There are so many places to take children of all ages in Vancouver including tourist attractions, parks, historical sites, beaches and places in nature.
This article contains the following categories of best places for children:
Present & Upcoming Best Places & Things to Do | Summer & Year-Round Places | Best Places for Swimming | Bike Rides for Children | Top Festivals for Children | Restaurants for Young Kids | Best Places in Winter | Other Information
Best Places & Activities for Children in the Lower Mainland
Below are just a few of the top places for children and their families to visit in Metro Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.
Present & Upcoming Best Places & Things to do for Kids
(Note: Whatever you do this season, be sure to stay close to home, wear a mask when needed and socialize only with people from within your immediate bubble.)
Attractions to visit this time of year with children include the following:
- Ribfest Langley – a family-friendly event with free admission, a KidZone, live entertainment and lots of great food at McLeod Athletic Park in Langley (August 12th to 14th).
- Sunset Cinema – free outdoor movies hosted by Vancouver Civic Theatres outside the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Films include Sing 2 (Aug. 16th), Pitch Perfect (Aug. 17th), Spider-Man: No Way Home (Aug. 24th) and In the Heights (August 31st). All the films are free to attend and rated PG.
- Playland – Vancouver’s favourite amusement park has amazing rides at the PNE Fairgrounds in July and August.
- Maple Ridge Happenings – free kid-friendly activities happen at Memorial Peace Park in Maple Ridge on Wednesday evenings in the summer. There are also concerts and other activities on Fridays.
- Shipyard Pals – free walking tours in North Vancouver’s Shipyards District on Thursdays and Sundays in the summer. They are led by a pair of characters who dance, sing and tell stories.
- WildPlay Element Park – outdoor adventures on ropes courses and ziplines in Maple Ridge.
- Stargazer: An Immersive Universe – an attraction at Tsawwassen Mills Mall not far from the BC Ferries Terminal. It showcases films and exhibits about astronauts, space travel, our solar system and outer space.
- Burnaby Village – the family-friendly outdoor museum is open for the summer and free for all to visit.
- Vancouver Mysteries – the adventure game company has outdoor games for adults and children ages 8+ in downtown Vancouver. They also have a new online game – Big Top Werewolf – which is great for adults and kids ages 5+. With Big Top Werewolf you play it via Zoom from the comfort and safety of your home.
- Vancouver Maritime Museum – a museum full of model ships and information about the maritime history of the Pacific Northwest and Canadian Arctic. Opening in the spring of 2022 it will have a great new children’s area too. (TIP: Use the promo code BESTVANCOUVER and save 25% in 2022).
- Fraser River Discovery Centre – a hands-on and very kid-friendly museum in New Westminster.
Things to Do at Home (During the COVID-19 Pandemic)
Below are some ideas for things kids can do at home, or close to home, while many indoor attractions are temporarily shut down.
- Read a book.
- Do a puzzle.
- Play online games with friends and family.
- Sign up for an online course.
- If in Brownies, Girl Guides, Cubs or some other kind of Scouting program, work on a badge-related project.
- Go for a run or walk around the block (while maintaining appropriate social distancing.
- If in French immersion, watch videos and TV in French.
- Start a diary or do some creative writing.
- Learn to cook.
- Wash your hands lots.
- Write a letter and mail it to grandparents.
If the weather is nice, why not get outside and enjoy some of the beautiful scenery Vancouver has to offer! Take the kids on a walk through one of Vancouver’s many Parks and Places in Nature or enjoy the sun at one of Vancouver’s Best Beaches.
For a list of kid-friendly places to visit on a wet, miserable day in normal times, click Rainy Day Activities.
Summer & Year-Round Places for Kids
The Lower Mainland is full of wonderful places for children and their families. There are beautiful parks, places with animals, ski hills and lots of other fun places, including those listed below.
City of Vancouver Places for Kids
The following are popular venues for children within the City of Vancouver (but not including places within other Metro Vancouver municipalities which are listed further below):
- Bloedel Conservatory – an indoor tropical garden at Queen Elizabeth Park that is home to over 100 exotic birds that can be fun to look for.
- Clip ‘n Climb Vancouver – an indoor climbing centre at 1751 Savage Road just south of Vancouver and the Fraser River.
- FlyOver Canada – a 25-minute multi-dimensional film experience at Canada Place.
- H.R. MacMillan Space Centre – a space centre and planetarium in Vancouver (suitable for all ages).
- Kitsilano Beach – a Vancouver beach with a large children’s play area, giant outdoor swimming pool, and basketball, beach volleyball and tennis courts.
- New Brighton Park & Pool – a park with a large outdoor swimming pool, playground area and small beach in East Vancouver.
- Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) – in Vancouver during the last 3 weeks of the summer (suitable for children of all ages, and even adults on their own).
- Playland – suitable for children and youth of all ages and open on weekends from May until September and every day in the summer.
- Science World – a great science centre in Vancouver at False Creek (suitable for all ages, but especially young children).
- Second Beach – an area in Stanley Park with children’s play structures, a large outdoor swimming pool and sandy beach.
- Stanley Park – Vancouver’s world-famous public park (suitable for all ages).
