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Oct 24, 2022
Vancouver Local’s Guide: Activities For Families With Young Children

Vancouver lifestyle and culture

The first in our edition of locals guides is aimed at families looking for activities for their young children. 

If you want to find activities for the kids, there are loads of sites online that focus on the typical touristy highlights. However, if you’re a local, you know the real gems are more unique, often inexpensive or free, and less crowded. If you need a quick and easy way to keep the kids entertained that won’t break the bank, you’ve come to the right place. 

Get the kids out of the house to burn off some energy and enjoy a wonderful weekend day in Vancouver. Let’s start with the highlights that don’t cost a single cent…

Free Local Activities

Capilano Salmon Hatchery

This is the place to be if you want to go and be at one with nature and find new ways to get the little ones excited about living their lives outdoors. It’s also the perfect antidote to energy-sapping screen time that has so many kids in a bad mood without them even realizing it. Ideal if you want them growing up fit and healthy in a way that only trips out to the natural stuff in the local area can provide. 

Adventure Zone at Kids Market at Granville Island

Free admission, two dozen different shops nearby selling toys, gifts, games, candy, books, crafts, and more, and plenty of playmates to meet up with. What’s not to like? If you want to get them active and engaging in new activities, this is definitely the place to be. You don’t have to venture into any of the stores if you don’t want to, but it could make for the perfect additional activity if you tell them you’re just having a look and exploring together.

Stanley Park Nature House

There’s nothing better than seeing a child’s imagination and curiosity about the world come to life before your eyes, which is why this is a destination that simply has to be on your list. Get around to paying it a visit sooner rather than later and you’re never going to be left disappointed. There’s engaging activities, incredible sights and a whole host of things to keep the kids entertained. 

Parks and playgrounds

The local park just around the corner is always great for free entertainment. Slides, swings, and plenty of green spaces to explore is all you really need to keep the kids smiling for a couple of hours. So where do the locals go? Take a look at the five-star parks reviewed by Playgrounds of Vancouver’s Instagram account. They’re tucked away all over the place, so the chances are there’s one nearby.

Inexpensive Local Activities

Now that we’ve covered the stuff that’s completely free, how about we take a quick peek at some of the cheap sources of entertainment you’ll find in Vancouver? 

Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre

The admission at the Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre is by donation with a suggested donation of just CAD$2, making this as good as free. Plus you’ll be making a difference by giving back to a centre whose work we all benefit from in the long term. 

By getting the kids into nature at the Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre (and all the wonderful things it provides), you can get them away from screens with little effort. This is a great way to get your children interested in the natural world. After a visit here they might just want to be outside a lot more often. 

Bloedel Conservatory

This is another place that’s well worth a visit when you want to get the kids into all things green and natural. You’ll be able to take them on a tour of some of the world’s most incredible plant-life, sparking their sense of wonder about the natural world. It’s a pretty big venue as well, so the kids will have a great source of exercise. Keep the kids active, interested, and learning all at the same time with a visit to the Bloedel Conservatory.

Maplewood Farm

Getting back to your roots and introducing the kids to a slower more authentic pace of life is really important when you live in a city, and Vancouver is no exception. With a quick trip to the local farm you can show them plants and animals, while keeping them active without realizing it. If you want, you can arrange a picnic and/or do some climbing and outdoor play. Take plenty of photos of your big day out as a family at Maplewood Farm. It’s one to remember and the kids will likely want to come back for more.

Other Local Activities (Paid)

Now we’ve covered the free and cheap options, there are a few paid entries on this list as well. Why? Because they’re such good value for money we just didn’t feel right keeping them to ourselves! Take a look and see what interests you the most. Then add them to your shortlist when you’re ready for a day out with the little ones.  

Vancouver Aquarium

Getting your kids to feel like they’re diving under the sea and finding new weird and wonderful creatures is what a trip to the local aquarium is all about. As one of the largest and most popular in the country, it has just about everything a little mind can imagine, and a whole lot more. 

The ticket entry may cost a little more than the other options on this list, but the spectacle really does speak for itself from the moment you arrive. You’ll also find it’s a great option to bump up your shortlist when a rainy day rears its head. 

Science World (aka Telus World of Science)

Last but not least, how about a trip into the spectacular world of science so the kids can fall in love with all of the incredible phenomena that make up the world around us? It’s indoors (great for those rainy days again), engaging and endlessly entertaining. Just make sure you read the explanations of the exhibits nice and quick because you’re bound to be bombarded with questions by inquisitive little minds. 

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