Updated May 2019
When the Whistler Children’s Festival unfolds in Whistler Olympic Plaza this July 5 – 7 expect a flurry of bright costumes, lots of laughter and moments of pure wonder.
With three days of events featuring a host of colourful and creative activities and performances, it’s sure to have children happy all day and sleeping soundly at night. But we know while the kids just have to show up and have fun, parents need to do a little more to make those magic moments happen. Here a few tips to help minimize meltdowns and make your Whistler Children’s Festival weekend one for the memory books.
1. Purchase Tickets Online
Thanks to the joy of the internet you can sort out your festival entry online, no fumbling for cash while you hoist that nappy bag. Entry includes lots of free entertainment and activities, but there are also a huge number of activities on offer for a small additional cost (between three and five fun tickets, which sounds pretty excellent).
2. Spread the Festival Over Two Days
The grounds are full of awesome interactive activities – you don’t want to rush through the Rock Petting Zoo or miss out on meeting a fireman. Plus an extra day might give you a chance for some lake time…and a good nap.
3. Pack Your Dancing Shoes
Arrive early because on the Friday afternoon there’s a free kickoff dance party in the plaza – sure to be the best event of the summer concert series, hands down. So make sure you bring those sparkly shoes and light-up sneakers for this event.
4. Fuel Up (And Know Where to Get Food in a Hurry)
Say no to the dreaded ‘hangry’ zone (that’s hungry combined with angry). New for 2018, the Whistler Children’s Festival will host a Mini Food Market featuring snackable bites to keep your crew happy if the Goldfish run out.
Outside of the festival grounds, there are plenty of good places to dine out with kids in Whistler – here’s the Insider’s Guide to Eating with Young Kids in Whistler. Reservations highly recommended to ensure you can get a table at your preferred meal time. The shops around the festival site in Whistler Olympic Plaza and nearby Main Street offer places to grab fuel in a hurry too, with everything from pizza and sandwiches to pies and burgers within 5 minutes’ walk (it’s actually 1-2 minutes for adults, but we added wandering/discovery time for those with smaller legs). There are also sweet treats if you need a bribe, plenty of ice cream and multiple cafes for a parental caffeine boost.
5. Dress for Success
In previous years the festival has seen both blue sky, warm days and cooler, cloudy days. Being in the mountains the weather can change quickly, so keep an eye on the weather in Whistler and plan accordingly – a light jacket and hat are great pieces of kit to pack. With a nice grassy area to play on, performances that will get the kids up and dancing and lots of arts and crafts, comfy play clothes and sturdy footwear are a great choice.
6. Capture the Moment
While we highly recommend keeping screen time to a minimum so you can have as much fun as the kids – this is a fun-for-all-the-family event after all – make sure you bring a camera of some sort to grab a photo or two. They grow up so fast, and you won’t get many chances to catch them with their face painted like a tiger or having a moment with a real, live dinosaur.
7. Have a Smart Travel Plan
Get in early to find accommodation that will suit you – there’s a range of places on offer from small and simple to those with a full kitchen and laundries on site. Staying in the Village or Upper Village means a short walk to the festival, but free transit all weekend means you can stay further afield in places like Whistler Creekside, and have all the fun of a short bus ride in to start the day.
Picking travel times to Whistler wisely is also smart. Steering clear of the Friday afternoon and Sunday evening peak travel times on Highway 99 can really help reduce the time on the road, and there’s a few midweek deals floating around to make staying later or coming early attractive.
Bonus – Send a Kid in Need to the Festival
When you grab your registration online, consider throwing in a Helping Hand Ticket and you’ll help a kid who wouldn’t normally be able to attend the festival to go.
Other Things to Do with Kids in Whistler
If you are planning a longer stay and want more ideas for entertaining the kids, check out our 12 Ideas for Summer Fun for Kids for a head start on other family-friendly fun in Whistler. Our summer family itinerary has a few extra ideas and there’s a ton of resources on the Whistler.com website including all our summer activities, info on the lakes beaches and parks plus ideas for arts and crafts and indoor activities as well.
Got more tips? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll happily add them for parental peace of mind. For assistance on planning and booking your trip, Whistler.com is a great place to start.