Touring Granville Island With Kids
Locals and tourists both love to visit Vancouver’s Granville Island. As a longtime Vancouverite it is definitely at the top of the list for activities to do with kids. While not technically an island, Granville Island has a special vibe that makes you feel like you’ve left the city. It’s easy to spend a morning, an afternoon or even the entire day over at Granville Island.
Getting To Granville Island
Think ahead about ditching the car and taking the water taxi. Spending a day on Granville Island can be much more enjoyable without the hassle of parking and parking time limits. While there is parking available on GI, it can feel like a bit of a rat race trying to secure a spot and most spots are only for a couple of hours.
There are two water taxi companies that can take you from different spots around False Creek right to the docks of Granville Island. Plus you get to catch a breezy tour of False Creek while you calmly boat your way over. If you are downtown take the Hornby Street ferry dock for quick and speedy service directly across the water. This dock is perfect if you have a stroller in your posse. The boat is larger and you can roll right on. You can also pay cash and buy your tickets once your on the boat.
Places To Stop First
Once you get to GI make your first stop Lee’s Donuts. Step just inside the Public Market for one their fresh doughnuts. This is a traditional doughnut shop without a lot of hipster vibes. If you like fresh down to earth doughnuts you have hit the jackpot at Lee’s.
The Public Market can be a fun and exciting place but it can also be really busy, especially with kids and even more so if you are pushing a stroller. If you are planning to bring a stroller or small kids plan your trip for early in the day. This is before the mass of tourists come to snap pictures of the gorgeous fruit stands inside the market. If you go right around opening time you will be able to cruise through the market without swearing or navigating a large amount of people that have come to a standstill.
Things To Wander And See
Right now Granville Island has a fun new exhibit happening through out the island. The inaugural Art Smash is ready for you to tour and enjoy. This is a free public art exhibit of murals that is accessible to all. Recently we had fun checking out the different murals and finding our favourites.
The Kids Market is a must to check out and a great spot for a bathroom break for the kids. Plus there are multiple hand washing stations set up for kids and adults. With a variety of shops from toys to clothing to hands on fun at the arcade, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
My three kids always want to check out the Kids Market whenever we pop over to GI and love checking out the joke shop and you can always buy some bubbles to blow at the park. Plus this kids entrance is perfect for your short stacks.
Fun For Active Kids
Right behind the Kids Market is a water park that operates from now till the end of the summer. This can be quite the popular spot and a great solution to cooling off. There’s a playground and a sandpit for endless digging right next to the water park. In the summer months they turn on a little water feature to help with all the sand castle and moat making fun.
Insider tip: even adults can go down this cool refreshing water slide!
Family Dining On Granville Island
There are many places to dine around Granville Island and you can choose a sit down family friendly experience or grab picnic stuff from the Public Market. Once upon a time the birds were really aggressive and would swarm down and grab the food right out of your hand. Not such a fun picnic.
In the past there was also a lot of bird feeding happening by people and it attracted mass amounts of hungry birds. GI has been trying to get on top of decreasing the amount of birds by warning people to stop feeding the birds.
Some of our favourite family spots on Granville Island for a sit down meal include the casual Tony’s Fish and Oyster Café and the Vancouver Fish Company Restaurant & Bar. Both are family friendly and delicious plus the latter has a patio out back.
Be sure to check out these other posts on what to see and where to go with kids in Vancouver!