Victoria is a popular destination in spring and summer, when the flowers are in bloom and the days are warm and long. But if you are visiting Victoria over winter, there is still plenty to do with little ones on colder (and even wetter!) days. Here are 16 ways to stay busy with babies and young kids on a winter’s day in Victoria.
- Warm up with the butterflies: Butterfly Gardens is not only a beautiful place to admire thousands of different butterflies, as well as birds, frogs and tortoises, but it is a delightfully warm tropical oasis! Leave the chilly temperatures behind as you wander through the jungle among a myriad of colourful creatures.
- Bounce the day away: The whole family is sure to have fun at Flying Squirrel trampoline park. The facility features a number of different trampoline attractions including areas specifically catering to younger kids.
- Seek shelter in the trees: For some fresh air on a wet West Coast day, head to one of Victoria’s many forests. Tall fir and cedar canopies keep much of the rain away and the lush green foliage is invigorating on a grey day. Some of the best forests in the area are found at Francis King Regional Park, Thetis Lake Regional Park, John Dean Provincial Park, and Mount Douglas/Pkols Park, which recently opened a nature play area called “Tinker Town”.
- Tumble, jump, slide and pretend at an indoor play centre: Victoria is lucky to have a few indoor play areas that cater to young ones. I Want to Be features an indoor sandbox, sports zone and a role play village! Tumblebums is full of soft shapes for climbing, stacking, jumping and – you got it – tumbling! And Playzone features a large structure for climbing and sliding as well as a toddler area for younger ones.
- Go back in time at the museum: The Royal BC Museum is full of engaging exhibits that the whole family will enjoy. Watch a Charlie Chaplin film in the Old Town, pan for gold in the mining camp, learn about BC’s First Nations people and wave hello to a wooly mammoth. And if you aren’t tired out by all that, take in the rotating exhibition (currently “Maya: The Great Jaguar Rises”) or watch a movie at the museum’s IMAX theatre.
- Curl up with a book at the library: The downtown branch of the Victoria Public Library is a great spot for kids to read and play! The Children’s area has a train table as well as a number of other toys, and books for all ages of course!
- Splash around (but not in a puddle): There are a number of swimming pools at community centres throughout the city. The most popular with kids is the Saanich Commonwealth Pool, with a giant waterslide and a tot pool complete with pirate ship. If you want to squeeze in some adult exercise, childminding is available in the morning.
- Go to the (baby-friendly) movies: Silver City Cinema at the Tillicum Center features two “Stars and Strollers” films every Thursday afternoon. These baby friendly showings feature lowered volume, dimmed lighting, change tables, bottle warmers and stroller parking. And they are $2 off regular price!
- Hunt for rocks: Nothing brightens a grey day like a colourful treasure! A growing group of locals regularly paint and hide rocks at parks all over town as part of the Sooke to Sidney Rock Hunt. Some artists share the locations where they plan to hide rocks, which can make them easier to find.
- Enjoy some tea time: What better way to escape the cold than by indulging in high tea? Downtown, both the Fairmont Empress and Pendray’s Inn and Tea House offer children’s tea menus that are sure to delight your youngest customers.
- Tour the town wrapped up in a blanket: Take in the sights of downtown and Beacon Hill park from the comfort of a horse drawn carriage! You and your little ones will stay cozy as you admire the view and listen to the clip-clop of hooves in a Tally Ho or Victoria Carriage.
- Get your game on: if your young ones enjoy board games, check out the Board Game Cafe! With over 800 games to choose from and an extensive selection of snacks and milkshakes, it’s a perfect place to spend a rainy afternoon.
- Feel like a giant: Miniature World has been a favourite among kids for almost fifty years. There are over 85 displays to fascinate and delight your little giants in a 100 percent rain-free environment.
- Explore the ocean from indoors: Take a trip out to picturesque Sidney BC to visit the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea. This aquarium and learning centre will introduce your little ones to the sea life of the waters surrounding southern Vancouver Island. Kids can go on scavenger hunts during their visit and engage in hands-on activities on weekends.
- Become a bug expert: visit Victoria’s only zoo, for bugs! At the Victoria Bug Zoo knowledgeable experts help visitors of all ages develop an appreciation for tropical insects from around the world. The more daring among you can choose to interact with the live inhabitants in a safe (and dry) environment.
- Watch the puck drop at a hockey game: While it does involve ice, you can stay warm cheering from the stands at a Victoria Royals hockey game at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Arena. Adults and kids will love the action and excitement that this Western Hockey League teams brings to the rink.
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