Thanks to the Days Inn & Suites by Wyndham Moncton, Resurgo Place, the Magnetic Hill Zoo and Magnetic Hill who provided us with complimentary services in order to help us write this review. We only partner with companies that we believe bring value to Halifax families and, as always, all opinions are our own.
We typically kick off our summer with a family vacation and this year was no different. We weren’t able to take the full week off so we focused on finding a good long weekend getaway and Moncton was the perfect fit for this Halifax family.
HOW TO GET THERE
Getting to Moncton from Halifax is super easy. It’s about a two and a half hour drive so there is no real need for planned pit stops for even the smallest travellers.
We do seem to always stop in Truro for a break regardless and if you want to spend a little more time there I highly recommend zipping into Victoria Park (see more about it here). Great playground, lots of trails (and a waterfall) to explore, and the perfect place for a picnic lunch. In the summer they also have a pool open so you can have a quick dip if you want!
WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN MONCTON FOR FAMILIES
Moncton has done a wonderful job of making itself appealing to families and we had plenty of places to choose from to explore.
Resurgo Place is loaded with hands-on activities to make learning fun. I’m pretty sure our kids could have spent the whole day in The Transportation Discovery Centre section. There are activities that teach children (and adults!) the history, function, and actual mechanics of travel by rail, ground, water and air.
There is a water section to design boats and cars charged by circuits that drive on a track. There is a place to launch a rocket by pumping air into it, levers to make a submarine go up and down in a tank, a station to test air velocity with kid-crafted devices, and a hands-on pulley system to make a bicycle wheel turn.
The upper level focuses on Moncton and its history is a very engaging way. Part of that level is an area filled with interesting artefacts and information. There’s also an interactive map which allows children to push a tablet (shaped around a car design – see above) over a map and when it lined up with a red dot they could play a video that told them a bit about the history of that particular place in Moncton. Brilliant idea!
Interestingly enough, our children learned about Magnetic Hill through the interactive map at Resurgo Place and were extra excited when we told them we’d be visiting it the next day.
This is a quick stop but worth the visit for the WOW factor. Best to explain ahead of time that the driver will park at the bottom of the hill and then the car will pull itself to the top with no help from the driver – that way they’re prepped for the “magic” when it happens.
MAGNETIC HILL ZOO
The Magnetic Hill Zoo is a must-visit. They have an incredible collection of creatures from all over the world and loads of information on each one of them. It’s a sixteen hectare zoo and the largest in Atlantic Canada.
There are over 400 animals housed at this award-winning space including lions, tigers and bears (oh my!). There are also several primate species, zebras, flamingoes and more locally familiar creatures such as farm animals, wolves, and owls.
We were lucky enough to get a behind-the-scenes tour of the Education Centre and some hands-on experiences with their “ambassador” animals. We also had a tour of the spaces they use for day camps (lucky kids!) and learned about some of the special programs they offer such as Breakfast with the Tigers.
There is also an AMAZING playground right next to the monkey area perfect for a break.
A FEW OTHER IDEAS…
Moncton is also home to Magic Mountain which is a big water park with some amusement park rides too located right on the Boardwalk (beside Magnetic Hill). The city also has a Hop, Skip Jump, a Skyzone, Clayspace, TreeGo and a cool train museum in Hillsborough. Hopewell Rocks and Cape Enrage are a short drive away and make a great day trip.
You should also make sure to pop onto the popular local Moncton family blogs Pickle Planet Moncton and Everything Unscripted for ideas of other fun things to do while in the city (Pickle Planet Moncton also has a big playground profile section on her blog).
WHERE TO STAY
We were so excited to check out the Kids Suites at the Days Inn & Suites by Wyndham in Moncton because they have five themed rooms, including Space, Jungle, Castle, Hockey and Ocean. Each has a little alcove with bunk beds (and a door) for the kids so they’re staying in a separate space from the adults, but still the same room!
We chose the castle theme and it did not disappoint. The door to the kids’ space had a knight on it and opened with a rope pull – very medieval. The walls had murals all over them to make their space look like a bricked in tower of a castle, complete with flags.
The kids area looks into the adults through a themed window so you can keep an eye on the kids, but they can go to bed while the grown-ups can stay up and read or watch TV.
The hotel also has a very large swimming pool and a hot tub which our kids loved.
They also offer a delicious hot breakfast, which is included, which even has an omelette making station and fresh pancake machine.
The hotel was clean, comfortable, and the staff we encountered were all wonderful. Because of how the place catered to kids so much (there was even a kid-level peephole on the room door!) it became another “attraction” to the kids rather than just a place to sleep and they’re already planning which room they’ll stay in next time we’re there.
Moncton made for the perfect weekend getaway . . . the only problem was that after spending one weekend there we realized there was way more to do than we’d thought so we’ll definitely need to head back again soon!