10 Family-Friendly Attractions to Visit in Vancouver

Whether you have a day in town before a cruise or you are staying a week, Vancouver is packed with family fun. Here are our favorite, must-see attractions, from iconic totem poles to a world-class aquarium.

July 29, 2019
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Photo By: Tourism Vancouver

Photo By: Tourism Vancouver

Photo By: Tourism Vancouver

Photo By: Tourism Vancouver

Photo By: Rachael A. Jones

Photo By: Rachael A. Jones

Photo By: Tourism Vancouver

Photo By: Hubert Kang

Photo By: Rachael A. Jones

Photo By: Tourism Vancouver

Go Whale Watching

Vancouver is typically associated with winter sports thanks to the 2010 Winter Olympics, but there’s more than just fresh powder in this Pacific Northwest town. Today, more and more cruise ships are choosing Vancouver (over U.S. towns like Seattle) to port before heading on Alaskan sailings. If you’re visiting Vancouver and looking for things to do, you can’t go wrong with these picks. Some are even minutes away from the cruise terminal! One of the most iconic bucket list activities in the Pacific Northwest is whale watching and Vancouver is the gateway to orca sightings. (Though they’re not really whales at all, just really big dolphins.) Cruise the Salish Sea with pun-tastic Prince of Whales Whale Watching for a chance to see transient orcas, harbor seals, eagles and more wildlife. Even in the summer it can get chilly on the water, but the crew provides complimentary beanies, gloves and hot chocolate to keep you warm and toasty.

Explore Grouse Mountain

You may remember Grouse Mountain from the 2010 Winter Olympics, but this mountain is so much more than skiing. During the green season (May-October) admission includes the mountain’s grizzly bear habitat, a lumberjack show and the Skyride cable car for breathtaking views of Vancouver and British Columbia.

Fly Over Canada

If you only have a couple of hours before boarding a cruise in Vancouver, you’re in luck. Canada Place, Vancouver’s main cruise terminal, houses one of the coolest attractions in town: FlyOver Canada. It’s just like the Soarin’ flight simulator at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, but instead of soaring around the world, you soar over Canada. Tour the entire country from coast to coast in just eight minutes.

Cross the Suspension Bridge

If your family isn’t afraid of heights, head to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park for a thrilling walk in the sky. The iconic bridge stretches more than 230 feet above the Capilano River. That’s as high as the Statue of Liberty’s shoulder! Park admission also includes the new Cliffwalk which features cantilevered bridges, stairs and platforms that seem to almost magically float off the rockface.

Visit Stanley Park

Plan a whole day to wander through Vancouver’s Stanley Park. The 1,000+ acre park is larger than Central Park and is packed with fun things to see and do. Check out the view (and the delicious maple walnut ice cream) at Prospect Point Lookout. Hop aboard the tiny Stanley Park Railway train for a relaxing ride through the forest. And don’t miss the First Nations totem poles at Brockton Point. They’re the most-visited attraction in British Columbia.

Geek Out at the Aquarium

Prepare for cuteness overload at the Vancouver Aquarium. The sea otters are the stars of the show here--although the very vocal sea lions are a can’t-miss, too. Learn about the sea creatures that call Vancouver home in the Treasures of the B.C. Coast exhibit. And don’t miss the chance to see a walrus up close at the Research Outpost habitat.

Visit Granville Island

Granville Island is a must for any visitor. The large indoor market is a great activity on a rainy Pacific Northwest day. And in addition to the main market, there’s a "Kids Market" with candy and magic shops, plus an indoor play area and bumper cars.

Take the Ferry

Vancouver is expensive, but parking is really expensive. Ditch the car and hop on one of the little blue ferries for transportation that feels like a scenic cruise. False Creek Ferries operates from nine docks along False Creek and connects many family-favorite attractions, from the Maritime Museum to Science World. An all-day pass is less than $20 and you can hop on and off as much as you want.

Instagram Bloedel Conservatory

Located inside Queen Elizabeth Park, Bloedel Conservatory is great for the whole family. The hothouse is home to more than 500 plants and 120 free-flying birds. Teens will love the Instagrammable palms and kids will love the chatty parrots.

Go Kayaking

Hop in a kayak with Ecomarine to tour Vancouver from a different perspective. The water in False Creek is calm and perfect for kayaking newbies. Plus, you might see the occasional seal or eagle. Kayak tours are open for ages eight and up as long as children sit in the front of a double kayak.

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