School is Out, Summer is In

O'Hara Mill School House
Trails_Mill Pond_OHara Mill.jpg

Summer has officially arrived!  Which means, school is out, the days are long and the kids are full of energy. No need to worry, a day adventuring at O’Hara Mill Homestead and Conservation Area is exactly what summer calls for. Together, you can enjoy the beautiful outdoors, explore the history of our area and make some memories!

Here are five fun ways to experience O’Hara with the kids this summer:

The School House
School may be out for summer, but the learning never ends at O’Hara. The kids will be shocked to see the stark contrast between the colourful, fun and engaging classrooms of today, in comparison to a traditional one-room schoolhouse. Did they know all grades were taught in the same room? That your bathroom ‘hall pass’ meant you were headed outside to the outhouse? Or that on dark stormy days the entire room was lit by candle light? Take a seat in the vintage desks, try your hand at cursive writing on a chalkboard, and experience how your great grandparents, and generations before them, would’ve gone to school.  

Take a Hike
With over 5kms of trails that weave through the old growth forest behind the Homestead, there are plenty of routes to take, ensuring each adventure is one-of-a-kind. Whether you turn left or right, the trails will take you through towering trees, across babbling brooks and along the shores of the Mill Pond. Keep your eye out for wildlife as you meander through their habitat. Sightings of chipmunks, frogs, birds, beavers, deer, snakes and foxes are common, and if you’re quick enough, you might even snap a great picture to share with your friends!

Make Your Own
Each and every Thursday in August, from 1-2pm, the Visitor Centre becomes a hands-on activity hub. Kids can immerse themselves in a new skill and learn how to make an item from the past. The best part is that they are able to take their masterpiece home with them!

Friday = Game Day
Fridays were made for having fun! From 11am – 3pm, meet at the Visitor Centre for Game Day! Each week, visitors have the chance to play a different pioneer game. Perfect for the kids and the young at heart! Whether it’s Pick Up Sticks or Twiddlywinks, you are sure to laugh and make new friends.

Scavenger Hunt
Hidden throughout the Homestead, 12 orange rocks are waiting to be discovered. The only thing connecting the dots are the clever clues imagined up by our fabulously fun staff. To get started, locate one of our Summer Students who are on site Wednesday through Sunday from 10am to 4pm. Written on the back of each hidden rock is a secret word. Collect and record all the words before returning to a staff member to claim your prize!

Note: If the thrill of the hunt is what you are looking for, there are also five geocaches (or as we like to call them, high-tech treasures) expertly hidden throughout the homestead and trails. To get the coordinates and begin your search, click here.

As a bonus, that’s not all that is happening at O’Hara this summer:

For the Little Ones
Let nature be your teacher! Wildwood Academy is an outdoor play based learning program that is organized by Family Space Quinte every Wednesday year-round from 9:30 – 11:30am (rain, snow or sunshine).  Children ages 0-6, and their parents/caregivers are welcome to join in the adventure!

For the Whole Family
O’Hara is not your traditional museum or heritage site. During the Summer and Fall months, a variety of Demonstration Days are planned so that visitors may see and experience the past, first hand. To head over to our events calendar for information on when our next Demonstration Day is scheduled, click here.

James O'Hara