A Kid-Friendly CNE

You’ve decided to take your wee ones to the CNE this year. This annual fair can be tons of fun but a carnival of this magnitude can be intimidating for younger children so planning ahead is important. Besides its obvious attractions like the livestock and amusement rides, the EX has a variety of offerings for even its youngest attendees. This year, the CNE runs from August 16 to September 2, 2013.

Here's how to make the most of your visit to the EX with young kids in tow


Kids' World
Kids' World is the hot spot for children 12 and under. Nestled in the west end of the CNE near the Dufferin Gate, is a world designed just for Kids. Rides for children are conveniently located just next door to Kids' World. Complete with a playground, onstage entertainment, and a park full of animals and other crazy creatures, Kids' World offers children endless surprises and lots of fun!

Kiddie Midway

Kiddie Midway

While kids 10 and up will sprint for the crazy, twisting, whiplash-type rides and the scariest of roller coasters, it’s not for little kids. Instead, you’ll want to flock over to the children's area: the Kiddie Midway. It offers 28 different rides designed just for smaller riders. Open daily from 11:00AM to 11:00PM weekdays and 10:00AM to 11:00PM on weekends. You’ll find it next to Kids' World. There's also a selection of games designed just for kids.

Kids' Shows at the CNE

So much to see... so little time. This year’s CNE is packed with an amazing entertainment line-up for the younger crowds...

Splash'N Boots
Back by popular demand, Splash’N Boots return to the CNE with toe-tapping, fun-filled performances each and every day of the fair. The kids are sure to be dancing and the parents will be laughing! It’s fun, hip, and edgy!

Children's Characters
This year's visiting children's characters are Chuck the Dump Truck, Jess from Guess with Jess, Mike the Knight, Bob the Builder, Sponge Bob, and Dora & Diego! Look for them at Kids' World Stage, Kids' World from 11:30AM - 12:00PM; 1:00PM - 1:30PM and  2:30PM - 3:00PM. Dates: Aug. 16 - 18: Chuck the Dump Truck, Aug. 19 - 21: Jess from Guess with Jess, Aug. 22 - 24: Mike the Knight, Aug. 25 - 27: Bob the Builder, Aug. 28 - 30: Sponge Bob, and Aug. 31 - Sept 2: Dora & Diego.

Barney is back to entertain the kids at the Kids' World Stage!

Barney also returns to the CNE this year to delight children with well-known songs from the Barney & Friends television show including Fun, Fun, Fun, Happy and You Know It, If All The Raindrops, and I Love You. Aug. 22 - 27 from 11:00AM - 11:30AM and 3:30PM - 4:00PM at Kids' World Stage, Kids' World.

Birds of Prey
The Birds have flown the coop to return to the CNE this year in free-flight demonstrations presented by the Canadian Raptor Conservancy. The notorious birds of prey will be showcased in three 30 minute shows (Monday through Thurdays) and four on weekends (Friday through Sundays and Labour Day Monday).

Make Music
Feeling musical? Join the jam session! There's a large instrument collection which includes drums, electronics, and the Theremin! Back by popular demand is the iPad™ Zone featuring the latest music apps. Let’s Make Music!

Pizza Nova Pizza Making

Pizza Nova Pizza Making
Kids can participate in the Pizza Nova Pizza Making Workshop where they’ll make pizza like a chef and flip the dough in the air with flair like the experts. They’ll even get to sample a FREE slice of pizza at the end! There's also a Craft Centre where kids can roll up your sleeves and explore the world of the artist working in a medley of different media!

Reptilia with 26 exhibits offering a look into the world of reptiles.

Drop by and visit the Reptilia Cruiser, a 45-foot trailer housing 26 exhibits offering a look into the world of reptiles. Animals on display may include large pythons, young alligators, tortoises, iguanas, boas, and even rattlesnakes. In addition, take in one of the lively interactive shows with plenty of opportunity for audience participation, live contact, and question and answer periods. Don’t forget to stick around after the show to meet the scaly performers and their keepers.

War of 1812 Dress-Up Area
From 2012 to 2014, Canadians will commemorate the War of 1812. This year, the CNE is featuring a special War of 1812 Dress-Up Area. In this interactive area, kids will have the opportunity to dress up in War of 1812 costumes for fun and for photo opportunities. Aug. 16 - Sept. 2 at The Gazebo, Kids World Park.

Professor Wick's School of Magic & Illusion
Back by popular demand, Professor Wick returns to the CNE with an interactive gallery of impossibilities! Ever thought of becoming a magician? Learn how to create and perform your very own magic tricks and in between classes stroll through the optical illusion gallery and pose for pictures while you get cut in two or levitate! Remember... it’s all just an illusion.

AgVenture is a colourful and engaging interactive area at the Farm.

