The Pacific National Exhibition is open, which can only mean one thing: it’s time to be a kid again. There is serious potential for fabulous family fun this year, but you need to plan your day for it to fly without a hitch…and by hitch we mean meltdown. Follow our five mandatory steps for success and this day might be the highlight of summer.
1. Save both money and time by purchasing tickets in advance. Buy tickets online or at a participating vendor like Safeway. Children 13 and under are free at the gate, but everyone has to pay to experience the rides.
2. Go early. Everyone is better off early in the day, the lineups are shorter, and parking is plentiful. Fuel up with a nutritious breakfast since your healthy options are limited once you enter the gate.
3. Wear sunscreen, bring water and sun hats, and choose runners instead of flip flops. In fact, pack like you’re going on a hike, just an urban one. The fair is spread out, so prepare to walk enough to work off your corn dog.
4. Ride with caution. So many whirly turns can make for an ugly headache or an even uglier stomach, so try to stagger rides with visits to the exhibitions. Little ones will love the farm animals and the new dinosaur exhibit, while adults will adore the Beatles memorabilia on display. Different bands play every night on two stages, so check the concert listings.
5. Not to be missed are the SuperDogs, a PNE classic for animal lovers, and new this year, Peter Pan, playing nightly at 7:30 and featuring former Olympic gymnast Cathy Rigby. Good to Know: It’s worth spending the extra $20 for a great view. Plenty of new food vendors at the fair offer inventive food—Jurassic Pork Mac and Cheese anyone?—but the warm mini-donuts are always a crowd pleaser.
It’s been running for over a hundred years for a reason—the PNE promises fun for the whole family, and this year it truly delivers.
School’s not in session yet. Get the most out of summer while it’s here. What to do? We’ve got 6 Family Day Trips Around Vancouver.