With Family Day coming up in February, we’re thinking of all the kid-friendly activities on Vancouver’s North Shore that will excite parents as well to get out and explore this last full month of winter.
The North Shore’s most popular attraction is ready-made for young learners and adventurers alike. In addition to great fun on the swinging bridge and traipsing through the treetops at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, kids can join the Rainforest Explorers Program, a self-guided interactive tour where they’ll explore the forest through activities and puzzles – all with a special reward at the end.
Photo courtesy of @maxjenke
For the little speed demons in your brood, the North Shore boasts some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the province at any one of the three mountains that are just minutes from downtown Vancouver. Mt. Seymour has 39 trails, and five lifts over 200 acres, and Grouse Mountain has the area’s most extensive snow-making system in place that promises a great run any time of the season. At Cypress Mountain, the majority of runs are classified as beginner or intermediate, and it is home to Canada’s most popular cross-country skiing area, making for a perfect ski day for the whole family.
Photo Courtesy of @60daystolive2012
All three mountains also offer the chance to slow down and truly appreciate the majestic beauty of an alpine winter on scenic snowshoe trails. But don’t just take our word for it. Two of the top 10 snowshoe resorts in all of North America are right here. Mt Seymour was rated #1, and Grouse Mountain was rated the #9 snowshoe resort in North America by Snowshoe Magazine.
Each mountain has dedicated snow tubing and tobogganing areas for those who maybe aren’t ready for skis or boards, or just prefer to fly by the seat of their pants.
Photo Courtesy of @mtseymour
But you don’t need to get into the white stuff to enjoy the North Shore Mountains. A variety of hiking trails for all skill levels crisscross the North Shore, from seaside strolls to the urban wilderness to mountaintops with incredible views. Some kid-friendly hikes here include the Lynn Valley Loop beside the rushing waters of Lynn Creek, and Lighthouse Park and its mostly flat, winding trails with the vast Pacific Ocean as a backdrop.
Photo Courtesy of @thewestcoastfam
Outdoor skating doesn’t get much prettier than on the North Shore. Whether you’re making the rounds at Shipyards Commons’ skate plaza against the spectacular views across the water of Vancouver, or high above it all on Grouse Mountain’s 8,000-square-foot frozen pond, the beauty of the West Coast is always on full display.
Biking remains one of the North Shore’s preeminent activities all year round. Rain or shine, cycling along the North Shore Spirit Trail is an awe-inspiring ride alongside the water and through lush greenways, decked out with enchanting public art all along the way.
And speaking of art, there are plenty of kid-friendly creative activities on the North Shore for all those budding Van Goghs. Spend the day at one of the many art galleries and museums for inspiration or fashion your own “culture crawl” through a few of them. There are even kid-centric, educational programs like the Kids First at Polygon Gallery, where families can create an in-house art project, attend the hands-on online event put on by MONOVA, where you can learn to weave a wool bracelet or the Artists for Kids program at the Gordon Smith Gallery. If the weather’s nice, there is a one-day public art walk all planned out for you here.
With so much to see and do on the North Shore, you and your little adventurers are bound to work up an appetite. To satisfy every particular craving in your family, take a walk through The Quay Market and Food Hall at Lonsdale Quay, where you’ll find a smorgasbord of restaurants, food stalls and freshly-made treats among its local vendors.
For more information on these and more family-friendly excursions on Vancouver’s North Shore, visit vancouversnorthshore.com.