There are several reasons why visiting Vancouver with kids is a great choice. The third-largest city in Canada, Vancouver is a family-friendly destination known for its high standard of living and low crime rate. Generally a clean and safe place, you can feel good about exploring the city, even with young children. With its dramatic backdrop of a seaside skyline set against a gorgeous mountain background, this British Columbia city has been named one of the most beautiful cities in the entire world by Forbes magazine.
Whether your family prefers outdoor adventure or rather stay indoors, there are plenty of things in Vancouver to do with kids. There are also multiple spots and restaurants that are kid-friendly, so you don’t have to worry about your kid making noise or getting a little messy. An excellent place for families with children, regardless of age, here are some of our favorite things to do in Vancouver with kids.
Also, if you’re looking for additional tips on traveling with children, be sure to check out our book How to Travel with Kids (Without Losing Your Mind).
1. Visit Granville Island.
One of the best things to do in Vancouver with kids is to take a trip to Granville Island. A mere ten-minute ride from the downtown area, this place has everything from live entertainment to an impressive public market that offers an array of kid-friendly samples. Here, you can indulge in homemade fudge, freshly made doughnuts, and creamy ice cream.
You can also check out the Kid’s Market, which caters specifically to young ones. There’s a multi-level play arena equipped with an arcade and bumper cars as well as multiple kid-friendly shops for exploring. To help cool off the entire family on summer days, visit the free waterpark. You’ll also have the chance to chat with real fishermen and view purple sea stars clinging to the legs of the dock. And since all this exploring is bound to make little ones work up an appetite, stop by Go Fish on 1st Avenue for a platter of fish and chips.
Website: Granville Island, Vancouver
Location: Granville Island is located across False Creek from the downtown Vancouver area.
Hours: The Public Market is open Monday – Sunday from 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. The Kid’s Market is open Monday – Sunday from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
2. Get in touch with nature at Stanley Park.
Boasting over 1,000 acres, Stanley Park is ringed with a seawall and offers opportunities for little ones to run around and stretch their legs. There are totem poles here which tell the story of British Columbia’s First Nation’s people. There are also four different playgrounds, various beaches, and even a miniature train ride specifically designed for children. This is a great spot to plan to spend the entire day since you can also pop over to the Vancouver Aquarium. Watch a sea lion or dolphin show or get up close and personal with starfish and manta rays in the touch tank. As far as things to do in Vancouver with kids, this is an excellent option because it gives them the chance to burn off some energy while exploring the area’s abundant resources.
Website: Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park
Address: Stanley Park is located near downtown Vancouver.
Hours: Stanley Park is open Monday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Cost: The park itself is open to the public and costs nothing, and most activities are free as well.
3. Spend the day at Playland Amusement Park.
Playland Amusement Park is the oldest amusement park in Canada and one of the best places to visit in Vancouver with kids. Here, you can find a variety of family-friendly rides, including the oldest wooden roller coaster in the country, bumper cars, spinning teacups, a log-flume, and giant slide. There’s also a ton of carnival games, mini-golf, and clean bathrooms stationed all over the park, most of which have baby-changing stations.
If you’re traveling with little daredevils, there are a few thrill rides sure to please. Check out the pirate ship that swings back and forth, or hop aboard the Atmosphere, an extreme version of the elevated swings. Visit a mansion haunted by friendly spirits, let your little ones get their faces painted, or help them find their way through a glass maze. Once they get hungry, there are many kid-friendly options. Grab a grilled cheese, hot dog, or fresh-squeezed lemonade.
Website: Playland Amusement Park
Address: 2901 E. Hastings St.
Hours: Playland Amusement Park hours vary by season. Please check the website for a complete listing of hours.
Cost: The cost of a one-day general admission ticket is $36 online or $38 at the gates. For visitors under forty-eight inches, the price is $10 cheaper. A single-day senior pass is $19, while children three-years-old and younger are free.
4. Experience Science World.
This massive, golf ball-shaped building makes science anything but dull. Here, your kids will get the chance to experience a movie in the 360-degree Omnimax Theatre. They’ll also be able to explore interactive, hands-on displays that allow them to engage their senses and have fun. There’s also a play area that is specifically meant for kids who are five and under. Science World is equipped with multiple bathrooms, so you don’t have to worry about running clear across the building if your child needs to go. Likewise, there’s an excellent café called Triple O’s, which offers healthy, kid-friendly snacks, like milk, juice, fresh-cut veggies and fruit, and hearty sandwiches. As far as things to do in Vancouver with kids, you can literally spend an entire day here, as there’s so much to see!
Website: Science World
Address: 1455 Quebec St.
Hours: Science World is open Tuesday – Friday from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Saturday – Monday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Cost: An adult general admission ticket to Science World costs $27.15. Seniors, students, and youths cost $21.70, while children’s ticket costs $18.10. Children under the age of three get free admission.
