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ATTRACTION: Amusement parks & outings in the GTA

The Leviathan roller coaster, the tallest ride at Canada's Wonderland, opened in 2012. CITYNEWS/Jennifer Valentyne

The backyard sprinkler – or  kiddie  pool – can only entertain for so long. When the weeklong camps are over and playdates at the park have become routine, there are still plenty of options within city limits.

Here’s a look at some of the amusement parks in the GTA and beyond that are worth the drive.

Canada’s Wonderland

Check out Canada’s largest roller coaster, Leviathan, as the Vaughan park celebrates its 33rd summer.

Leviathan is Wonderland’s 16th roller coaster and riders must be at least four feet eight inches tall to get on. Don’t worry if you don’t make the cut – the park boasts 68 rides, plus Planet Snoopy, the KidZville children’s areas, and Dinosaurs Alive – a seven-acre animatronic dinosaur park.

Starting June 22, Wonderland is also offering two nightly shows: Starlight Spectacular – Illumination of Water, a fountain show set to music, will run nightly at 10 p.m. through to Labour Day; and circus troupe Cirque Ambiente at the Wonderland Theatre.

Click here for more, including prices.

Centreville Amusement Park

A trip back in time is only a short ferry ride away, with century-old treats like a wooden carousel and antique cars available at Toronto’s Centre Island.

Children can ride the 1907 carousel or get behind the wheel of an old-fashioned car, and check out more modern amusements like a flume ride and bumper boats.

Bring a picnic or check out one of the park’s restaurants before taking a relaxing spin on a perennial favourite, the swan boats.

Click here for more.

Wild Water Kingdom (Brampton)

One of Canada’s largest water parks (it’s eclipsed only by Calypso Park in Limoges, Que.), Wild Water Kingdom features several water slides – including a pitch black tunnel ride, a wave pool, a lazy river, mist zone, a dolphin play area for young children, interactive fountains and the world’s only double-tipping bucket attraction that dumps 800 gallons of water on those looking to cool off.

New this year is the “What A Ball” event, a series of giant inflatable balls balanced on top of a pool. Riders can step inside the ball to see what it feels like to walk on water.

Getting wet not your thing? There are two mini golf courses as well as a rock-climbing wall and volleyball courts.

Click here for more.

Fantasy Fair (Etobicoke)

More than seven million people have visited Fantasy Fair, Ontario’s largest indoor amusement park, since it opened in 1985.

The amusement park features an antique carousel, bumper boats, a Ferris wheel, midway games and an arcade.

Located at the Woodbine Shopping Centre, Fantasy Fair is open year round.

Click here for more

The Wave Pool (Richmond Hill)

Billed as the only indoor wave pool within the GTA, the Richmond Hill facility boasts a 160-foot water slide, a swirl pool and an on-deck sauna.

The facility is wheelchair accessible.

Click here for more.

Wild Waterworks (Hamilton)

The water park is located at Hamilton’s Confederation Park where families can have picnics, ride go-karts or test their baseball skills in the batting cages.

Click here for more information.

Marineland (Niagara Falls)

The whale and dolphin shows are among the biggest attractions at Marineland – the park boasts the largest collection of belugas in the world – and there’s also a petting zoo, rides and a special kids zone.

The park is in the middle of expanding with a 20-acre aquarium in the works.

Click here for more.

Great Wolf Lodge (Niagara Falls)

Visit a water park without ever leaving your hotel. Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls offers a massive 100,000 square feet of indoor play area, including water slides, Fort Mackenzie (a four-storey tree house in the middle of the water park) and a splash pad. There’s also a nightly fireside story time in the hotel lobby – and a whirlpool strictly for those 18 and over, once the kids have gone to bed.

Click here for more.

Fallsview Indoor Water Park (Niagara Falls)

Located inside the Falls Avenue Resort, the indoor water park has 16 water slides as well as a wave pool, restaurants, and the Planet Hollywood beach club.

The facility is connected to three Niagara Falls hotels: Sheraton on the Falls, Crowne Plaza Niagara Falls-Fallsview Hotel and the Skyline Inn.

Click here for more.

Storybook Gardens (London)

The London amusement park was built based on popular stories and fairy tales and is a great spot for families with young children.

Storybook Gardens has Old McDonald’s farm, rides, games, play areas, a plash area, face painting and, yes, beautiful gardens.

Click here for more.

Santa’s Village/Sportsland (Bracebridge)

It’s Christmas in July all summer long at Santa’s Village in Bracebridge. The North Pole-themed park opens June 15 as does its sister park, Sportsland. Santa’s Village, with its family-friendly rides, is geared to children aged two to 10, while Sportsland – which offers og-karts, mini-golf, batting cages, laser tag and an arcade- is best for older kids.

Click here for more.