They may be the smallest travellers, but children can sure make a big noise when they’re not entertained. Luckily, if you’re in Vancouver, there are plenty of fun things to do with kids that can be exciting for the whole family. Banish boredom with our list of 20 such activities, compiled by our Vancouver experts.
Water babies splish and splash at Vancouver’s most popular wave pool and water slides. There are so many things for kids do in the giant, colourful play space—interactive sprayers, water wheels, tot slide, steam room, swimming pool—that they never want to leave.
• Watermania, 14300 Entertainment Blvd., Richmond, 604-448-5353, website
Science World at Telus World of Science
There’s plenty for kids to do at this iconic Vancouver institution, from watching IMAX films to playing with electricity at the James Dyson Engineering Lab. Children have so much fun with hands-on exhibits that they don’t realize how much they’re learning.
• Science World at Telus World of Science, 1455 Quebec St., 604-443-7440, scienceworld.ca
This one isn’t just for future farmers: all kids clamour to meet the goats, donkeys, pigs and horses. They can feed the bunnies and birds before going for pony rides or having a picnic lunch in the surrounding park.
• Maplewood Farm, 405 Seymour River Pl., North Vancouver, 604-929-5610, maplewoodfarm.bc.ca
Capilano Suspension Bridge
Thrill-seeking kids adore the 137-metre (450-foot) bridge suspended high above the beautiful Capilano River. The newest eco-friendly attraction, Cliffwalk, offers sweeping views—and one heck of an adrenaline rush—from the suspended stairs, bridges, walkways and glass-bottomed decks.
• Capilano Suspension Bridge, 3735 Capilano Rd., North Vancouver, 604-985-7474, capbridge.com
West Coast Railway Heritage Park
All aboard! Train enthusiasts love all the heritage equipment, and wee ones hop on the miniature railway. Perfect for those kids going through their Thomas the Tank Engine phase.
• West Coast Railway Heritage Park, 39645 Government Rd., Squamish, 604-898-9336, wcra.org
BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum
Even the tiniest sports fans find themselves cheering for the interactive exhibits, tributes to local heroes Terry Fox and Rick Hansen, and a special gallery devoted to Vancouver 2010.
• BC Sports Hall of Fame & Museum, 777 Pacific Blvd., 604-687-5520, bcsportshalloffame.com
H.R. MacMillan Space Centre
Future astronauts and budding scientists explore the mysteries of the cosmos at this long-standing attraction near downtown Vancouver. Among the things for kids to do: see a film in the Planetarium Star Theatre, play space-themed video games, touch moon rocks and morph into an alien.
• H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, 1100 Chestnut St. in Vanier Park, 604-738-STAR (7827), spacecentre.ca
The menagerie of 50,000 creatures here ranges from beluga whales to African penguins to sloths to scarlet ibises. One of the many thinks for kids to do at the Vancouver Aquarium is participate in the Animal Encounters program, where visitors get to see dolphins, otters, sea lions and sea turtles up close.
• Vancouver Aquarium, 845 Avison Way, 604-659-3474, vanaqua.org
A tiny tot’s allowance disappears quickly in this popular, colourful spot on Granville Island, spent on magic cards, Lego blocks, kites, costumes, games and puppets.
• Kids Market, on Granville Island, 1496 Cartwright St., 604-689-8447, kidsmarket.ca
Vancouver Lookout at Harbour Centre
From one of the tallest buildings in Vancouver, both kids and adults marvel at 360-degree views of the city, mountain, ocean and harbour. This is a great spot for family photos, too!
• Vancouver Lookout at Harbour Centre, 555 W. Hastings St., 604-689-0421, vancouverlookout.com
Greater Vancouver Zoo
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Kids can see them all—as well as hippos, raptors and hundreds of other animals.
• Greater Vancouver Zoo, 5048 264 St., Aldergrove, 604-856-6825, gvzoo.com
Beaty Biodiversity Museum
Science-oriented kids can explore thousands of specimens of plants, insects, fish, fossils and more. This modern-day menagerie’s crown jewel is a skeleton of a blue whale, earth’s largest living animal.
• Beaty Biodiversity Museum, University of British Columbia, 2212 Main Mall, 604-827-4955, beatymuseum.ubc.ca
Vancouver Maritime Museum
Small sailors enjoy all the things to do for kids in the Maritime Discovery Centre, such as hands-on activities like controlling of a full-sized replica of a tugboat’s wheelhouse, seeing the Port of Vancouver through a telescope and searching for precious treasures in the Discovery Wall.
• Vancouver Maritime Museum, 1905 Ogden Ave. in Vanier Park, 604-257-8300, vanmaritime.com
OMNIMAX Theatre Vancouver
Kids and adults alike feel tiny compared to films shown on the five-storey dome screen. There are usually several films playing over the course of the month, so check the schedule here to pick which screening you’d like to attend.
• OMNIMAX Theatre, 1455 Quebec St., 604-443-7440, scienceworld.ca/omnimax
Nature-loving kids are drawn to Vancouver’s famous 400-hectare (1,000-acre) park, with its many beaches, playgrounds, horse-drawn carriage rides and abundance of cute critters, including squirrels, raccoons and geese. Around the outside of the park winds the picturesque seawall, ideal for strolling, running, blading or biking.
• Stanley Park, W. Georgia St. at Denman St., 311 (in Vancouver), 604-873-7000 (outside Vancouver), stanleypark.com
On windy days, the skies above this seaside park are aflutter with colourful kites of every shape and size. The park houses the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, Museum of Vancouver and Vancouver Maritime Museum.
Vanier Park, 1100 Chestnut St., 311 (in Vancouver), 604-873-7000 (outside Vancouver), vancouverparks.ca
Burnaby Village Museum
Little ones feel like they’ve time-travelled a century into the past at this farmhouse and village where they can experience Vancouver as it was in 1920s. Kids’ favourite thing to do here is 10 ride the gorgeous 100-year-old carousel.
Burnaby Village Museum, 6501 Deer Lake Ave., Burnaby, 604-293-6501, burnabyvillagemuseum.ca
Greenheart Canopy Walkway
High up in the trees, the nine aerial bridges and eight viewing platforms are popular with kids, who sometimes ignore the guides’ admonitions and run and jump, trying their hardest to overturn the bridges—but all such efforts are in vain, as the place is perfectly safe. This is a fantastic family day trip.
Greenheart Canopy Walkway, in UBC Botanical Garden, 6804 S.W. Marine Dr., 604-822-4529, botanicalgarden.ubc.ca
Vancouver Police Museum
The CSI teams of tomorrow spend hours examining exhibits of counterfeit money, confiscated weapons, burglar kits and autopsy tools. Forensics workshops are ideal for kids with an interest in the science of police work.
Vancouver Police Museum, 240 E. Cordova St., 604-665-3346, vancouverpolicemuseum.ca
VanDusen Botanical Garden
Special green thumb programs provide a wealth of things to do for kids aged five to 11 at one of Vancouver’s spectacular botanical gardens. Even more fun: the Elizabethan hedge maze.
VanDusen Botanical Garden, Oak St. at 37th Ave., 604-878-9274, vandusengarden.org