See the Animals at The Vancouver Aquarium
This is an iconic Vancouver activity with kids. The Vancouver Aquarium is an amazing place to learn about local ocean wildlife. Some of our favourite animals to visit at the aquarium are the playful sea otters, seals & sea lions, the sea turtle, shark & even the monkeys!! There are also opportunities for children to interact with animals in the touch pools or to enjoy a movie at the 4D theatre!
One of the best things about the aquarium is that it is located within Stanley Park so it’s easy to combine a visit with a trail walk, trip to a beach or even a ride on the mini train (see below) !
Splash & Swim at Watermania
Vancouver is home to many incredible indoor swimming pools (and several stunning outdoor ones in the summer). Of the many Vancouver area pools that we have visited, our top year-round pick for kids is Watermania in Richmond, BC. This gem, which even many Vancouver locals do not know about, has an exciting water playground with tons of interactive spray features, two huge waterslides, a wave pool, giant tipping bucket, hot tubs and so much more. If you have a kid who loves to swim, you NEED to check this spot out!
Wonder & Discover at Science World
Science World is a fantastic indoor activity for kids in Vancouver. If you’re visiting with young children ages 5 and under, you’ll LOVE the Wonder Gallery. The Wonder Gallery includes tons of interactive activities for the youngest little scientists to enjoy, including a giant ‘lite-brite’, water play area & climbing structure. For bigger kids, learn about the human body at the BodyWorks exhibit or build something in the Tinkering Space! There is also an amazing interactive outdoor park and play space!
Explore a Beach
No matter what time of year it is, Greater Vancouver has beautiful beaches to explore. One of our all-time favourites is Ambleside Beach in West Vancouver. The beach itself is made of soft sand & overlooks Burrard Inlet with views of Lions Gate Bridge & the beautiful Stanley Park. The Vancouver Seawall runs right along the beach & there is also an amazing playground that overlooks the beach. We also love the BoatShed Restaurant, which serves delicious food and has a patio that looks out at the beach! For more info about all the amazing things to do at Ambleside Beach, check out our detailed post!
Within the City of Vancouver, families will love Kits Beach, or Second Beach, which is located in Stanley Park!
Further outside the city are a number of lake beaches, which are great options for swimming in the summer months. Our personal favourite lake beach is at Rolley Lake!
Ride a Gondola
There are several gondolas to choose from within a 2 hour drive from Vancouver. Just outside the city, located on the North Shore, is the Grouse Gondola. However, if you’re willing to drive a bit farther, we highly recommend either the Sea to Sky Gondola near Squamish, BC, which has a ton of kid-friendly features like easy hiking trails, play areas and a suspension bridge located at the top of the gondola. Or, for an epic, experience of a lifetime, visit the Peak-to-Peak Gondola in Whistler. This is the longest unsupported Gondola in the world and is truly impressive.
Take a Spin on a Mini Train
Ok, if you have a toddler or little kid in your house, then you know how exciting it is to be able to take a train ride 😆 . Greater Vancouver is home to several miniature train rides that your littles will LOVE. Our absolute favourite train ride is located in Stanley Park. This train winds through the beautiful Stanley Park forest. In summer, learn all about the wildlife and history of the park. At Christmas time, the route is coined the Stanley Park Bright Lights and is lit up with a stunning light display.
We also love the Bear Creek Train located in Surrey and the Greater Vancouver Zoo train located in Aldergrove.
See the Dinos at the Greater Vancouver Zoo
An amazing Vancouver experience for kids is the Mesozoic Adventure at the Greater Vancouver Zoo. Here, kids can walk through paths that take them past Giant, life-like animatronic dinosaurs. There’s also a cool fossil dog zone where kids can try their hand at being little archaeologists!
In addition to the dinosaurs, the zoo is home to three baby grizzlies, a fun train ride, and many other animals. We also love that kids are welcome to bring their scooters or bikes and ride through the zoo along wide, paved pathways!
Stroll on a Suspension Bridge
Probably the most famous suspension bridge in the Vancouver area is Capilano Suspension Bridge. But locals have a secret… just down the road is another beautiful suspension bridge that is completely FREE! And just as exciting. The Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge, located in North Vancouver looks out over a beautiful river canyon and links to two kid-friendly trails. This is one of our absolute favourite destinations in the Vancouver area. Our best tip for visiting? Go on a rainy day! You’ll beat the crowds but still have a magical experience!
Go for a Hike
The Vancouver area is one of the most beautiful places in the world. And there are tons of easy, kid-friendly hikes that will allow the whole family to enjoy the natural beauty of BC’s lower mainland.
One of the real gems of the area is Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver. Lighthouse Park is home to enormous old growth forest, incredible ocean views & a historic lighthouse. The network of trails includes a stroller-friendly main road, which will lead you to the lighthouse viewpoint.
Another of our favourite kid-friendly hiking spots is Capilano River Regional Park. This park is home to the incredible Cleveland Dam, Capilano River & Salmon Hatchery, as well as, beautiful, lush west coast forests.
Looking for even more family-friendly hikes? Check out our list of stroller-friendly trails on Vancouver’s North Shore.
Visit a Playground
Playgrounds are the ultimate kid-friendly activity. Greater Vancouver has tons of amazing playgrounds to explore, and many of them also have great views for parents to enjoy while their kids play.
One of Greater Vancouver’s most unique & epic playgrounds is Terra Nova Adventure Park, which is located just south of the airport in Richmond, BC. This play area has a massive 10m tall climbing structure & spiral slide, tandem ziplines, low ropes obstacle course, super tall swings, and so much more.
A little further out of the city you’ll find some absolutely incredible playgrounds in Langley, BC. A local gem is Brydon Park, which features an incredibly fun & unique rollercoaster zipline! We’ve travelled to MANY playgrounds across Canada & haven’t seen this feature anywhere else – it is worth the visit!
We also love the Dinosaur-themed playground at City Park and the super tall, beach-themed climbing structures & slides at Aldergrove Credit Union Community Centre.
For more amazing playgrounds near Vancouver, check out our list of the Best Playgrounds for Toddlers on Vancouver’s North Shore or our list of the Best Playgrounds in South Surrey & White Rock!
Have another favourite thing to do with kids in Vancouver?! We would love to hear from you!