The west coast city of Vancouver, Canada, gets its fair share of wet weather, especially during the winter months. This means that parents need to think inside the box for kid-friendly fun, when the outdoors proves to be just too, well, wet.
But no matter the weather, these five great museums for kids in Vancouver ensure that both young and old will be entertained for hours on end. And everyone will actually learn something new too!
Vancouver Police Museum
This fascinating museum presents the history of policing and crime in Vancouver’s. Located in an east side heritage building that once housed the City morgue, the Vancouver Police Museum is packed with Vancouver Police Department history, and weaponry displays.
The old morgue and coroner’s rooms may be too much for the wee ones, but tweens and teens find the gory history incredibly interesting. Learn about Vancouver’s most notorious murders, and how to tell counterfeit bills from the real thing. This museum is very cool for older kids interested in crime, punishment and getting (pretend) mug shots. They make for great Instagram posts!
Vancouver Maritime Museum
Located in Kits Point, the Maritime Museum highlights Vancouver’s long-standing maritime history. The museum has fun and interactive maritime history displays, as well as a great children’s section, including pirate dress-up.
Visitors can tour the RCMP St. Roch, the first vessel to sail the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic from west to east. Popular Kits Beach is just five minutes away, including access to an epic outdoor playground.
Museum of Anthropology – MOA
This is a Top 10 Vancouver attraction for anyone visiting the city, no matter the weather. The iconic Museum of Anthropology (MOA) sits on the University of British Columbia (UBC) campus in Point Grey. It is the definitive First Nations museum in the province, with massive Coast Salish totem poles, long houses, and many examples of First Nation art forms.
Families with kids are welcome to discover thousands of years of First Nations artifacts and history, including Haida carver and sculptor Bill Reid’s Raven and the First Man. Tip: After your MOA visit, take the kids to the UBC Botanical Garden. It makes for a great nature and bird-spotting excursion for the family. In summer, book a guided treetops adventure tour on the Canopy Walkway.
Beaty Biodiversity Museum
The Beaty Biodiversity Museum at UBC is Vancouver’s Natural History museum. This is one of the best family-friendly museums in the city, and it includes not only a whale, but a whale of a tale.
The Museum is home to thousands of specimens and collections of all manner of animal and plant life found on earth through the millennia. Including over 800,000 preserved fish in jars and 20,000 fossils, some of them 500 million years old.
The biggest attraction, in both size and ‘wow’ factor, is the massive 26 metre long blue whale skeleton suspended in the middle of the Museum. The skeleton is from a whale that died and washed ashore on PEI on the east coast in 1987. The blue whale is the largest animal ever to have lived on earth. The skeleton is just massive! The skeleton floats in the museum space so effortlessly that it’s hard to believe the whale would have weighed 150 tons when it was alive.
Britannia Mine Museum
Technically, this museum is just thirty minutes north of Vancouver. But it’s so cool, it needs to be included, trust us!
If you ever wondered how miners go to the bathroom in a mine shaft, rest assured, you’ll find answers at the Britannia Mine Museum. It’s actually fascinating, just like the rest of this wonderful national historic site. Britannia Mine Museum amazes visitors with the sheer size of the mining equipment on display, as well as the interesting history of this former mining power-center.
Here, kids can pan for gold, learn about different rocks, minerals and geology, and feel tiny next to giant trucks and diggers. Visitors can take a guided tour and train ride into one of the former mine shafts for a taste of the very hard mining days of old.
Claudia Laroye is a travel writer and editor based in Vancouver, Canada. An avid and curious traveler, Claudia has written about family, adventure, and luxury experiences for local and national publications since 2010. Claudia is the Contributing Editor of Twist Travel Magazine, and has written for WestJet Magazine, Lonely Planet, Fodor’s, Travelzoo, Westworld, Family Fun Canada, Travel Mamas and Dreamscapes magazine. She is the founder of family travel site The Travelling Mom. You can find her on Instagram at @thetravellingmom.
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