Toronto: The City of Big Things
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Still have more time? Consider the Toronto Zoo, the NASCAR SpeedPark, Canada's Wonderland, or the Centreville Amusement Park. For more family-friendly ideas on what to do in Canada's city of big things, visit www.seetorontonow.com.
Welcome Lords and Ladies
If your family is in the mood for adventure, dazzling costumes, a hardy and hot meal, plus a great show, Medieval Times will take you back to the 11th century and provide you with just that.
Upon arrival at the arena, guests are given a crown of one of six colors, each representing a region of medieval Spain. This color indicates your seating assignment and which "Knight of the Realm" you should cheer for during the show.
In 2009, the franchise introduced a new script and choreography, plus even more chivalry, action, and romance. Upon the start of the show, royal trumpeters summon the Lords and Ladies to take their seats. As the serfs pour beverages, guests are greeted by King Phillipe and Princess Leonore, who have invited the visitors to enjoy the feast.
Supposedly in celebration of peace in the new land, the feast is interrupted before the first course of garlic bread and tomato bisque soup has even been served. A brave and handsome prince of the realm has been captured after a sneak assault.
The attack, however, goes on unbeknownst to King Phillipe, who continues with the Tournament of Games. During the main course of roasted chicken, spare ribs, and herb-basted potato, there is a display of equestrian skills and medieval pageantry. Young boys will love to witness live jousting, swordplay, and falconry, while young girls (and maybe even the moms) are given flowers by the victorious knights. One lucky lady in each colored section is declared Queen of Love Beauty.
Parents should note that this meal is being consumed in a time prior to the invention of silverware, so it can get messy. Although the venue does provide wet napkins to remove chicken grease and other residuals, an extra supply in tow is a good idea.
The pace of the show quickens when King Phillipe gets news of the aforementioned kidnapping. The once-friendly tournament turns into a full-on battle as guests enjoy their dessert of pastry. Upon the conclusion of the show, after peace and harmony is, of course, restored to the land, guests are invited to meet and greet the players.
Since its inception in North America in 1983, the Medieval Times chain has entertained over 50 million guests. Each of its nine facilities features a decorated Hall of Arms, Museum of Torture, Knight Club, aviary, and stable facilities. Locations include Lyndhurst, NJ. For more information: www.medievaltimes.com.
Jillian Ryan is an associate editor at FamilyTravelForum.com (FTF). FTF sites offer libraries of destination research, including reviews of tropical and ski resorts, attractions, cruises, and vacations ideas. Check out the interactive "Flee Market" map for vacation discounts.