We’ve all been there either as a kid or as a parent with kids – the family trip. A very welcome break from the crazy schedules, but slightly dreaded because how do you keep everyone entertained and happy without too much screen time? Here are a few fun and unique activities to help you plan the perfect family trip in Canada. Some are can’t miss iconic Canadian attractions and some are a little bit off the beaten path and make for an amazing day trip.
ZipTrek Ecotours: The Longest Zipline in Canada and US
Pretend you are a world-class adventurer for the day with the ultimate Ecotour experience at ZipTrek Ecotours. Whether you are looking for the longest zipline in Canada and the US with 2 kilometres of free-flying adrenaline, a mix of shorter ziplines and hiking, or you prefer to take a walk through the canopy tree tops, there is something for everyone. Running all year round, unleash your sense of adventure.
You can close out the day with a fun dining experience at the favourite local pizza place, Creekbread. With a giant wood-fired oven and delicious pizza the kids will love it.
West Coast Railway Heritage Park: Trains, Trains, and More Trains!
Canada has a rich locomotive history and if you’re interested in the history or your kids just like playing with trains, the West Coast Railway Heritage Park is a great stop. Opening for the season in March, this non-profit is located about an hour north of Vancouver in Squamish, BC. There are so many fun things to do on-site like restored trains that you can walk through and a mini train that rides around the park.
And once you are done at the West Coast Railway Heritage Park, check out the Sea To Sky Gondola for incredible views along the ride and tons of great outdoor activities at the top and at the base of the gondola – many are even stroller-friendly. Best of all, you can grab a shuttle to the Gondola for easy traveling for your day trip from Vancouver.
West Edmonton Mall: The World’s Largest Indoor Amusement Park
Where else can you go on the largest indoor roller coaster and then go shopping at your favourite stores before you head to the indoor water park and then skating? West Edmonton Mall can be a multi-day destination and is the perfect remedy for bad weather. With so many activities available indoors you won’t run out of things to do. Find out why it has broken so many world records.
After a day at the West Edmonton Mall, check out a show at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre.
Fort Whyte Alive: An Eco Experience Like No Other
The kids will love spending time at the award-winning Fort Whyte Alive – an eco experience like no other. Explore and discover on 640 acres of protected urban greenspace. You could spend multiple days here and take advantage of the many programs that run throughout the year. Why not go on a bison safari and see bison in their natural habitat. Or get a little more hands on with the Science Club. Not only is Fort Whyte Alive an unforgettable experience, it is also educational! (shhhhh… don’t tell your kids!)
The Royal Canadian Mint: See Where All The Money Is Made
Whether you are a coin collector, you like seeing how things are made, or you just like money, a trip to the Royal Canadian Mint is a unique experience. The guided behind-the-scenes tours take visitors through the 14,864 m2 facility where every. Single. Canadian circulation coin is produced. Add to your collection or just enjoy knowing that billions of Canadian dollars circulate through the building each year.
Activate Games: A Real-Life Video Game Experience
For kids that are a bit older, let them become a part of a video game at Activate Games. Compete in small groups as players in a video game-like experience to complete challenges. It’s not Virtual Reality – it’s a real-life experience and the score for each player is synced to an electronic wristband to keep track.
The Factory: Canada’s Largest Indoor Adventure Park
Need to find an activity to keep your energy-filled kids busy? With 145-foot Ziplines, a 75 foot freefall, and over 20,000 square feet of trampoline park, Virtual Reality gaming, a Warrior Course, and so much more, The Factory in London, Ontario is Canada’s largest indoor adventure park. It also happens to have the highest indoor ropes course in North America. It is fun for kids and parents alike – there are even activities for infants and toddlers. But if you prefer to sit back and watch the kids play, there is a comfy observation lounge. A Play-All-Day Pass gives you free rein of the facilities for a packed all-day adventure.
If you are staying in London for a few days, you can also check out Storybook Gardens, Fanshawe Pioneer Village, and many other family-friendly activities that are within walking distance of your hotel.
Museum of Illusions: Endless entertainment
Whether you see it as an Instagram-friendly spot, an educational stop, or somewhere that the kids can “get lost” in for a few hours, The Museum of Illusions is a great experience for all ages. Over 80 illusions, holograms, installations, and exhibits are all designed to tap into your sense of wonder. There is even a “smart” playroom focusing on old-school play with puzzles, blocks, and brain teasers so you can put the phones away and just enjoy your time.
Pirate Life: An Authentic Pirate Experience
For something really different, set sail on a pirate ship for an authentic pirate experience at Pirate Life in Toronto. This interactive theatre experience lets the kids look for treasure, dress up, and even fire water cannons. Don’t worry, no one will be walking the plank!
If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground or you are looking for other fun activities in Toronto, be sure to check out Medieval Times – Dinner and Tournament, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada (especially the Stingray experience), and the CN Tower.
Whale Watching: Exhilarating Marine Life Encounters
Newfoundland and Labrador
We are still learning so much about our oceans. One thing is for sure, though; whale watching is one of the most incredible experiences. While Canada has some incredible spots to go whale watching, Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the best in the world – with the largest population of humpback whales during peak season. There are a number of tours where you can get up close and personal on a smaller boat or Kayak or go on a larger boat tour. However, you can even spot whales breaching the surface from many of the coastal trails in the area. Many tours will also take you around to show you the other marine life and bird species that are native to the area. For example, Puffins Island is a great place to observe them and their funny antics.
Wherever you end up in Newfoundland and Labrador, there are so many options for other family activities – especially the historical sites that are both interactive and tell the rich stories of the province.
Seadome (Ka’Nata Productions): A 360° Movie Experience
Everyone loves movies! How about an experience like no other inside a 50-foot dome where movies are displayed in 360°? Seadome (Ka-Nata Productions) has created a unique film experience where visitors can take in stories about Nova Scotia in this unique dome screen, listening to sound through headphones, all while sitting in comfy chairs. It’s like having your own personal film showing! Best of all, films are 15 – 20 minutes long so even the little ones will be able to sit through them.
After your film experience, check out any of the local, waterfront restaurants serving fresh, local catch of the day!
Haunted Mansion: Local Legends That Haunt PEI Today
Legend has it that the Haunted Mansion in the town of Kensington was built and used as an inn by a wealth Englishman and some of its guests never checked out. Some people even say that Lizzie Borden stayed there! A mix of local legend and modern entertainment, this interactive haunted house has surprises popping out of every corner. And if you just don’t think you can handle the really scary stuff, you can skip over those rooms. In contrast, there are perfectly groomed gardens outside of the house and the property is set up as a wonderland with a petting zoo, slides, and other family-friendly attractions.
If it’s in season, be sure to check out Go! Fish Eatery in Kensington for some of the freshest fish and chips you’ll ever have after your tour through the Haunted Mansion. And remember, no trip to PEI is complete without a stop in at the COWS Creamery for some of the best ice cream out there.