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Family & Kids

Greater Vancouver is a paradise for kids of all ages! There are literally hundreds of outdoor and indoor activities to entertain kids and parents all day, every day, year-round. Vancouver is one giant adventure playground, with interactive museums, cool attractions, fun festivals and amazing parks. Below are some suggested activities in and around Vancouver which families may find interesting.

Take a Ride

Sail across the harbour, or soar above the city. Even getting around Vancouver on public transit offers the fun of a fairground ride, all for the price of a bus ticket.

SeaBus to North Vancouver

Seagulls dip and glide at eye level. Floatplanes take off and land right in front of your nose. Departing every 15 to 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver, this commuter "cruise" via catamaran across Burrard Inlet provides a fabulous view of the harbour, Stanley Park and the Lions Gate Bridge. Mountains on the skyline make it a marvellous photo opportunity.

SkyTrain to New Westminster and beyond

Swooping past the glittering golf ball of Science World at TELUS World of Science, past backyards and gardens, the Expo and Millennium lines whisk travellers east from downtown and out to Vancouver’s suburbs. Visitors usually stop at Westminster Quay, a 28- minute ride from the city centre, but the SkyTrain makes a spectacular crossing of the Fraser River on its way to Surrey. SkyTrain’s Canada Line heads south into Richmond as well out to Vancouver International Airport for a day of plane-spotting. Trains depart every 2 to 5 minutes. And hey kids, you know what's special about these trains? There's no driver. It's all done by computer (just like a horizontal elevator).

Hop-on, Hop-off Sightseeing

Wee ones are thrilled to see Vancouver from an old-fashioned trolley or an open-air bus. With fully narrated tours, Vancouver’s hop-on, hop-off sightseeing tours give a great overview of the city, along with giving families the flexibility to make stops whenever suits them. Hop off to explore all the downtown attractions, then hop back on again to continue to the next exciting destination.

Granville Island

In 1979, Granville Island was redeveloped from what used to be an industrial wasteland under the Granville Bridge, into an island of treasures that is a must on any family's list. A 10-minute drive from most downtown hotels, and an easy journey by bus, bike or boat from any part of the city, Granville Island is a-buzz with activity. Take in free live entertainment in the waterfront courtyard. Sample freshly made fudge or warm doughnuts in the Public Market. Wander along beside the houseboats, or chat with authentic fisherfolk.

Kids Market

Not your usual plastic, mass-produced stuff by a long shot. Instead, this colourful building is home to a bustling play area and shops selling all kinds of off-beat, handcrafted, and educational toys, many of them locally made. Nifty junior-sized fashions too.

Water Park

The largest free water park in North America is on Granville Island. Open all summer, this water wonderland is a great place to linger with a picnic lunch, fresh from the public market. Ferry: To reach the Island, you can drive, walk, cycle or try the most-fun alternative, mini ferry. Every two or three minutes, cute little ferries buzz back and forth between Granville Island and various mini-docks around False Creek.

False Creek

Science World and Omnimax Theatre at Telus World of Science

Kids take off on a voyage of discovery, igniting their imagination at Telus World of Science! Explore the latest feature exhibits, hands-on interactive displays and take part in special events. Check out spectacular OMNIMAX films on one of the world's largest dome screens. There’s also an on-site Triple O's restaurant and unique gift shop.


Kitsilano Beach

A beach full of soft, gold sand is better than a toy chest. And then there's beachcombing for shells or funny-looking pebbles, writing your name in wet sand with a stick. Would you believe it's all only 10 minutes from the heart of downtown Vancouver? Kits Beach is one of Vancouver's favourite places to hang out. Little ones can check out the playground, while logs on the beach, or park benches provide a spot for Mom and Dad to relax. Teens can join a basketball game, play tennis on one of 10 courts, or strut their stuff with their peers. P.S. Kits Beach is right next to Vanier Park. Take in the attractions, then chill out for a while.

Kitsilano Pool

This terrific heated salt-water pool with its wrap-around view of the city and mountains sits on the ocean's edge and is open through the summer. Tots can frolic in the gentle shallows. Swimmers can rub shoulders with the city's triathletes in training. Read more about our beaches.

