Vancouver for Children

Vancouver for Children

Children Cycling at Vancouver Zoo

There are so many amazing places to take children in  Vancouver, including tourist attractions, parks, historical sites, beaches and places in nature.

Best Places for Kids

Below are just a few of the top places for children and their families to visit.

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 the following:

  • 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, an outdoor pool and beautiful gardens.
  • Castle Fun Park – a fun place in the Fraser Valley with mini-golf, go carts, bumper cars, batting cages and more.
  • Cultus Lake Waterpark – the  region’s best water slides (open in the summer).
Water Park at Cultus Lake
Cultus Lake Waterpark
  • Cultus Lake Adventure Park – a small yet impressive amusement park in Cultus Lake that’s open in the summer.
  • 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.
  • Fast Track Karting – serious indoor go-carting at 5760 Production Way in Langley. (Note: participants must be at least 56 inches tall.)
  • FlyOver Canada – a 20-minute multi-dimensional film experience at Canada Place.
  • Fort Langley – the site of a historic Hudson’s Bay Company fort.
  • Funky Monkey Fun Park – lazer 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!
  • The Great Escape – an indoor family entertainment centre with mini-golf, arcade, laser tag, toddler zone and other activities at 20645 Langley Bypass in Langley.
  • Grouse Mountain – a ski hill with year-round activities in North Vancouver (suitable for all ages).
  • H.R. MacMillan Space Centre – a space centre and planetarium in Vancouver (suitable for all ages).
  • Maan Farms – a farm with petting zoo, seasonal corn maze and other activities in Abbotsford that’s open from early April to early November.
  • Maplewood Farm – in North Vancouver (suitable for young children).
  • Mount Seymour – Vancouver’s best ski hill for beginners and young families.
  • Playland – suitable for children and youth of all ages and open on weekends from May until September and every day in the summer.
  • 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).
  • Science World – a great science centre in Vancouver at False Creek (suitable for all ages, but especially young children).
  • 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.
  • 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. Participants need to be 12 years or older.
  • Terra Nova Adventure Play Environment – one of the Lower Mainland’s best children’s play areas, located at Terra Nova Rural Park in Richmond.
  • Vancouver Aquarium – in Stanley Park, Vancouver (suitable for all ages).
Kids at New Brighton Pool
Swimming Pool at New Brighton Park

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).

Metro Vancouver’s best indoor pools include Richmond’s Watermania, Vancouver’s Hillcrest Rec Centre  and the West Vancouver Aquatic Centre.

Metro Vancouver’s best outdoor pools (so for the summer time) include Kitsilano, Stanley Park‘s Second Beach, the New Brighton Pool and the outdoor pool at Maple Grove.

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:

  1. Barnston Island (between Surrey and Pitt Meadows) – good in the spring and fall, plus cool summer days.
  2. Coal Harbour (Downtown Vancouver, connecting with Stanley Park) – beautiful year-round.
  3. False Creek Seawall (Vancouver) – one of the city’s best cycling routes year-round.
  4. Fort Langley – there is an excellent biking and walking trail along the river just minutes from the fort.
  5. Seymour Demonstration Forest (North Vancouver) – good in the spring, summer and fall, but can occasionally have snow in the winter.
  6. Stanley Park Seawall (Vancouver) – probably Vancouver’s most beautiful paved level cycling route, and definitely its most famous.
  7. Steveston Village (Richmond) – good year-round, but not much shade in the summer (although it might have a cool ocean breeze).
Cycling Stanley Park Seawall
Cycling along the Stanley Park Seawall

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:

Children's Festival Colours and Geese
A Goose Family at the Vancouver International Children’s Festival

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:

  1. 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).
  2. 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).
  3. 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.

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