We’re taking a quick detour in our Summer City Guides series and heading north of the border to Vancouver, British Columbia. June 21st is an important day in Canada and it just so happens to coincide with one of our favorite things to do with kids in Vancouver- so we’re visiting our neighbors to the north to honor Canada’s National Indigenous Peoples Day. Let’s take a look at 10 exciting things to do in Vancouver with kids, starting with an amazing location where your whole family can learn about the history of Canada’s Indigenous People.
1. Explore the Museum of Anthropology
Located on the campus of the University of British Columbia, this museum is a great place to learn about the Indigenous People of British Columbia. It is home to a beautiful collection of both traditional and contemporary arts and cultural artifacts of the First Nations people who first inhabited this part of Canada, giving them the opportunity to communicate their cultural traditions with the rest of the world. We recommend making the Museum of Anthropology one of the first things you do when visiting Vancouver as once kids are familiar with the First Nations art and culture, they’ll take notice of many other pieces of artwork around the city as you explore!
2. Visit Granville Island
Take the Aquabus over to Granville Island for an afternoon of fun! There’s a large public market on the island where you can get fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as many popular places to grab lunch. Kids will love the Adventure Zone, a giant indoor playground, the Kids Market, bumper cars and arcade, and the Carousel Theater. There’s also a a free splash park on the island so you can cool off on a hot summer day!
3. Walk the Capilano Suspension Bridge
So long as you’re not afraid of heights, walking the Capilano Suspension Bridge should be at the top of your list of things to do in Vancouver with kids! One of the most visited attractions in Vancouver, the bridge crosses 230 feet above the Capilano River and spans 460 feet from one side to other. It may swing and sway as you cross- but the views are totally worth it! And don’t worry- the bridge is designed to hold up to 96 fully grown elephants!
4. Hike Lynn Canyon
Lynn Canyon is located in North Vancouver and is a temperate rain forest that feels as if it should be teeming with fairies and ogres! There are many family friendly hikes in Lynn Canyon and kids will love exploring under the thick canopy of trees. Younger kids can stay on the half mile gravel road path for an easy hike though the forest, while older kids will enjoy the Beaver Trail which will take you down to the river for some rock hopping!
5. Ride the Grouse Mountain Gondola
A popular ski resort in the winter, Grouse Mountain is also a great summer destination if you’re looking for things to do with kids in Vancouver. Ride the Grouse Mountain Gondola up to the peak of Vancouver. Once at the top you can visit the wildlife refuge where they rehabilitate animals such as bears and owls, or if you’re a bit adventurous you can go zip-lining or climbing on the mountain rope course!
6. Explore Science World
See that giant orb in the Vancouver skyline? That’s Science World and it’s full of fun for the whole family. Just about every exhibit in Science World is hands on and interactive, with numerous opportunities to conduct science experiments and multiple places for kids to play and explore.
7. Go Whale Watching
May through October is the best time to spot whales migrating through the coast of the Pacific Ocean, which means that summer is a great time to go out on a whale watching tour. There are numerous tour boats that will take you out in search of the Orca, Humpback, Grey and Minke whales that migrate through the waters of Vancouver!
8. Visit Stanley Park
Stanley Park is a beautiful green oasis in the center of Vancouver- with a giant sea wall bordering the water on one side and temperate rain forest on the other. Take a ride around on the Stanley Park train, rent bikes to explore on your own, play putt-putt golf, bring your swimsuit to go for a swim, or enjoy a picnic in the park. Stanley Park is also home to many First Nations totem poles, so it’s a great place for kids to learn a bit about the history of Canada’s Indigenous People while also taking in great views of the Vancouver skyline.
9. Swim at Kitsilano Beach
Kitsilano Beach is a great place to escape the summer heat in Vancouver! With a beautiful beach (lifeguards on duty), plus a swimming pool and playground- it’s a great place for kids. Plus there are lots of great cafes, restaurants and shops just across the street, so you can run and grab lunch or an ice cream if you need to take a break from the water!
10. Head to Chinatown
Second only to San Francisco, Vancouver’s Chinatown is one of the largest on the west coast. Known for it’s bustling food scene and indie fashion shops, kids will love exploring the different sights, sounds, tastes and smells of Chinatown. Be sure to stop and visit the Dr. Sun Yet Sen Gardens!
We hope our list of 10 great things to do in Vancouver with kids will help you plan your summer visit! And don’t forget to check out the other destinations in our Summer City Guide series because no matter where you’re planning to visit this summer- Wandering Moms has got you covered!
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