21 Ways to Enjoy Winter Fun in Vancouver

Spending BC Family Day in Vancouver is the perfect way to explore and enjoy the best of the what this west coast city has to offer - inside, outdoors and all around the metro region.

Nothing lifts the spirits more than looking forward to another holiday. That thought certainly keeps me going on those dark, rainy Vancouver days. The annual BC Family Day long weekend in February is a great way to enjoy family time, whether at home, in town, or at your nearest ski resort. Here are 21 ways to enjoy an epic BC family day in Vancouver – inside, outside, and all around this fair city.

21 Ways to Enjoy BC Family Day

Whistler-bound skiers and boarders rejoice. Experience cosy, convenient Whistler ski-out resort bliss on Blackcomb Mountain with Wyndham Vacation Rentals.

Go Skiing

Family of four lift passes for a day’s worth of skiing/snowboarding range widely, depending on the ski resort. For Whistler Blackcomb, lift tickets are 50% off on Family Day, Monday, February 12th. If you need to rent equipment, there are extra fees involved. Skiing and snowboarding are not a cheap sports, but they really are great fun. If lessons are needed, the three north shore hills have excellent kids and adults ski and board lesson programs. You’d be surprised at how quickly your child learns to snowplow down the mountain – even in one weekend!

Note: If your child is in Grade 4 or 5, they are eligible to apply for the Canadian Ski Council’s annual SkiPass, giving them up to 3 free lift tickets to nearly every ski resort in BC and Alberta, including all three north shore mountains and Whistler. For details and to apply, visit www.snowpass.ca.

Spending BC Family Day in Vancouver is the perfect way to explore and enjoy the best of the what this west coast city has to offer - inside, outdoors and all around the metro region.

Work the Brain at TELUS World of Science

Just because it’s a holiday weekend doesn’t mean we can’t learn! A day of fun and learning awaits at Science World in Vancouver’s False Creek. The Kidspace Gallery and Playground caters to younger kids (2-6 years), while the Eureka and Bodyworks Galleries focusing on music and the life sciences. Watch OmniMax theatre shows for an added fee.

Go Snowshoeing

There’s great snowshoeing in those north shore hills! At Mount Seymour, you can rent snowshoes or bring your own pair to hit the specially-marked trails in the provincial park. Go on your own or with a guided group (recommended) if you’re new. Snowshoeing is great exercise in the beautiful outdoors, with great views of the city on a clear, sunny day. Remember to stay out of bounds of the ticketed ski resort area.

BC Family Day in Vancouver is the perfect time to explore and enjoy the best of the what this west coast city has to offer - inside, outdoors and all around the region.

Try Ziplining

Winter ziplining is way different from the summer version. It can be cold, especially as you gain speed. So bundle up the kids and be sure to wear toques under those helmets. Whistler’s Superfly Ziplines is rip roaring fun, where you can reach up to 100 km per hour. Superfly runs the only backcountry, tandem zip lines in Whistler, in a stunning mountain setting. The braking system for each line absorbs the speed and force of the rider, who arrives at full speed. No need to brake on your own!

Get Back to Nature

A visit to serene Reifel Bird Sanctuary in Ladner is a family favorite. Keep on the lookout for birds of prey like eagles and owls. Count snow geese and robins, and buy a bag of seed to feed the ducks. Pack along the kids binoculars and climb the birding towers for the best views.

Go Cross-Country Skiing

Cypress Mountain has the most extensive local cross-country ski trails near Vancouver. Further down the Sea to Sky, the Callaghan Valley has great trails, as does Manning Park, three hours east of the city.

Visit the Museum of Anthropology – MOA

Explore First Nations history at the iconic Museum of Anthropology at UBC in Point Grey. Families with kids are welcome to discover thousands of years of First Nations artifacts and history, including Haida carver and sculptor Bill Reid’s Raven and the First Men. Catch a free, guided tour to delve into the history of the artifacts and place.

Whistler-bound skiers and boarders rejoice. Experience cosy, convenient Whistler ski-out resort bliss on Blackcomb Mountain with Wyndham Vacation Rentals.

Experience Snowtubing

Both Cypress & Seymour Mountains have Snow Tube Parks. The family can spend a couple hours or a day sliding down the specially designed snow tube hill in custom snow tubes, while getting  a ride back up on the tube tow line. A two-hour rental rate will cost approximately $25 (per person).

Get Your Art On

The Vancouver Art Gallery offers free admission for kids ages 12 and under on Family Day. Enjoy art workshops and live music, and one of the best hidden lunch spots in town.

