Posted March 2, 2011 by Adam Toren in City Guides

Things to Do in Vancouver – Find Out Which Are the Best Things to Do in Vancouver for Families

Many cities don’t get to boast about how family-friendly they are, but Vancouver sure can.  The things to do in Vancouver for families and kids are extensive and fun, whether you live here or are just visiting.  Choose from indoor and outdoor activities, educational opportunities, physical exertion, and stuff that’s just plain fun.  Vancouver has a slew of family-friendly restaurants, shops, events, and attractions to keep you and the little ones entertained from the moment you arrive to the moment you leave.


Kids love being in motion.  Some of them have a hard time staying still in fact!  What better way is there to entertain them and take in some city sights than taking a tour?  The SeaBus offers a chance to get out on the water and view things from afar like Stanley Park, The Lions Gate Bridge (a sure winner among little boys), and the surrounding mountains.  Seagulls will fly along beside you and kids will surely love the sea spray flying into their face.  The “Big Bus” is popular among children as this double-decker bus offers them the opportunity to see the city from up high.  They won’t miss a thing, and they’ll especially love the ice cream samples provided at the Welcome Centre in Gastown.  Opportunities to get off the bus in certain neighborhoods and explore also give them a chance to stretch their legs a bit.  The SkyTrain is a fun ride and also provides a panoramic view of the city.  Play “I Spy” with the kids and see if they can find the giant golf ball-looking Science World.  Delight them with the knowledge that there is no driver-the SkyTrain is operated by computer only!  Most people disembark at Westminster Quay, but the train does go on to Surrey and crosses the beautiful Fraser River in the process.  Regular buses also cruise the streets of Vancouver, and seaplanes are another option for some heavenly sight-seeing adventures sure to enthrall.  Things to do in Vancouver are fun to see from a moving source!


A fun-filled trip to Granville Island should be top on your list, as this community features many things for children to see and do.  Leave it up to the kids on how you reach the island, as the options are plentiful: take a mini-ferry, walk, bike, rollerblade, ride a bus or drive onto the island.  You can usually catch some free entertainment in the public courtyard alongside the water.  Shops here include the Public Market, featuring fresh seafood and sights sure to raise questions among little ones; and the kids even get to run helter-skelter in a place designed just for them-the Kids Market.  Full of quirky goods, handcrafted educational toys and children’s clothing, you can browse while they indulge themselves in the play area.  If the idea of shopping elicits mutterings of disapproval, try out the water park.  It’s the largest free water park in North America and sure to be a big hit.  Best of all, it’s open all summer.  Bring a sack lunch and spend the day reading while the kids splash ’til they drop.


Things to do in Vancouver don’t stop at Granville Island.  The city offers many museums and educational facilities that provide kids the chance to have some fun without realizing they’re learning.  Science World has interactive displays, hands-on exhibits, and their OMNIMAX Theatre features the world’s largest dome screen.  If you head over to Stanley Park you can visit the Vancouver Aquarium and make friends with over 7,000 species of animals.  Kids will love the underwater windows that provide an up-close-and-personal look at the habitats of different seafaring creatures.  Don’t forget to check out the Amazon Gallery for some neat birds and experience one of the many scheduled tropical thunderstorms.  Have your kids jump aboard the Children’s Railway for a quick trip through the forest either before or after they’ve visited with all the farm animals available for petting in the Farmyard.  Also offered in the park is a playground, pool with waterslides, and horse-drawn carriage rides that span the entire 1,000 acre park.


One of the best things to do in Vancouver is visiting Kitsilano Beach.  One of Vancouver’s most popular; this enchanting shoreline also offers a heated saltwater pool as well as a playground.  Other activities include 10 tennis courts for use, sand volleyball games to join, tons of space to toss a Frisbee, and unlimited stretches of sand to build castles.   Close by is Vanier Park, which houses some of the best kid-friendly activities to speak of.  Every May you can enjoy the Vancouver Children’s Festival, and kids can enjoy flying kites or kicking a ball around here any time of the year.  The H.R. MacMillan Space Centre will take kids on a journey through eternity and beyond by providing interactive displays in the Cosmic Courtyard and even a flight simulator.   The Maritime Museum gives kids a chance to learn a little Pacific Coast history and then tour some historical model ships docked on the water built by the museum’s resident shipbuilder.  Kids will love taking a turn at the helm and keeping an eye out for land.  The Vancouver Museum is also in the park, which caters to older kids who are interested in the history of Vancouver.  Peer into a hundred-year-old house and dazzle children with the knowledge that people actually existed without televisions and cell phones back in the day.


Head up north for more fun and stop in to the Lonsdale Quay Market.  Smaller kids will be boggled by the many sights, entertainers, and interesting things for sale.  Maplewood Farm is another hit, as there aren’t too many kids that don’t love animals.  Over 200 domesticated farm animals and birds reside here, and lots of them enjoy a pat or two.  Catch a baby animal being born if you show up in the springtime.  Capilano Park offers two great sights: the Suspension Bridge and the Salmon Hatchery.  Capilano Suspension Bridge is about 230 feet up and a bit dizzying, but kids are sure to prove how brave they are if they dare to cross (it’s quite safe, providing the rules are followed).  The Salmon Hatchery gives kids a unique look into the daunting lives of salmon, and the opportunity to watch baby salmon swim about in their pools.


Things to do in Vancouver don’t end there, but the surrounding areas provide a bit of fun as well.  Burnaby and Richmond offer unique experiences like the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site and the Burnaby Village Museum.  At the museum, kids’ favorites are the dentist office, carousel, and ice cream shop; while the Cannery offers children the opportunity to learn about the West Coast fishing industry, browse the gift shop, and participate in children’s activities.  If you’re willing to drive an hour out of the city, the Greater Vancouver Zoo will be a hit, and West Coast Railway Heritage Park is always a favorite among boys.  It’s their vacation too, so make sure they enjoy it as much as you do!


Adam Toren

Adam Toren
Adam Toren is born and raised in Vancouver BC and loves everything Vancouver BC has to offer. He loves traveling and exploring new and unique restaurants and places around the world.