It’s time to get into the spring spirit in Ontario! Get close to reptiles and other critters and take an adventure along the Yellow Brick Road.
Hissing and rattling
Venomous snakes and other reptiles are making an appearance at the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory (2565 Niagara Parkway) in Niagara Falls.
The show called Venom, created by Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo of Ottawa, continues through May 12.
Billed as a “new family friendly educational exhibit,” it includes tarantulas, scorpions, poisonous toads, rattlesnakes, vipers and one of only two king cobras on display in Canada.
Interpreter Kevin Dungey leads educational programs to “learn the truth and dispel the myths” about these creatures.
Tickets for the conservatory and show cost $13.50; $8.80, ages six to 12; free, children to age five. niagaraparks.com
Reflect on spring
A taste of spring in these lingering winter days can be found at the Stratford, Ont. Garden Festival.
'Reflections' is the theme for the show from Feb. 28 to March 3 presented by the Lung Association at the Stratford Rotary Complex (353 McCarthy Rd.).
“Whether it is considering the garden as a place of quiet reflection or actually creating a reflecting pool surrounded by lush plant material, the festival landscapers will certainly bring the theme of ‘Reflections’ to life,” said Deedee Herman, the association’s area manager.
Some of the designs will include “beautiful water features and reflecting ponds,” while others will “convey the idea that gardens can reflect the past as well as offer visitors a place for quiet reflection,” she said.
There will be practical ideas to apply to home gardens, from water features, the use of colour and form, designing a quiet green oasis and creating a modern setting for outdoor entertaining.
“All will delight the senses with a kaleidoscope of floral colour and the heady fragrance of blooming flowers and mulch,” Herman said.
With nine display gardens and a “living wall,” the theme will be demonstrated with “beautifully-designed planters” throughout the festival space.
The Marketplace is a treat for garden enthusiasts with the latest in plants and seeds, hand-crafted pottery, garden accessories, whimsical bird houses, metal work and furniture.
Guest speakers, including Frank Ferragine and Carson Arthur, will give the “real dirt on gardening.”
A Seniors’ Tea takes place on Feb. 28 while that night is the Opening Garden Party with food, drinks, music and an auction ($30 for tickets), and Family Fun Night is March 1.
Admission costs $9; no charge 12 and younger. Hours are Feb. 28, noon to 5 p.m.; March 1, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; March 2, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and March 3, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. stratfordgardenfestival.com; (519) 271-7500
Zoo to you
Here’s a chance to “see wildlife up close” as the great outdoors moves indoors in Simcoe.
It happens at the Norfolk Wildlife Festival and Adventure Show on March 9 and 10 at the Norfolk County Fairgrounds (172 South Drive).
Zoo to You features more than 30 animals such as an alligator, hissing cockroaches, a tarantula and prairie dog, said publicist Wendy Brick.
Club Rex has prehistoric dinosaur bones, teeth and claws while Elephant Thoughts is an interactive science show.
There will be planetarium shows, a chance to milk Bessie the cow, the Canadian Canine College’s show, a huge climbing wall and “camp-style food,” among other attractions.
Hours are March 9, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and March 10, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $8; free, four and younger. norfolkcountyfair.com; (519) 426-7280
Magical, musical adventure
Take a trip to Oz as the Sheraton Centre Toronto and Westin Harbour Castle team up with Mirvish Productions for a memorable getaway.
This includes a “top-tier ticket” to the North American premiere of the Wizard of Oz, a three-course dinner at a choice of restaurants and overnight accommodation, said Cynthia Bond of Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
The show at the Ed Mirvish Theatre is “an enchanting adaptation of the all-time classic, totally reconceived for its Toronto premiere,” she said.
The package is priced at $179 a person, double occupancy, for performances to the end of March, with accommodation at either the Sheraton Centre or Westin Harbour Castle. Call TicketKing, 1-800-461-3333. Other packages are available through June.