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Newfoundland with Young Children

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Hello,

My husband and I will be travelling to St. John's Newfoundland for the first 2 weeks of July 2012. My children will be 2 and 4 at the time, and I will be 7 months pregnant. We have never been to Newfoundland before. I have also never used this site before!

We don't want to do an excessive amount of driving as the kids will be miserable but want to see as much as possible! I know that I would like to go to Avalon (as its my daughter's name) and I have heard Trinity is beautiful. I would love to go to Gros Morne but think that might be too ambitious with the children???? I have also heard beautiful things about Twillingate Isle.

Something we absolutely want to try to do it whale watching and see ice burgs. Best place to do so?

We will rent a car and figured that we would try to rent a cottage or stay at B&B

Any fun activities you would recommend for children?

Any other tips you can provide would be great!!!!! Thx!

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    With two weeks, I don't know that Gros Morne would be too much for the children--but I don't think it would be my ideal destination when 7 months pregnant. It's got spectacular scenery, but many of the favourite activities--the Western Brook boat tour, the Green Gardens trail, the trail into Trout River gulch--involve a fair bit of walking.
    So, although I think the west coast of the island is great (my home & all), I think I might give it a miss under these conditions.
    Here are a few suggestions not likely to frustrate the children, or exhaust you:
    -- In St. John's, go to Signal Hill for the great views, and short snippet of history (Marconi's trans-Atlantic wireless). Visit the Fluvarium (underwater view of a river) and/or the Geocentre (geology, but also a Titanic exhibit). Go to the Rooms, which is the combined provincial art gallery / archives / museum. The museum will have some exhibits which are kid-friendly. Go to Cape Spear, the most easterly point in Canada, which has a lighthouse, old military works, and a great spot for kids to run somewhat loose--not too loose, as there are cliffs here. Buy ice-cream at Moo-Moos and stroll through Bannerman Park, admiring the Colonial Building (our first legislature) and Government House down the street.
    -- on the Avalon Peninsula (it's a region, not a town, and St. John's is on it), you have to go to Ferryland. There's an archeological dig of a 17th. century settlement with displays inside, you can walk through the site, and ... the place is called the "Colony of Avalon". Surely your daughter will love the sign! Not far away, so a good combo day, is Bay Bulls, where whale & puffin watching boat tours are available.
    -- just off the peninsula, but doable as a day trip (thinking that less moving = less cranky kids) is the Placentia area, with the remains of a hilltop 17th c. French fort. Not far away, Cape St. Mary's bird sanctuary offers some spectacular nesting colonies and requires only a short walk.
    -- I would drive off the Avalon and up the Bonavista Peninsula. Bonavista is a historic and scenic old town, with several historic homes open to the public, a lighthouse, a park with some eye-catching sea caves, and nearby Port Union is probably the only planned community planned by a union, around 1900. Then Trinity has a series of historic spots, an outdoor theatre performance that is very suitable for children (as long as you don't mind walking through the town!), and a couple of excellent restaurants (which you'll surely deserve).
    I'd better stop before you stop reading.
    However, my best advice to all prospective visitors is that the provincial tourism website www.newfoundlandlabrador.com is VERY informative and helpful.
    Enjoy!

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    First, welcome to the Canada Forum.

    As mentioned above, be sure to visit the tourism website and request a copy of their "Tavellers Guide", which is packed with useful information, and a road map. Make sure that you reserve your rental car as early as possible as they are quite scarce during the peak summer months.

    nfldbeothuk's posting has made a number of excellent recommendations and I would certainly agree with skipping the Gros Morne area. I don't know that the Geo Centre would hold a lot of interest for your children at their age.

    As noted, Bay Bulls will be the place to take a boat tour. Heading south from there on Route 10 stop in Tors Cove for an excellent photo opportunity (featured on several Newfoundland postage stamps). Further along you will come to Ferryland.

    Also on the Avalon and a few miles north of St. John's in Logy Bay is the Ocean Sciences Centre, which has a group of harp seals, which kids will love, and an outdoor touch tank with starfish, small crabs, etc. I think all of you would enjoy a visit to the Salmonier Nature Park. To be seen there are moose, caribou, bald eagles, snowy owls, etc. The walkway is a boardwalk and there are plenty of benches along the way to take a break. The Park is located on Route 90 not far south of the Trans Canada Highway.

    I must dsagree, however, on the recommendation to visit the Cape St. Mary's Bird Sanctuary. It is an outstanding attraction but I would not recommend the walk from the Visitor Centre for a woman who is 7 months pregnant. The trail is not flat and I have always found it to be very slippery due to the ever-present fog. Two of the three times my wife & I visited, there was pea-soup fog.

    A visit to Trinity and Bonavista is highly recommended. Of course, the ability to see icebergs varies greatly from year-to-year, but we able to see some in July from the lighthouse in Bonavista.

    A couple of recommendations on places to stay. On the Avalon, I would recommend Comerford's Ocean View Suites located in Holyrood, about 30 miles from St. John's. These are fully-equipped efficiency apartments and a great base from which to make day trips. Their website is www.irishloop.com. On the Bonavista Peninsula, Captain Blackmore's Heritage Manor is an outstanding B&B (must reserve early). It's located in Port Union, midway between Trinity and Bonavista. The website is www.captainblackmores.com.

    By all means, please feel free to post any additional questions or concerns that arise as you plan your trip. We will do our best to address them.

    Have a great visit!

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