Victoria with Kids
Tourism BC/Tom Ryan
Start your day with the kids in the heart of downtown at the Victoria Bug Zoo. It's a safe, fun and friendly atmosphere where you can get up close and personal with gangly walking-sticks, alien-eyed praying mantis, hairy tarantulas and glow-in-the-dark scorpions. If the kids (or you) are feeling like a more hands-on adventure, test your composure as a millipede the length of your forearm tickles you with its 400 legs or sample a crunchy cricket lollipop from the gift shop. If you have questions, just ask one of the expert entomologists on site. It's a sure way to keep the kids entertained for a couple of hours.
Hours: Open Mon-Fri from 11AM to 4PM, Sat 10AM to 5PM and Sun 11AM to 5PM.
Adults = $9, Seniors (65+) = $8, Youths (13-18 yrs) = $7, Kids (3-11 yrs) = $6, Kids (2yr and under) = free.
Victoria Bug Zoo
631 Courtney Street
Victoria, British Columbia
After an exciting morning with the creepy crawlies, it's time to refuel with some good food. The unique floating community of Fisherman's Wharfis a 10-minue walk from the Inner Harbour or a short ride on the harbour ferry and is a great spot for lunch. Barb's Fish and Chips has delicious fish and chips, as well as burgers and a kids' menu. If there's room you can follow up with an ice cream from Jackson's Ice Cream Float, built on a barge anchored right at Fisherman's Wharf. Keep an eye out for the local seals. They are usually around and will pop up to socialize from time to time.
Speeding across the ocean in a high-powered boat and viewing wildlife in its natural habitat is a truly exhilarating experience. The waters around Victoria are full of marine life including orca, grey, minke and humpback whales, seals, porpoises and countless marine birds. Departing from the Inner Harbour, jump into a whale-watching boat for an ocean adventure. Numerous companies offer whale-watching tours during the season from April to October-just make sure to choose one that has responsible whale-watching practices. Although kids are allowed on tours, some restrictions apply so check with your tour operator before booking. This is guaranteed to be an experience that the kids will remember for years to come.
If boats aren't your thing, but you still want to check out some of the local marine wildlife, visit the Shaw Ocean Discover Centre. The aquarium and marine centre, located in Sidney, a half hour drive north of Victoria, is focused on the amazing ecosystem of the Salish Sea, and has lots of kid-oriented activities. There are all kinds of exhibits including a touch pool and a wet lab, as well as temporary exhibits featuring the enormous skulls and skeletons of whales, dolphins and porpoises. The knowledgeable staff will introduce you to algae, plankton and the amazing lives of jellyfish. Or check out the hundreds of invertebrates, marine plants and fish, including wolf eels, rockfish and octopuses. If you have kids aged three to five go for Tot-Tuesdays (Tuesdays at 10:30AM), for kid-focused activities, stories and crafts.
Hours: Open daily from 10AM to 4PM
Youth (Age 7 to 17) $8.00
Child (Age 3 to 6) $4.00 Includes FREE annual pass
2 and under FREE
An Adult or Youth Annual Pass costs regular admission plus $10.00
Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre
9811 Seaport Place
Sidney, British Columbia
Located in beautiful Beacon Hill Park, the Beacon Hill Children's Farm is a place where children meet alpacas, a miniature horse and donkey, African pygmy goats, Shetland sheep, rabbits, guinea pigs, pot-bellied pigs, finches, ducks, peacocks and chickens. The most popular area is the hands-on goat-petting zone, where the friendly African pygmy goats thrive on the attention. Another popular event is the daily goat stampede that takes place at feeding times. Watch the excitement as the goats stampede from the petting area to be the first to get their meal. Kids love it. The morning stampede is at 10:10AM, while in the evening it varies from 4:10PM in spring/fall to 5:10PM in the summer.
Hours: Open 10AM-4PM, Open end of Feb to mid-October
Entry by donation.
Beacon Hill Children's Farm
Circle Dr. (Turn off Douglas onto Circle Dr. across from Simcoe St.)
Victoria, British Columbia