Kids are funny little creatures. They’re generally not that interested in cultural events or long introspective moments of peace amongst stunning natural surroundings. Artisan markets or free concerts by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra? Kids don’t give a hoot – they’re convinced they’ll live forever and that there will be plenty of time for that kind of stuff when they’re “old.” Right now most kids would much rather scream, run, bounce and chase each other around, preferably somewhere near water with fun music, motorized mini-vehicles, and/or cotton candy.
For kids, summer is freedom.While Whistler is best known as a place where adults come to recapture the fun and freedom of childhood, it also offers kids a chance to put down the iPads and show us old folks how summer should be done – wild, wet, loud, a little bit scary, and totally awesome.
To help kick-start the next few carefree months without teachers, books, homework or any real responsibility of any kind, The Whistler Insider has put together a list of Whistler’s top kid-approved summer activities to compliment and accentuate the joys of youth.
Of course, these family adventures can also reinvigorate those childish joys us adults remember from our own childhoods. So go for it dad and mom, being a kid is what summer is designed for. Go get some.
Blackcomb Adventure Zone
This place, operating every day at the base of Blackcomb, is totally kid-tastic. It’s basically the carnival, a birthday party, a petting zoo and summer camp all rolled into one big spread of attention-grabbing good times. From mellow horse-and-pony rides to gyroscopes to high-adrenaline bungee trampoline action, the Adventure Zone will keep a kid stoked for hours.
Kids who love to climb can get on the Core Wall or the Spider Web. Those who like speed may opt for the electric go-karts or Westcoast Luge. Tiny little kids love the bouncy castle and the whole family can get into the batting cage or mini-golf. The Adventure Zone runs every day to September 3 and if you hit it on a Wednesday or Sunday you can also sample local food and crafts at the always-fantastic Whistler Farmers Market. (They have fresh berries there, kids love berries.)
Regardless of the weather, wet kids don’t get as cold as wet adults. Or they do, but they don’t care because splashing and playing in the water is all kinds of awesome. Whistler lakes are perfect for kids of any age –They’re pretty warm (except glacier-fed Green Lake) and the sandy beaches don’t drop off too quickly. Our main beaches have no currents, jagged rocks, tides or motorboats so kids can frolic with minimized risk (having said that, there are no lifeguards either so keep your eyes on your kids. Life jackets are always a good call.)
For convenience, you can’t beat Lost Lake, it’s the closest to the village and has a free shuttle running right to the beach. Lakeside Park on Alta Lake is another really kid-friendly spot. Alpha Lake and Rainbow Park are a bit harder to get to, and can get busier, but in Whistler, there is no such thing as a bad lake.
Of course, why would a kid want to simply splash around in the water when they can shoot it at each other with a giant space-fireman looking water cannon? The water park behind the Meadow Park Sports arena is a summer must-do and the municipality recently replaced the asphalt surface with that safe and soft chipped rubber stuff that hurts less when kids fall and forms fewer puddles. The water park gets noisy on hot days but who can really complain about the squealing sounds of children’s joy?
Parks and Playgrounds
The Whistler Skate Park is legendary (and free) and features rails, ledges, trannies, spines, quarters, double-flat bank boxes, and an old school snake run with a six-foot bowl (don’t worry if you don’t know what any of that is, your kid will be stoked.)
Right next to the Skate Park is a BMX dirt jump area (also free) that’s hours of fun for little rippers of any age. Parents can watch the hucking or simply relax and zone out staring into the refreshing waters of nearby Fitzsimmons creek.
As well, Whistler has a multitude of fun playgrounds for kids, including the pretty-much-perfect inclusive playground over by the Whistler Olympic Plaza. Check out this Playground Round-Up blog post for more info.
Peak to Peak Gondola
Younger kids will be stoked just to ride the Whistler Village gondola or a regular chairlift on Blackcomb but when you toss ‘em into the Peak to Peak, it’s a journey into the mind-blowing zone. Nothing like 436 metres of space beneath your kid’s feet and there are a couple of gondolas with glass floors. Kids like those ones better so ask the attendant when the next one is coming through, it might be worth waiting for.
Real Grass Putting Greens
Mini golf doesn’t necessarily count as “high-octane adventure” but it’s still pretty fun. The Riverside Greens Putting Course at the Riverside Campground offers 18 holes of real grass mini golf for good family fun. Work on your game while the kids knock ‘em all over the place. Bonus – PGA Golf tour players make good money so if your kid takes to the game you might be able to retire early.
The Real Adrenaline
Whistler offers a number of adult-level adventures that kids can join in on. Zipline, rafting, jetboat and the Monkido ropes and obstacle course are all great options for kids that a bit older and keen on more extreme summer fun.
And that is only really scratching the surface. Hit up this summer activities page to find even more stuff that might appeal to your kids or stroll around the village and watch for the free Street Entertainment Program. Enjoying summertime is an art and children are the masters of it. Watch and learn (and have fun.)