An enjoyable vacation with young kids takes a lot of planning. While adults may be content with long drives from Point A to B, thrilled with a day crammed with hikes or excited at the prospect of scoring deals at the outlets, making the vacation as much fun for the kids is important too. Halifax, NS, is the biggest city in Canada’s eastern provinces, and is often a port of call for visitors. Knowing entertainment options for kids in the city environs may help planning a trip with the family easier.
Summer Kid-Friendly Activities in Halifax, NS
The Beach: Being situated on the water gives Halifax the advantage of having several beach areas within the city that offer the opportunity to swim, sail or just laze a summer day away. Most are supervised by trained lifeguards. Bring your beach gear and a picnic for a fabulous family day out. In the mood for some wet and dry fun? Check out one of the spray/wading pools in the city where the little ones can alternatively run from the pool to the adjoining playground.
Atlantic Playland Amusement Park: Located just 10 minutes from downtown Bedford, Atlantic Playland is open 10am-6pm all summer. Boasting water activities such as slides, bumper cars, a kiddie pool, in addition to go carts, bouncy castles, carousel and mini golf, this small amusement park has enough for a day’s worth of fun, especially for younger children. Admission and parking is free; pay for each ride as you go. Packing a picnic is essential as the park does not have food arrangements.
Outdoor Playgrounds: it is always a good idea to let kids burn off some steam before buckling them in for a long car ride or a must-do visit to the twice-removed relatives. While smaller playgrounds abound, for a really exhausting few hours of fun head out to the play park at the Halifax Commons downtown or the DeWolf Park in Bedford. Both playgrounds are popular with the locals and kids will never want for company during summer months. The adjoining grounds offer perfect picnic spots for a take-out lunch.
Halifax Waterfront: Not only is the waterfront a must-see sight for any trip to Halifax, NS, it offers much for kids, too. The ship playground is a popular draw along with the boardwalk and a tour on Theodore the Tugboat. Fresh ice cream with a variety of toppings at Sugah! is a deliciously sweet ending for kids and adults alike.
Hatfield Farm: Located minutes from the city, Hatfield Farm is a sanctuary for those looking to spend a quiet day away from the urban hubbub. Open every day in the summer, the farm offers pony- and wagon rides, a petting zoo, mini golf and a small playground to keep kids entertained. There is an on-site restaurant for a convenient food break when needed.
Winter Kid-Friendly Activities in Halifax, NS
Discovery Centre: Touted as Nova Scotia’s hands-on science centre, Halifax’s Discovery Centre is a treat for the kids in inclement weather or otherwise. With interesting special exhibits that change every few months and a plethora of ‘regulars’, this science centre has fun activities for every age. The bubble room where kids can learn about surface tension while making their own bubbles is always a hit, as is the real, usable suspension bridge.
Although the centre does not have a cafeteria, there are plenty of family friendly eating options where it is located.
Indoor Playgrounds: What to do when the kids are bouncing off the hotel walls in the middle of winter? Head to one of the independently owned indoor playgrounds in Bedford or Sackville where kids can run around and create a ruckus without raised eyebrows while adults chat or snack nearby. Admission fee is in the range of $5-7/person.
Museum of Natural History: The recently renovated Natural History Museum showcases diverse plant and animal life from Nova Scotia’s beautiful environs. The ever-popular static exhibits and a rotation of interactive ones focus on entertainment and education making this museum an ideal haunt for kids of all ages.
Dalplex Funzone: The Dalhousie University Funzone, an Athletic and Recreational Services enterprise, consists of three play levels, including an 8’x8′ ball pit, multi-level spiral slide, straight slide, hand-over-hand bars, tube crawls, tube climbs and a play house.