When you take a stroll around Vancouver, you may be surprised by the number of elementary schools around Vancouver and in the downtown core. Like New York City, Vancouver has a very high and dense residential population, which means that it's a city that caters to more than just business people during the day, and fun-loving social butterflies at night; kids are well looked after in the fun department, too.
During the summer months, it's easy to find things to do with the kids. All of the beaches are family friendly, and it's an ideal way to get outside and have your little ones burn off some of their energy. Plus, it's totally free! If you have access to bikes, a ride around the Seawall to get to the beach of your choice, is like giving your kids two adventures in one. Pack a picnic, some beach toys, a towel and you're set for hours of enjoyment. Mom and dad can also enjoy a little rest and relaxation on the beach, and snap pictures of the gorgeous views. Stanley Park has a water park area for the little ones, which is often full of smiling and laughing youngsters on a hot day. It's a great alternative if you don't want to get sand involved in your day.
While you're in Stanley Park, the Vancouver Aquarium is a must visit, and will wow all ages. Step inside the underwater wonderland and get a glimpse of the creatures that lurk beneath. There are a few different areas to explore and one of them is dedicated specifically to British Columbia. The exhibition takes you up the coast and shows you the colorful underwater life that calls those areas of BC home. There's everything from sharks, gigantic catfish, soaring sea turtles, sea lions, otters, Beluga whales, tropical birds and a slue of different bugs. The trainers care deeply for the animals at the aquarium and work closely with them on a daily basis, and you can see their bond during the shows that they put on during the day. One of the most fascinating areas of the aquarium is the rainforest area; complete with humid weather and sleeping sloths.
Vancouver Aquarium — Photo courtesy of Tourism Vancouver/Coast Mountain Photography
The Aquarium is perfect for a rainy day, as is Telus World of Science. Kids will be entertained for hours inside this knowledge building attraction. Science World makes learning fun for kids, and even adults will walk away with some new facts to bust out at your next dinner party. There are evergreen displays that mingle with rotating exhibitions and IMAX films. Sat right on the Seawall in False Creek, getting their by car, bus, Skytrain and bike are a breeze.
Granville Island is a favorite amongst foodies and those that like to shop, which may sound like it's for adults only. However, the Kids Market is geared completely to them. If it's your little girl's big day, why not pamper her with a day to feel like a princess at the salon? Cool toys, educational books and creative crafts are just a few of the things that you can find here. Bonus points go to the water park that they can play in outside of the Kids Market when the sun is shining.
From downtown Vancouver, you can see the soaring mountains in the city and kid friendly things to do can also be found way at the top of Grouse Mountain. The gondola ride up is a run trip in itself, but the top has a Grizzly bear enclosure, wildlife shows, beautiful view, The Eye of the Wind and lumberjack shows that will latch onto your kids attention span.
While you're on the North Shore, you may want to take a trip over to Capilano Suspension Bridge. There are a number of tree-top canopy walks; think bridges built amongst the trees that creates a big tree house atmosphere. Scattered around the walks are informative panels and displays to teach kids about the beautiful nature they're amongst. If you're watching your wallet, there's a small hike in Lynn Canyon that will bring you to a free suspension bridge. It's not quite the same as what you will find at Capilano, but it's pretty awesome.
Capilano Suspension Bridge — Photo courtesy of Tourism Vancouver
Vancouver is a vibrant and busy city and part of the charm is nurtured by the families that call Vancouver home. In turn, Vancouver is a very kid friendly city where things to keep the little ones busy never seem to run out.