Family Life

3 min Read

Horseshoe Resort checks off all the boxes for a fab family vacation


Parents know kids need to spend more of the summer outside and being active – that’s a no-brainer – but sometimes even the most creative and energetic of us get stuck for ideas. Horseshoe Resort Adventure Park is a great alternative for a daycation or weekend getaway.

Located just north of Barrie, Ont., the resort is well known for its downhill skiing and golfing. A few years ago, treetop trekking outfitters Arbaraska strung zip lines and climbing challenges into the woods for warm weather visitors. Soon there were a number of other additions and the result today is a full-fledge activity park for young and old.

The toddler/prechool set can get busy with a balance bike obstacle course, a maze, and obstacle course (height restrictions may apply), miniature golf, and a visit to the horses and ponies, all of which are included in the regular price ($35/day). For older kids (and big kids), there’s a climbing wall, pedal boats and archery range. Mountain biking and a mega-long zip line (that starts at the top of the ski hill) have an additional charge.

Not to be missed is the Aqua Ogo. The park has rigged up the snow tubing hill and lift to accommodate massive transparent plastic spheres. One or two people climb inside a smaller sphere that is suspended inside the big one. Wear your bathing suits, because you’re sitting in a shallow pool of water once you plop down into the ball. And then get ready for a crazy ride as the gate is opened and you’re simply pushed down the hill. Three rides cost $15 and it’s worth every penny.

The tree-top trekking is also worth the extra bucks for slightly older kids. It’s a great family bonding experience to be high up in the trees with your kids, and possibly even impress them with your lack of fear. When my husband and older daughter decided to attempt the hardest climbs, he got some on-the-ground coaching from her. “That’s it Dad,” she hollered up at him. “You can do it!”

Another extra that’s worth exploring is the S.M.A.R.T. (Snowmobile, Motorcycle, ATV, Rider Training) program, just a short walk or shuttle ride away. Summer riders on the mini-bikes and ATVs work their way through of a massive network of forest trails. A strong emphasis on safety is reassuring.

At the end of the day, relax in the large outdoor pool at the base of the ski hill or the indoor pool in Horseshoe Inn (Shizen Spa also offers lots of opportunities to relax). Dining options include Silks (high-end, in the Horseshoe Inn), Crazy Horse (upscale pub food) at the base of the ski hill, and a snack bar in the Adventure Park. The Inn has economical room and activity packages.

For information on prices and availability, go to


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