With its stunning natural beauty and vibrant urban life, Vancouver makes for a perfect family-friendly destination. The city has so much to offer for those of all ages. Everything from vast parks and captivating museums to educational exhibits and exciting sporting events. These are some of the unique things to do in Vancouver with kids.
What makes Vancouver truly special is its unique array of activities that offer fun for kids of all ages. As a local myself, I hope to help parents create unforgettable memories with their children while visiting my wonderful Canadian home.
Let’s jump into some of the best things to do in Vancouver with kids that are sure to create wonderful memories.
Table of Contents
Fabulous and Fun Things to Do in Vancouver with Kids
1. Visit Science World
In the heart of Vancouver lies Science World. This is a mesmerizing geodesic dome that has been fostering a love for science in children since its construction for Expo ‘86.
Interactive exhibits on a wide range of topics like biology, physics, chemistry, and technology allow children to learn through exploration and hands-on activities.
A unique feature of Science World is its OMNIMAX Theatre. It is one of the largest in the world, and kids can take a visual journey through nature and space. From understanding the life cycle of a butterfly to experiencing an astronaut’s journey to Mars, every visit here brings about new knowledge and perspectives.
Science World always has a featured exhibition on display as well. Past exhibits have included behind-the-scenes of Pixar, T-Rex, and Skin. The current exhibit on display features James Cameron, director of Titanic and Avatar and deep-sea explorer.
Make sure to also check out their unique workshops and science shows that occur daily. These thoughtfully designed programs cater to different age groups. They encourage young minds to question, experiment, and discover the joy of scientific exploration.
With its endless learning opportunities, Science World guarantees a fun-filled day that combines education and entertainment in the most enjoyable way.
2. Explore the Vancouver Aquarium
Nestled within the lush expanse of Stanley Park, the Vancouver Aquarium is the largest aquarium in Canada. It invites families to dive into the fascinating world of marine life. With over 50,000 creatures from across the globe, children will be captivated by the beauty and diversity of life beneath the waves.
The aquarium’s interactive shows and exhibits offer kids the chance to get up close to the animals. There are playful sea lions, waddling penguins, colorful tropical fish, sea otters, and even majestic sharks.
A unique touch pool exhibit allows children to gently interact with starfish and sea anemones. This is a tactile learning experience they won’t forget.
Don’t miss the daily shows, where children can learn about different marine species, conservation efforts, and the role each of us can play in protecting our oceans.
The Vancouver Aquarium not only opens up a window into the underwater world for children but also provides an educational experience and inspires them to become future stewards of our environment.
3. Adventure at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
An amazing blend of natural beauty and adventure awaits you at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. Located in North Vancouver, the park is home to the iconic Capilano Suspension Bridge. This marvel stretches 460 feet across and 230 feet above the Capilano River, offering breathtaking views of the lush rainforest below.
However, the park isn’t just about the bridge. The Treetops Adventure offers a unique opportunity for kids to explore seven Douglas fir trees on suspension bridges. Some of these reach as high as 100 feet above the forest floor. This provides a unique perspective on the forest ecosystem and allows for some bird-watching too.
The Cliffwalk is another highlight. This cantilevered and suspended walkway juts out from the granite cliff face. It offers a thrilling exploration path for older kids and adults.
The park also has educational aspects, with guided nature tours and the Story Centre where you can learn about the park’s history and the area’s ecology.
It’s a great place for outdoor activities and even on a hot day it never gets too warm thanks to the tree cover.
4. Cycle or Walk in Stanley Park
Stanley Park is one of Vancouver’s greatest treasures. The 1,000-acre urban park provides countless opportunities to appreciate the best the city has to offer.
The best way to experience Stanley Park is by taking a lap around the seawall. You can take a leisurely walk but it’s quite a ways with kids. The better option is to rent bikes for the trip. The seawall is a scenic 5.5-mile (8.8 km) path that loops around the park. It offers stunning views of the city, mountains, and ocean.
One of the unique features is the Stanley Park Train. A favorite among kids, this miniature train takes passengers on a 1.25-mile (2 km) journey through the forest, featuring tunnels, trestles, and displays, providing both fun and scenic views.
Also, be sure to visit the collection of Totem Poles at Brockton Point. As one of the most visited attractions in British Columbia, they offer a glimpse into the rich Indigenous culture of the region.
5. Discover the Beaty Biodiversity Museum
Located within the University of British Columbia campus, the Beaty Biodiversity Museum is a natural history museum that houses over two million specimens!
From the moment your kids enter and catch sight of the 26-meter-long blue whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling, they’re bound to be excited.
The museum offers an array of exhibits displaying plants, insects, fungi, birds, fish, mammals, and more. The exhibits provide a unique opportunity for children to learn about life on Earth and understand the importance of biodiversity.
There are also hands-on activities available, where kids can touch real fossils and skulls, and study skins. The museum hosts a number of educational programs and workshops tailored for children, including storytimes, puppet shows, and art activities.
