From cultural explorations to movie inspirations, here are great family-friendly spring activities
At this time last year, my family was supposed to depart for our first-ever European vacation, with plans to spend spring break sojourning through the south of France. A year later, and we’ve come to accept that due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, we’ll be spending this spring break close to home. While we can’t travel to far-off places, there are lots of far-out things we can do in our city.
Check out 10 terrific local activities for the weeks ahead...
1. Go out for a fancy family dinner
Facebook/Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster BarOur family hasn’t dined out in over a year, so a fancy dinner out with our household bubble is at the top of our spring break to-do list. Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar is a restaurant that I’ve always wanted to try, so when they introduced their first-ever kids’ menu (available for a limited time only), featuring a three-course experience that is designed to impress both young foodies and picky eaters, I was excited to give it a go.
Created by Executive Chef Roger Ma, and inspired by General Manager JP Potters’ daughter Jamie, the menu combines classic kid favourites made with premium ingredients (chicken fingers and burgers) with more elevated options still fit for young diners (steak frites and prawn cocktail). To complete the dining experience, kids can satisfy their sweet tooth with an ice cream bowl, the ultimate dessert platter featuring an assortment of toppings, chocolate sauce, and whipped cream so little diners can build their dream dessert.
2. Take a guided cultural tour through Stanley Park
Talaysay ToursI remember visiting the totem poles of Stanley Park on class field trips during my childhood days, but it wasn’t until I tried the new Talking Totems Indigenous Art Tour offered by Talaysay Tours, that I learned about the history of Stanley Park and the stories, styles and practices behind the treasured totems.
Stanley Park Totem Park was established in 1920 and is representative of five distinct Indigenous cultures on the coasts of B.C. and Washington, so there’s lots to learn about the sky-high structures. Led by a member of the local Salish community, you’ll feel a deep connection with the history of the land, and the welcome figures and sculptures that share the rich stories of the peoples who have lived in the region from time immemorial. If you’d prefer to take the tour from home, virtual tour options are available as well.
3. Plan a Yes Day
NetflixAs a family of five with kids ranging in age from six to 13, it’s not often that we can find a family movie that satisfies everyone in our house. When the recently-released Yes Day came to Netflix, we couldn’t wait to give it a try! Starring Jennifer Garner and Edgar Ramirez, who play relatable parents who have gotten too used to using the word “No” with their kids, the movie follows the family for a full day of action-packed adventure as the parents agree to only say “Yes” to the wishes of their children for a full 24 hours.
Not only did our whole family enjoy the movie, my kids are now desperate to try having a YES day in our house as well. With some boundaries in place, we might give it a try... as long as the shenanigans aren’t as severe as in the movie!
4. Rediscover Science World
Science WorldScience World has reopened with a reduced capacity and safety protocols in place to ensure that your family has a fun and safe visit. Their newest exhibit, Arctic Voices, is sure to impress, taking visitors on a journey over the tundra and into the world’s northernmost biome to connect with the Arctic through its people, ecology, wildlife and way of life. Other permanent favourites such as the BodyWorks exhibit and the Eureka! Gallery are open and ready for little ones to explore.
Note: The Peter Brown Family Centre Stage, Wonder Gallery, Omnimax Theatre, Science Theatre and Ken Spencer Science Park are all currently closed. Book tickets in advance online to reserve your spot.
5. Go snow tubing at a local mountain
Mount SeymourSay goodbye to the snow before the warm spring weather melts it away with a day of snow play on a local mountain. The trifecta of nearby North Shore mountains (Cypress, Grouse and Seymour) offer snow tubing parks where families can slip-slide the day away, or for more slope-savvy families, skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing are great options for outdoor fun.
6. Take a swing at mini golf
Castle Fun ParkFrom Castle Fun Park in Abbotsford to North Van's Seymour Creek Golf Mini Putt, the Lower Mainland is full of mini golf and pitch-and-putt destinations that provide outdoor fun for the whole family. Whether you’re a first-timer or an avid golfer, mini golf is a great way to connect with your family while enjoying a little friendly competition.
7. Cycle the seawall
Tourism VancouverStanley Park offers a simple, scenic seawall cycling route that everyone with a bike should try at least once. Whether you try the full 10 kilometre loop, or take a shorter tour through the city's downtown gem, it's a great destination for cyclists of all ages. Stop at Second Beach for a play on the swings, check out Brockton Point Lighthouse, or bike around the Beaver Lake loop. There are lots of options to keep kids entertained along the way.
8. Do the Train Wreck hike
Bianca BujanHead up the Sea-to-Sky highway and take a scenic kilometre-long stroll through a coastal rainforest to the Train Wreck site, one of Whistler’s most unique hiking spots. Teether across a suspension bridge that dangles over the Cheakamus River, and then be awed by the rainbow-coloured boxcars that sit wedged between the trees.
If you want to extend your trek, take a try at Trash Trail loop, a more technical hike that weaves through the trees, along the river, past waterfalls, and eventually takes you back to Jane Lakes Road.
9. Find hidden treasures at Redwood Park Fairy Forest
Redwood Park Fairy ForestLocated in South Surrey, this magical park features a fun wooden treehouse with a storied past, and hidden treasures found throughout the forest. Tiny, rainbow-coloured fairy houses are sprinkled throughout the area, creating an enchanted land that is sure to wow tiny trekkers. Some are made with store-bought materials and painted in bright colours, and others are made using natural materials found on site. Kids are welcome to add their own creation, or craft their own using sticks and stones found on their journey through the forest.
10. Explore the new features offered at Britannia Mine Museum
Britannia MineThe Britannia Mine Museum is open during the break, offering the usual exhibits (pan for gold, take the underground train tour through the mining tunnels, and explore the giant mining trucks), as well as their newest offering, Boom!, a multi-sensory, live-action attraction that showcases the stories, sights and sounds behind the architectural marvel. This is a great spot to enjoy family fun while learning about the history behind one of the province’s top tourist attractions.