Halifax with Kids: A Perfect Family Day
Halifax is a vibrant city with a wide range of activities to suit all ages, from toddlers to teenagers. Whatever the weather, you'll discover plenty here to keep you entertained, which is fortunate considering how quickly the weather can change here on the stormy east coast. Here are our suggestions for the best things to do in Halifax with kids.
Start the day with breakfast at Annie's Place (on Birmingham Street, just off Spring Garden Road), a tiny locals favourite that serves the best eggs Benedict in town, great pancakes and coffee, and is open early so you can get even the earliest risers fed and happy. Then walk up Spring Garden Road to the Halifax Public Gardens to check out this Victorian gardens filled with beautiful flowers, trees and a large assortment of ducks and waterfowl (but don't feed them-you can get slapped with a fine because the ducks are so fat and are forgetting how to forage). Although some areas of the Gardens are formal, there is a space where kids can run around and burn off some energy.
Head back down Spring Garden Road and check out some of the neat kid-friendly stores on the side streets. Woozles children's books and toys store (also on Birmingham Street, just up the street from Annie's Place) is really lovely, with lots of educational toys and a great selection of kids' books. Susie's Shortbreads, on Dresden Row, is a great place to stop and treat yourself to a fabulous shortbread, cupcake (truly delicious), mini-cheesecake or old-fashioned milkshake. Sweet Jane's (on Doyle Street) is an awesome candy store and cool gift store that features a wall of jellybeans and lots of different candy that you'll remember from your youth.
If you have time left over, make your way to the Discovery Centre on Barrington Street. This science museum is in desperate need of a makeover but is still a great place to take the kids, especially if the weather isn't great. Here they can blow bubbles as big as they are and explore all manner of fun scientific phenomenon.
Grab lunch at McKelvie's, a decent fish restaurant on Lower Water Street that is very child-friendly (and has a kids' menu that will satisfy picky eaters). Be sure to try the yummy fishcakes.
After lunch, cross the street to get on to the boardwalk along the waterfront. Take a right and walk down to the giant wave sculpture (a favourite with kids) and you'll also find a fun pirate ship-inspired wooden playground. If you then walk back the way you came along the boardwalk, you'll see a number of interesting harbour tours you could take, from going out on a tall ship to doing the Harbour Hopper (a big hit with kids). Moored just by the ferry building is Theodore Tugboat, from the kids' TV show, which was filmed here (there is a big kids' TV and animation industry here). If you keep walking past the ferry terminal, you'll reach the Historic Properties, and right there at the end of the boardwalk you'll find Cows ice cream shop, which was voted the best ice cream in Canada (it is made in PEI, though) and has lots of fun gifts in store to take home.
Halifax restaurants are pretty child-friendly, so wherever you want to eat, you'll not run into problems, but The Wooden Monkey is awesome for families. They've got a huge menu of healthy local food (with plenty of vegan and vegetarian options) and even have a cupboard full of books and games to keep the little ones entertained while waiting for their meals to arrive. Alternatively, walk along Argyle Street and browse the many restaurants there (the Economy Shoe Shop has a fun vibe and is famed locally for their nachos, Q Smokehouse and Southern Barbecue will be a big hit with little carnivores).
If your kids are still going after dinner, check out what's playing at the Neptune Theatre, which often features family-friendly plays and musicals. You could also take a stroll over to the Halifax Commons, just behind Citadel Hill, which has a great playground, massive skateboard park and various other seasonal activities.