Warm weather is on the horizon, and the city of Halifax is slowly waking from its winter slumber. The kids are anxious and ready to hit the outdoors again, and anywhere else they can find for a little action.
Fortunately, Halifax is an awesome place to grow up. With the ocean never more than a half hour away and a whole city of cultural and artistic attractions to visit, you never have a shortage of activities too keep you and the kids occupied. And while it's nice to be able to splurge for tickets to the local history museum, not all of us make enough money to go to all of the wonderful museums, galleries and events offered around the Halifax area.
For those of us who want to have fun with the littles without spending a fortune, here are twenty things you can do with the kids in Halifax for under $5.
1. Wander the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Children under five get in free, older kids cost $3.10. There's plenty to see and do. Learn about the Titanic and the Narrows explosion of 1917, and then visit Theodore Too, from the television series Theodore Tugboat.
2. Bring the kiddos to Halifax Harbourwalk and enjoy views of the sea while walking the boardwalk. While you're in the area, let them play at the ocean-themed playground, complete with a climbing submarine.
3. Window-shop in downtown Halifax. The area is rife with small shops of all varieties, plus plenty of places to get a snack while you're exploring. Best of all, it's free to look! Just make sure to bring plenty of water and keep an eye on available restrooms.
4. Join a photo scavenger hunt. Parks Canada offers kids the opportunity to visit one of 30 locations in the area to snap pics of scavenger items. Download the My Photo Missions app to play and join Parka and Chirp!
5. Stop by the Discovery Centre on a Wednesday evening. There are tons of galleries to vist and a "Just for Kids" area with youth-specific interactive exhibits. For an out-of-this-world experience, visit the Dome Theatre, the centre's planetarium
6. Canoe the Northwest Arm on the weekend. From June 1-September 30, canoe rental is free at St. Mary's Boat Club. Not only will the kids enjoy the water and the view, you'll enjoy how easy it is for them to sleep that night.
7. Skate or ice skate at Emera Oval. You can also rent or bring your own bicycles, scooters or skateboards for public skating during the summer. Rental is free with a government issued photo ID.
8. Snowshoe the Halifax area. During winter, many recreation centers offer free snowshoe rental for kids and families. There's no better way to enjoy the outdoors and stay in shape for the coming warmer weather.
9. Tend some veggies at a community garden. Teach your kids the value of farming and use your imagination to make a hearty Sunday dinner.
10. Hike the trails at Point Pleasant Park at the south end of Halifax. You might stumble on old fort ruins and see Halifax history face-to-face. Bring your dog for a long walk, since much of the park is off-leash. And if you're hungry, check out the food truck.
11. Cook within the community at the Open Oven in Leighton Dillman Park, Dartmouth. Perfect for family barbecues, block parties and just hanging out with other families. It officially opens in June and can also be reserved for special events.
12. See what's in season at Seaport Farmers' Market, the oldest continuous market in North America (opened first in 1750). You're sure to want to try the local produce in your special recipe.
13. Have a picnic at Sir Sandford Fleming Park and see Halifax from a new perspective at the top of the Dingle Tower. The park has a beach and kid's playground as well as plenty of room to run around.
14. Pull up a chair and get your reading on at Halifax Central Library. The new building was opened only a few years ago, but its size and availability to specialized programming is second to none. Spend the afternoon perusing the stacks or check out upcoming events for the family.
15. Share the wonder of the universe with your kids at the Burke-Gaffney Observatory. Visitors can observe astronomical objects through the 24-inch reflecting telescope or enjoy the canvas of constellations above. Free open houses run the 2nd and 4th Friday of the month, make sure you call and reserve a ticket.
16. Watch glass blowers in action at Nova Scotian Crystal, located just down the road from the Maritime Museum on the Halifax Waterfront. Your kids will love the artistry and you'll appreciate every moment the little ones can stand still.
17. Download a Karaoke app on your phone and have a Karaoke sing-off in your living room. Combine it with trivia to up the ante and enjoy hearing how great (or not so great) your loved ones can carry a tune.
18. Visit and tour the Province House, home to the Nova Scotia legislature. Not only is this an excellent way to introduce your family to politics and the legislative system, the home is an architectural gem as well.
19. Take advantage of free Thursday night admission at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. The gallery has a number of temporary exhibits and a permanent collection of work from Canada's brightest artists. And while you're here, visit the Pavia Gallery Espresso Bar and Cafe.
20. Go on a family bike ride. Halifax has so many bicycle-friendly neighbourhood parks that it would take you all summer to explore them all.