Photo: Story telling at Klahowya Village in Stanley Park. Source: Ray Van Eng via Flickr.
If you’re a parent, you’ll no doubt know that it’s the last weekend before the kids go back to school. With so many families squeezing the last out of summer vacation, we thought we’d highlight a few activities that your whole family can enjoy during this upcoming Labour Day Long Weekend. Here are our top 10 picks!
1. Cycling Around Stanley Park:
Pack a picnic and take the family on a bike ride around Stanley Park. If you don’t have your own bikes, you can rent them from numerous bike shops along Denman Street, such as Spokes and Bayshore Bike Rentals. Although the sea wall’s the most popular cycling route in Stanley Park, don’t forget about the many forested trails. And don’t forget to pack a swimsuit! You can break up the cycling with a visit to the Variety Kid’s Water Park, Third Beach, or the Second Beach Swimming Pool.
2. Tsleil-Waututh Nation Days at Klahowya Village:
Another Stanley Park activity worth experiencing this weekend is Klahowya Village‘s Tsleil-Waututh Nation Days. The Tsleil-Waututh Nation (the First Nations peoples indigenous to Burrard Inlet since time immemorial) will have performers, storytellers and artists on site to share their culture and to tell the stories of their Nation’s historic and cultural connection to Stanley Park. Tsleil-Waututh Nation Days happens from Friday, September 2 until Sunday, September 4. For those who aren’t familiar, Klahowya Village is Stanley Park’s summer aboriginal village where you can learn about local native culture through story telling, dance, art, crafts, and more. Finish your visit with the story of “The Raven Saving the Sun” narrated aboard the 13-minute Spirit Catcher Train ride!
3. Splashdown Park:
Want to make your kids feel like they’ve won the lottery? Treat them to a day at Tsawwassen’s Splashdown Park. As a kid, Splashdown Park was the ultimate destination for water slide lovers and it’s still Greater Vancouver’s only water slide park. Located along Hwy 17 just before the ferry terminal, Splashdown is both a water slide park and a family-friendly recreational site with grassy treed picnic grounds, beach volleyball courts, and basketball facilities. In other words, it’s not just water slides. But if water slides are your thing, there are pools and slides to suit every age, from the Children’s Splash Park for toddlers all the way up to the thrilling Black Hole slide for big kids. Splashdown Park will be closing for the season after the Labour Day weekend, so don’t procrastinate!
4. Sunshine Music Festival:
If you’re looking at taking the family on a mini road trip this weekend, we recommend heading up the Sunshine Coast to Powell River for the 30th Annual Sunshine Music Festival. Highlights include performances by Danny Michel, Mae Moore, The Paperboys, and the Fugitives. If you love the Vancouver Folk Festival, then you’ll love the Sunshine Music Festival – a folk music festival celebrating musical styles from around the world. You can buy single day passes or full weekend passes, but whatever you choose, children under 12 are free!
5. Fall Fair at the Burnaby Village Museum:
Step back into the 1920′s at the Burnaby Village Museum & Carousel. This Monday, September 5th they’ll be hosting their Fall Fair from 11am until 4:30pm. This is described on their website as “an old fashioned fall fair complete with games of chance, races and entertainment. Join one of the races, try the corn shucking, or bite your way through the watermelon-eating contest”. Admission is free for everyone, and there will also be free carousel rides compliments of Burnaby Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission and C.U.P.E. Local 23.
6. Giggle Ridge Adventure Golf:
Take the family out for a crazy game of mini golf at Giggle Ridge Adventure Golf. Located just outside of Cultus Lake, Giggle Ridge is a uniquely-designed timber mini golf course that’s themed as an abandoned logging camp, complete with railroad trestles and magical faces carved into the trees. Garden lovers will appreciate the floral displays – the 20,000 annuals, lush green foliage, and perennial grasses – all kept looking gorgeous thanks to the helpful assistance of local gardening guru, Brian Minter! Giggle Ridge is open daily from 10am until 9pm until Monday, September 5.
7. Fort Farm Fair at Fort Langley National Historic Site:
Visit a real Hudson’s Bay fur trade fort and one of the earliest European settlements in British Columbia at the Fort Langley National Historic Site. This weekend they’ll be hosting their Fort Farm Fair from September 3 until 5. As described on their website, “Explore the heritage garden and feed the farm animals at this authentic Hudson’s Bay Company fort. Built in 1827, Fort Langley’s workers operated a 2000-acre farm. Watch our cooper make a barrel, the container of choice for exporting butter and potatoes! Compete in the farm relay and watch farm-related demonstrations.”
8. Wildplay Whistler:
If your family loves hands-on adventure and adrenaline rushes, then you’ll want to head up the Sea to Sky to WildPlay Whistler. This adventuer park is self-described as “Beauty and bravery combined. Sitting among the ancient cedars of Cougar Mountain, WildPlay Whistler offers a distinctly remote outdoor experience. Climbing and zipping through this park is a breathtaking ecological adventure. Guests are delighted by sightings of with eagles, marmots, deer, and other animals who live amid the indigenous Skunk Cabbage and Devil’s Club and towering 900 year old Douglas fir trees. In an area known for extremes, WildPlay Whistler delivers the ultimate primal fun and games.”
9. Old & New Day at the BC Farm Museum:
Sometimes we take for granted how fascinating old farm machinery is and how much farm technology has evolved over the decades. If BC’s farm history piques your interest, get your family out to the BC Farm Museum in Fort Langley, home to BC’s largest pioneer collection. This Monday, September 5 is Old & New Day. Old tractors from the museum will be displayed beside new tractors from local dealers. See today’s version of the McLaughlin Carriage, as well as Model As, Model Ts, and other vintage cars on display with Langley’s newest and oldest fire trucks. There will also be free Tim Horton’s coffee and Timbits from noon to 2 pm. There will also be fresh local corn-on-the-cob and pop sale. Admission is by donation.
10. Chilliwack Bluegrass Festival:
It’s the weekend of the 24th Annual Chilliwack Bluegrass Festival – a festival that’s been popular with local music-loving families for generations! The festival goes from September 2 until September 4 and features performances by Missouri’s Cedar Hill, Oklahoma’s Ill Generation, Ontario’s Foggy Hogtown Boys, to name but a few. As described on their website, “In addition to hearing great tunes, mingling with the artists, and tapping your toes, there’s a lot more to see and do: Open mic, beginner jams, extensive workshops, corn shuckin’ contests, and free corn roasts every night! Our festival features an indoor venue, grass or gravel camping, and a Sunday church service is provided.” You can buy weekend or day passes, and children 5 and under are free.