Forty acres of forest filled with winding trails, local wildlife, charming bridges, a sandy beach, and a fascinating locks and canal system makes up Shubie Park in Dartmouth and it is a guaranteed hit with our family.
Recently we grabbed the kids' bikes and drove over to the park. It was filled with happy people, even happier dogs, families getting photos taken, and chattering squirrels, birds and chipmunks zipping around the trees.
First stop after parking in the Locks Road lot is always the duck pond. The kids love talking to their feathered friends and giggling about the quacks and flaps of the ducks and pigeons.
These trails are perfect for budding cyclists like our kids. They're mostly flat and the hills are manageable to ride up, and fun to coast down the other side. There are always a lot of people at the trailhead, but once everyone splits up you can go quite a ways before passing someone else.
Stopping at the locks is a great way to explain how the system works and it is amazing for the kids to see the water just end. Next time we go we'll be sure to go at a time that the Fairbanks Centre is open - they have a working model of the locks inside!
The kids got a kick out of the "treehouses for birds and squirrels" (aka the feeders positioned around the park on trees) and would stop and patiently watch while various critters scampered around munching on the popcorn on the ground and racing up and down the tree to the feeders.
The bridges are my favourite part of the walk. I love stopping to check out the people in kayaks and canoes paddling lazily down the canal. I've never been in one but the kids begged to try one out so next time I'm thinking we'll need to stop by Kaynoe in the park and rent one.
Miss M and Mr M liked watching the paddlers too, but truthfully, they love the bridges because they're fun to race over on their bikes.
We stopped at the beach on Lake Charles and, being such a chilly spring, it wasn't busy at all. As it gets warmer, it's a fantastic spot to stop for a mid-walk swim. Today the kids were happy tossing sticks into the lake and seeing how far they could get them (spoiler alert: not far, their arms are short).
Then, as we were leaving the beach, they noticed a chain on the ground and tried to pick it up. Turns out it was attached to something deep in the sand and they excitedly exclaimed that it must be attached to pirate treasure. They pulled with all their might, and even their Daddy joined in, but they couldn't budge it. The finally decided to cover it over with sand and mark it with an X for the next time they came back to try again.
When we got back to the entrance we swung by the canteen for a popsicle and freezie. Truthfully, the prices ere a little steeper than we'd normally spend on frozen treats but they were made with real fruit and were actually delicious (Miss M is still talking about the lemonade popsicle).
I recently came across this Scavenger Hunt made especially for Shubie Park that I thought would be a great addition to our next trip!
Shubie Park is open dawn to dusk, all year round.
There are public washrooms in the Locks Road parking lot across from the Fairbanks Centre.
Dogs are allowed off-leash only on marked parks of the trail.
Maps of the park are available at the Fairbanks Centre.
There is a campground on site.
There are too many entry points to list, but probably the ones most often used are at the Locks Road parking lot, and from Dartmouth Crossing near the Hampton Inn and Suites.
Have you been to Shubie lately? What's your favourite thing about the park?