The kids are back in school, but that doesn’t mean all their time is accounted for. When the weekends come around and your schedule is mysteriously empty, remember there is no shortage of free activities to entertain the kids.
Here are six free places to go in Metro Vancouver that kids will love.
They are big, loud and frightening close when you watch them take off near YVR. A great spot to view planes fly overhead is at the new McArthur Glen Outlet Mall just one Canada Line stop before the airport. For grown-ups there is coffee, shopping and treats and for the kids, a swanky new playground and, of course, tons of airplanes.
Lynn Canyon is a great spot to explore any time of the year, and that includes the immersive Ecology Centre where children can learn all about big and small forest creatures, plants and ecosystems. Trails around the area vary in difficulty, but kids will especially love the flat Rice Lake loop that winds around a tranquil lake stocked with fish.
Another spot worth checking out, especially for the nature-minded children, is the Capilano River Hatchery where you may see spawning salmon and small fish developing from the egg stage. In the fall, the types of salmon possibly on hand include Chinook Adults, Coho Adults and Coho Juveniles. A short walk on the surrounding forest trails will display some of Vancouver’s most incredible scenery.
On Tuesday evenings, the Vancouver Art Gallery opens its doors for by-donation admission, allowing anyone to visit the rotating art displays at whatever cost they choose. This one might be better for older children, but it is always fun to discuss how each person interprets art differently. This fall will see seven new exhibitions enter the gallery, including Northwest Coast art and Canadian landscapes.
All aboard! The Engine 374 Pavilion located at Roundhouse Community Centre in Yaletown is an educational journey into Canada’ past railway history. Staffed with volunteers, children and adults can learn about Engine 374’s history being the first transcontinental passenger train to bring visitors and new residents to Vancouver in 1887. The pavilion is open daily and just across the street from the Yaletown Canada Line stop.
There is so much to see and do at Granville Island, but for children the best stop is always the Kids Market. Stocked with hundreds of toys, and even a kids-only hair salon, the Market is a great place to window shop (or actually shop) in between tasting local treats from nearby shops and enjoying the popular playground.