Having a family isn’t cheap, but there are still plenty of places in Vancouver where you can all go to have maximum fun on a minimum budget. Here are some of our family’s favourite spots in and around Vancouver where everyone can have a good time without breaking the bank.
Dinosaurs, Picnics, Parks And A Farm All In One Day
UBC has a number of fun family spots that are free or low cost.
The UBC Farm has, among other things, a children’s learning garden and a children’s greenhouse nestled within its grounds which have various opening times throughout the year, depending on the crop growing season. Dogs on a leash are also welcomed.
After a busy morning pause for a picnic at the park. Nobel Park in Wesbrook has a large playground suitable for the under and over 5’s, as well as plenty of shady picnic spots and tables.
Then visit the Pacific Museum of Earth at UBC where you can walk down Weather Alley and create a tornado, see fascinating fossils, and meet George, the PME’s Lambeosaurus. Open Monday to Friday from 10 am to 4 pm, entrance is free but a suggested donation of $5 is encouraged.
Live, Laugh, and Learn In The 1920’s
Spend a day of adventure at the Burnaby Village Museum and see how we lived during the 1920’s. Staff dressed in period costumes demonstrate traditional skills and learn from the Coast Salish educators about the importance of Burnaby lands to local first nations through stories and puppets. Ride a Model T car, have your photo taken with a Mountie in red serge, and visit the tram.
Open Tuesday to Sunday from 11 am to 4:30 pm, admission is free, and carousel rides are $2.65.
Burn Off Their Energy
Penzer Action Park in Langley City is a free facility for kids of all ages to run, jump and play. The kiddie-sized parkour zone has a safe wood chip surface and is perfect for the under 5’s. Older kids can discover the joys of movement in the adjacent full-size park with the in-ground trampoline, swinging bars, climbing walls, and balance beams.
The park is large and diverse enough for all ages and abilities, and there is also a basketball court, and skatepark for even more fun.
Discover Lower Lonsdale
Walk a section of the fully accessible Spirit Trail and stop at the playground with a fabulous panoramic view of downtown Vancouver. Discover shops in Lonsdale Quay and climb to the top of the building for a 360-degree view to watch the boats in Burrard Inlet and see the work on the ships in the drydocks.
Visit Shipyard Square, which has multiple free events as well as room to run and play, and stroll along the Burrard Dock Pier. On Fridays, during the summer they have a night market and over 40 food trucks. If you are really adventurous, you can search for “Fun Alley,” Vancouver’s brightest, most vividly decorated alleyway.
Enjoy An Art Attack
Arty under 12’s and their families can take advantage of free classes between 11 am and 12 pm every Saturday at ArtStarts. These unique sessions encourage children and their families to explore a wide range of art mediums and materials through which to express themselves.
Dig Your Inner Farmer
Situated on Balaclava Street at W 51st Vancouver is the little known Southlands Farm. Open every day from, and I quote, “ 9ish to 5ish” this hidden, lush, green gem is home to over 20 horses as well as sheep, chickens, and goats. An apple orchard, beehives, and vegetable patches provide a hands-on opportunity to learn where our food comes from and if you want to buy some farm fresh produce you can do so in the store. Dogs are welcome on a leash, and there is even a new parent and tot riding program. Entry is free, but there are two donation boxes and a farm store.
Most people know about the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre but did you know you can go stargazing at the observatory here for free? The observatory features a 1/2 metre Cassegrain telescope and knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff who are there to answer your questions and help you enjoy your time there. Saturday nights only, from 8:30 pm this may not be the best place for the little ones but older kids will love the combination of staying up late and seeing the stars and planets up close.