The Parrsboro Shore is Family Fun!
My husband loves rocks. So, for his birthday present, the boys and I decided to put together a package for him for a family weekend away in Parrsboro – the rock capital of Nova Scotia!
As the crow flies, Parrsboro is actually quite close to the Hall’s Harbour Shore – it’s approximately 11km across the Minas Basin. In fact, up until 1840, Parrsboro was a part of Kings County! Then, from the 1920s to the 1940s, a ferry connected Kingsport, Parsborro and Wolfville (called the KI-PA-WO), made the journey relatively easy.
Because there was no ferry, and we were not as brave as the legendary Ebeneezer Bishop who in 1809 supposedly walked across the ice flows to visit his love in Parrsboro, we drove the 2.5 hour way around.
Upon first glance, Parrsboro may seem like it is a town that has seen better days, or maybe has fallen on hard economic times, like so many of our small towns! However, Parsborro is a lively town with so much to offer, and you couldn’t go anywhere without someone waving or offering advice!
One of the first things that you notice in Parrsboro are the wrought-iron art statues throughout the town. This adds a lot of character and are great conversation pieces!
Travelling with your dog? Not to worry! Parrsboro is pet friendly! Throughout the town, there are several K9 rest stations. These are in shaded, outdoor areas, so that if you need to leave your dog, put them in one of the rest stations while you do your errands or have dinner!
Fundy Geological Museum
Our first stop in Parrsboro was to the Fundy Geological Museum.
This is what the website says: Come to the Fundy Geological Museum to explore Nova Scotia’s ancient past and discover the Triassic and Jurassic landscapes where Canada’s oldest dinosaurs once roamed. Visit the museum’s interactive gallery to learn about colliding continents; the formation of Pangea; warm shallow seas and coal swamps; local dinosaur discoveries; our frozen glacial past; and the birth of the Bay of Fundy.
I was quite excited about going to this museum. Several friends had recently chaperoned a school trip here where all the students stayed over night in the museum! What a fun class trip!
Although we didn’t get to sleep in the museum, we did have a great guided tour by two summer students (from Acadia!) led us around the museum, giving us an overview of the information.
There were plenty of interactive activities to keep a busy 6 and 7 year old boy entertained! They could dig for fossils,
click on interactive screens to learn about rocks, and open doors to learn about a palaeontologist’s tools (which by the way, is what Thomas wants to be!)
You can also paint a dinosaur or make a rock collection at the museum.
The highlight for the boys was seeing the giant MILIPEDE type creature buried under a glass floor. When Thomas laid on top of it, he wasn’t much bigger!
Although the museum is not overly large, what is utterly fascinating was that all the fossils on display were discovered in the area – including a large dinosaur skeleton! We live in an amazingly rich geological area!
We went through the museum in less than an hour. As the boys age, I know they will get more and more out of it, and spend more time on each visit. Quizzing them upon leaving, we realized just how much they did absorb while there!
We had special arrangements to visit the museum and have a guided beach tour of Partridge Island(which isn’t an island any more, but connected by a causeway). This can be an added bonus to your admission!
So, following our museum visit, we headed down the road to the beach and walked along the shore looking for rocks. The students were quick to teach the kids about the various rocks and to identify those that they found. Thomas even found a piece of amethyst!
Having the tour guides in the museum and on the beach walk made for a thoroughly enriching experience!
I would definitely recommend a family visit to the Fundy Geological Museum!
FORCE (Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy) is another place that was recommended that we visit. Just further down the road from Partridge Island, it is well signposted. This is an international test site for tidal energy technology.
There are interactive displays and videos and a great view of the “back side” of Cape Split! It is worth going to watch the video of how they are testing ways to harness tidal power – especially in light of what might be coming to the area. The boys could understand the video – and days later, Daniel was still coming up with creative ways to install tidal turbines and not hurt any animals!
Other Points of Interest
There were plenty of other things to do in Parrsboro that we didn’t have time to fit in. Some include the Ship’s Company Theatre (built using the actual Kipawo ferry!), the Ottawa House Museum where Sir Charles Tupper spent his summers, and the Parrsboro Rock and Mineral Shop and Museum where the owner found the world’s smallest fossil and has been collecting for over 80 years! It’s worth a stop here, just to talk to the gentleman!
Nearby in Upper Economy, check out That Dutchman Cheese Farm and Nature Park.
There are lots of cheese samples and animals to visit! We didn’t actually visit here, but our friends loved it!
Parrsboro has a Tim Hortons, so we had a quick and easy lunch there. For supper we looked for a family-friendly restaurant so headed to the Glooscap Restaurant and Lounge. However, we would advise against this! It was dark and you could imagine it thick with smoke a few years ago. The food was burnt, the portions were small, and it wasn’t cheap! In the future, we will try the Harbour View Restaurant by the shore.
On the drive in, in Five Islands, Mo’s Café is supposed to have great coffee and pulled pork. However, it was closed when we went by (only open on the weekends in June).
Further down the shore near Spencer’s Island, the Beach Café is also supposed to be family friendly and have good food!
On another trip, we stopped at Diane’s Restaurant and Take Out in Five Islands. The food was great and we sat at the picnic tables outside so our dog could join us. There is also a playground for kids who get restless waiting. Don’t forget to get an ice cream, too!
There are no shortage of places to stay in Parrsboro! We were looking for something cheap and dog/kid friendly for our one night stay, so we went with our friends’ recommendation of the Riverview Cottages. We have also stayed in the Maple Inn which has a nice family suite.
The Riverview Cottages were basic cottages that suited our needs. They had a fridge, microwave, hotplate, coffee maker and a toaster. Luckily, it also included free wi-fi so the kids could watch YouTube during the rainstorm! There is also a small playground and big playing field and the river to explore. It’s a great, basic, family place to stay!
The next day, in a massive rainstorm, I got it in my head that we needed to drive further down the shore to Spencer’s Island.
Having researched the Halls’ Habour ghost walk, I learned about the Mary Celeste who was built in Spencer’s Island. The Mary Celeste is one of the biggest maritime mysteries. She set sail in 1872 and the ship was found abandoned – with nothing disturbed on board, and not a person in sight. No one has any idea what happened to the crew!
We had a great time exploring the beach, finding sea glass, and getting soaked in the rain!
Further along the Shore
If you have more time, consider going up further down the shore to Cape Chignecto Provincial Park. There are many walking trails here, including one to a famous rock formation called the Three Sisters.
Or, head up the shore to the Joggins Fossil Cliffs, which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the museum, tour the beaches, and enjoy the scenery!
The Parsborro shore area is a great place to explore with your family. Make it a day trip on your way back from PEI or New Brunswick, or make it an overnight or weekend trip. There is plenty to do and see. Plenty of shops, cafes, museums, beaches and galleries waiting for you to explore!
*I was not compensated for this post, but did receive tickets to the Fundy Geological Museum so that I could tell you all about it!*