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32 Indoor Escapes in Vancouver


Step inside one of the province’s iconic attractions and take in Royal BC Museum: Behind the Scenes, an ongoing exhibit designed to give visitors an insider’s look at the museum’s 124-year-history of scientific research. Part one of this intriguing exhibit runs through fall 2011, showcasing the work of the museum’s natural history department. The 929-square-metre exhibition features thousands of natural history specimens, ranging from preserved sea cucumbers, clawed frogs and pythons, to a 225-million-year-old fossilized Saurichthys (reptile fish).

As an approved 2010 UNESCO International Year of Biodiversity project, Behind the Scenes features an extensive special events program that includes adult and family workshops and discussion events.

Other highlights include the First Nations galleries, the wonderful Old Town display and or course, the woolly mammoth!

Also at the Royal BC Museum is the six-storey tall screen of the IMAX Theatre, showing both the ever-popular IMAX movies as well as Hollywood movies given a whole new look with the theatre’s state-of-the art technology. Check with the current online schedule to find out what’s playing.

Delve into the rich history of BC’s seafaring history at the Maritime Museum of British Columbia. From pirates and plunderers to the Canadian Navy and the carefully recreated courtroom of Sir Matthew Bailley Begbie, “The Hanging Judge,” this truly is fun for all ages.

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Opening November 11 and continuing through March 20 at the Maritime Museum, take in the special exhibit Magic Lanterns, CPR Magic Lantern Slides, 1885-1930. The exhibit of 50 framed prints is drawn from slides collected by Vancouver artist Michael Lawlor depicting the breadth of Canada and the evolution of the nation, from frontier to industrial power.

Around the Inner Harbour, into the community of Esquimalt, continue your exploration of the region’s maritime history at the CFB Esquimalt Naval & Military Museum, at Naden on Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, where four themes run through the displays: Canada’s Navy on the West Coast; The Canadian Women’s Army Corps; The Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service; and The West Coast Defences.

No matter what your age, who can resist such family-friendly escapes as Miniature World, at the Fairmont Empress Hotel, and the nearby Bug Zoo, home to all manner of cool creatures? Miniature World offers exhibits fascinating to young eyes, depicting scenes from literature and history – the turn-of-the-century “under the bigtop” display is remarkable – while at the Bug Zoo, knowledgeable entomologists make the intriguing insects interesting to all.

On the Peninsula

Enjoy a scenic drive out the Saanich Peninsula to take in the tropical splendour of the Victoria Butterfly Gardens, home not only to stunning garden displays and thousands of free-flying butterflies, but also an array of birds, colourful koi and more.

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And in lovely Sidney-by-the-Sea, the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre is the place for budding oceanographers of all ages. Explore the Salish Sea, just steps away, through vast tanks, interactive displays and kid-friendly exhibits. Don’t miss the octopus!

— Jennifer Blyth
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