When it comes to having a fantastic vacation with the kids, even the most spontaneous of parents know that planning ahead is a must. At the top of the list of must-haves: a place with plenty of kid-friendly activities (to keep little minds engaged and meltdown-free), and great hotels for a comfortable stay.
Here are a few of our favorite family vacay destinations—all right here in gorgeous Canada.
Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park Zoo
What makes it unique: The new ‘Dinosaurs Alive’ and ‘Journey to Churchill’ exhibits are sure to thrill the whole family with both animals who currently roam the earth and those who’ve been extinct for millions of years.
This sprawling Winnipeg landmark presents a complete fun zone for kids, with an extensive zoo featuring exceptional exhibits and parks offering inflatables, playgrounds, and plenty of space to run free. Assiniboine Park Zoo‘s new dinosaur display features extraordinary, lifelike animals, while the Churchill exhibit is bustling with polar bears, muskoxen, Arctic foxes, wolves, and snowy owls best seen from the Gateway to the Arctic. The zoo even showcases how much they love their animals and employees by frequently featuring spotlight animals and zookeepers on their website and social media accounts.
Edmonton’s Muttart Conservatory
What makes it unique: You won’t find the awe-inspiring glass pyramids of Edmonton anywhere else—so come explore different types of vegetation from around the world and inspire wonder in your kids.
Don’t be surprised if after an afternoon of exploring the Muttart Conservatory, you find yourself awestruck by the natural beauty of botanicals. Amongst three other pyramids (Arid, Tropical, and Temperate), the ‘Feature Pyramid’ showcases an exhibit that rotates four times per year. This summer, ‘Jurassic Journey’ showcased prehistoric plants, while the upcoming fall will embrace exhibits honoring the Muttart Conservatory’s 40th Anniversary and ‘A Taste of Tuscany’ (the perfect time for mom and dad to sip a Flor Prosecco while touring through). On Tuesdays and Fridays, the conservatory offers activities to entertain kids around pre-school age, educating them about plants in an engaging way from 10:30 to 11:00 am.
Ottawa’s Saunders Farm
What makes it unique: Celebrating its 40th year of welcoming in families to play and explore, this farm features the world’s largest collection of hedge mazes.
After playing on splash pads, jumping pillows, and playgrounds, challenge the kids to a jaunt in one of Saunders Farm‘s hedge mazes or labyrinths. End the day with a hayride and one of the farm’s scheduled Farm to Table dinners, featuring themes like Family Pig Roast, Beautiful Summer Feast, and Family Festival Foods. It’s Ottawa—get outside!
Beginning late September through early November, also known as ‘Haunting Season’, millions of guests will flock to Ottawa for fall fun in the Barn of Terror, haunted mazes, and Ag-Arcade. Even better, this property partners with the Holiday Inn & Suites Ottawa Kanata for a convenient and cozy stay.
Halifax’s Perfect Day Downtown
What makes it unique: Reading, candy, and clay creations—a day in Halifax couldn’t get much better.
Enjoy the sea breeze and spend your day exploring the Halifax metro area, whether walking city streets or strolling along the Halifax waterfront. While the city is full of museums, the Museum of Natural History and the Discovery Centre stand out as must-sees for kids who love hands-on discovery and learning. (Note: Discovery Centre is temporarily closed for bigger and better renovations and will reopen in late 2016). After you’ve explored the museums, head over to the beautiful Halifax Central Library to read a few favorites. Make your own Halifax souvenir by visiting the Clay Café, where you can create affordable pieces of pottery to commemorate your amazing vacation. Close out the day with a Nutella milkshake at Freak Lunchbox.
Fredericton’s Science East Science Centre
What makes it unique: A hands-on science experience that operates out of Fredericton’s old jail? Consider us intrigued.
Got a science lover or two on your hands? Laughs, learning, and tons of fun are guaranteed at the interactive Science East. With a notoriously friendly staff, constantly rotating events and over 150 science exhibits, you won’t find that this collection of exhibits ever grows stale. You’re in luck if you visit Fredericton on a sunny day—Science East has a science-themed outdoor play area—the only one of its kind in Atlantic Canada. Located just two blocks from the centre, your family may want to consider a one-night package at the Crowne Plaza® Fredericton Lord Beaverbrook, where you can continue the fun in an indoor salt water pool.
St. John’s Suncor Energy Fluvarium
What makes it unique: If you’re wondering what on earth a fluvarium is, prepare to be surprised by this exclusive underwater experience, which doesn’t even require getting wet.
If you’ve been to St. John’s Pippy Park, you may have noticed an unusual building on the shore of Long Pond. This, in fact, is the only year-round public fluvarium in all of North America. Ranging from fish to plants to crazy creatures, discover underwater life through the Suncor Energy Fluvarium‘s underwater windows. For kids who love wildlife and nature, this is an absolute haven. Pro tip: call ahead and try to time up your visit with a fish feeding.
Interested in visiting one of these amazing locations for yourself? Round up the kids, pack the car, and to book your stay today.
This post is brought to you by IHG. Discover Canada in comfort by exploring IHG’s Canadian locations.