We recently spent 2 weeks in Vancouver thanks to my husbands work and it was such an awesome city to spend time in with kids. As I was traveling ‘solo’ with three young children Monday – Friday I really appreciated the large variety of things there were to do.
Vancouver is a really beautiful city and we found it easy to get around using the Skytrain and public buses. You can buy one ticket at the Skytrain which covers 90 minutes of travel on train/bus which was plenty of time to get anywhere we wanted to.
Here are some great things to do with kids in Vancouver:
SCIENCE WORLD – This place was seriously awesome! There were so many great, hands on activities and the staff were so engaging. My kids spent ALL day here and I had to drag them out at 5pm because we needed to get home to cook dinner.
On a practical level I loved the layout – there were all these huge “open rooms” with different themes. It allowed me to instruct the girls to stay within ‘the room’ but then let them just roam free to explore whatever interested them. I would keep close to my 5 year old and then do a regular walk through to spot the older girls and make sure they were OK.
VANCOUVER AQUARIUM – everyone raved about this to me so I think I was expecting more. It is very good but expensive for the amount of time it consumed. My kids enjoyed Science World more for similar cost. The jellyfish were amazing to see though!
STANLEY PARK – the kids and I only touched a corner of this magnificent park. There was a great water play area just near the Aquarium which was a lovely place to relax in the sunshine. We also went to a playground for a while. If your kids are old enough to ride bikes you could easily spend a day cycling around Stanley Park visiting all the landmarks.
H.R. MACMILLAN SPACE CENTRE – My eldest daughter chose to go here for her 9th birthday. There isn’t a lot there but the shows are really excellent. Your entry fee gets you one planetarium show (you buy extra shows) which was truly spectacular. You also get to see unlimited live shows which were really interesting … we saw two – one about how astronauts live in space (eat, wash, go to the toilet etc) and the other was all about how they find new stars/planets etc in outer space.
The Space Centre shares a building with the Museum of Vancouver if you wanted to visit that as well (separate entry fee)
GRANVILLE ISLAND – we only managed to pop in quickly with friends for a coffee but wish we had been able to explore properly
BURNABY VILLAGE MUSEUM – we were staying in Burnaby close to my husbands work which is what prompted us to visit here and it was surprisingly great. The volunteers are all dressed in traditional dress, re-enacting different jobs (such as blacksmith) – my kids were fascinated. You can visit everything from a school, shops, a pharmacy and houses. It is FREE to visit, the only thing you pay for are rides on the restored 1912 carousel ($2.65 a ride)
GROUSE MOUNTAIN: My eldest daughter and I had the opportunity to hike up Grouse Mountain with a friend who knows all the best “quiet” trails (not the with the masses of the Grouse Grind) – it was so amazing to take my daughter on such a challenging climb and help her achieve this.
My husband took the younger girls up the mountain in the Skyride and hung out with them until we arrived. They loved seeing the bears.
HIKING: There are SO many stunning places around Vancouver to hike. The Vancouver Trails website is a great resource to explore.
Vancouver was such a wonderful place to visit with kids and it has definitely got us all interested in a bigger trip to Canada one day …