It’s Family Day in BC on Monday, February 20 which has inspired us to put together some activity ideas for families visiting Whistler over the winter. From zipping down the slopes to zipping through the trees, swapping skis for skates and movie theatres for the forest, here’s how you can spend the day with the fam jam in Whistler. You might also find some activities are doing discounts (some are even free) over this long weekend, so visit Whistler.com’s Family Day page to see what’s happening.
Public service announcement – these ideas could also double up for some unique Valentine’s Day experiences too!
Sled the Snow Zone
Head to Whistler’s Olympic Plaza where there’s the outdoor ice rink and the adjacent Snow Zone. Bring a sled and your skates, grab a hot chocolate (there are several places right by the plaza) and have some fun playing with the kids.
If you fancy drinking your coffee in peace while you stroll the village, send the kids off on a scavenger hunt. Do you know where you can find a wall of Jelly Bellys? A Canadian Mountie? A capoeira dancer? You might have to dive in yourself to tick a few things off the list.
Did you know that there’s a forest filled with stardust just north of Whistler Village? Vallea Lumina is a multimedia light show set in the forests of Cougar Mountain. The shows start in the early evening and it takes about an hour to walk – kids five and under are free.
Want to see skiers and snowboard athletes do some flips as they fly through a ring of fire? Head to the base of Whistler Mountain for the Fire & Ice Show, which happens on Sunday evenings throughout the winter.
Do you have kids that like a bit of brraaaappppp? Kids aged 5 to 12 go free on family snowmobile tours, so if you have a speed demon on your hands this one’s for you! Head out first thing in the morning or later in the afternoon for the best sledding conditions. If you have a teenager, it’s also good to know that they can ride their own snowmobile starting at age 16 with a valid learner’s permit.
Get out into the wide-open spaces of the Callaghan Valley by taking the kids for a cross-country ski or snowshoe at Whistler Olympic Park. You could learn together and opt for a private lesson and if your children are at least 12 years old, you could add on the biathlon shooting experience for even more fun!
You can also bring the furry member of your family to Whistler Olympic Park, check out A Doggy Date at Whistler Olympic Park for more details.
Kids like to slide down things and secretly adults do too. The only gripe is typically the balance of uphill climb to sliding fun, but that’s where the bubly Tube Park comes up trumps – all the sliding fun, no sweat equity needed.
If your kids have been annoying you lately, you could always push them off a bridge – with a bungee cord attached of course! Or, maybe they might want to push you off the bridge…
Fresh air is good for you and ziplining ensures that you get lots of that, sometimes a warp speed (good for kids ages six and up).
Art & Culture
The Audain Art Museum is free for kids aged 18 and under all year round (free admission for everyone on Family Day, Feb 20, 2023). Show the kids the impressive collection of Indigenous masks, Emily Carr paintings; you could try giving them a pad to do their own sketches and see which artists resonate with them!
The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre (SLCC) isn’t open on Monday, February 20 this year but they will be celebrating Family Day over the weekend with free admission for everyone on Saturday and Sunday. Expect guided tours, welcome songs and colouring stations with First Nations artwork. This is a great way to connect with Whistler’s Indigenous culture, learning about the history and vibrant future of the Lil’wat Nation and Squamish Nation. Outside of the Family Day weekend, it’s good to note that kids five and under are always free at the SLCC.
Sweet Treat Foodie Fun
Support your favourite bakery, coffee shop and dentist, by taking the kids for a sweet treat. If you’re down in Creekside, pop into Rockit Coffee Co. for a donut, or grab a vegan cinnamon bun from Ed’s BReD. Whistler Village favs include purebread, Cows and the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Shop. Check out the Sweet Treat self-guided tour on the free app, Go Whistler Tours.
Grab your family’s favourite takeout and munch on it at one of the shelters (lovingly called acorns) dotted around Whistler Village. For more picnic-based ideas, take a read of 5 Ways to Winter Picnic in Whistler.
Puzzles and Games
Head to Escape! Whistler for some family problem-solving fun. For those of you not familiar with an escape room, you’ve got 45 minutes to crack codes and clues to get out! This is great for families who enjoy a puzzle or two.
Get ready to dodge and weave at AvaLaunch Snowball Blitz. Located at the Whistler Racket Club this activity is like paintball but with snowballs. Good for the family with a bit of a competitive streak! Note that you do need to book 24 hours in advance.
Take a look at Whistler.com’s Family Day page for the latest updates on events and activity deals over this long weekend.