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Vancouver’s Best Places for Children

Vancouver Kids' Activities

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


Royal Canadian Circus


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. Also, for ideas on where to get 2-for-1 deals, see our article about Entertainment Coupons For Kids.


Present & Upcoming Best Places & Things to do for Kids

Below are lists of seasonal events and attractions that are popular with children and their families.


Events & Attractions in Vancouver

  • Royal Canadian International Circus – the circus is at Guildford Town Centre in Surrey (on May 2nd to 12th) and Lansdowne Centre in Richmond (on May 16th to 20th). (TIP: You’ll get 2-for-1 pricing for general admission if you use the promo code VANSBESTPLACES.)
  • Mary Poppins Musical – the popular play is in New Westminster at the Massey Theatre. (April 27th to May 12th)
  • Playland – the amusement rides at the PNE fairgrounds start up for the season on May 18th (and the place is open on weekends from then until the end of June, and then on Wednesdays to Sundays until August 16th).
  • Cloverdale Rodeo – the rodeo and country fair in Surrey happens from May 17th to 20th this year.
  • More Than A Movie – an event at BC Place hosted by Kids Up Front Vancouver featuring a movie, miniature golf and other fun things to do. (June 2nd)
  • Zero Latency – virtual reality game centres where you can battle pirates, zombies and other bad buys at locations in Vancouver and Langley. (Note: This is for older youth, not little kids.)

Continue reading for a list of best places for children this time of year in other municipalities in Metro Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.


Cloverdale Rodeo

Playland in 2024

Zero Latency


Kid-Friendly Museums and Attractions

Attractions to visit this time of year with children include the following:

  • WildPlay Maple Ridge – the adventure park has ropes courses with ziplines, plus other fun activities too. (TIP: You’ll save 15% on admission if you use the promo code VBP15 when booking your adventure online.)
  • Vancouver Mysteries – the adventure game company has outdoor games for adults and children ages 8+ in downtown Vancouver. (TIP: Use the promo code BESTPLACES to save 10% on games.)
  • Entertainment CouponVancouver Maritime Museum – a museum full of model ships and information about maritime history. (TIP: Use the promo code BESTVANCOUVER and save 25%).
  • Engine 374 Pavilion – a small train museum with free admission at the Roundhouse Community Centre in Yaletown.
  • Fraser River Discovery Centre – a hands-on and very kid-friendly museum in New Westminster.
  • FlyOver Canada – a multi-dimensional flying film experience about Canada as well as other seasonal shows at various times of the year.
  • Gulf of Georgia Cannery – a former salmon cannery and present-day museum in Richmond.
  • Museum of Surrey – a museum in Cloverdale that has free admission. A special LEGO exhibition runs until March 31st in 2024.
  • Chinese Canadian Museum – a museum in Vancouver’s Chinatown about Chinese Canadians and their history in this country.
  • Britannia Mine – a very interesting and educational mining museum at Britannia Beach (which is about 45 minutes north of downtown Vancouver).
  • Railway Museum of BC – a large train museum in Squamish.
  • North Shore Bike Park at Capilano Mall – the largest indoor bike park in the Lower Mainland is at the shopping centre in North Vancouver.

For a list of kid-friendly places to visit on a wet, miserable day in normal times, click Rainy Day Activities.


Engine 374 Pavilion

LEGO Exhibition at Museum of Surrey


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 three 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 for 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.


Summer Camps

For a list of summer camp programs at places like WildPlay, Place des Arts, the Fraser River Discovery Centre, Vancouver Maritime Museum, Bard on the Beach and Theatre Under the Stars, see our article about Vancouver Summer Camps.


Vancouver for Children


Other Metro Vancouver Places for Kids

Below are popular venues for children in communities outside the City of Vancouver. Our list includes places of interest in 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.


Swings at Dundarave
Dundarave Beach in West Vancouver


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!
  • Greendale Acres – a farm with family-friendly things to see and do in Chilliwack.
  • 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 seven days a week from 11:00 am to midnight in Richmond. The newest Sodi RT8 karts travel at up to 75 kilometres an hour on a 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.


Water Park at Cultus Lake
Cultus Lake Waterpark


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-square foot games centre in Burnaby.
  • West Coast Railway Heritage Park – a railway museum in Squamish with trains, displays and special kid-friendly events.


Maan Farms Kids Race Track
Barnyard Adventureland at Maan Farms


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.


Family Swimming in the Pool


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).


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 used to happen, but hasn’t for a while, and may or may not again in the future.)
  • Party for the Planet – free Earth Day celebrations in Surrey that include live entertainment and educational shows around the third week in April.
  • BrickCan LEGO Exhibition – a LEGO-themed event at the River Rock Casino in Richmond in April or May. Kids love this event, but it’s not designed just for children. It’s part of a larger convention for adults.
  • 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 sometimes 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 folks of all ages.


Fall and Christmas Events


Children's Festival Colours and Geese
Geese at the Vancouver 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 the diner’s 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 folks 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.


Family Tubing at Cypress
Children Tubing on the North Shore


Other Information

Other articles that might be of interest include the following: