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Top Kid-Friendly Activities in Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC

Top Kid-Friendly Activities in Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC

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Are you planning a trip to Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada? Find out the best things to do in Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC with kids.
This post about things to do in Stanley Park was originally published August 5, 2016 and updated April 13, 2018 and may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

Stanley Park is Vancouver’s number one tourist attraction. It’s easy to see why, especially in the summer. There are so many things to do in Stanley Park that one could easily spend several days here exploring all the options.

A few of the activities include train, the Tea House, Horse Drawn Tour, bike rentals, and so much more. The views are beautiful and the park is expansive.

We had the opportunity to visit with my toddler while I was 7 months pregnant. That meant we really had to pick and choose what activities we could manage.

We wanted to see the park and also do things that were especially fun for our toddler.

Here’s what we ended up doing:

Stanley Park Horse Drawn Tour Carriage Ride

I had always seen the horse drawn carriage rides when we have driven through Stanley Park in the past, but we never looked into it.

This time, I decided it would be the perfect way to start our day in Stanley Park. My toddler was especially excited since he had his first pony ride just days earlier. He couldn’t believe how big our horses, Andy and Jay, were!

We sat right behind the driver and as soon as the carriage filled up, we slowly trotted on our journey.

Photo of Stanley Park Horse Drawn tour in Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada #stanleypark #horsedrawntour #carriage #vancouver #bc #britishcolumbia #pnw #vancouverbc
The Stanley Park Horse Drawn Tour is a unique way to explore Vancouver’s top attraction. Photo credit: Tourism Vancouver/ Coast Mountain Photography
At first I thought the ride was a bit bumpy, but after a few minutes, I didn’t notice it at all. Our tour guide had a lovely presentation of facts mixed with stories about the people and places of Stanley Park.
We had five minutes to get off and look around the Totem Poles and the waterfront, but the rest of the time was spent in the carriage. We really enjoyed the breathtaking scenery!
Photo of the Stanley Park Horse Drawn Tour in Vancouver, BC Canada #stanleypark #vancouver #bc #britishcolumbia #canada #explorebc
Stopping at the Totem Pole area on the Stanley Park Horse Drawn Tour. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung


  • If you sit in the front row, right behind the driver, you may have reins at your feet. They aren’t long, but could be uncomfortable if you have long legs.
  • There are just ropes on the sides of the carriage, so keep an eye on small kiddos who may be sitting close to the edge.
  • Be warned, you will pass an awesome spray park and your kiddos may want to stop and play. You can’t hop off the tour, so you can go back after the Stanely Park Horse Drawn Carriage Ride. The spray park has a Kid Dryer, where you can dry off your kids if you didn’t bring a towel. That sounds like an experience in itself!

Stanley Park Train

Every year, we come to Vancouver for my son’s birthday, which falls right after Christmas. Every year, I suggest that we do the Stanley Park train, but it never works out with our plans. So, we made it a priority to do it this trip.

My toddler is a big fan of trains and he loved every minute of this! I assumed that it would be similar to the Horse Drawn tour where we’d go around the park.

It never occurred to me why I’d never seen the train in action before. It’s tucked away in the woods!

The conductor drives a miniature version of a steam locomotive on a miniature railway, and you meander through the woods checking out sights like Big Foot, Charlie Brown, Foghorn Leghorn, Kermit the Frog and more!

Besides spotting the characters, the journey is actually pretty stunning as the train roams the forest of giant trees, through a tunnel, crosses a tiny brook and around a beautiful pond.

It’s about a 12 minute ride and it feels like the right length.

It was so fun that we will definitely come back, especially for their Stanely Park Christmas Train.

Photo of a toddler at the Stanley Park Train in Vancouver, BC in Canada #stanleypark #stanleyparktrain #vancouver #bc #britishcolumbia #pnw #canada #explorebc
My toddler was thrilled to be on the Stanley Park Miniature Train Ride! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung


  • The front of the train, right behind the conductor, seems to be the most coveted spot. Get there early if your kiddo wants to sit there.
  • If you are coming to Vancouver for the Stanley Park Christmas Train, you might want to get your tickets ahead of time as it can be very busy
  • Your train-enthusiast child may want to do the ride several times.
  • There is a concession stand nearby that has lunch items and mini donuts.
  • If your child is celebrating a birthday, you can reserve the train for a private birthday celebration!

[irp posts=”1802″ name=”Bright Nights at Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC”]

Lunch at Stanley Park

We opted for a quick lunch at the nearby concession stand so we could head back to our hotel for a quick nap.
My toddler decided he didn’t want to nap (he told me he was too excited for the bus ride), so after resting a bit, we got on the Hop-on-Hop Off Bus to explore the city and stop at the Vancouver Aquarium.


If you are headed to the Vancouver Aquarium, Waterfall Cafe might be a great place to stop for lunch. It’s located just a few minutes from the Stanley Park info booth.

