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Last Hurrah: 35 Ways for Kids to Enjoy Summer

35 ways for kids to enjoy the dog days of summer. Some activities are also suitable for adults—with kiddo supervision, of course


Aug. 2019

Fun at Creekside Park (Photo: KK Law)

  1. Chasing siblings and new friends around the wheelchair-accessible Creekside Park Playground, which features a tube slide, labyrinth and zipline.
  2.  Stargazing at Gordon Southam Observatory , or watching mind-blowing movies about black holes, meteor showers and other wonders of the universe at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre’s Planetarium Star Theatre.
  3. Folding origami, smashing watermelons while blindfolded, and winning prizes for yelling louder than anyone else at the Powell Street Festival’s Children’s Tent (Aug. 3 and 4).
  4. Joyriding in a vintage Ford Model T, hopping onto a 107-year-old carousel, churning butter and enjoying other 1920s-themed activities at the Burnaby Village Museum.
  5. Cooling off with sweet artisanal scoops at Earnest Ice Cream , dairy-free gelato at Umaluma or superb soft-serve at Soft Peaks.
  6. Bouncing off the walls—and floor—of the bouncy castle at the Richmond Night Market, then chowing down on fusion fare and novelty snacks such as sandwiches with rainbow-coloured cheese.
  7. Watching happy dogs frolic off-leash—and getting permission to pet friendly pups—at Spanish Banks Beach, Trout Lake  and Ambleside Beach .
  8. Dancing up a storm at the CBC Musical Nooners (to Aug. 16), weekday concerts showcasing everything from mariachi to indie pop.
  9. Giggling during baseball games, when the Vancouver Canadians’ trio of sushi-themed mascots race each other around the field.
  10. Swimming out to the English Bay waterslide, which beckons to brave swimmers from a floating dock surrounded by shiver-inducing waters.
  11. Entering the toy-filled Kids Market via the special kiddo-sized entrance beneath the sparkly rainbow sign.
  12. Spotting beavers, eagles, great blue herons and other wildlife in Stanley Park —and reminding grown-ups not to feed the raccoons and squirrels, no matter how charismatic the creatures may be.
  13. Watching milking demonstrations, and then feeding fluffy and feathered critters such as bunnies, chickens and ducks at Maplewood Farm.
  14. Meeting orphaned grizzly bears Grinder and Coola, learning all about raptors at the Birds in Motion show, and cheering as lumberjacks saw, climb and trash-talk their way through a friendly competition at Grouse Mountain.
  15. Playing on and around public art pieces from the Vancouver Biennale, like the cast-bronze “A-maze-ing Laughter” figures at English Bay, or the totally tubular orange spirals of “Jasper” at the corner of Robson and Jervis streets.
  16. Splashing around in a sunny, fish-and-seaweed-free seaside pool such as Second Beach Pool near Stanley Park, or Kitsilano Pool, the city’s only saltwater pool.
  17. Watching Shazam!, Finding Nemo and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse at outdoor movie screenings like Stanley Park’s Evo Summer Cinema Series (Tuesdays to Aug. 20) and Waterfront Cinema at Canada Place (Thursdays to Aug. 29).

    Outdoor Movie Nights (Photo: Leon Wang/shutterstock.com)

  18. Stocking up on snacks and souvenirs, then catching live music at one of the many bright, bustling farmers’ markets.
  19. Feeling the rush as pro riders perform high-octane tricks at Crankworx Whistler Freeride Mountain Bike Festival (Aug. 9 to 18), located just an hour and a half’s drive from Vancouver.
  20. Returning night after night to the Kitsilano Showboat (to Aug. 17), to watch flamenco, samba, capoeira and Irish dance performances.
  21. Discovering dazzling new intersections between art and activism at the Vines Art Festival (Aug. 7 to 18), which showcases dancers, musicians and genre-defying multidisciplinary artists.
  22. Launching parachutes, solving puzzles, participating in science experiments and being allowed to touch just about everything at Science World.
  23. Playing hide-and-seek (or simply getting lost) in the delightfully confusing Elizabethan hedge maze at VanDusen Botanical Garden.
  24. Watching awe-inspiring films about heroic dogs and rare spirit bears on a ginormous five-storey domed screen at the Omnimax Theatre.
  25. Zooming around corners at top speed on the Granville Island Waterpark’s big curvy yellow waterslide.
  26. Staring up at the sky as the CAF Snowbirds wow the crowds with their aerial acrobatics at the Abbotsford International Airshow (Aug. 9 to 11).
  27. Exploring the 22-km (13.7-mi) seawall on foot, or renting bikes or rollerblades to zip along a little faster.
  28. Monkeying around on Grouse Mountain’s brand-new Mountain Ropes Adventure—where kids and adults zip, climb and swing their way through aerial ropes courses—or letting little ones run wild among the treehouses at the Kids Tree Canopy Adventure.

    Grouse Mountain Tree Walk (Photo: Justa Jeskova)

  29. Sightseeing the old-fashioned way with Stanley Park Horse-Drawn Tours, and posing for photos with the gentle equines afterward.
  30. Ooh-ing and aah-ing at the entertaining canine acrobatics of the President’s Choice SuperDogs at The Fair at the Pacific National Exhibition (Aug. 17 to Sep. 2).
  31. Building sandcastles at one of the many local beaches, such as English Bay Beach, Second Beach and Kitsilano Beach.
  32. Peering out at the scenery and pretending not to be afraid of heights as the Sea to Sky Gondola travels 850 m (2,789 ft) up a mountain in just 10 minutes.
  33. Whistling along merrily with the 1977-built Gastown Steam Clock  at the top of every hour.
  34. Cruising across the Burrard Inlet to North Vancouver on the SeaBus, or to Granville Island aboard charming mini-ferries like Aquabus and False Creek Ferries.
  35. Gaping in awe as Croatia fills English Bay’s night sky with showstopping pyrotechnics during the final night of the annual Honda Celebration of Light fireworks competition (Aug. 3).

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