I may have lived more than 30 years in Vancouver, but now that I live in Calgary, coming home is like being a tourist. Ask my boys where home is and they will say Calgary. They remember little about the city they were born in.
On a recent escape to Vancouver we packed a lot of fun in to 3 great days in the city. There are lots of things to do with kids in Vancouver, here’s how we filled our long weekend escape to the coast:
Day 1: False Creek
Throw the kids’ bikes in the trunk and head to False Creek. We parked under the Cambie Street Bridge and the boys rode the south shore of False Creek towards Granville Island. The pathway is an easy ride, there are playgrounds along the way and Granville Island is a great reward where you can dig into a big donut form Lee’s or any of a number of other treats.
From there we hopped the False Creek Ferry for a ride back to Spyglass, where we parked. If your kids are stronger riders, you could take the ferry to the Aquatic Centre on Beach Ave and continue along the north side of False Creek. You could also just bee-line over to Yaletown and do the same, exploring the big playground under the Cambie St bridge.
See Also: The Best Playgrounds In Vancouver
Day 2: Stanley Park
Our weekend happened to fit nicely alongside Stanley Park‘s 125th Anniversary celebrations. There were concerts and activities and bustling all over the park. Again we packed the bikes and parked near the Vancouver Aquarium. We walked a bit down the hill towards Brockton Oval and then rode the bikes back towards the Aquarium. Be warned: it’s 10km+ to get all the way around Stanley Park and the path is one way. Where we parked we could easily reach two sides of the path so the boys could do an easier 1-2k loop.
We hopped around the playgrounds at Lumberman’s Arch and then made our way into the Vancouver Aquarium. What a wonderful place. Calgary has a huge zoo, but we really do love the intimacy at the Vancouver Aquarium. We watched a beluga show, saw penguins walk, caught the 4D movie (where you get sprayed by whales from the screen), counted jellyfish as part of their Jelly Invasion, and hunted butterflies.
Day 3: Watermania
With the weather a little cooler and grey on our last day, we headed out to Watermania in Richmond for a day of splashing. Grab a coupon from the Entertainment book and you’ll get 50% off admissions for 4, even if you don’t have the coupon it’s a reasonable $14 for a family. The waterpark and wave pool is really suitable for kids 4 and over as it is a small room with a robust wave that can really knock you around. After our splash about, we headed over to the Old Spaghetti Factory next door for a big noodle feast.
These 3 simple ideas provided a great combination of indoor and outdoor activities that let us explore Vancouver’s sights and really dig back in to what it meant to be from the coast.
Other things we could have done but didn’t squeeze in? A visit to the Capilano Suspension Bridge where they have a Rainforest Ranger program for kids, a walk into Lynn Canyon, a day in the Science Centre, riding the Canada Line SkyTrain to the airport, visiting Maplewood Farm, a super skyride (or the grind) to the top of Grouse Mountain, geocaching in Pacific Spirit Park, and swimming at Spanish Banks.
You’ll also want to grab the On The Go Kids free app to help you spot other ideas of timely events like movies in the park, markets, and outdoor festivals. Spending a weekend with kids in Vancouver is filled with no shortage of activities to keep everyone in the family interested. And if you need to escape for a night sans little kids but didn’t pack your sitter? Check out Nannies On Call to have the kids cared for while you grab some grown-up time.