Parc Laval is a year-round attraction
The end of summer vacation is coming to an end, and if you haven’t had a chance to cross everything off your to-do list, a visit to the beautiful and vast Laval Nature Center might be just what you need for a whirlwind of pre-school 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 features animals farm 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 entertainment and a merry Christmas market.
Summer activities for all
Summer visitors can interact with the adorable farm’s donkeys, alpacas, horses and ducks, and even get up close to the friendly little goats inside their enclosure. Hike the nearby trails to see swimming geese and beautiful birds, or directly behind the stable the kids can hop on for a pony ride ($).
The farm is open every day of the year, although in the colder seasons the animals are warm and comfortable inside the barn.
Children will have fun in the inclusive playground (the only one in Laval), and its rubber coating and wheelchair-accessible play structure allow everyone to play together. There are also a variety of swings and a large climbing rope. And if one playground isn’t enough, there’s another playground near the mini village where you can also borrow giant lawn games for free.
But wait, there’s more! Don’t miss the beautiful gardens and ponds, the greenhouse and its tropical flowers, take a mini train ride, rent a canoe or kayak, play in the impressive paddling pool or relax with an ice cream while watching boaters and fish koi in the central lake. Picnic tables are scattered throughout the park, and there’s even an area that groups can reserve for large gatherings.
THINGS TO NOTE:
This is a park you REALLY need to read before visiting, especially if there is a particular activity you want to try or a specific area you want to visit. Click on the links below which will take you to the Centre’s seasonal pages with hours and prices.
Events: You can find events happening throughout the year on THIS LINK or follow their Facebook page. Certain events may affect opening hours or available activities, so it is important to check before you go.
Pricing: Access to the Nature Center is free, but parking, as well as certain services or activities such as pony rides, train rides or the use of a canoe or kayak are chargeable. Only cash is accepted on site and you will find an ATM at the chalet-restaurant.
A visit to the park can be completely free, or you can choose to do a few extras and pay per activity. Ways to save include parking a little farther than paid lots and walking (pro tip: bring a cart for the kids), and bringing your own picnic will cut food and snack costs.
For timetables and prices for everything (the farm, train rides, pony rides, restaurants, etc.), Click here (in French only).
LAVAL NATURE CENTER
Address: 901 Park Avenue, Laval, H7E 2T7
Car park: There are paid parking lots on Parc Avenue. P3 and P4 are closest to the playgrounds, the lake and the farm. You can also try to find free street parking nearby. The 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 facilities: Bathrooms and water fountains are available at various locations throughout the park, and maps are available online and throughout the park to guide you.
photos of Christine Latreille