I hope you’re having a wonderful Family Day vacation. Here are some helpful apps to find local events and activities.
Triposo offers free guides to major cities. It’s intended for travelers, but it’s also a great tool for exploring the area you live in too. It offers an extensive look at things to do, with sections devoted to exploring family fun, sports facilities, leisure activities, outdoor fun, and picturesque nature spots. There’s listings for local events, places to relax, and coffee houses worth taking a break in too.
Like many major cities, Toronto has an official tourism app. It isn’t as pretty or as easy to navigate as Triposo above, but its events listing information is more up to date and arranged across a calendar for planning. You can use a filter to pull out just the events for kids and families, which is very helpful as the city has so much going on right now, and not all of it is easy to identify as being appropriate for Family Day.
Voxer Walkie-Talkie PTT
For years large families have been using walkie-talkies as a way of staying in contact when splitting up at theme parks or festivals. Today it seems a bit silly to carry them when we have cellphones, but not everyone enjoys typing out text messages as back-and-forth exchanges. Voxer adds a push-to-talk walkie-talkie service to your phones. Your voice is heard instantly and is sent like e-mail, so it won’t involve added charges. You can communicate with others as a group, share GPS data, pictures, and text information. Very handy for field trips.
Action Movie F/X
Free (+ 99 Cent packs)
While you’ve got the family together and out for fun, you try to get them to act out on camera so you can keep some memories on video, but they need encouragement. This app from JJ Abrams (of Lost, Star Trek, and soon Star Wars fame) makes it easy to apply Hollywood special effects.
There are a number of apps that promise to do this, but this is the real deal and the results are the best you’ll find. Simply point, shoot, and follow the onscreen directions. The app will show you where to leave a space and once your clip is recorded it will fill it with your choice of a realistic car crash, falling boulders, or falling debris. Those basic effects are free, but by buying 99 cent packs you can also add lightning, floods, robots, and alien attacks amongst many more.
If you’re visiting the Toronto Zoo and have an iPad, check out this unofficial guide for a zoomable map of the park, admission details, and an extensive and interactive guide to the animals themselves. There’s scanned objects, video clips, and beautiful photographs. Your kids will no doubt come away from the zoo with questions and thankfully this free app has answers, including what the animals are fed for lunch and which species are threatened. With a little guidance, a trip to the zoo can be a learning experience that will stay with you for life.
If you’re planning to visit the Royal Ontario Museum, make sure to grab their free Augmented Reality app. The Ultimate Dinosaurs exhibit is still on display, offering an incredible look at a most unusual collection of dinosaur species. The app will allow you to see what some of the dinosaurs would look like alive while special floor markers let you take a picture of yourself with animated life-sized versions of the terrifying, yet fascinating creatures.
Dinosaurs In The Family
While exploring the Ultimate Dinosaurs exhibit, make sure to say hi to the Abelisaurids, a group of small armed, short head, sharp teeth dinosaurs that I’m proud to say share my family name (thanks to Paleontologist Roberto Abel who discovered them).