When people think of Victoria, BC I think most people think about whale watching and beautiful harbour scenery. However, we have young kids and whale watching is a bit pricey and also not something they might enjoy. We didn’t have much time in Victoria, we spent about 2 days there but we saw a lot in the two days. Here are 4 fun and frugal things to do with kids in Victoria, BC.
There are all things that you could do with young kids if you are staying close to Victoria’s Inner Harbour.
If you have older kids, whale watching might be fun, and they could also go to The Empress and have afternoon tea. The Empress even has a Prince and Princess Tea geared towards children age 5-12. It’s definitely not a frugal activity though, it is $45 per person for Prince and Princess Tea.
The Royal BC Museum
Speaking of splurges, the Royal BC Museum is pricey but definitely well worth the admission. This is probably one of the best things to do with kids in Victoria BC. This is especially if you have children between ages 3-5, because then you can take advantage of the free admission for kids this age.
The displays at the Royal BC Museum were so interactive and life-like, our kids had a great time running around and exploring. I personally had a great time learning more about BC’s history and also seeing all the life-like animals, like the woolly mammoth.
It was a little difficult trying to keep my kids from climbing or touching everything, but there were plenty of exhibits where they could be hands on, so that was nice.
Cost (not including the IMAX film):
- Adults $26.95 per person
- Children age 3-5 are free
- Children ages 6-18 are $16.95
Visit The Legislative Assembly
The Legislative Assembly is beautifully lit up at night (maybe during the holiday season, I’m not sure) and also beautiful during the day too!
It’s a nice well maintained and groomed outdoor area for kids to run around and get muddy in (despite us telling our kids not to run on the grass because it’s muddy, low and behold, they run in the grass, fall down and get mud on their knees and pants).
In addition to visiting the manicured grounds of the Legislative Assembly, you can also take a tour too.
You can have a very reasonably priced lunch and eat at the parliamentary dining room. The prices are cheaper than the BC Ferries White Spot! We didn’t get a chance to eat here, but how cool would it be to eat lunch at the legislative assembly? It would be especially fun if your child seems to be a budding politician 😉
Cost: Free to visit
Greater Victoria Public Library: James Bay
Just behind the parliament building is the James Bay branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library. It’s one of the newest libraries in Victoria and has been in operation here since 2018.
There are dedicated children’s book areas and dedicated children play areas. It has an open airy feel to it and is very modern.
It’s definitely a nice stop if your family needs some quiet time or reading time between other activities in Victoria, since it is so close to the Parliament buildings and Victoria’s Inner Harbour.
Beacon Hill Park
Beacon Hill Park is a 5 minute drive from the Parliament Building and Inner Harbour. It is over 740,000 square metres of parkland. Interestingly, Beacon Hill is considered “Mile 0” of the 8000km Trans Canada Highway. The other end of the Trans Canada Highway is in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
We were blown away by how large this park was. So many ponds, so many ducks, so many well maintained and well landscaped shrubs, bushes, and plants. It was very beautiful and serene.
Roaming the park we also saw some peacocks that weren’t shy at all.
Also there’s a Beacon Hill Children’s Farm (you can see pigs, chickens, goats etc.) but it closes for the winter season so we didn’t get a chance to see it.
You could spend a few hours here at Beacon Hill park it’s so large. There are even two playgrounds.
Apparently there is also a beautiful ocean view at the edge of the park but we didn’t get a chance to go there.
Beacon Hill is another great attraction on this list of things to do with kids in Victoria BC.
Where To Stay in Victoria with Kids
We stayed at the Royal Scot Hotel and Suites in Victoria. It was very central and just a block beside the Parliament buildings. It was quite reasonably priced for a one bedroom suite and for being so central.
However, it’s certainly not comparable to something like The Fairmont Empress, haha.
They have one bedroom suites that are huge with full kitchens (a stove, regular sized refrigerator, coffee machine, microwave). Albeit having dated appliances, they worked fine and got the job done.
They provide a pack and play for free if you request one.
There’s a small gym there that opens until 10:30pm. The Royal Scot also has a swimming pool, hot tub, and a sauna room open until 10:30pm. During the day, no one was in the swimming pool.
There’s also free parking and a common area library room with games (like Scrabble and Jenga), books, 1000 piece puzzles, and even an electric piano. There’s also a separate billiards room too.
When I asked my 4 year old what the best part of the entire trip on Vancouver Island was, he said “the hotel!”.
If we go to Victoria again, we would definitely stay there again. The Royal Scot Hotel is so central, the rooms are spacious, and there is a full kitchen. It’s like an Airbnb without having to worry about damaging anything for the Airbnb owners.
Although it’s nearly not a 4 star hotel accommodation, it is a great place to stay if you have young kids.
Where to Eat
Because we had a kitchen, we didn’t go out to eat much (it’s hard to go out to eat with a toddler and not my idea of a fun time anyway), however we did manage to go to the Old Spaghetti Factory.
The Old Spaghetti Factory is very close to the Inner Harbour (basically across the street from the Royal BC Museum) and is very family friendly.
Their children’s menu is very economical. The children’s entrees include: a green salad or soup, sourdough bread, whipped garlic butter, a drink such as milk, pop, or juice, and their signature Spumoni ice cream.
The Spumoni ice cream is like a blend of pistachio ice cream.
Here are some of the prices of the kids entrees at Old Spaghetti Factory:
- Spaghetti and Meatballs $7.25
- Tortellini with choice of sauce $7.75
- Chicken Dippers and Fries, $7.95
- Pizza (cheese or pepperoni) $7.95
- Spaghetti and Meatballs $7.25
- Spaghetti with choice of Sauce $6.75
All in all, the kids had a great time in Victoria. The Royal BC Museum was the highlight of our time in Victoria and I would definitely recommend a visit there if you are heading to Vancouver Island.
Do you have other fun and frugal things to do with kids in Victoria BC?
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