5. Go on a whale watch.
There are not many places in the world where you can safely view orcas with your kids, but Vancouver is one of them. Hop aboard The Prince of Whales, an express cruiser that seats seventy-four people. Onboard, you’ll have the chance to view several whale species as well as other marine critters. As you watch for marine life, you’ll learn fun facts about the animals.
The boat departs from Granville Island, and each journey lasts anywhere from three to five hours. During this time, you are guaranteed to see whales, no matter the time of year. In the unlikely event that you don’t see any whales, you’re invited to accompany the next tour for free! Be sure to bring warm clothing for you and your children, as it can get cold on the water even in the summertime. Likewise, sunscreen is an absolute must. And to save time waiting in line or spending money at the concession stand, packing some snacks and plenty of water is a smart move.
Website: Prince of Whales
Address: 1516 Duranleau St.
Hours: Tours run Monday – Sunday from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Cost: Adult tickets cost around $127 per person. There’s a discounted price for youths. Children aged two or younger are free.
6. Drop in at the Roundhouse.
The Roundhouse is a community center that boasts open playtime every day except Fridays and Sundays. Roundhouse caters to kids between six months and seven years. For a nominal charge, you can set your kids loose in the indoor playground. There’s a bouncy castle, a kid’s gym, and a corner complete with books and games. This is also an excellent place for taking in some impressive local artwork and various exhibits. As a bonus, there’s a train museum adjacent to the building.
Website: The Roundhouse
Address: 181 Roundhouse Mewes
Hours: The Roundhouse is open Tuesday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 9:45 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. They are closed on Mondays.
Cost: Admission to the center itself is free, and playtime costs just $2.00 per child.
7. Dine with the bears at Grizzly Lookout.
Your morning begins bright and early with a trip on a gondola up Spruce Mountain. Follow a set of bear prints on the ground until you enter a nature sanctuary. Home to Coola and Grinder, these two rescued bears have been living here for eighteen years. Children will delight in viewing them (from a safe distance, of course) while guides provide information on these fascinating creatures as well as the local habitat. Your morning ends with a hearty hot or cold breakfast at the Grizzly Lookout Café, where you can take in some spectacular views before heading back down the mountain.
Website: Breakfast with the Bears
Address: Grizzly Lookout is located on Grouse Mountain.
Hours: The bear experience is open May through mid-October from 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Cost: Tickets include the gondola trip up and down the mountain and breakfast. Adults cost $56.95, youths are $38.95, and children are $28.95. There is a great family package that costs $169.95 for two adults and two children.
8. Cool off at Kitsilano Beach.
There is so much for kids to do here that you can easily make a day out of it. Escape the summer heat by playing in the waves, strolling along the seawall, building sandcastles, or checking out tide pools. There’s also a spacious salt-water pool with kid-friendly slides, playgrounds, and areas for playing basketball or other games. While many families elect to bring a picnic lunch, there are plenty of concession stands to grab a quick bite. If you prefer something more formal, there are several sit-down family restaurants as well.
Website: Kitsilano Beach
Location: Cornwall Avenue
Hours: While the beach is always open, there are only lifeguards on duty from Victoria Day to Labor Day.
Cost: The beach is free to the public, though you will have to pay a small amount for parking.
9. Check out the suspension bridge.
The Capilano Suspension Bridge is 140 meters (459 feet) long and rises 70 meters (230 feet) above the Capilano River. The living forest gives you the chance to explore the beautiful ecosystem with your kids. You and your children can even get badges from the Kids’ Rainforest Explorer Program by collecting data and solving clues about the rainforest. There is also the treetop adventure, which is like a giant jungle gym composed of several smaller suspension bridges built over the lush canopy. If you happen to be here around Christmastime, the lights on the trees are a magical sight unlike anything else.
Website: Capilano Suspension Bridge
Address: 3735 Capilano Road
Hours: The Capilano Suspension Bridge State Park is open from May 16th – September 7th from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. with more limited hours in the fall, spring, and winter.
Cost: Adult admission to the park is $53.95, and there are discounted prices available for students, seniors, and youths. Children’s tickets are $16.95, while kids under the age of six are free.
10. Play and learn at Maplewood Farm.
Located in the northern part of the city, about ten minutes from the downtown area, Maplewood Farm is one of the best places to visit in Vancouver with kids. Here, they can meet the animals, including Rosie the donkey, Petunia the pig, and a trio of goats named Mocha, Priscilla, and Caramel. There are hands-on activities available to keep your little ones occupied, from attending a live milking and sheep shearing demonstration to feeding the ducks, chickens, and bunnies. There are plenty of farmhands available for answering questions as well as pony rides.
Website: Maplewood Farm
Address: 405 Seymour River Pl.
Hours: Maplewood Farm is open to the public Monday – Sunday from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Cost: Adult admission is $8.51, while children and seniors are $5.00.
Vancouver is an excellent place for the entire family. No matter your children’s ages, you will find something your children enjoy in this fantastic city. If you’ve been to Vancouver or plan on visiting soon, let us know what’s on your itinerary.