Note: If your kids are into whales and want to see the real thing, why not go on a whale watching tour? From April to October orcas, humpback, gray, and Minke whales all pass through the area. It’s a great way to get up-close with nature and the whole family is sure to enjoy it!
6. Enjoying a Day at Granville Island
One of Vancouver’s most beloved spots, Granville Island, is a fantastic stop for families. Start your adventure at the bustling Granville Island Public Market (similar to Pike Place Market in Seattle). Here kids can see a colorful array of fresh produce, artisanal products, and mouth-watering food stalls. The sights, smells, and sounds provide a unique opportunity for children to learn about local foods and culture.
Next, head over to the Kids Market, a paradise for young ones. Housed in a quirky building that appears to be turned on its head, this market offers a variety of unique toy stores, craft shops, and even a giant indoor adventure zone.
Granville Island is also renowned for its vibrant arts scene. Kids can explore studios, watch local artists at work, and even take part in craft workshops. Don’t forget to check out the Granville Island Theatre, known for its fun and interactive children’s plays.
On a hot summer day, kids will love a stop at Granville Island Waterpark, the largest free water park in North America. There are splash pads, sprinklers, and water pipes to cool off, and there’s even a separate area for younger kids.
A day at Granville Island promises a unique mix of education and entertainment. It’s the perfect place for children to learn, play, and let their imaginations run wild.
7. Experience Grouse Mountain in the Summer or Winter
Just 15 minutes from downtown Vancouver, Grouse Mountain offers a variety of exciting activities for kids year-round.
In the summer, families can enjoy the disc golf course, mountain ziplines, and scenic chairlift rides. The Mountain also offers Eco-walks, where children can learn about local wildlife and fauna.
One of the more unique things to do in Vancouver with kids is the Birds in Motion demonstration. This is an opportunity for kids to witness incredible birds of prey in action.
There’s also the Refuge for Endangered Wildlife, where children can observe resident grizzly bears, Grinder, and Coola.
When winter arrives, Grouse Mountain transforms into a winter wonderland. It offers a multitude of outdoor adventures like skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and ice skating. There’s even a terrain park for aspiring young snowboarders and skiers.
8. Visit the Bloedel Conservatory
Bloedel Conservatory, located at the top of Queen Elizabeth Park, is a tropical paradise that offers children a chance to discover the exotic world of rainforests.
As you step inside the dome, you’re greeted by a warm tropical climate, the sound of chirping birds, and the sight of vibrant exotic plants and flowers.
Home to over 200 free-flying birds and 500 plant species, the conservatory offers a unique opportunity for children to learn about biodiversity.
The different zones in the conservatory recreate tropical, subtropical, and desert environments, introducing kids to the diverse climates on our planet.
Don’t miss the interactive feeding sessions and informative displays that are educational and engaging. Children can learn about various bird species, their habitats, and conservation efforts.
When you finish exploring the conservatory, take some time to explore Queen Elizabeth Park. There are many family-friendly activities throughout the park including walking trails, basketball and tennis courts, and disc golf.
Don’t miss the Quarry Gardens, Dancing Waters fountain, and Rose Garden. This is one of the best places to spend an afternoon in the city and it has some of the best views of Vancouver.
9. Take In A Game
If your family loves sports, Vancouver has 3 major league teams, 1 minor league team, and dozens of junior teams. So whether you’ve got little hockey, football, baseball, or soccer fans in the family, there’s a game for you to see.
If you watched the 2010 Olympics you may be familiar with BC Place. BC Place is a 60,000-seat stadium that plays host to the Vancouver Whitecaps of the MLS and the BC Lions of the CFL. Both teams have great atmospheres and family-friendly environments. Both teams also host parties before the games in the plaza next to the stadium to make the day more of an event.
The premier team in Vancouver is the Vancouver Canucks. The hockey team has called Vancouver home since the 1970s and if you’re looking to see what Canadians are so crazy about – there isn’t a bad seat in the arena and some amazing food options as well.
And last but not least are the beloved Vancouver Canadians. Famous for their “nooner at the Nat” games (games played at noon at Nat Bailey Stadium), the Canadians offer the most intimate experience of the professional teams in Vancouver. The Canadians are a minor league affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a young star on his way up to the big leagues.
Conclusion – Unique Things to do in Vancouver with Kids
From exploring the wonders of science and marine life to discovering the joys of nature, sports, and local culture, Vancouver offers a multitude of unique and engaging activities for children. Each experience is sure to provide plenty of opportunity for memories to last a lifetime.
Whether your kids are curious explorers, budding scientists, aspiring athletes, or nature enthusiasts, Vancouver has something to ignite their passion. This spectacular city provides an ideal place for families to explore, learn, and grow together. I’m so lucky to call it home.
About the author: Chad Montgomery runs the parenting blog Parent Intel with his wife Chelsea. Together they have 3 boys who each have their own distinct personalities. As a family they love sports, travelling, and Timbits.