Scientists say, as a species, the human attention span is getting shorter (we now score just a tiny bit lower than goldfish apparently) and while that sounds kind of alarming for all of us it’s especially concerning for parents of young kids.
So to help battle the inevitable requests for smart phones and video games in the next few months, The Insider has compiled a list of 10 incredible things for kids to do in Whistler this summer.
Bored? Get on a board. Tucked into the forest between Whistler Village and the Upper Village, The Whistler Skate park is bigger and better than ever and is now the 2nd largest skate park in Canada, with super-fun flow transition lines and one of the best old-school snake run/bowls in the world.
2. Street Entertainment
Telling your kids to go, “roam the streets” is usually not the best idea but in Whistler’s pedestrian Village the streets are car-free and often full of roaming jugglers, performers, musicians, comedians and the occasional giant costumed ice princess on stilts – keep an eye on the events calendar for what’s on. The Whistler Visitor Centre also has premade Scavenger Hunt Checklists including an all new Canadiana-style hunt for international kids (there’s prizes!).
3. Free Concerts
Music soothes the savage beast (or the grumpy child) so it’s a good thing that throughout the summer Whistler Olympic Plaza comes alive with free concerts aimed at not only entertaining your kids, but also educating them. It all starts with an live introduction to classical music when the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra kicks off the summer with free shows on the July Long Weekend, and continues with a host of other free concerts with the schedule going all the way through to September.
4. Escape Rooms
Kids love imaginary worlds and Escape! Whistler has four incredible scenarios built for your kids (or the whole family) to escape from using wit and teamwork. Check out the Pirate Ship, Rabbit Hole, the very Whistler-esque Buried Cabin and the new Pinball Machine. It’s like a real live video game to keep your kids stoked on rainy days, sunny days, or any day. Check out this Insider blog for a deeper look.
5. Ice Cream!
Ice Cream is magic–it can dry tears, heal scrapes and put an end to whining of almost any sort. Cows is obviously the iconic spot (look for the life size cow on the Village Stroll) but it’s only one of many great spots and ice cream is such a popular form of summer happiness we already have an entire blog dedicated to it. Check it out and see if you can eat them all.
6. Ride a Bike
After all that ice cream it will be good for the kids to get moving and biking . The Whistler Mountain Bike Park is high-octane fun but for younger (or mellower) kids a ride along the Valley Trail makes for a good family outing (aim for these picturesque spots). Another option is the kid’s bike Flo Park right beside the skate park for really young kids still getting the hang of their two-wheeled adventures (there are also some big dirt jumps there for kids who like airtime.)
7. Science! Learning! BioBlitz!
The Whistler Naturalists Society host the annual Whistler Bioblitz around June each year, a one-day event to increase public appreciation for biodiversity and give kids a legitimate scientific excuse to scramble around in the wilderness cataloguing each and every creature and critter they can find. Birds, animals, frogs, fish, bugs, plants– anything goes and there are usually professional scientists on hand offering advice and family friendly presentations. More info.
8. Climb a Cliff
It’s really hard to be hyper when you’re halfway up a sheer cliff so rock climbing is a great way to help kids learn how to be calm and focus. The Core offers indoor climbing right in Whistler Village but there are half-day outdoor climbing courses available, as well as the safe-and-challenging high alpine climbing adventure of the Via Ferrata on Whistler Peak.
Even though Whistler is most definitely a town of action and sports, it’s important to balance all the activity with some relaxing down time. For parents that can be the spa but kids will likely choose the movie theatre. The Whistler Village 8 Theatre has 8 screens playing all the latest first-fun Hollywood hits. Sometimes this is the cheapest way to get your kids to sit still and be quiet for 90 minutes. Now where is that spa?
10. Stone Carving (and other Art)
Kids love Inukshuks, especially building an Inukshuk, and everyone loves bears so the soapstone carvings in Fathom Stone Art Gallery are worth checking out at any time. But why not put the kids in a stone carving art class so they can learn to carve Inukshuks or bears on their own? Arts Whistler, the local arts council, also offers a host of summer workshops and programs and both the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre and new Audain Art Museum are worth bringing the kids into. Find a full list of Whistler Arts and Culture facilities here.
11. Family Adventure Zone/ Whistler Farmers’ Market
Bungee Trampoline, Bouncy Castle, Climbing wall, trapeze, mini luge… The Adventure Zone at the base of Blackcomb in the Upper Village is a literal summer kid’s playground open every day all summer long. And on Wednesdays and Sundays the Whistler Farmers’ Market sets up right beside it so kids and adults alike can peruse local farm produce, discover locally made artisan souvenirs and perhaps most importantly, eat a snow cone!
12. Whistler Children’s Festival
It only happens once a summer but the Whistler Children’s Festival is the longest running festival in town and that might be because it’s the most fun. The Children’s Fest takes over Whistler Olympic Plaza with crafts, art, live performances, balloon animals, face painting, mascots and more. Get more info at Whistler.com or pre-register for Children’s Fest workshops at Arts Whistler with a discount for booking before June 9.
Bonus: Play Time
There’s something to be said about having a plan for keeping the kids entertained, but there’s also places in Whistler you can go and hang out for the day for some good old fashioned play time. Three top spots are any lake for a day by the water, the original Meadow Park Waterpark and the always popular Whistler Olympic Plaza with the wide green lawn, picnic tables, massive playground and plenty of food nearby. Time for the kids to run free, and for you to finally get into that specially hoarded summer book.
New: Vallea Lumina
It’s brand spanking new but Vallea Lumina, a multimedia nighttime forest walk, is already wowing and amazing everyone who goes. The adventure is told through lights, sounds, lasers and projections up into the trees, rocks and landscape of Cougar Mountain and happens after dark, so it may be a late night for the kids, but definitely a memorable one.
Check out Whistler.com for even more family fun ideas. Happy Summer, now get outside and play like champions.