Stanley Park

Vancouver's green heart is a magnificent 400 hectares (1,000 acres), with much of it dense West Coast forest. Marked trails let families roam through the "jungle" of giant trees. Beaches offer a close up look at all kinds of boats. A playground with a vintage fire engine, a pool and water slides make this one of the city's great escapes.

Stanley Park Horse-Drawn Tours

Step aboard an old-fashioned horse-drawn vehicle and meander in comfort through the natural beauty of Stanley Park. A professional guide fully narrates the tour, which highlights Deadman's Island, Vancouver's harbour, Lions Gate Bridge, and a coastal red cedar forest, and includes stops at the totem poles, the “Girl in a Wetsuit” statue, the S.S. Empress of Japan figurehead and the rose gardens. Departs from the Coal Harbour parking lot beside the information booth on Park Drive, east of the Vancouver Rowing Club; no reservations are required.

Vancouver Aquarium

This underwater wonderland is home to a dizzying variety of fish and aquatic mammals in natural habitats. Kids can gape at the multi-coloured life inside a tide pool, and marvel at deadly piranhas, scary insects, and even a shark. The whale habitat is a must, especially around feeding time. Underwater windows provide a rare close-up view of these enormous but gentle creatures. An instant trip to faraway places, the Amazon Gallery brings together exotic birds and plants, then schedules a tropical thunderstorm.

Magic in Vanier Park

Just east of Kits Beach and a hop, skip and a jump from downtown or Granville Island are a whole slew of fabulous attractions that whisk kids into the past-and into space. Views are gorgeous from this beautiful green park which, every summer, plays host to the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival. Side note: if you want to go fly a kite, this is the place in town to do it.

H.R. MacMillan Space Centre

Enjoy a family-fun learning experience with astronomy shows under the domed Planetarium theatre, live interactive science demonstrations in GroundStation Canada, hands-on exhibits in the Cosmic Courtyard, and star-gazing at the Observatory.

The Maritime Museum

This triangular glass structure was built around the historic St. Roch, the first ship to ever sail the Northwest Passage across the top of Canada from west to east. Aboard, there are bunks-"Gee, Mom, how did they fit in something that small?"- the Captain's quarters, and more to see. Kids love to take a turn at the wheel and imagine they're ploughing through arctic ice. P.S. Don't miss the wonderful model ships—the museum has its own resident ship-builder, the historic boats moored down at the water's edge, or the nearby totem pole.

Museum of Vancouver

Sub-teens and teens will be enthralled by the story behind Vancouver then, and Vancouver now. Peer through windows into a century-old home—a world without TVs and microwaves. Through souvenirs and artifacts, track the story of the early explorers who started this city. A series of glass-sided mountains reveals the many sides of Vancouver, as well as an ancient mummy.

North Vancouver

Fifteen minutes, by SeaBus or car, and you're into the mountains where you'll discover the city's wilder side.

Lonsdale Quay Market

This is where the SeaBus from Vancouver’s Waterfront Station docks. Packed with intriguing stalls, stores and restaurants, the bustling public market is wonderful fun to explore. Put together a picnic lunch, sit outside and eyeball the passing ships. Summertime features a wealth of festivals and street entertainers.

Grouse Mountain, The Peak of Vancouver

Up, up and away... For real adventure, head for the city's favourite four-season attraction. Board the Skyride and journey to 1,100 metres (3,700 feet) above the City, and marvel at the panorama view. In the summer, you’ll find a grizzly bear refuge, the World Famous Lumberjack Show, awe-inspiring Birds in Motion demonstration as well as outdoor activities like hiking, disc golf and ziplining. Pack a picnic, or check out the restaurants in the Chalet. Come winter, Grouse Mountain is a magnet for skiers, snowboarders, ice skaters and snowshoers. Or just sit back and enjoy a sleigh ride followed by a nice warm cup of hot cocoa.

