In the words of Alice Cooper, “school’s out”…for a long weekend.
In honour of BC’s Family Day on February 19, schools are closed—so you can enjoy some free time with your little ones (and not-so-little ones, too). Across Metro Vancouver and beyond, there are quite a few ways to enjoy the holiday, from free games and activities, to the exploration of marine centres, and even a fan convention for families who love to dress up and take part in pop culture.
Here are some of our picks.
There are tons of free activities to bring little ones across the city of Surrey this Family Day long weekend, from free games and sports at the city’s recreation facilities to arts and library events at Clayton Community Centre. A Western-themed skate is hosted at five arenas with drop-in admission and rentals, while Darts Hill Garden Park features free outdoor activities such as story time and workshops. The Museum of Surrey offers board games, scavenger hunts, and photos with mascot Raj the Raccoon, and Historic Stewart Farm offers farmhouse tours and heritage demos.
When: February 17 to 19, various times
Where: Various venues across Surrey
On Family Day (February 19), admission to the Vancouver Maritime Museum at Vanier Park is by donation, and features family-friendly activities like storytelling and Coast Guard meet-and-greets. There’s also an exhibition running that explores the bootlegging days of yore: A Wild & Wet Coast: Rum-Running During Prohibition. It delineates British Columbians’ experiences smuggling liquor to the US in the ‘20s and ‘30s, and highlights various watercrafts—like tugboats, yachts, schooners, skiffs, dories, and speedboats—used for smuggling. Yee-haw!
When: February 19, 10am to 5pm
Where: Vancouver Maritime Museum (1905 Ogden Avenue, Vancouver)
Vancouver Civic Theatres hosts a free Family Day Open House at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, including art displays, craft workshops, live music, and other activities. Kids and their families can explore creation stations with various artistic mediums, tour local artists’ works in the visual arts space, and to top it all off, sip on a complimentary hot chocolate.
When: February 17, 10am to 1pm
Where: Queen Elizabeth Theatre (630 Hamilton Street, Vancouver)
Admission: Free (though registration is required)
Stepping into the Burnaby Village Museum is often a welcome blast from the past—or sometimes a step onto your favourite Hallmark movie. On this Family Day, the museum opens a section from 11am to 4pm with free South Asian-themed activities like Bollywood music, dancing, and games outside the Carousel Pavilion. Admission is free, but you’ll have to pay for a spin on the carousel.
When: February 19, 11am to 4pm
Where: Burnaby Village Museum (651 Deer Lake Parkway, Burnaby)
Visit the Fraser River Discovery Centre on Family Day to discover the world of animal families in a series of activities for kids. Self-guided activities include negotiating like a barn owl chick and keeping all of the fox kits fed. Demonstrations include “egg exchangers,” where you’ll emulate Brown-headed Cowbirds, plus storytime with author Matthew Burgess reading Bird Boy, and a workshop for honing observational skills to help us understand animal behaviour—and maybe even our own.
When: February 19, 10am to 4pm
Where: Fraser River Discovery Centre (788 Quayside Drive, New Westminster)
They say the family that cosplays together stays together. Dress up as your kids’ favourite superhero or fictional character and bring them to Vancouver’s Fan Expo; the comic-superhero-sci-fi and general pop culture convention and trade show takes place over the Family Day weekend at the Vancouver Convention Centre, featuring appearances by everyone’s favourite villain Giancarlo Esposito, plus Danny Trejo and Bruce Campbell. Groovy, baby!
When: February 17 to 19
Where: Vancouver Convention Centre (1055 Canada Place, Vancouver)
Tickets: From $12, available online
Sure, it’d be nice to get the whole family on the next flight out to a sunny destination, but when that’s not possible, there’s always FlyOver Canada. The immersive experience delights the senses in a spectacular show combining a flight simulator, flight-motion seats, wrap-around screens, and the 4D effects of winds, mists, and scents. Over the Family Day long weekend, they’ll be “flying” to the beahces of Hawaii, exploring the wonders of the American West, and writing a love letter to the Canadian Rockies.
When: Friday to Sunday, 10am to 8pm
Where: Canada Place (201 – 999 Canada Place, Vancouver)
Tickets: Starting at $34, available to pre-purchase here
From the folks who brought us Imagine Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience comes Space Explorers: The Infinite—another virtual reality experience. This is for folks and families with kids a little older—eight and up, to be exact—who want to explore the International Space Station through a VR headset. The 360-degree immersive experience is an hour-long glimpse into interstellar life. You can journey through space, explore the ISS in 3D, and see exclusive footage of NASA’s Artemis I mission. Budding astronauts should not miss out on this!
When: Friday to Saturday, 11am to 8pm; Sunday, 11am to 6pm
Where: Rocky Mountaineer Vancouver Station (1755 Cottrell Street, Vancouver)
Tickets: Starting at $35, available here