Hang Out in the Kids Market

The Granville Island Kids Market has lots of great shops with kid-friendly toys and products. But it’s also a family-fun arcade, with a multi-level jungle gym to climb around in. For Family Day weekend, planned activities include face-painting, crafting and entertainment to keep wee ones busy.

Go Tobogganing

Mount Seymour has a great Toboggan Park, where you can bring your own toboggan or sliding mat (no inflatables allowed) for only $8 (pp) per day, or $32 for family of five. It’s probably the most reasonable snow play deal to be found anywhere. If there’s snow in the city, head to Queen Elizabeth Park for free sliding fun down the hills.

BC Family Day in Vancouver is the perfect time to explore and enjoy the best of the what this west coast city has to offer - inside, outdoors and all around the region.

Sleep over at the Vancouver Aquarium

Sign up for the Aquarium’s ‘PJs, Paws and Jaws’ family sleepover on Sunday, February 11th. Kids can spend hours (mine have) at the Vancouver Aquarium, so why not an evening too? There are just so many amazing animals to see. Sharks, frogs, otters, colourful fish, and hundreds of other sea creatures fascinate children, and parents too. Kids can take care of ‘sick’ sea otters in the Clownfish Cove area. If you plan to visit often, take out a family membership. It’s good value with member benefits like early admission and guest passes.

As the Aquarium is in Stanley Park, enjoy a walk along the nearby Seawall if the weather’s nice. Or wear your wellies and compete to find the deepest, wettest puddle. It’s only water after all.

Pet the Animals at Maplewood Farm

North Vancouver’s Maplewood Farm is a young animal-lovers delight. Children enjoy seeing horses, cows and pigs, and they can pet many of the animals, including rabbits and goats. Buy a package of bird seed to feed the ducks at the duckpond and chickens in the barn.

Go Skating

If your child loves practicing her jumps and sit spins, Grouse Mountain has a 8,000 sq ft skating rink to enjoy. Admission to the Skating Pond is included in the Grouse Mountain Admission, Winter Pass or day Lift Ticket.

BC Family Day in Vancouver is the perfect time to explore and enjoy the best of the what this west coast city has to offer - inside, outdoors and all around the region.

Vancouver Police Museum

Learn all there is to know about the history of policing and crime at the Vancouver Police Museum.  Visitors can check out legal and confiscated weaponry, the old morgue and coroner’s rooms, identify counterfeit money, and take a pretend mug shot. Hopefully you’ll never have to pose for a real one.

Go Back in Time at Fort Langley

For the Family Day long weekend, historic Fort Langley hosts lots of old-fashioned activities. Put the kids to work at 19th century family chores. Take photos in period costumes, eat some fried bannock, and pick up blacksmithing and coopering tips at demonstrations. The charming village of Fort Langley has lots of cafe and restaurant options for families.

BC Family Day in Vancouver is the perfect time to explore and enjoy the best of the what this west coast city has to offer - inside, outdoors and all around the region.

Visit Britannia Mine Museum

If you ever wondered how miners go to the bathroom in the mine shaft, you’ll find answers here. Explore the Britannia Mine Museum with underground tours of its old mining tunnels. Pan for gold and strike it rich at the Gold Panning Pavilion. This National Historic Site offers a glimpse back into the life of the mine and the town at Britannia Beach.

Summit Lodge at the Sea to Sky Gondola

Ride the Sea to Sky Gondola

Winter is in full swing at the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish. The Gondola is offering access at 50% off admission for the BC Family Day long weekend. There are easy hiking and walking paths to enjoy at the Summit, not to mention the stellar views of Howe Sound fjord and the Garibaldi mountains. There’s also snowshoeing, tubing, and ski touring.

Vancouver Maritime Museum

Showcasing the unique maritime history of Vancouver, British Columbia, and the Canadian Arctic. Located in Kits Point, the Maritime Museum has interactive maritime history displays and a great children’s section (including pirate dress-up). Attendees can tour the RCMP St. Roch, the first vessel to sail the Northwest Passage from west to east.

Find a Great Escape

Pool the family hive-mind to solve the puzzle adventure at Find and Seek. This kid-friendly escape room combines imaginative fun with engaging story lines and simple game play. Hopefully everyone makes it out alive…

BC Family Day in Vancouver is the perfect time to explore and enjoy the best of the what this west coast city has to offer - inside, outdoors and all around the region.

