Laval park is year-round attraction
The end of summer vacation is drawing to a close, and if you didn’t get a chance to cross off everything on your activities list, a visit to the beautiful and vast Centre de la Nature de Laval might be just what you need for a before-school whirlwind of fun.
With an abundance of activities for all ages and interests, the 50-hectare public park is an unusual (but absolutely welcome) combination of botanical gardens, playgrounds, and watercraft rentals, and even boasts farm animals and a mini train.
Year-round, the park is a natural stage for a range of recreational activities and sporting events and is the site of the popular Family Festival, Halloween fun, and a merry Christmas market.
Summer activities for everyone
Summer visitors can interact with the donkeys, alpacas, horses, and ducks of the adorable farm, and even get up close with the small and friendly goats inside their enclosure. Wander the nearby paths to see swimming geese and beautiful birds, or directly behind the stable kids can mount up for a pony ride ($).
The farm is open every day of the year, though in colder seasons the animals are warm and cozy inside the stable.
Kids will have a blast in the inclusive playground (the only one in Laval), and its rubber surfacing and wheelchair-accessible play structure ensures that everyone can play together. There are also a variety of swings and a large cable climber. And if one playground isn’t enough, you’ll find another play area near the mini village where you can also borrow giant lawn games for free.
But wait, there’s more! Not to be missed are the gorgeous gardens and ponds, the greenhouse and its tropical flowers, take a ride on the mini train, rent a canoe or kayak, play in the impressive splash pad, or relax with an ice cream while watching the boaters and koi fish in the central lake. Picnic tables are scattered throughout the park, and there’s even an area that groups can reserve for large gatherings.
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THINGS TO NOTE:
This is a park you REALLY need to read about before visiting, especially if there is a particular activity you want to try out or a specific area you want to visit. Click the links below which will bring you to the Centre’s seasonal pages with hours and pricing.
Events: You can find events happening throughout the year at THIS LINK or follow their Facebook page. Some events may affect the opening hours or activities available so it’s important to check before heading out.
Pricing: Access to the Nature Center is free, but parking, as well as some services or activities such as pony rides, train rides, or using a canoe or kayak have a fee. Only cash is accepted on the site and you can find an ATM at the chalet-restaurant.
A visit to the park can be completely free, or you can choose to do some extras and pay per activity. Ways to save include parking a bit further than the paid parking lots and walking (pro tip: bring a wagon for the kids), and bringing along your own picnic will cut down on food and snack costs.
For the hours and rates of everything (the farm, train rides, pony rides, restaurants etc), click here (in French only).
CENTRE DE LA NATURE DE LAVAL
Address: 901 du Parc Ave., Laval, H7E 2T7
Parking: There are paid parking lots on du Parc Ave. P3 & P4 are the closest to the playgrounds, lake, and farm. You can also try and find free street parking nearby. The parking lots are open to everyone on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. On weekends, and statutory holidays including the holiday season, parking lots are reserved for Laval residents (with proof of residence) from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Bathroom facility: There are bathrooms and drinking fountains available in different places in the park, and maps are available online and throughout the park to guide you.
photos by Christine Latreille