Explore nature with our Discovery program!

The Ontario Parks Discovery team is hard at work coming up with creative ways to connect visitors with the special stories and values protected in our parks.

If you visit any of the parks offering Discovery programming, you may connect with Discovery staff along a trail, as they rove through the campground, at a drop-in program, in a Visitor Centre, or at a scheduled program.

What is a Discovery program?

Discovery programs come in lots of different shapes and experience levels.

Whether you’re a first-time park visitor or a lifelong camper, Discovery programs and staff are there to help you foster a deeper connection with our parks.

staff with net

Programs provide you with an opportunity to explore a new area of the park, understand the park’s value, and appreciate the diversity of living things that make the park beautiful.

This can be done along a trail on a guided hike, at an Exploration Station, or in a peaceful moment during an Art in the Park program.

Discovery staff bring the tools and knowledge needed to help guide you on your own learning journey.

We know learning, exploring, and discovery isn’t a one size fits all. That’s why we offer lots of different types of Discovery programs across the province.

Time to get exploring!

Some parks offer Exploration Stations during the months of July/August.

These Discovery programs are drop-in programs that are often paired with a Discovery Book activity (available for free) and other props or tools to help spark curiosity and exploration. Exploration Stations are designed to get kids and their guardians exploring nature and discovering the park.

guided hike in the Silver Queen Mine

Many parks that offer these programs also offer free Discovery rental kits to help you continue exploring on your own. Ask a park staff member which kits are available for you to borrow.

Some parks have Discovery buckets with nets and other tools available to sign out!

Our Discovery programs — enhanced!

Enhanced Discovery parks (marked below with an asterisk) have at least one experienced naturalist on staff.

These parks offer a variety of interpretive programs, from guided hikes to children’s programs to evening presentations!

group dipnetting

Be sure to check out each park’s events page on our website before your trip to see upcoming programs.

Once you arrive at the park, you can find out about upcoming programs and park facilities by speaking with staff or checking the parks events listings, typically posted at comfort stations, main beaches, and office buildings.

This season, Discovery is encouraging visitors to Take a Hike!

staff leading hike

On August 9, you can join Discovery staff on a guided hike, explore the Take a Hike Exploration station, walk a story book trail, or pick your favourite trail or a new spot to hike on your own.

Guided hikes have a long-standing tradition in the Ontario Parks Discovery program. Credited as the first interpretive program offered in parks, they are the catalyst that sparked the Discovery program, which has introduced millions of visitors to the stories of Ontario’s natural and cultural heritage.

Say hi to our Discovery team!

Whether you see Discovery staff walking a trail, clearing invasive species, or monitoring species, be sure to say hello and take the opportunity to ask questions.

There is no better way to connect with the many park stories we have to tell then seeing them happening firsthand.

discovery centre

Many parks have other Discovery products available to help you explore and discover, including:

  • trail guides
  • interpretive signs
  • Adventure Labs Geocaches
  • Visitor Centres
  • and more!

These parks are offering staff-led Discovery programs this summer:

(* = Enhanced Discovery programs)

Select enhanced Discovery parks also offer staff-led programs into the fall and winter, including school programs.

Happy exploring and discovering this summer!