What's a good park without great activities for kids? Stanley Park is known as the home of the Vancouver Aquarium, but it also has numerous other attractions to keep the whole family busy for part or all of the day.
Visitors can thank Typhoon Freda for the Stanley Park Miniature Railway. The 1964 storm cleared a near-perfect train route and, shortly after, a 20-inch gauge track was placed in the park. Now more than 200,000 visitors ride the train each year, winding through more than two kilometres of trestles, tunnels and beautiful park scenery. There are three sets of cars, including one fashioned after the historic, 19th- century Canadian Pacific Railway #374. The train runs through the summer, as well as special events such as the Halloween Ghost Train and the Bright Nights Train in December for the holiday season.
During the summer months, you’ll find a Kids' Free Summer Fun Centre right by the railway. Run by the City of Vancouver, the centre offers fun activities for kids up to 12 years of age, including arts and crafts, games, sports and more.
For those wanting a ride on something dating back even further than the locomotive, the park offers Stanley Park Horse-Drawn Tours March through October. The one-hour tours are relaxing and educational as passengers learn about the park and its surroundings with a route that takes in many of the more popular spots.
If you want to make things even simpler, spend a day relaxing in the park with a blanket and a picnic basket, or at a barbecue and a picnic table. There are three designated picnic spots in Stanley Park and all can be reserved for large parties.
Believe it or not, Stanley Park is the perfect place for education. The Stanley Park Ecology Society promotes awareness of, and respect for the natural world and plays a leadership role in the stewardship of the park through collaborative initiatives in education, research and conservation. There are many fun programs for all ages to take part in, so make time to stop by when visiting.
Of course if you want to just relax while the little ones blow off steam, there are several playgrounds in the park, including the city's first. The playground at Ceperley Meadow near Second Beach was built in the 1920s and features a seafaring theme. There are also playgrounds near Lumberman's Arch and the Stanley Park Pavilion. And Stanley Park is a great place for kids to splash around in the summer! See our page on Water Fun in Stanley Park for more information.