- Stanley Park Miniature Train – open in the summer and seasonally at other times of the year.
- Vancouver Aquarium – in Stanley Park, Vancouver (suitable for all ages).
- Vancouver Maritime Museum – a place to see, experience and learn about the region’s maritime history.
Other Metro Vancouver Places for Kids
The following are popular venues for children in communities outside the City of Vancouver (including nearby places like Burnaby, Richmond, Surrey, the North Shore and other Metro Vancouver communities):
Places for Kids on the North Shore
- Grouse Mountain – a ski hill with year-round activities in North Vancouver (suitable for all ages).
- Maplewood Farm – in North Vancouver (suitable for young children).
- Mount Seymour – Vancouver’s best ski hill for beginners and young families.
In addition to the above, beaches with children’s play areas can be found at Cates Park and Deep Cove in North Vancouver and at Ambleside and Dundarave in West Vancouver. About halfway between the last two beaches, there is also a great children’s play area at John Lawson Park.
Places for Kids in Surrey and the Fraser Valley
- Bear Creek Park – if you happen to be in Surrey and with kids, then this is a good place to visit. It’s got a miniature train, mini-golf, a free outdoor pool and beautiful gardens.
- Chilliwack Pump Track – a bike park-kind-of-place where you can pump your body up and down as you cycle, skateboard or scooter yourself around the track.
- Fast Track Karting – serious indoor go-carting at 5760 Production Way in Langley. (Note: participants must be at least 56 inches tall.)
- Fort Langley – the site of a historic Hudson’s Bay Company fort.
- Funky Monkey Fun Park – laser tag, bumper cars, pirate ship ride and playground at 13853-104 Avenue in Surrey.
- Greater Vancouver Zoo – in Aldergrove and suitable for all ages, but strollers and even bicycles are recommended for very young children as there is a lot of walking. A great place to see all sorts of animals!
- Museum of Surrey – a history museum with free admission in Cloverdale.
Best Places in Richmond
- Extreme Air Park – indoor trampoline adventure parks in Langley and Richmond. Expect to stay for a couple of hours; great for ages 8 to teens.
- Gulf of Georgia Cannery – a national historic site in Richmond’s Steveston Village.
- Kidtropolis – a children’s attraction that features a miniature village where children can dress up and pretend to be doctors, police officers, restaurant workers and all kinds of professions in Richmond.
- TBC Indoor Kart Racing – open 7 days a week from 10 am to midnight in Richmond. Their newest Sodi RT8 karts travel at up to 75 km an hour on their 13-turn road course. (Note: Participants need to be 11 years or older and wear closed-toed shoes.)
- Terra Nova Adventure Play Environment – one of the Lower Mainland’s best children’s play areas, located at Terra Nova Rural Park in Richmond.
Other Metro Best Places for Children
- Queen’s Park – a popular city park in New Westminster with its own simple, but impressive Rainbow Playland for children.
- Rocky Point Park – a city park with an exceptional children’s play area and water park in Port Moody.
- WildPlay Element Park – an adventure park with ropes course elements and ziplining opportunities in Maple Ridge. It’s great for children ages 5 and up as well as adults.
Other Lower Mainland Places for Kids (outside Metro Vancouver)
The following are popular venues for children in communities outside Metro Vancouver (including places in the eastern Fraser Valley and Sea to Sky regions):
- Britannia Mine – a former copper mine and modern-day National Historic Site between Vancouver and Squamish. If you’re looking for an educational experience, this is a great place to go.
- Castle Fun Park – a fun place in the Fraser Valley with indoor and outdoor mini-golf, go carts, bumper cars, batting cages and more.
- Cultus Lake Adventure Park – an amusement park with close to 20 rides and activities in the summer.
- Cultus Lake Waterpark – the region’s best water slides (open in the summer).
- Harrison Water Park – a playground on the water with inflatable rafts, trampolines and climbing apparatus that’s open in the summer at Harrison Hot Springs.
- Maan Farms – a farm with petting zoo, seasonal corn maze and other activities in Abbotsford that’s open from early April to early November.
- The Rec Room – a 44,000-sq-foot games centre in Burnaby.
- West Coast Railway Heritage Park – a railway museum in Squamish with trains, displays and special kid-friendly events.
Best Places for Swimming
The Lower Mainland’s best beaches include English Bay, Kitsilano (especially with its pool), Jericho, Spanish Banks, Stanley Park’s Second Beach (with its outdoor pool), Third Beach and Ambleside (in West Vancouver).
Bike Rides for Children
Looking for a great place to take young children for a leisurely bike ride? Then check out the following best places to take kids on a bike ride:
- Barnston Island (between Surrey and Pitt Meadows) – good in the spring and fall, plus cool summer days.
- Coal Harbour (Downtown Vancouver, connecting with Stanley Park) – beautiful year-round.
- False Creek Seawall (Vancouver) – one of the city’s best cycling routes year-round.
- Fort Langley – there is an excellent biking and walking trail along the river just minutes from the fort.
- Seymour Demonstration Forest (North Vancouver) – good in the spring, summer and fall, but can occasionally have snow in the winter.
