Summer with the Kids in Downtown Vancouver

The best part of living in the heart of Vancouver during the summer is being in the centre of all the action without having to fight the crowds by driving anywhere.  Sure, there are a lot of tourists, but most of them are pleasant and happy to be here.  The parks, pools, beaches, and community centres mean you could have a wonderful summer with the kids, without even leaving the downtown peninsula, if you didn’t want to.

Here are a few places and events happening:

Klahowya Village in Stanley Park

This attraction is new in 2010 and is an aboriginal tourist experience featuring:  aboriginal shows, crafts, cuisine, a story telling tent, and more.  It is located beside the miniature train and children’s farmyard in Stanley Park.  Admission to Klahowya Village is free, but visitors can purchase tickets on-site for a ride on the Spirit Catcher Train and a visit to the farmyard.  Open July 1 – September 6, from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. daily.

KidZone

Located in the arena area of the West End Community Centre (WECC) on Denman Street.  It’s an indoor play area with bouncy castles, mini cars, obstacle course, rock climbing wall, and more.  It’s for children ages 6 months   12 years and costs from $3 – $4, depending on the child’s age.  Open weekdays until 5:00 p.m. and until 4:00 p.m. on weekends.

Waterparks:  Harbour Green and Lumberman’s Arch

Harbour Green Waterpark is located along Coal Harbour, overlooking Burrard Inlet. It s right beside Harbour Green Park and a short walk up the seawall from the Coal Harbour Community Centre.  Free.

Lumberman’s Arch Waterpark is located on the seawall along the northwest side of Stanley Park.  There is a concession stand and it’s only a short walk from the Vancouver Aquarium.  Free.

Beaches:

The downtown peninsula has three great beaches along the seawall of English Bay.  The first beach, going west from the Burrard Street Bridge is Sunset Beach.  Further along the seawall is English Bay Beach.  This one is the most popular and best for people-watching.  Continue along around the bend of a beautiful section of the seawall and you’ll come to Second Beach.
This is the best spot for picnics and gatherings.  There are two playgrounds, a huge field and an outdoor swimming pool.  A longer, quieter walk along the seawall and you’ll find Third Beach.  This one is the quietest, as it’s the furthest one to get to.  All three beaches have concession stands, washroom facilities and lifeguards.

Playgrounds

There are several great playgrounds in the West End and Yaletown.  Here are a few of my favourites: the two at Second Beach along the south side of the Stanley Park seawall; the one near the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park; the one near the W. Georgia Street entrance to Stanley Park, just before Malkin Bowl; the one above the Coal Harbour Community Centre on Hastings Street; the one near the Roundhouse Community Centre on Drake Street at Pacific Street in Yaletown; the one in Nelson Park at Nelson and Bute Streets; and the one at Lord Roberts School on Comox Street at Bidwell Street.

Movies in the Park

This is a fundraiser for the Vancouver Food Bank.  Visitors are asked to bring a non-perishable donation for the food bank, along with their lawn chairs and blankets, and enjoy a free movie shown on an inflatable screen at Harbour Green Park in Coal Harbour.  On Friday, August 13, 2010 they are showing ET and on Friday, August 27, 2010 it’s Hairspray.

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