Newly weds or nearly dead, the largest population types of Victoria really only add up to one thing: lots of kids. Whether it’s grandkids coming in for the weekend or the summer, or new families starting up, children seem to take over the town any given day. That also means Victoria is a great place to go with kids of your own, and there is plenty to do and see.
Things to Do
With over 85 dioramas and displays, Miniature World is guaranteed to keep the kids busy. Delve into tiny versions of Camelot, explore dollhouses, read yourself into Charles Dickens’ stories and learn about the Great Canadian Railway close up.
The Victoria Bug Zoo
Tucked away as a two-room mini-museum, the Victoria Bug Zoo has been enthralling and educating both kids and adults alike since 1997. Over 50 species exist within various enclosures and displays, and ongoing tours ensure you’ll have a knowledgeable guide give you a walk through. You’ll even be able to get up close and personal with some of the bugs if you like, as many can be handled.
The Butterfly Zoo
Kids will love this small detour en route to the Butchart Gardens. Thousands of butterflies free soar through the facility, given visitors a first-hand experience in a tropical jungle. Besides the butterflies, you’ll see turtles, flamingoes and a number of other tropical creatures and plants. If you’re lucky and stay still enough, a butterfly might even land on you.
The Royal BC Museum & IMAX
The Royal Museum is a must for any curious kid, and is a great rainy day activity. With plenty of interactive exhibits, there’s no shortage of both fun and wonder. Not to mention the IMAX theatre is inside the museum, and you can get combo tickets to do both in the same day. There’s always a number of great shows available, sure to please any crowd.
Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea
Over in Sidney, about 20 minutes outside of downtown Victoria, an underwater world awaits. Be immersed into the Salish Sea and discover the creatures of B.C.’s coast. Not only will kids be entertained and educated about the ocean, but they’ll also have the chance to pick up, feel and see up close a number of creatures in the touching tide pools.
Just across the street is Mineral World as well, which is a fun little pit stop afterwards. Kids can check out beautiful, rainbow coloured stones and explore some “caves”.
Beacon Hill Park
For a breath of fresh air, nothing beats Beacon Hill Park. Right next to the Dallas Road Walkway and the B.C. Legislature Buildings, it’s likely you’ll come across this 75-hectare green haven more than once. Especially fun for kids are the Children’s Zoo, the duck pond and the massive playground.
Another great outdoor spot for kids is Willow’s Beach. Located in Oak Bay, you can explore the village and then head for the beach. Willow’s has a large grassed area with a playground, as well stretches of sand to play in. There are also washrooms and a picnic area, so you’ll have everything you need onsite.
During the summer, Fisherman’s Wharf is a hub of activity. Take off on a kayaking tour, or head out on a whale watching expedition from the docks. If you’d rather stay on firm ground, explore the shops and kiosks or enjoy an ice cream cone in the sun. One of the best parts is feeding the playful seals from the dock. Sometimes, they even do little tricks for the crowd.
Experience Victoria by both land and sea on a Hippo Tour! The buses are intriguing for kids and plenty of fun and when it drives into the ocean, the kids are sure to get a thrill. The amphibious vehicles are bright colours and the 90-minute tours aren’t too long and are informative yet enjoyable, even for children.
To do it all in one day, pay a visit to All Fun. It’s a massive recreation park in Mill Bay that features batting cages, go-karting and mini golf! You can try them all in one day and the variety is sure to suit everyone’s needs.
Whale watching is a number one activity in Victoria – almost a must, especially for kids. There’s nothing like seeing one of the ocean’s humble giants from the water! It’s a great way to spend an afternoon, and the excitement will last all day.
Where to Eat
While there are plenty of chain places that are suitable for kids such as Red Robin, Swiss Chalet and fast food giants, Victoria is also known for having amazing restaurants. Why should you miss out just because you packed the kids? Here are a few great spots that kids will love just as much as you.
Dressed like a 50’s diner and with fantastic food, John’s is a hotspot for breakfast, lunch and dinner in Victoria. The pie case is a bonus that shouldn’t be missed by anyone with a sweet tooth. While the kid’s dinner menu is pretty standard, the full portions are always shareable, and the breakfast choices cover all the basics.
For kids that love burgers, Bin4 is a must. While the menu is limited to a chicken burger, beef burger or grilled cheese, Bin4 does it well. Plus, drinks are included with the kid’s menu, and they can have their choice of side. The “big kid” menu is also great.
Wannawafel is sure to be a crowd pleaser and will ensure your kid gets back to the hotel or to the next activity if they’re experiencing an afternoon slump. Pick a waffle type, choose your toppings and you’ll be munching on a delicious, unique-to-Victoria snack in no time.
Hotdogs are a notorious fan favourite when it comes to kids, so Dog-Gone-It is a great choice. It’s also convenient to downtown for those hungry emergencies. From your plain old hotdog to a number of different creations, it’s sure to fit the bill. The decorations are fun, and the banana splits at its neighbouring Soda Shoppe are always a great alternative to lunch.
Red Fish Blue Fish
For fish and chips, Red Fish Blue Fish is a popular stop. While the outside atmosphere might be a challenge for extra active kids to sit down and eat, it also means no one is disrupted and it makes what is already finger food even more fun. All-in-all it’s a great spot on the water that makes lunch fun and allows for a dose of vitamin D at the same time.
To sneak something healthy into your kids’ day without them knowing, paying Rebar a visit is a good shot. It has a cute and intriguing atmosphere and serves everything fresh and healthy, including an array of juices. Of course, the desserts might not be Doctor recommended, but they’re worth a shot to finish of your meal.
Contributed by: Laurissa Cebryk