I first heard about the Dr. Mariano Elia Hands-On Centre at the AGO from a mommy friend when I was on mat leave, and, since visiting a children's museum was on my list of Rookie Mom Challenges, I thought it would be really fun to visit there with Seb. We had fun, but at 11 months, he was pretty young to really get a lot out of the experience. A few months ago we went back, and he engaged so much more in the art and creative-play activities they have set up.
The main part of the room is the craft station in the centre with these craft wheels full of art supplies.
There are also a few puzzles, a dress up room, lego, blocks of all shapes and sizes, and a little reading nook.
Children 5 and under are free at the AGO, and they all receive a Kid's Activity Bag with art supplies for them to take home. (Although online it now says while supplies last).
The AGO has quite a bit of family programming, but we've only been to the children's centre during drop in hours. There's even an app-based treasure hunt for older kids to explore the whole museum. Overall, the AGO is a really great plan to keep in mind for a rainy day.