- Stanley Park Seawall (Vancouver) – probably Vancouver’s most beautiful paved level cycling route, and definitely its most famous.
- Steveston Village (Richmond) – good year-round, but not much shade in the summer (although it might have a cool ocean breeze).
Top Festivals for Children
The Lower Mainland has lots of events that are great for kids. Some of the best for children and young families include the following festivals, events and parades.
Early Winter and Spring Events
- Chinese New Year parade – held in January or February each year during the week of the Chinese New Year, it’s a large parade and kids love parades.
- St. Patrick’s Day Parade – another fun parade along Howe Street in downtown Vancouver on a weekend close to March 17th. Note: this event doesn’t take place every year. In 2017, for example, it didn’t happen.
- Party for the Planet – free Earth Day celebrations in Surrey that include live entertainment and educational shows around the third week in April.
- Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair – a rodeo with amusement rides every May long weekend.
- Surrey International Children’s Festival – a festival with lots of family-friendly crafts, entertainment and other activities at Bear Creek Park in May.
- Vancouver International Children’s Festival – a fun festival for kids at Granville Island around late May or early June.
- Ladner May Days – a community event in Ladner with live music, a parade, petting zoo, carnival rides and other family-friendly activities in late May.
Events in Summer
- Hats off Day – is a giant street festival on the first Saturday in June each year in Burnaby along Hastings Street between Gamma Avenue and Boundary Road.
- Lynn Valley Day – a small community festival and parade in North Vancouver’s Lynn Valley neighbourhood in mid-June.
- Whistler Children’s Festival – a festival focused on children at Whistler in early June.
- White Rock Sea Festival – a family-friendly event the first weekend in the summer.
- Abbotsford Airshow – an airplane show that’s fun for all ages in mid-August.
- Harmony Arts Festival – a festival in West Vancouver in early August that’s great for adults but includes outdoor movies at night.
- Richmond Maritime Festival – a free maritime festival at Britannia Shipyard in Steveston Village in early August that includes lots of kid-friendly activities.
- Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) – Vancouver’s annual fair in late August and early September that includes rides, live entertainment and lots of fun for folk of all ages.
Fall and Christmas Events
- Vancouver Halloween Parade – a parade in downtown Vancouver in mid-October that’s surprisingly little-kid friendly.
- Bright Lights at Stanley Park – arguably the best Christmas light display for children during the month of December.
- Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain – holiday movies, sleigh rides, Santa Claus, skating and other family-friendly activities, plus skiing of course, up at Grouse Mountain in December.
- Heritage Christmas at Burnaby Village Museum – another top Christmas venue for children in December.
Restaurants for Young Kids
When out and about it’s often nice to eat somewhere that the kids like. McDonald’s and other comparable fast food restaurants are easy to spot, but there are other good (and better) places too, including the following:
- Chuck E. Cheese (at 6339 200th Street in Langley) – the food at this American franchise isn’t great (we recommend the salad bar unless you like pizza and fried foods), but it’s the entertainment that’s recommended. The place is full of video games that cost about $0.33 a shot for youngsters. Got young kids, you’re close to Langley, it’s rainy out and you don’t mind hanging out in a kiddy arcade for a couple of hours, then Chuck E. Cheese is the place to be. Your little ones will love you for it. (TIP: Eat before you go, or else stick with the salad bar if you like finer foods. Also, if you plan to go often, get on their e-mail list for coupons and promotions (or don’t if you don’t like junk mail).
- White Spot (at dozens of locations, including Science World, Playland, and on BC Ferries) is a Vancouver original. If you like burgers and fries, and want to try a local tradition, then order a Pirate Pack for your kids and a glass of Nat Bailey on tap for yourself (unless you’re driving).
- Cactus Club Cafe (at various locations including Coal Harbour, English Bay and West Vancouver) – if you are looking for something fancier that’s still great for the kids, this popular chain is a fabulous one. It’s definitely not a “kids’ restaurant”, but most of its locations are good at accommodating young folk and it’s a treat for the adults.
Best Places for Children in Winter
Most of the Lower Mainland’s best indoor places for children are especially good places in winter. Best outdoor places for kids and young families in winter, however, are definitely the following five ski hills:
- Grouse Mountain – a best place for children all year, in winter Grouse offers skating, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, sliding and other fun activities.
- Whistler-Blackcomb – the skiing at Whistler is some of the best in the world.
- Mount Seymour – this North Vancouver ski hill is known as a “family mountain.” It’s a fabulous place for young skiers and their families. In addition to downhill skiing and snowboarding terrain parks, the resort also has snowshoe trails, a tubing park and a sledding area.
- Cypress Mountain – the largest ski hill on the North Shore, Cypress has downhill skiing terrain for all levels, extensive cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails, and a tubing park.
- Sasquatch Mountain – located in the Fraser Valley near Harrison Hot Springs, the Sasquatch Ski Resort offers downhill skiing, tubing and snowshoeing opportunities.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Rainy Day Activities
- Educational Places to Visit
- Metro Vancouver’s Top 100 Places
- Vancouver Festivals & Events
- Lower Mainland Indoor Activities
- Vancouver on a Budget
- What’s Happening This Weekend