Friday, July 11, 2014

Adventures on P.E.I.: King's Castle Provincial Park

I think I've started a tradition. For my birthday a week ago I once again took the boys out for a day as tourists. We went to Eastern P.E.I., starting at King's Castle Provicial Park, then going on to Cape Bear Lighthouse, and finishing our outing with a swim at Pinette Provincial Park.

King's Castle Provincial Park is one of our very favourite places on P.E.I. It probably has very little cultural or educational value (Though you could get a very decent nature walk in.). However, if you are looking for a place to get outdoors with little children for a day, this is the place to go.

The playground equipment is always what my children gravitate to first. There is a great variety of equipment, much of it obviously old-fashioned, but no less fun for all that! There is a merry-go-round, a very high slide, an airplane teeter-totter, sandboxes, toy cars for the very little children, and so much more.

The second thing they went to explore was a large wooden fort (castle?) with walls to scale, tunnels to crawl through, and ladders to climb. While we watched, a large hare came through a tunnel. A bird singing in a nearby tree turned out to be a dark-eyed junco.

By this time they were getting hot, so we walked down to the beach. Yes, this place has a beach, too! It's not a perfect beach, as the ground is a bit rocky as you get close to the water. But there is also lots of sand, and the boys spent some time with their sand toys before going out to wade in the water.

After resting for a while in a porch swing overlooking the water (there are numerous wonderful porch swings throughout the park), we decided to check if there were any geocaches in the area. There were, and we spent quite a while trying to find them. We never did, but we did discover some neat little hidden corners of the park. Our favourite was a little play lighthouse. My boys are not really into imaginative play (in the sense that they don't tend to play-act stories or situations on their own). Children who do enjoy play-acting would probably really enjoy the fairy tale characters scattered throughout the park, together with little buildings for playing the three little pigs, for example. These characters are getting a little shabby...they seem to be relics of a by-gone era. I believe someone told me that many years ago the park was called "Fairy-land."

In the middle of our geocache hunting, we decided we needed some ice cream. The ice cream at King's Castle is not to be missed, as they practically give it away. The boys' single-scoop cones were only 50 cents each! I splurged and got a double scoop cone for a dollar (since it was my birthday and all...).

The surprising thing (I thought, anyway) is that we had the park completely to ourselves. There were only two other boys who walked over from a nearby campground who stayed for a short while. Other than that, only the mosquitoes kept us company. There were plenty of them, anyway! When we'd had enough of the mosquitoes, we decided to go on to new adventures.

We visited Cape Bear lighthouse and climbed to the top (very scary when you're carrying an almost two-year-old!). Then we began to make our way back, stopping at Pinette Provincial Park for a swim. That particular park did not seem to be maintained...the grass was not cut and the washrooms were not open. Still, we had a lovely swim, and lots of fun skipping rocks.