Okay winter... We are finished with you! After what feels like the coldest and longest winter I can remember, the cherry blossoms starting to litter the streets are a glimmer of hope that spring is on its way. Can we all cross our fingers that it stays?
If you're looking for fun ideas to do with your family, here's some tried & tested activities that will be a hit with kids of all ages.
15 Fun Activities To Do With Kids This Spring
Practice your short game and take the kids mini golfing. On a sunny day, Blenkinsop Adventure Mini Golf is the perfect option. An enchanting 18-hole course in a colourful garden setting, with castles, waterwheels, and more! If you want to try a unique spin on the classic game, there's also a super cool indoor mini golfing place in Langford that is glow-in-the-dark! It's called Putting Edge, and is a totally fun-filled family outing, great for those rainy days that inevitably come.
Get some fish n' chips at Fisherman's Wharf. Barb's is the famous fish n' chips shop floating in Fisherman's Wharf, can't get more fresh than that! While you're there, walk along the docks and check out the floating homes, and wait for the friendly seals to come around, the kids will love it. You can even buy some fish to feed them (they'll do tricks)!
Go on a nature hike and try your hand at geocaching. We are surrounded by beautiful trails and mountains that are waiting to be explored. They can range in difficulty, so finding one suitable for your kids will be important. To add even more excitement to your nature hike, check out geocaching.com, or download the app, and your hike can turn into a search for a hidden treasure! Have your kids make a prize that you can leave behind for someone else to find.
The Goldstream Tressel
Some good walks/hikes:
- Elk / Beaver Lake (Easy)- in total this is a 10 km trail but you certainly don't have to do the whole thing. With 2 parks along the way, beautiful scenery, and very little incline, it's suitable for any age.
- East Sooke Park (Easy)- a stunning trail along the coast. Slightly more challenging than Elk / Beaver but still quite flat and there's different routes you can take to cater to skill and how long you want to be walking for. This is definitely a hidden gem!
- Goldstream Park (Easy/Medium/Challenging)- one of my favourite places to go! Just walking the flat trails along the stream are fun and you'll likely spot a good deal of wildlife. To take a step up, hike up to the Tressel (on the other side of the highway) for something exciting and different. This is pretty steep, but doesn't take too long to get to. With some breaks, I think the kids could handle it. Make sure they're not afraid of heights... or at least make sure when they're at the tressel they don't look down! My favourite way to get there is through the tunnel- you can keep to the side of the small stream passing through it and that way you cross UNDER the highway. To take it to the challenging aspect- you'll want to head up Mt Finlayson for a spectacular view. Note: this takes around 45-60 minutes and the last half of this is quite a bit of rock face, so wear good shoes.
- Lone Tree Hill (Medium)- this is in the Bear Mountain area, and is quite steep but not too long. There's a few different lookout points (hint- both of which have a treasure nearby!)
- Mount Doug (Medium)- sure you can drive to the top to get that view, but where's the fun in that?! Explore the many trails to get to the top, you can get there from both sides (Blenkinsop Rd or the Mt. Doug entrance). I have found starting from Blenkinsop Rd makes the hike a bit easier.
- Mount Work (Challenging)- this is just off Durance Rd and is a personal favourite. While it takes approximately the same amount of time as Mt Finlayson, it has a bit more variety (isn't just STRAIGHT UP). It also tends to not be as busy as most other hiking trails!
Stay educational (but still fun) and visit a museum or attraction. The Royal BC Museum never disappoints and always has a rotating exhibit so you have something new each time. A visit to their IMAX is always a hit too, while you're there! Two other favourites are The Bug Zoo, and Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre (in Sidney), depending on what your child's interests are.
Celebrate Easter with the community at one of the many Easter Egg Hunts or events. With Easter just around the corner, many local organizations have plans to bring Easter to the kids! All around Greater Victoria is fun activities like Easter hunts, bouncy castles, face painting, breakfasts, making Easter-y decorations, and more. Check out our article on Easter Events in Victoria for a complete list.