The Farm

A usual favourite is the farm, located indoors on the west side of the Better Living Centre. The Building is open from 10:00AM to 10:00PM. Here, children will spend lots of time cooing over the farm animals, but there’s also a lot to learn, like what it takes to run a thriving farm, including caring for animals, planting crops, and even milking a cow! The Farm also provides visitors the opportunity to take things at a slower pace and get acquainted with rural life. Meet a wide variety of farm yard animals ranging from piglets (cute!) to ostriches. Guests can be a farmer for a day, picking apples off a tree, digging for potatoes, milking a cow, and collecting eggs from the chickens. Also at the farm is Agri-Magic, AgVenture, Butter Sculpting, and Fishing Friendzy.

Under the Little Top Circus Workshops
Under the Little Top returns to the CNE with seven circus workshops daily where children can train in acrobatics, balance tricks, juggling, diablo, devil stick, and tight wire. Each workshop will culminate in a short performance by our professional circus artists/instructors and workshop participants.


As part of your afternoon at the CNE, visit HorseCapades. This free CNE interactive horse program sweeps you away from city life and into the magical world of the horse. It’s a fun introduction to horses, but you can also watch the professional horse competition in the coolness of the Ricoh Coliseum. Cheer on your favourite horse to win the first place Red Ribbon! Events take place at Ricoh Coliseum and the Horse Palace.

See the SuperDogs Show Wild Wild Woof

President's Choice SuperDogs Show

All kids love pets so don’t miss the President's Choice SuperDogs Show! The President’s Choice SuperDogs are going country in their brand new, music-filled, honky-tonk, extravaganza Wild Wild Woof. It’s a no-holds-barred celebration of country music with dynamic new props and exciting new games. From the thrill of stock car racing SuperDogs-style to a new audience participation game: “Are you Smarter than a SuperDog?”, this show is guaranteed to have the whole family hootin’ and hollerin’. Watch and cheer as the sensational SuperDogs jump, weave, leap, and even line-dance to the glitz and glamour of contemporary country hits. Stay after the show to meet and interact with these dazzling star performers. This show is very POPULAR! Get there early (minimun 1 hour prior to show time) to ensure that you get a seat.

Cat Show
Let the sun shine in Café Soleil as our fine feline friends convene at the 2013 CNE for the 42nd Annual Cat Show. There will be more than 125 cats from across Ontario that will be showcased in display and in competition. Aug. 24 - 25.

Some tips...


Park underground! You’ll pay a little more but it’s totally worth it. When your kids are barely able to walk at the end of the day and you have to carry them, you’ll be happy not to have to hike endless kilometres to your car! Underground parking is at the Direct Energy Centre.

Baby Care Centre
Amidst the heat and bustling activity of Kids' World, the Baby Care Centre provides a quiet, cool, and private place to change and nurse babies. It is open daily from 10:00AM to 8:00PM and can be found in Kid's World and along KidStreet. Two additional Baby Care Centres (offering a private area for feeding and changing babies) are located in the Visitor Services Centre in Salon 105 in Hall A of the Direct Energy Centre as well as in the Better Living Centre (north-west corner).

To ride or not to ride?
Making the switch to the big kid rides...

The Fun or Scary House
Decide carefully when considering fun houses, especially the scary houses, painted with typical horror scenes. While regular fun houses might mean a quick twist through a mirrored maze and a long slide down, the scary fun house could have a youngster screaming with their eyes shut tight during the entire ride. You may want to try the ride yourself first.

The Long Slide
How is your child’s coordination? Ensure your child can the climb long stairs on their own and that they won’t be scared once they reach the top, when they have to slide down on their own. Or, if you’re up for it, ride with them.

Spinning Rides
Go easy on these! Whether a teacup or a friendly dragon, these rides can scare children if they go too fast or turn around too quickly. Tommy may end up showing everyone what he had for lunch!

The Ferris Wheel
Even the classic ferris wheel can be frightening for a child who ends up sitting alone or swinging (and stuck) way at the top. 

The Merry-Go-Round
Enjoy this ride together. What could seemingly appear to be a harmless ride could be a scary one for the youngest of riders. Stand next to your child and make sure she holds on with both hands. Chose an animal that does not move until your child feels more secure on this ride.

So don’t be afraid to take your little ones to the EX... It will be a blast for the entire family and before you know it, a trip to the CNE will be an annual ritual!

For more information on kids' programming and shows, visit the CNE's For Kids page.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

You Might Also Like

Sugar Shack TO 2020

Sugar Shack TO will sweeten up the city’s winter blues with two sugar shacks, interactive ice activities, cabane à sucre comfort food, live entertainment and more! Admission is Free.

Trolls World Tour at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Toronto

Are you ready to hang out with the Trolls from DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls World Tour!? Whether you're a pop diva or rock god, prepare for a Troll-tastic adventure!

Kids Can Get Out and Play at Canada Blooms

Kids can experience the joys of gardening, too! Over March Break, Canada Blooms will be offering fun, engaging and interactive activities for children.