The kids are off from school this summer but that doesn’t mean the learning should stop. If you are looking for some fun activities that will broaden your children’s scope and get them excited about nature, look no further than Vancouver Island.
The picturesque Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park located in Parksville provides endless hours of enrichment. The park offers a newer playground as well as fantastic beginner level hiking and biking trails. Picnic tables and clean washroom facilities are abundant but you must brace yourself for the outhouse experience. Bring your pet and be sure to also bring a leash. There are no dogs allowed on the beach area although they are allowed in the park.
The beach boasts a very low tide revealing a vast sandy expanse that can be explored for hours. A treasure hunt will enhance the experience. Organize a hunt for sand dollars which are plentiful on the beach, baby crabs, shells, interesting rocks, sea kelp and anything else you can imagine. Keep in mind that sand dollars and other beach dwellers are living creatures and they, like all animals, are happiest in the wild. Before or after visiting the park, impress your children with these fun Sand Dollar activities.
A Buggy Adventure
The Victoria Bug Zoo is a wonderful adventure for any family travelling to Victoria. They are open from 10 am to 5 pm daily.
Admission is free for those 4 and under and goes up to $12 for adults.
This is an educational facility that focuses on debunking negative stereotypes and misinformation circulating regarding insects. They educate the public with scientific facts.
Bring your camera and explore around 50 spectacular species of bugs. Get your scare on by checking out the glow-in-the-dark scorpions and don’t miss Canada’s largest ant colony. There are tours happening all day so you will not miss out on the fun arriving at any time.
Insect terrariums are one of the best ways to explore bugs in your own home. They can be found cheaply at some dollar stores. Use a magnifying glass to search for bugs in the backyard or down at the local park. Ladybugs, ants, and beetles are favourites.
The Raptor Centre, found in Duncan is an organization dedicated to the protection of raptors, as they are being threatened by human activity all over the globe. The list of at-risk species of birds of prey is getting larger. This organization seeks to protect these birds by educating the public and igniting a sense of responsibility in our population.
Open daily 10:30 am to 5 pm.
Admission ranges from $8 for children to $50 for a family of five and includes flying demos (three per day in summer at 11:30 am, 1:30 pm and 3:30 pm). They are 30-40 min during which they provide education on five different birds.
Looking for something for the kids? They offer a short encounter for children which includes handling a smaller bird. Check out their Hawk Walk and One Hour encounter as well.
For educational enrichment check out these Raptor activities.
Butchart Gardens is a luscious garden that will impress you year-round. With 55 acres of gardens, there is a huge amount to see. From June 15 to September 2 they are open 8:45 am-10 pm daily.
Admission is between $18 and $33 for adults depending on the time of year.
Every night through July and August there is live entertainment on the Concert Lawn outdoor stage. They host a variety of performances including the Victoria Symphony and Ballet E’Toille. There is a firework display that will knock your socks off every Saturday. Check the website for the display start time as it changes weekly!
Christmas is lovely at the gardens with ice skating, hot chocolate, gingerbread, carolers and more.
Children love to learn about the flora and this garden provides loads of opportunity to explore the world of plants. Warm up to your visit by delving into some life-cycle activities. Check out The Kindergarten Connection.
The Horne Lake Caves is an award-winning caving experience located outside of Qualicum that will challenge and excite your kids to learn about cave formations.
The schedule varies between seasons but a variety of tours are available to suit any family with a positive attitude and some energy for a fun day. Be sure to book tours in advance.
The Self-Guided tour is available 10 am-5 pm daily. They offer several tour options from the 1hr Main Cave Experience at $27 to the 5hr Extreme Cave Rappel at $169
Get ready for this adventure by brushing up on cave formations and try this cool experiment at home. Make a baking soda stalactite cave pillar!