What do dinosaurs, Jesus and pizza have in common? All three were part of my great staycation during a one day trip to Eastern Ontario. During these pandemic times, who says you can’t find excitement, spirituality and good food all in one day? The idea of this adventure stemmed from an old bookmark of an apparition of Mother Mary which was reported to have occurred sometime in the 90’s on the Greensides’ Farm in Marmora, Ontario. I had always found the phenomena of apparitions interesting, not only for their spiritual value but also because of their intrigue of the unknown. School aged family members loved the idea of visiting a drive-thru dinosaur park along the way, but people of all ages can also enjoy the indoor reptile zoo.
This is a great day trip for anyone travelling from Toronto or Ottawa and can also be incorporated into a longer vacation as there are many fascinating things to explore in this area. Driving from Toronto, our first main attraction within the first 90 minutes was the drive-thru Dinosaur park located in the small town of Indian River.
Indian River Reptile & Dinosaur Park
The Indian River Reptile & Dinosaur Park is the best drive-thru park adventure I have ever experienced anywhere in Ontario. It took about 30 minutes to drive through the whole park with over 50 life-like dinosaur exhibits on display. The kids and adults loved the self-guided tour where there were many opportunities to take close up pictures of our favourite dinosaurs. There are plenty of things to do at this place including shopping in the gift shop for reptile memorabilia, checking out the enormous collection of live reptiles, and also outdoor mini golf.
We continued to travel east along Highway 7 for about 30 minutes to reach our next destination of Greensides’ Farm located in Marmora, Ontario, but not before we took note of the wonderful scenic towns of Norwood and Havelock–where we stopped for a quick Tim Horton’s coffee. We eventually reached Greensides’ Farm and were greeted by a few patrons who directed us along a path, which led us through a beautiful walk with the Stations of the Cross honouring Jesus; which eventually led us to the top of a hill where a shrine had been built to honour the appearance of Mother Mary. At the shrine we said a few prayers for our family member who had recently passed away and paid tribute to the message of Jesus with the hope that world peace could be achieved one day.
Of course, after all the walking and hiking at Greensides’ Farm, we were ready to devour just about anything, but we were also very careful not to just settle for a mediocre meal. We had made the long journey and rightfully so, we thought that we should make an effort to find a most suitable establishment to eat great food. Our 10 minute online search led us to Theo’s Pizzeria which was conveniently located 4 minutes from the farm in the centre of the town of Marmora. (We also made a note that there is a scenic Marmora Mine to visit next time we are travelling to the area.) We arrived at Theo’s Pizzeria with great enthusiasm and were thrilled with all of the unique menu items. We ordered burgers, Hawaiian pizza, sweet potato fries, gourmet dipping sauces and the rest was a food extravaganza of flavour and delight. Best of all, looking through the large glass window into this quiet little town, made the food experience that much cozier and pleasurable.
Next time you’re looking to do something closer to home and off the beaten track, think about taking the ultimate day tour in Eastern Ontario–Dinosaurs, Jesus and Pizza. Sometimes we can be pleasantly surprised by the hidden gems we find along the journey and the vacation begins to unfold in ways unexpected. Let us know what you think about our travel stories and how you can relate with your new discoveries while travelling?