choose from based on their age group, many of them working in tandem with schools for excursions for educating kids on animals and plants, biodiversity or just appreciating the sights and sounds of the wild.
For families, Heartland offers seasonal festivals. Winterfest centers around campfire games in a one-day free festival. During March Break an adventure camp celebrates different animals and involves families in scavenger hunts and team challenges. Kids can look forward to a similar outdoor experience in the Summer Adventure Camp when July and August rolls around. And other family festivals like Frogfest are peppered all throughout the calendar.
It’s not just a kid’s centre though. The Nature Centre acts as a venue for seminars and community activities open to anyone wanting to use the space, whether for professional functions or just to organise a fun community event. Heartland is even becoming an increasingly popular wedding venue.
Heartland caters for every requirement. As a community centre, a family day out, a place for a kid’s party, there’s something for all ages in this preserved piece of Canadian forestland.
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