Gulf of Georgia Cannery Museum

The Gulf of Georgia Cannery in Steveston, Richmond, is one of the few intact canneries on the west coast. This national historic site showcases the industrial history of the west coast salmon fishery. Learn of the importance of salmon to the First Nations and early Vancouver populations. After touring the cannery, wander around historic Steveston and stop for lunch or ice cream on the dock.

Pin for Later

Spending a winter weekend in Vancouver is the perfect way to explore and enjoy the best of the what this west coast city has to offer - inside, outdoors and all around the metro region. #britishcolumbia #familytravel #familyday #explorebc #wintertravel

 

Photo Credits: C Laroye, Tourism Vancouver, Sea to Sky Gondola, Shutterstock, Tourism Whistler

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22 Comments

  • Linda says:

    This is a great comprehensive list of things to do in Vancouver. One of our favourite places to visit. I did not know about sleeping at the aquarium. Steveston was one of our favourite spots and a great place to go whale watching. Have you visited Lynn Valley suspension bridge? It is a bit conservation area and has swimming areas. Kids were having a blast jumping from the rocks when we visited.

  • Indrani says:

    Such wonderfully curated activities for children. Maritime museum and Police museum impressed me the most. It is important to introduce children to such aspects too in addition to all fun filled activities.

  • Danik says:

    I love BC and the Vancouver area. Such an amazing area and a great place for the whole family to go out and have a great time. Love your tips here.

  • Diana says:

    I’m a total fan of Vancouver — love the city, the food and the culture. And of course, skiing in Whistler is priceless!

  • Maggie says:

    I’ve wanted to go back to Vancouver for a while, and it seems like Family Day is a good time to go. I’d love to take my daughter snow tubing, though she would love the kids market.

  • Dana says:

    I haven’t been to Vancouver but it looks amazing! So many awesome things to do. My kids would love to sleep at the Vancouver Aquarium and I’ve always wanted to try snowshoeing!

  • Dawn says:

    So many great ideas! This post totally reminds me how much I love Vancouver. Love that they have a Kids Market – cool concept!

  • Carol says:

    Vancouver is one of the best cities to live in. When we lived in Seattle, we often went. Endless treasures as you outlined here.

  • Ariana says:

    I am not sure if we will ever be in Canada for BC day, but it sounds awesome all the same!

  • Tom says:

    These are some great activities, not just for children, but everyone else too! I’ve wanted to visit BC for a while now. These activities have given me reasont to visit in both Summer and winter. Great post, thanks for sharing!

  • Christine says:

    I have heard but praises for Vancouver and now I can see why. I love your detailed list of all the museums in the area. Sounds like a good place for everyone with several options of things to do: from history and culture buff like me and to outdoorsy people.

  • I love the idea of a Family Weekend. I’ve never been to Vancouver but there’s such a rich selection of activities for families – it must be a great place for a holiday!

  • amit says:

    I have to say, I would do all these activities myself – Skiiying well snowboarding would defiently be the first choice, – Haha I love the sleepover in an aquarium choice, right when I have kids I’m taking them to that fore sure. Fort Langley must have been quite the education and quite a shock to the system

  • Paige W says:

    Vancouver is such a gorgeous place! I went to the Museum of Anthropology a few years ago and I was insanely impressed! I’d love to go to the Art Museum the next time I’m there! Also, I’m dying to try snowshoeing! I love that these things are activities that are great whether or not you have children.

  • Meagan says:

    I love how so many of these activities are family-friendly, but aren’t JUST for families with kids. Most of these look like things Luke and I would love to do! And yet, somehow, we missed a bunch of them on our last trip. Maybe we can get back sometime in the winter so we can go snowshoeing or something. Thank you for this great, comprehensive list!!

  • Mike says:

    So many awesome adventures. The one that really caught my eye is the Toboggan Park, since i grew up ridding a tobaggan with my dad every winter near our house….but have never heard of a park for them. So cool!

  • Katja says:

    We loved the Sea to Sky Gondola when we visited BC. If only I’d known about the PJs, Paws and Jaws sleepover at the aquarium, however, my kids would have LOVED this!

  • Vancouver seems so breathtaking and a great place to visit. It definitely has a lot to offer, Claudia. The Police Museum seems definitely worth visiting. When’s the best time of the year to explore Vancouver?

  • Dianne says:

    I had no idea there were so many things to do in Vancouver. We were there a year ago. Clearly we need to visit again!

  • I went to Vancouver bit never think to do such things. Thanks for your ideas, My next trip will be with full of enjoyment with help of your interesting ideas.

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