Capilano Suspension Bridge and Park

Making your way across a suspension bridge that's 70 metres (230 feet) high is a little bit scary, but a whole lot of fun. Intriguing exhibits explain local history and forestry. Totem poles stand as tall as the nearby trees. Watch native carvers at work, or follow a tranquil nature park trail into the unspoiled rain forest. Treetops Adventure offers visitors a squirrel's eye view of a thriving coastal forest via a series of elevated suspension bridges, some reaching as high as 25 metres (80 feet) above the forest floor. And then there’s the thrilling Cliffwalk, jutting out from a granite cliff face high above the canyon below.

Capilano Salmon Hatchery

Salmon really do swim upstream, and a visit here at certain times of the year proves it. Watching a full-grown fish leap a foot or more at a time is a sight kids never forget. Tiny newborn salmon swim in the pools. Exhibits depict the salmon's dramatic life cycle.

Maplewood Farm

It's a farm, it's a park, and it's always a hit with kids. Here, they can take a close-up look at 200 domestic farm animals and birds, pet a bunny and pat a horse. The farm hosts special events throughout the year. Spring is a favourite time to visit as that's when the baby animals are born.


Burnaby Village Museum & Carousel

History comes alive in this 1920's Village in Deer Lake Park. Favourites with the small fry include a visit to the schoolhouse, a ride on the 1912 carousel, and a stop at the ice cream parlour. Dressed in old-fashioned clothing, residents welcome visitors into their world of the past.

Deer Lake Park

Cut loose on a sunny afternoon and let the kids paddle their own canoe or operate a pedal boat. Dance, theatre and musical productions, both indoors and out, at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts let visitors make a day of it.

Central Park

Sometimes kids need a place to burn off their energy. This 89 hectare (219 acre) park has space to spare, as well as pitch 'n putt, a large playground, an outdoor pool and lots of trails.


Richmond Nature Park

A peat bog sounds yucky to kids… until they see the many wonders it conceals. Plants, animals, birds and butterflies, the trails through this wilderness park provide a close-up view. A stroll around the pond reveals turtles and ducks. Inside the Nature House are displays and games, plus live frogs and snakes.

Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site

Built in 1894, the Cannery is a dynamic museum telling the story of the West Coast fishing industry. Kids are invited to dress like a fisherman, put on a puppet show, play fishy games, or read a story in the Cannery Kids’ Corner

Beyond Vancouver

Want more fun? There's plenty within an hour's drive of the city centre.

Greater Vancouver Zoo (Aldergrove)

Bears, monkeys, lions, tigers... oh my! All roam through their 48.5 hectare (120 acre) home just 48 kilometres (30 miles) east of Vancouver. A picnic area, petting farm and play area make it ideal for family excursions.

Fort Langley National Historic Site (Langley)

Once upon a time, back in the 1800s, this was a fur trading post. Relive the history of the west at this picturesque site that houses the oldest surviving building in BC Demonstrations and exhibits of arts and crafts too. Pan for gold!

Squamish Attractions

An hour’s drive north along the scenic Sea-to-Sky Highway takes you to Squamish where families can watch for eagles, river raft (ages 5 and up) and explore historical attractions including the Britannia Mine Museum and the West Coast Railway Heritage Park. There are breathtaking natural roadside attractions including Porteau Cove and Alice Lake Provincial Parks as well as stunning Shannon Falls.

Special Events

Pacific National Exhibition

Spending a day at this lively fair (which runs late August through Labour Day) has been a city tradition since 1910. With livestock shows, entertainment, a prize home, marketplace, exhibits, the classic wooden roller coaster, a late-summer visit to Vancouver isn't complete without a trip to the Fair at the PNE.


Open from late April through the end of September, this amusement park within the PNE fairgrounds has more than 35 exciting rides and attractions, including the classic wooden Roller Coaster, ATMOSFEAR and the Hellevator. Playland also features a special zone for kids aged 2-10, making it a fun- filled activity for the whole family.

Vancouver Folk Music Festival

For a mellow couple of days in mid-July, Jericho Beach Park becomes home to musicians and singers from all over the world. Thanks to face painting, crafts, and special musical programs for kids, even wee ones will have a blast at this upbeat beachside event.

Stories from Inside Vancouver