Their sunny patio is a nice place to enjoy a bite and take in views of the Vancouver Aquarium, the 300 year old Western Red Cedar tree, and Bill’s Reid’s Chief of the Undersea World sculpture.

The Waterfall Cafe is open from June to September, and admission to the Aquarium is not required.


If you want to enjoy a leisurely meal, check out the Tea House at Stanley Park. They offer seafood dishes, steak, pizza, brunch and many other kid-friendly menu options.

It’s a higher end restaurant and the view of Stanley Park is incredible!

Vancouver Hop On Hop Off Bus

The Hop On Hop Off bus ride was a lot of fun! I loved the open air top because I could really experience the city. My toddler had a blast for the first 30 minutes and then he fell asleep…hard.
It was a bit difficult to hear the narration and announcements, but it was such a relaxing way to see the city. I love bus tours and would definitely do this one again.
The only downside was when we were dropped off at the Vancouver Aquarium, we didn’t know that the last bus was an hour and a half later. Had we known, we would have planned accordingly.
I wish they would have handed us a brochure with the times on it.
We ended up (fortunately) hailing a taxi after we realized the last bus came before the Aquarium even closed.
Photo of the Hop on Hop Off Bus Tour in Vancouver, BC Canada - an activity you can do nearby Stanley Park. #hoponhopoff #vancouver #vancouverbc #explorebc #britishcolumbia #pnw #canada
My toddler was too excited to nap when he heard we were going on the Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour in Vancouver. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung


  • Get a map. I cannot stress this enough.
  • Pick just a few places to stop if you use it all day. The line to get on the bus at popular places like Granville Island was incredibly long and you may have to wait.
  • Wear sunscreen and a hat if you go in the Summer

Vancouver Aquarium

Vancouver Aquarium is the largest aquarium in Canada and it was recently expanded. I had been before several years ago in December and remember it was cool, but nothing specific.
By the time we arrived to the Aquarium, my toddler was pretty worn out and didn’t really want to explore too much. I gave him a quick snack and we did a speedy walk thru of the Tropical Fish and Amazon area.
Photo of Vancouver Aquarium at Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada #vancouveraquarium #stanleypark #vancouver #vancouverbc #explorebc #pnw #canada
The Vancouver Aquarium has mammal shows throughout the day. Photo credit: Tourism Vancouver / Coast Mountain Photography
My son really wanted to head outside, so we headed out. This was my favorite part! We don’t have big mammals at our Seattle Aquarium, so it was a real treat to see the belugas and the dolphin!
I wanted to explore more, but my toddler saw the ice cream stand and didn’t want to do anything else.
He had a huge tantrum when we tried to look at the belugas and we ended up spending the rest of our time at the Aquarium eating a quick dinner and getting ice cream.
Next time, we’ll try to do the Vancouver Aquarium in the morning when moods are better.
Photo of Sea Lions at Vancouver Aquarium at Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC Canada #vancouveraquarium #sealions #vancouver #vancouverbc #explorebc #britishcolumbia #canada #pnw
Checking out the Sea Lions at the Vancouver Aquarium at Stanley Park. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung


  • Go in the morning
  • Find out the event schedule for the day to see shows featuring the mammals
  • Warning: There really isn’t a way to avoid the sign for ice cream near the mammals

[irp posts=”1752″ name=”Downtown Vancouver from Above and by Sea”]

Stanley Park Tours

Vancouver Private Secrets of Stanley Park Walking Tour

Get off the beaten path of Stanley Park and find out the tragic history of Deadman’s Island, discover the location of a long lost indigenous village known as Whoi Whoi, see trees that are hundreds of years old and more!

Stanley Park First Nations Interpretive Walking Tour

This 90-minute walking tour is led by a First Nations descendant and cultural ambassador. See how the tour aboriginal people lived and managed the land, the forest and oceans for countless generations.
It’s just over a mile long and is a great educational activity for families.

Stanley Park Bike Rentals

Something that we didn’t do this trip, but would love to do next time we’re in Vancouver in the summer is to rent a bike in Stanley Park. I’ve found a couple of companies that offer services to families with young children.

And you can always do a private bike tour.

Rent a bike in Stanley Park vancouver, Stanley Park bike rentals in Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada #stanleypark #biking #vancouver #explorebc #britishcolumbia #pnw #canada
Stanley Park is a beautiful place to rent a bicycle and explore Vancouver, BC. Photo credit: Tourism Vancouver/ Rishad Daroowala


Conveniently located at the entrance of Stanley Park, Spokes Bicycle Rentals has been serving Vancouver locals and tourists since 1938. They have the largest selection of the newest bicycles and offer complimentary helmets and locks.

Plus, they have balance bikes, children’s 1 speed bikes, trail-a-bike, child trailer, and child’s seats for adult bicycles.


