As many readers may know, the famous Children’s Farmyard—the petting zoo adjacent to the Stanley Park Miniature Train—closed for good on January 3, 2011. As sad as that closure is (personally, I’ll miss the Children’s Farmyard, especially at the holidays), there are still loads of opportunities for family fun at Vancouver’s most famous landmark.
Top 5 Activities for Kids & Families at Stanley Park
1. Visit the Vancouver Aquarium
Maybe it goes without saying, but the Vancouver Aquarium is a fantastic spot to take kids of all ages: it’s great for school-age children and parents with strollers. It’s also a go-to spot for rainy day fun, since seeing the beluga whales, dolphins and 70,000 other Aquarium residents isn’t dependent on sunshine. Kids can even sleepover at the Aquarium: Sleepovers at the Vancouver Aquarium.
2. Ride the Stanley Park Miniature Train
Famous for its role in Stanley Park’s holiday fun—it transforms into the Ghost Train for Halloween and a winter wonderland ride during the Christmas season’s Bright Nights—the Miniature Train takes visitors on a picturesque journey through the forest. The Train isn’t open every day—for much of the year, it’s open only on weekends—so be sure to check the schedule on the Vancouver Park Board site.
3. Bike or Rollerblade the Seawall
The Stanley Park Seawall is one of the most popular spots in all of Vancouver for biking, rollerblading, walking or pushing a stroller. It boasts gorgeous sea, mountain and cityscape views, and, because it’s paved, it’s perfect for any skill level and ability. (I still remember biking the Seawall with my family when I was a kid.) Visitors to Vancouver can rent bikes and rollerblades at several locations around the park’s W. Georgia Street entrance, including Bayshore Bike Rentals on Denman St.
4. Ride in a Horse-Drawn Carriage
Open March 1 through October 31, Stanley Park Horse-Drawn Tours give families a chance to see the park while riding in a horse-drawn trolley. The trolleys hold up to 20 people and are great fun for visitors of all ages! For more info, check out Remy’s review: Stanley Park: By Horse.
5. Learn about Ecology at Stanley Park Nature House
One of Stanley Park’s lesser-known kid activities is the Stanley Park Nature House, located by the Lost Lagoon (just inside the W Georgia Street entrance). Vancouver’s only ecology centre, the Nature House has recently undergone a tremendous renovation; it now offers lots of interactive displays that make learning about the park’s ecology fun, and functions as a “gateway” to nature interpretation and park exploration. Bonus: It’s Free!
Bonus Summer Activity: Beaches, Second Beach Pool & Water Park
While kids can enjoy rugged Second Beach in any weather, the Second Beach Pool—which includes a water slide and kids’ area—and the free Water Park are open only in the summer, usually from mid-May through Labour Day. Check the Vancouver Park Board site for schedule details.
Have more ideas for kids’ activities at Stanley Park? Please share in them comments!