Keeping kids entertained over the course of the warmest months can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be expensive too! Pack up the car (or the front end of the Skytrain with that front window view) and spend a day or two exploring fun in New Westminster that won’t break the bank.
The good thing about museums and galleries in New Westminster is that the kids are having so much fun, they won’t even realize they’re learning something too. The other good thing is they’re mostly indoors so they’re West Coast weather proof!
Photo credit: New Westminster Museums & Heritage Services
Take a trip back to 1865 at the Irving House Museum where you can explore the oldest intact house in the Lower Mainland. Its mixed-Gothic style and architectural features have been meticulously held up over the years to provide an immersive experience of life at BC’s very beginning.
See how the mighty Fraser has shaped the land and the people who have lived on it for centuries at the Fraser River Discovery Centre. Rotating exhibits and hands-on displays tell the stories of the life, history and future of BC.
The Anvil Centre in downtown New West provides a couple opportunities for the culture vultures in your family.
At the New Westminster Museum, the vibrant 10,000 year history of the city is celebrated in engaging, interactive exhibits containing authentic objects and many fascinating photographs.
Upstairs at the New Media Gallery, science- and the art-lovers alike will revel in the gallery’s entertaining genre-bending exhibits. This summer is all about Dust, a show from three artists using working technologies and sound, including VR, to “expand upon the hidden dimensions of dust as landscape.”
When the sun is shining, you can’t beat New Westminster’s expansive urban parks for outdoor play. Queen’s Park is the crown jewel with its 75 acres of forested trails, picnic shelters, playgrounds and spray park. Then in the afternoon, you can take in the Queens Park Concert Series at the park’s bandshell. Watch as local musicians and storytellers take to the forest stage with family friendly performances. On August 13 at 2pm, kids will love watching Zox of the Forest perform his always engaging puppet and music show.
Around the corner at Tipperary Park, kids will love roaming the fragrant aisles at the New West Farmers Market. Every Thursday until November you can peruse the best in local produce and grab a few fresh pastries for dessert.
Over by the water, there’s plenty going on at Westminster Pier Park! Picnic areas, public art and a play area, it’s the perfect spot to while away the summer hours. If you’re looking to get an early start on activities, Mornings by the River offers hands-on drumming workshops for all ages. Led by Rhythm Resource, you’ll learn all Afro-Peruvian percussion, and how to lay down a groove! Then on weekends, the park hosts Circus Sundays, an active workshop where kids can learn the different skills of the bigtop. From juggling to stilts, you’re welcome to participate however you want- or you can always just watch the fun of course!
Westminster Pier Park is also only steps away from all the shopping, eating and sight-seeing along the Waterfront Esplanade, which also makes for a wonderful family bike ride.
In addition to these always-on activities, there are a number of special events scheduled for summer all throughout the city.
All throughout June, explore New West landmarks and greenways by bicycle on a Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt. Collect selfies at designated places for your chance to win the top prize of a gift certificate from Cap’s Bicycle Shop.
Celebrate Canada Day the whole weekend of June 29 – July 2 with family, food, movement and creativity. Free activities include Indigenous art shows, a craft summer market, yoga in the park, drumming workshops and live stage performances on July 1.
On July 1, the Vancouver Circus School is hosting their year end circus production. Join them upstairs at the River Market for a ‘by-donation’ event.
Also that weekend, enjoy the sweet sounds of the evening at the Summer Concert in the Park series at the Queen’s Park Bandshell. Local musicians will gather among the trees to showcase our cultural diversity with family-friendly shows.
Photo credit: @UptownLive_NW
Keeping with the music, the TD Uptown Live Street Party takes over Sixth St & Sixth Ave, July 15. Multiple stages will present a full schedule of live bands, plus interactive exhibits, local artisans, a bevy of food trucks and tons of family fun.
Finally, drop in for some Family Art in the Park on August 15 and create some beautiful pieces along with some lasting memories. There’ll be local artists on hand to guide you through a variety of different techniques and projects, all under the trees at Ryall Park.