Welcome to the 'hood: with Kids

Welcome to the 'hood! Taking the family on vacation before or after the Symposium? Vancouver is kid-friendly and chock-full of activities designed just for them. Here's a few of the favourites, some have been mentioned in previous posts, and some are new suggestions. You won't go wrong if you just step out and start exploring with toddlers or teenagers (and those in between!) Or perhaps you are just a big kid yourself...

board the aquabus and enjoy the waterfront

Take a ride - get a kid's take on transportation engineering! 

  • Tour Falsecreek and enjoy Vancouver’s spectacular waterfront scenery on the Aquabus
  • Check out the oldest and one of the longest automated driver-less light rapid transit systems in the world, the SkyTrain. The Waterfront Station is the terminus for all lines - take it to head to one of the many kid-friendly activities in the city or turn it into an activity unto itself! 
  • Heading to the North Shore? At Waterfront station, hop on the seabus, a  passenger only ferry that crosses the Burrard Inlet, connecting downtown Vancouver with the North Shore. Each ferry departs every 15 minutes during the day and every 30 minutes in the evening and takes 12 minutes to cross.
  • Get aboard the Stanley Park Miniature Railway, which will transport you through the forest on a winding, 2 km ride over trestles and through tunnels. The train is replica of the CPR Engine #374. The real one is on display in Yaletown
  • If you do nothing else in Vancouver, this is the must do. The Stanley Park Seawall is a glorious 8.8-kilometre (5.5-mile) paved route that loops around the park connecting the park to downtown Vancouver  Be sure to take your camera for selfies of you and your kids enjoying the iconic views of the city. 
  • Take the Skyride, a gondola up to Grouse Mountain. This is by far, the best vantage point of the city. 

Enjoy the sights while zip-lining across grouse mountain

Seek adventure:

  • Zip across the Grouse Mountain and enjoy every second of the jaw-dropping scenery. Because it goes by fast. Crazy, awesome fast.
  • Venture out on the Cliffwalk, a heart-stopping journey through the rainforest on a series of unobtrusive cantilevered and suspended walkways jutting out from the granite cliff face above the Capilano River. Stay for all the other adventures you'll find at Capilano.
  • Get to  Lynn Canyon and cross the suspension bridge. The bridge is quite narrow and crossing becomes a little nerve racking when there are several others trying to cross at the same time. The view from the middle of the bridge is breathtaking!

explore science in the iconic museum

Learn something new - and have fun doing so!

  • Get scientific at Science World. Check out the newest exhibition and meet T-rex's bigger, badder cousin and other dinosaurs too. Spend the day exploring all things related to science.
  • Visit the The Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park and learn about the sea-life found just steps away from the aquarium, in the Arctic or from more tropical locations. It's home to more 70,000 creatures including dolphins, sea otters, anacondas, three-toed sloths, eels and more. 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 pool is a must, especially around feeding time. 
  • Take a tour of Engine 374  at the Roundhouse Community Centre in YaletownThis engine was made famous for pulling Canada's first transcontinental passenger train into Vancouver in the late 1880s. The centre was the western terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway and is now a provincial heritage site.
  • Can't visit all of Canada? No problem - Fly Over Canada and feel like you've seen the rest of the country. Start planning for your next visit to our beautiful country!
  • Learn more about Vancouver at the award-winning Museum of Vancouver in KitsilanoPermanent exhibitions tell the city’s stories from the early 1900s to the late 1970s and are complemented by contemporary, groundbreaking feature exhibits.
  • The Museum of Anthropology is a place of world arts and cultures with a special emphasis on the First Nations peoples and other cultural communities of British Columbia. The Museum is built on traditional, ancestral, unceded land of the Musqueam people and embodies the essence of Canada’s West Coast. And while you are there, check out the lands of UBC.

soak up some rays while the kids get soaked at second beach pool

Get wet - the city is surrounded by water after all!

  • Take a dip at the Second Beach Pool, a heated, outdoor pool located near the beach, trails, and forest of Stanley Park.
  • Kayak out into English Bay. Rent kayaks from ecomarine at Jericho Sailing Centre.
  • Splash about in the Variety Kid's Water Park, Vancouver’s largest outdoor water park of its kind. Be ready to get soaked by water guns, geysers and canyons. You'll find it near Lumberman's Arch in Stanley Park.
  • Brave the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean and swim in English bay. Your kids will love the floating slide and you will appreciate the full time lifeguard. 
  • After exploring Granville Island, stop to cool-off in the Water Park  and get ready to plunge into the biggest free water park in North America!

wander the trails in lynn canyon

Explore freely - and for free!

  • Take a hike! The North Shore's steep incline composes of six mountain peaks: Black, Strachan, Hollyburn, Grouse, Fromme, and Seymour Mountains. Why not try the famous Grouse Grind or the Baden Powell Trail which will take you from Deep Cove to Horseshoe Bay. Or head to Pacific Spirit Regional Park. The park protects a variety of landscapes including ocean beaches, upland forest and fragile bog, and offers over 73 km of hiking trails and 50 km of equestrian trails. 
  • Giggle along with the statues in A-maze-ing Laughter. Impossible not to laugh! Continue your art tour in English Bay.
  • Visit the Steam Clock in Gastown, the first steam-powered clock in the world, still operating today. Every 15 minutes it whistles the Westminster Chime shooting steam from its five whistles. 
  • Let the kids loose at the Kids Market on Granville Island. It was recently named one of the Top 3 Favourites in the Westcoast Families Reader's Choice Award for Best Local Family Attraction Category.
  • Enter Chinatown through the Millennium Gate on Pender and Taylor streets. Take photos and admire the architecture covered with both eastern and western inspired symbols.
  • Watch the float planes land as they come into Coal Harbour.

local fresh fruit at granville island

Eat something - you'll need nourishment to keep up with the younger ones!

  • Order a Pirate Pak at  Whitespot. Somewhat of a provincial treasure in BC and very kid-friendly, they've been serving up their patented and outrageously delicious Triple "O" Burgers and fresh cut fries since 1928.
  • Take the family to the Old Spaghetti Factory and dine in the vintage trolley car that's right in the middle of the restaurant! 
  • Pack a picnic and head to Lighthouse Park to enjoy the sunset over the Pacific.
  • Looking for something sweet? Frequent a different gelato spot every day - check out this list of best ice-cream and gelato in Vancouver.
  • For quick service with affordable prices stop at the conveniently placed concession stands in Stanley Park. Grab a picnic table and dine 'al fresco'. Be sure to try the fish and chips!
  • Pack a picnic and head to Lighthouse Park to enjoy the sunset over the Pacific.
  • Grab lunch from the Public Market or one of the many food outlets at Granville Island and grab a seat to watch one of the many buskers that dominate the entertainment scene during the summer or head to the waterpark. 

The biggest free water park in North America is at granville island