Another option is English Bay Bike Rentals, which offers kids’ bikes, child trailers, child seats, and junior mountain bikes. They have 12″ and 16″ kids bikes that are available with or without training wheels.

And they have the Weehoo tag along bike that attaches to their Hybrid or Crosstail bikes and gives kids the ability to pedal along and enjoy riding while an adult does the work!

You can also book a private family tour if you’d like a guided tour around Vancouver with kids.

Stanley Park Playgrounds

If your kids just want to run around, check out some of the Stanley Park playgrounds! There are four designated children’s playgrounds located near other Stanley Park attractions and activities.

Plus, the park itself is one big Vancouver playground!

Stanley Park Events


What better way to watch a movie than to experience an outdoor movie at Stanley Park? During July and August (weather permitting) families can watch movies every Tuesday night after sunset.

It’s free to sit on the Grand Lawn and Ceperley Meadow. Just show up with your picnic blanket or lawn chair to enjoy this Stanley Park summer evening tradition!


During the holiday season, the Bright Nights Christmas Train and Stanley Park Train Plaza sparkle with three million twinkling lights.

Update: We did the Stanley Park Christmas Train last year and it was fantastic! You can read about it here.

Photo of Bright Nights at Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC Canada #vancouver #vancouverchristmas #vancouverholiday #bc #britishcolumbia #stanleypark #canada
Bright Nights at Stanley Park is a fun Vancouver holiday event. Photo credit: Tourism Vancouver/ Rishad Daroowala

Ride the Bright Nights Train and experience the lights, breathtaking displays, and live performers along the train route. But, Bright Nights at Stanley Park is so much more than just a train ride.

You can also view the displays at the Train Plaza by donation ($5.00 suggested).

Stanley Park Parking

Wondering where to park at Stanley Park? There are a ton of pay parking lots. They have passes sold by the hour, day, season or year. If you are visiting from out of town, I recommend getting a day pass.

Since Stanley Park is so massive, it’s easier to drive and park rather than walk, especially with kids.

Tourism Vancouver provided admission to Stanley Park Horse Drawn Carriage, Hop On Hop Off Bus, and the Vancouver Aquarium for review purposes.

Looking for more things to do in Vancouver, BC?

4 Days in Vancouver with a Toddler Tips & Itinerary
Vancouver Lookout and Harbour Cruises
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
Science World with Babies and Toddlers
Holiday Festivities in Vancouver, BC
Bright Nights at Stanley Park

Heading to Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada with kids? Stanley Park is a top family destination and is filled with outdoor activities like cycling, boating, horse drawn carriage tours, the Vancouver Aquarium and more! Click to read more or pin to save for later. www.marcieinmommyland.com #stanleypark #vancouver #vancouverbc #tourismvancouver #explorebc #familytravel #canada
Top Kid-Friendly Activities in Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC
Vancouver with kids family guide to Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC in Canada offers Stanley Park Train, Stanley Park Parking, Tea House Stanley Park, Bright Nights at Stanley Park, Stanley Park Horse Drawn Tour, Stanley Park bike rentals, Rent a bike stanley park vancouver, Movies in Stanley Park #vancouver #vancouverbc #explorebc #britishcolumbia #canada #vancouver #vancouverbc #stanleypark #vancouverattractions

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    Kate Storm

    Friday 20th of April 2018

    Ah, I love giant parks with tons to do in them! The aquarium looks beautiful--reputable aquariums are so much fun to visit. I'd love to rent a bike and explore, too. Looks like you guys were there on a beautiful day!


    Friday 20th of April 2018

    Yes, July is a gorgeous time to visit Vancouver, BC!

    Oyinkan Ogunleye

    Thursday 19th of April 2018

    Am I the only one that forgot about Vancouver?! Great that you're sharing this with people as a reminder.


    Friday 20th of April 2018

    I know, right? It's such a big city, but so underrated!


    Monday 16th of April 2018

    It looks like the perfect itinerary for both kids and adults. Horse-drawn carriages and spray parks. Woohoo. LOL. It looks like you guys had an amazing day and what a beautiful aquarium. I really must get up to Vancouver.


    Tuesday 17th of April 2018

    Yes, get up there!

    Sara Essop

    Monday 16th of April 2018

    It’s so cool that you can drive to Canada -and Vancouver looks like the perfect family-friendly destination. The horse-drawn tour looks amazing. My kids would love it and so would I. We’d love to do the sea to sky gondola, the train and the hop-on hop-off bus too.

    Farrah Less

    Monday 16th of April 2018

    Canada is a beautiful country so many places to explore is just like this park. I have been to Toronto and every visit we always have a blast.


    Monday 16th of April 2018

    Oh fun! I'm heading to Quebec for the first time with a quick stopover in Toronto!

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