Pet the animals at the Beacon Hill Children's Farm. The petting zoo officially opened for the season and there's tons of furry friends waiting to meet your little one! This has always been a favourite for the kids. Get hands-on with the baby goats (they're so cute!), view the pot bellied pigs, llamas, chickens of all kinds, ducks, turkeys, bunnies, reptiles, the list goes on!
Many people are often unaware that there are two "Goat Stampedes" that happen daily at 10:10 a.m and 4:10 p.m. Make sure you are in the petting zoo at least 10 minutes before this in order to guarantee a a front row spot.
You can also spot peacocks throughout the farm and even just walking through Beacon Hill Park, always a beautiful sight to see.
To add to the fun, make it treat time at a local favourite, Beacon Hill Drive Through, for ice cream or milkshakes, or some sort of tasty treat! Located just across the street from Beacon Hill Park.
Feed the Seals at the Oak Bay Marina. Just a quick 10 minutes from downtown Victoria is the beautiful Oak Bay Marina. Families can skip the crowds at the Wharf and feed the seals here instead! Just head to the gift shop with a toonie and grab a bag of fish on your way to the dock. This activity is a guaranteed people pleaser whether you or 5 or 50. Not to mention it is super cheap too.
Take a day trip to the many beaches out past Sooke. For only a one hour drive, you can sure find some hidden gems. Two great options to add a little excitement for the kids would be Sandcut Beach or Mystic Beach. Sandcut Beach is rocky, but features 3 good sized waterfalls next to each other that fall right onto the beach. The cliff has created a cave, so you can actually go under the waterfall without getting wet!
Mystic Beach is great because there is a giant rope swing you can play on, and swing out so it feels like you're over the ocean! Other pit stops that you won't regret are French Beach, China Beach, the Sheringham Lighthouse walk, and Sombrio.
If you're looking for a great place to grab a bite to eat on the way home, Mom's Cafe in Sooke, or MyChosen Cafe off Happy Valley Road... Both are FABULOUS.
The view from under one of the waterfalls at Sandcut Beach.
Simply walk the causeway. As the weather gets warmer, the causeway will soon be bustling with vendors and buskers! Grab a snack (Soda Shoppe is never a bad idea), then take a stroll stopping at the different shows. The kids will LOVE the magicians and jugglers.
If you're lucky, your kids might even get to join in on the act.
The buskers gives Victoria a very unique vibe in the Inner Harbour and makes for an easy way to spend a sunny day just wandering town. It can be fun to be a tourist in your own town for a day!
Take a step back in time at Fort Rodd Hill. The Fisgard Lighthouse is quite a sight to see, and did you know it was the first lighthouse on Canada's west coast? The fort includes three gun batteries, underground magazines, command posts, guardhouses, barracks, and more.
It is free for 2017, making it a great time to check it out.
Surround yourself with thousands of butterflies. Check out Butterfly Gardens, where you're immersed with thousands of colourful creatures. That's not all you'll find though, this place is complete with flamingos, exotic parrots, turtles, fish and a huge iguana.
Get a Crumsby's cupcake and have a tea party. This quaint little cafe is always a hit with kids. Not only are the treats delicious, but the owner had a career in early childhood education so has the space adorned with kids play areas. There are two locations: Royal Oak and Estefan Village.
Stargaze at Cattle Point. This is one of the best places in Victoria to get a good view of the stars, as it is one of the only two Urban Star Parks in Canada where artificial lighting is controlled to reduce light pollution.
Take your kids to the Little Library and exchange a book. This may not have the selection your local library has, but it's a fun concept. The only rule: take a book and return a book! Once your kids are finished with their next good read, bring them to The Little Library and they can search for a new one to enjoy. It's also a great lesson in sharing and community.
The one pictured is at 375 King Edward Terrace. The other is at 823 Colville Rd, and is known to have more of a selection for kids.
To learn more, visit littlefreelibrary.org. You can event set up and register your own little library for your community.
Wander through some incredible spring craft fairs. There's something about Victoria and craft fairs. But I'm not complaining, I love looking at the wide variety of crafts, artwork, home decor, and tasty treats that our talented Victorians have to offer! I admire how people tend to shop local in this vibrant little city, and, as a bonus, these spring craft fairs are typically free entry.