Inside the Burnaby Village Museum & Carousel: Family Fun 1920s-Style

Burnaby Village Museum. Photo: Dana Lynch

There’s a lot of talk about “kids today” and how difficult we assume it must be for them to imagine a world without cell phones, Xboxes and the Internet, i.e., a world that existed before they did. Since that same line of thinking has been in vogue forever (Didn’t Moses make the same complaint after they reached the Promised Land?), I don’t personally put a lot of stock in it. But if you do believe that, how’s this for a rejoinder: Show “kids today” what history was like by taking them to it.

That’s basically the idea behind one of Greater Vancouver’s greatest family-friendly museums, the Burnaby Village Museum, which recreates life in small-town British Columbia in the 1920s.

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Inside the Burnaby Village Museum & Carousel: Family Fun 1920s-Style

Top 5 “Hands-On” Vancouver Museums for Kids

Vancouver has a wealth of museums and galleries, but while any and all can appeal to a range of adults and older children—from art lovers to history buffs to true-crime fans—not all Vancouver museums are fun for younger kids, especially kids who aren’t old enough to “look but don’t touch.” For kids ten and under, being able to interact with the exhibits, to explore with their hands, to run around, is quintessential to their enjoyment of any given space. Luckily, Vancouver has several museums that offer exactly the kind of imaginative play that appeals to the youngest visitors.

Top 5 “Hands-On” Vancouver Museums for Kids

1. Science World British Columbia
One of the best indoor attractions in Vancouver for younger kids, Science World is chock full of interactive exhibits that help kids learn and explore the world of science; it’s also the only Vancouver museum with a designated play area for kids 1 – 3 years old (Kidspace). The featured exhibits—like this month’s Medieval Mayhem—always offer some type of interaction and the permanent Eureka! physics gallery is a veritable playground for all ages, where even the youngest tots can dance on keyboards, launch balls into the air, spin on turn tables, and play “invisible” harp strings.

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Top 5 “Hands-On” Vancouver Museums for Kids

Spring Break 2012 in Vancouver – Top 10 Kids’ Activities for Spring Break 2012

Kids at the Vancouver Aquarium

Spring Break for kids in Vancouver schools runs from March 19 – 23, 2012 (though some schools are off before/after those dates). Which means many parents will be scrambling to find fun activities to do with the kids—and get them out of the house!

Luckily, Vancouver has lots of options for Spring Break 2012 Activities, from climbing walls at the BC Sports Hall of Fame to outdoor ice skating (in March!) to CSI-style forensic day camps.

Top 10 Kids’ Activities for Spring Break 2012

1. Babies at the Vancouver AquariumMarch 9 – May 6, 2012
Everyone loves baby animals! The Aquarium’s newest spring exhibit—perfectly timed for Spring Break visits—lets you see live jellyfish babies, baby clown anemonefish and seahorses, and baby stingrays. There are also daily educational shows that explain how animals breed and care for their young, plus the film Happy Feet in 4-D. There are also March Day Camps at the Aquarium, too.

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Spring Break 2012 in Vancouver – Top 10 Kids’ Activities for Spring Break 2012

Winterruption 2012 Festival on Granville Island February 24 – 26

Winterruption Arts Festival at Granville Island

February 2012 is shaping up to be a month packed with things to do in Vancouver: This weekend is the inaugural City and Slope Festival (which includes Illuminate Yaletown), next week there are 10 Things to Do on Valentine’s Day, and at the end of February there’s the 7th annual Winterruption Festival on Granville Island.

Winterruption 2012 is a three-day festival loaded with all-ages fun. Celebrating both local and international artists of all disciplines, the festival has kids’ theatre and activities, art exhibitions from Granville Island’s many residents artists and artisans, live music presented by the Coastal Jazz and Blues Society, and foodie events from Edible Canada. Basically, if you love food, theatre, music, and arts, they’ve got you covered.

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Winterruption 2012 Festival on Granville Island February 24 – 26

BC Sports Hall of Fame Celebrates Vancouver Olympics with Red Mitten Weekend February 11 & 12

BC Sports Hall of Fame and Musem. Photo: The Province / Jenelle Schneider, PNG

The excitement and wonder of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics lives on in the hearts and minds of Vancouverites, and next weekend you can relive the glory at the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum with their special Red Mitten Weekend in honour of the second anniversary of the Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Red Mitten Weekend runs February 11 – 12, 2012, and offers half-priced admission all weekend, plus free admission for the first 25 kids wearing their 2010 Olympics red mittens. It’s a chance to see the new additions to the museum made during its remodeling (which coincided with the remodeling of BC Place), including the new Vancouver 2010 / Olympic Inspirations Gallery, the new Hall of Champions (an interactive exhibit on BC’s sports’ legends), the new special exhibit “The Dream Card” Hockey Card Collection, and the new Our Teams/Our Turf Gallery featuring the Vancouver Whitecaps and BC Lions.

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BC Sports Hall of Fame Celebrates Vancouver Olympics with Red Mitten Weekend February 11 & 12

Inside MOA: UBC’s Museum of Anthropology

B.C. First Nations artworks at UBC's Museum of Anthropology. Photo: Dana Lynch

Though Vancouver is home to a wealth of fascinating museums, there are two that stand out for their extensive collections of unique artworks from British Columbia: the Vancouver Art Gallery, which is home to over 9,000 artworks, and UBC’s Museum of Anthropology (MOA), which has a collection of over 500,000 cultural artifacts, including a world-famous collection of B.C. First Nations art and objects.

Though MOA is home to a wide range of ethnographic and archaeological objects from around the world—ranging from African tribal artifacts to the 600 European ceramics that make up the Koerner European Ceramics Gallery—it’s their focus on B.C.’s First Nations art and culture that makes MOA a must-visit for both locals and tourists alike.

MOA’s First Nations collections include massive, awe-inspiring totem poles, canoes, jewelry, ceramics, carved boxes, ceremonial masks, and one of the most famous First Nations artworks in Canada: Bill Reid’s Raven and The First Men sculpture, which appears on the back of every Canadian $20 bill.

Check out this mini photo gallery for a sneak peak inside MOA:

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Inside MOA: UBC’s Museum of Anthropology

Vancouver LunarFest 2012 – February 1 – 5

Undersea-themed lanterns at CIBC LunarFest Vancouver. Photo: CIBC LunarFest

If you think the Chinese New Year / Lunar New Year festivities end with the annual Vancouver Chinese New Year Parade on January 29, think again. Back for its fourth year, the free CIBC LunarFest Vancouver continues the Lunar New Year celebrations with five days of food, activities, kids’ workshops, theatre, and a phenomenal lantern display from February 1 – 5, 2012.

Created in 2009 to become a Vancouver Winter Olympics Legacy event, LunarFest bills itself as “Canada’s premier presenter of contemporary expression in Asian arts and culture.” Among its many events is the return of the Lantern Aquarium—a fantastic undersea-themed art and lantern installation—to the Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza.

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Vancouver LunarFest 2012 – February 1 – 5