Sure, we know and love Vancouver for its outdoor activities; the wondrous bounty of beaches, hiking trails, and ski slopes. But surprise! There are a bevy of great family-friendly Vancouver museums that will guarantee hours of fun for kids and adults alike. So when the rainy days come – which they will, but even if they don’t – plan a visit to any of these seven unique museums to view 19th century costumes, totem poles, heavy mining machinery, and Vancouver’s first morgue. You may be surprised by what you learn in one of the excellent museums in Vancouver.
Seven Great Family-Friendly Museums in Vancouver
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.
Vancouver Police Museum
This fascinating museum presents the history of policing and crime in Vancouver. It’s located on the east side of the city. Founded in a heritage building that once housed the City morgue, the Vancouver Police Museum is packed with Vancouver Police Department history, weaponary displays, the old morgue and coroner’s rooms, and a very interesting display of Vancouver’s most notorious murders. Very cool for older kids interested in crime, punishment and getting (pretend) mug shots. Hopefully the only such photo they’ll every have.
Museum of Anthropology – MOA
A Top 10 Vancouver attraction for anyone visiting the city. The iconic Museum of Anthropology (MOA) was designed by Arthur Erickson and sits on the University of British Columbia(UBC) campus in Point Grey. It is the definitive First Nations museum in the province. 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.
Roedde House Museum
Uniquely restored heritage house in the heart of the West End of Vancouver. Built in 1893, Roedde House is the former home of Gustav Roedde, the city’s first bookbinder. Tour the Museum’s eleven rooms, faithfully restored with artifacts and period pieces to reflect the day-to-day life of a middle class, immigrant family at the turn of the 19th century. Is it haunted? You’ll have to visit to find out. Stanley Park and English Bay are just a few blocks from the Museum, so make a day of visiting the West End.
Britannia Mine Museum
If you ever wondered how miners go to the bathroom in the mine shaft, rest assured, you’ll find answers here. It’s actually fascinating, just like the rest of this wonderful national historic site. Britannia Mine Museum amazes visitors with the sheer size of the mining equipment on display, much less the interesting history of this former mining power-center. The village town site was built up the mountain from the mine, a unique twist on the usual mining-town locale. Kids can pan for gold, feel tiny next to giant trucks and diggers, and everyone can take a ride into one of the former mine shafts for a taste of the very hard mining days of old.
A visit to the Hastings Mill Museum provides a peek into the importance of forestry and the industrial past of Vancouver. As the city’s oldest building, the sawmill and first commercial operation on the south shore of Burred Inlet became the focal point of the settlement that would become Vancouver.
Gulf of Georgia Cannery Museum
One of few intact canneries on Canada’s west coast, located in Steveston, Richmond. The Gulf of Georgia Cannery national historic site showcases the industrial history of the west coast salmon fishery and the importance of salmon to the First Nations and early Vancouver populations. After touring the cannery and trying your hand in the interactive displays. Then wander around historic Steveston and stop for lunch or ice cream on the dock. (Fun fact: Steveston is the filming location for ABC’s Once Upon a Time series.)
Photo Credits: C. Laroye, Howard Sandler, Shutterstock
Do you have a favorite museum in your hometown? Share what you love about visiting museums in the comments.