Family Fun in Vancouver and Victoria

Aerial view of the Science World building topped with a faceted glass sphere and colorful outdoor exhibits visible.
The new Ken Spencer Science Park featuring interactive exhibits on urban sustainability can be seen in this aerial shot of Vancouver’s Science World. Photo courtesy of Ted McGrath.

Planning on bringing along the kids? Not a problem—there are plenty of attractions suited to the needs of youngsters.


Map of Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC
Stanley Park
Stanley Park is a fantastic place for children, and many activities are free or almost free. Explore the forests, relax on the beaches, rent a bike and ride the seawall, or jump aboard the miniature railway. The park’s world-class Vancouver Aquarium is a must (try to time your visit with the always-entertaining Dolphin Show). Break up the day with a picnic lunch at Third Beach or a hot dog from Prospect Point Café.

Distinctively shaped Science World, southeast of downtown on False Creek, contains hands-on displays that help those of all ages understand the wonderful world of science.

Re-imagine your role in creating a healthier community and world. Plant a seed, meet a chicken, move a bus and lift one year’s worth of waste off the ground! Then take a break and watch a science show on our outdoor stage. —Ken Spencer Science Park at Science World

Granville Island Water Park offers all kinds of very wet fun, with pools, slides, geysers, and sprays. In the same area, the Kids Market offers 50-odd shops as well as a playground, daily shows, and birds to feed on the adjacent waterway.

Kids will be kids, so you may want to spend time with the tribe at an old-fashioned fun park. The best of these is Playland, in Hastings Park. Enjoy old-fashioned amusements like the merry-go-round, a wooden roller coaster, a Ferris wheel, an arcade, and a petting zoo.

Victoria and Vancouver Island

On the ferry trip between Victoria and Vancouver, find an outside seat on the starboard side and watch the Vancouver skyline and Coast Mountains disappear into the distance. Once in the provincial capital, a double-decker bus tour is popular with all ages. Catch a water taxi to Fisherman’s Wharf for lunch, hoping that the resident seals make an appearance. Have your wallet out for visits to Pacific Undersea Gardens. (Closed in October 2013.)

Beyond Victoria, family time on Vancouver Island should revolve around outdoor activities — having fun on the beaches of Parksville and Qualicum, exploring the coastal hiking trails of Pacific Rim National Park, taking a ferry ride through the Southern Gulf Islands, or for older kids, taking surf lessons at Tofino. The rooftop goats at Coombs are simply a diversion from these more adventurous outings.

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