Tuesday, February 26, 2013

On top of the world at the CN Tower...and saving money!

Our kids have been begging to go to the CN Tower. Last Family Day weekend we finally made the trek.
I logged on the night before and bought our tickets. Within 2 hours they arrived in my in-box ready to print (see Money Saving Tip #1 below for more on this). By pre-ordering them it also meant we could skip the line-up to buy tickets when we arrived and that is always a good thing. 
The kids had heard about 360 the revolving restaurant. They thought it sounded like fun and wanted to eat there. A brief glimpse at the formal (and expensive) menu made me believe this was a better fit for a romantic dinner sans kids so we opted to eat before we went up. I have since learned that elevation to 360 Restaurant and the Look Out and Glass Floor Levels is complimentary with the purchase of a main entrée by each guest so if you take that into account it wouldn't be as expensive but I still think we made the right decision for our family. I didn't know about Horizons, a more casual restaurant on the Look Out level, which would have been good for us all. Next time for sure.

The day of our visit was a mixed bag of weather. Worried that this might be the quickest trip up the tower ever (and $70 down the drain) I threw a notebook and some snacks into my bag so we could do some activities while up there. We were lucky. It was a very quiet day at the CN Tower. We were able to slowly walk through the museum area en route to the elevators and give the kids a bit of history and trivia before our ascent.

As expected, the elevator ride and jumping on the glass floor proved to be the big hits with the kids. We had a great time looking around at the different parts of the city, looking for landmarks, our house, dad's office, etc. The kids thought it was hilarious when we went out on the observation deck because one side of the tower was sheltered and the other side was so windy you could barely walk. We went around at least 3 times.

My nifty notebook proved useful. I wrote the letters A through Z down the sheet and we searched for things that began with each letter. The kids had a blast with this and came up with some really creative ones. Some favourites were 'sunbeams shining on the lake', 'skaters at Harbourfront', "Aquarium site" and "blowing kids on the observation deck". We kind of cheated on Z (zillions of buildings) and X (Exhibition grounds) so if you do this and find good ones, be sure to let me know.

It was a great day. The $10 I saved on tickets was quickly spent in the Souvenir shop that the elevators conveniently drop you off in. To keep the memory alive a little longer I created a wordsearch for them using words that reminded us of our day at the CN Tower. It was a fun activity that encorporated some of our list from our view at the Top of the World! The kids really loved seeing a Toronto landmark up close and personal. Both my husband and I think it was probably 20 years since we've been up the tower so it was fun to see it again through the kids' eyes. 

Money Saving Tip #1:

A friend had given me the tip that you can purchase a family pass ahead of time at the Costco.ca website for $69.99 (+ tax). The same tickets would have been $79.96 (+tax) at the tower. So, I saved about $10 by ordering through Costco BUT the Costco pass is for 4 people of any age so if you had 4 people over the age of 13 your savings would be over $25 and that's significant. 

Money Saving Tip #2:

If you are visiting Toronto or plan to explore more of the city I would suggest looking at the Toronto City Pass. It gives you entry into:
  • Casa Loma
  • CN Tower
  • Ontario Science Centre
  • Royal Ontario Museum
  • Toronto Zoo

It is valid for 9 consecutive days from the first day of use and there are some other terms in the fine print that you should read first. Again you can buy cheaper passes at the Costco site or buy directly from the City Pass site but at $58.40USD (City Pass)/$52.99 CAD (Costco) for an adult and $34.50 USD (City Pass)/$31.99 CAD (Costco) for a child it would be a great way to see some amazing attractions at a fraction of the cost.

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