Summertime was built for family fun, and there are few places better to indulge those passions than here in Greater Victoria!
Victoria International Buskers Festival
1. Fab Family-Friendly Festivals
Festival season is in full swing, meaning there’s no shortage of special events to keep families busy this summer. Art lovers will want to visit the Art Gallery Paint-In, July 19, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria’s annual outdoor summer art festival, while for music fans, it doesn’t get any better than the Victoria Symphony Orchestra, taking over the Inner Harbour August 3 to perform a full concert from a barge anchored in front of the Causeway. Highlights include Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, complete with cannons, bell ringing and fireworks. Make it a full-day event and enjoy the pre-concert entertainment.
July 18 to 27 brings the excitement of the Victoria International Buskers Festival to a variety of downtown locations while the Canada Dry Victoria Dragon Boat Festival fills the Inner Harbour August 15 to 17 with colourful boats, hundreds of paddlers and many more supporters. Head to the harbour for a weekend full of exhilarating races and cultural entertainment for the whole family!
Other options include July’s SkaFest, August’s Fringe Fest and the Vancouver Island Blues Bash. Now there’s a summer festival line-up!
Happy Canada Day, July 1! Celebrate downtown around the Inner Harbour – including fireworks to finish the festivities – on the West Shore at Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites, and in Sidney where Canada’s birthday rounds out the annual Sidney Days celebrations.
3. In the Market for Fun
The fertile South Island is home to many farms growing a multitude of products. Many of these can be found at the local farmers’ markets, along with kids’ activities, entertainment, crafts and more. Check out the James Bay Community Market, Saturdays from 9am to 3pm at the corner of Menzies and Superior streets, Moss Street Market, Saturdays from 10am to 2pm at Moss and Fairfield streets, the Peninsula Country Market, Saturdays from 9am to 1pm at the Saanich Fairgrounds, and the Sidney Summer Night Market, Thursdays from 5 to 8pm along Beacon Avenue.
4.Outdoor Adventure & Whale watching
Discover some of the wonders of the West Coast during an exhilarating whale watching trip with the local experts, Prince of Whales. Whether a thrilling zodiac ride or a trip aboard the Ocean Magic, there’s no better way to discover the majestic creatures making their home in local waters.
Prefer dry land? Take to the trees – Vancouver Island-style with AdrenaLine – boasting eight ziplines that will send you soaring through the towering trees of Victoria’s wild west coast – and WildPlay Adventure Park in the West Shore, with fun and challenging adventure courses through the trees.
Vikings exhibit at the Royal BC Museum
5. Creature comforts
Experience some of nature’s most beautiful creatures up close at the Saanich Peninsula’s Butterfly Gardens or enjoy a hands-on experience at another local favourite, the Children’s Petting Zoo at Beacon Hill Park.
Nearby, the Bug Zoo is a hit for kids (and adults) of all ages. Discover amazing insects from around the world, including live giant walking sticks, glow-in-the-dark scorpions and hairy tarantulas. Don’t forget your camera!
With its fascinating First Nations exhibits, Natural History Gallery, and wonderful modern history displays, the Royal BC Museum is a must-see attraction for all ages. Of special interest this summer is the Vikings exhibit, not to mention a full line-up of films at the National Geographic IMAX Theatre, also on-site. Just outside the Fairmont Empress Hotel sits a Victoria institution, Miniature World, with more than 80 scenes from history and literature whose detail and realism are a favourite with kids. New this year, the attraction has added a brand new exhibit depicting the tales of King Arthur and Camelot.
Just a short walk from the Inner Harbour in Bastion Square is the Maritime Museum of BC. Climb the life-size crowsnest, keep an eye out for pirates and explorers, trace the history of the Royal Canadian Navy and BC Ferries and visit the restored Vice-Admiralty Courtroom where Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie, “the hanging judge,” once presided.
7. Just Chill
Cool off with an ice cream! After a busy afternoon at the park, museum or sightseeing, stop by the Beacon Drive-in, a Victoria landmark with some of the tastiest soft-serve in town.