Bigger Kids

4 family-friendly water parks in Vancouver

Splash! The kids won't want to leave these fun-filled water parks.

splashdown-660 Photo: Big Jim's River Run

1. Splashdown Park Fun comes in all shapes and sizes at this Vancouver water park, with slides and attractions for every age. For your younglings, there is a kiddie zone with six pools, five slides and even a splash park! Hello, fun! For your big kid, who is a thrill-seeker, there’s The Black Hole and Bonsai Blueline. Just like their names suggest, you travel through winding tunnels in total darkness! Kids will also love the advanced body slides, including Oliver Twist and Corkscrew, that twist and turn and end in a big splash. You and your older kids can go on a gentle tube ride on Big Jim’s River Run. Or go down The Ramp Slide that leads into the main pool, where you can enjoy the sun and just drift away. If your kids are older and you really want to relax, take a dip in the giant hot tub. When it's time to eat, head over to the picnic tables to enjoy your cooler lunch or grill up some hamburgers and hotdogs on the barbecue. The family rate (4+ people) is $84 for the day. Tots three years and younger are free.

Dive in: 4775 Nulelum Way, Tsawwassen 604-943-2251

Bazooka Bowls-660 Photo: Bazooka Bowls

2. Cultus Lake Waterpark As one of British Columbia’s largest water parks, it should come as no surprise that it’s fun-packed! Grab your kids and head over to Pirates' Cove, a multi-level playground complete with water canons, tipping buckets and rope bridges. Such fun, matey! For your tiny tots there is a wading pool. But this isn't just a basic wading pool—there are waterslides, mini water buckets, a spray park and a playground in the area. For the older kids who love twisting and turning, they can zoom down the Blasters and Twisters. If you have a kid who's not afraid of big drops, they can try out the Freefall slide. The whole family should tube down Colossal Canyon, which is a big slide that goes through the trees. You can hop on a mat and race your kids on the Zero-60 Raceway, or get sucked in and shot out of the newest additions, the Bazooka Bowls (see above). For sharp turns and fast speeds, be sure to check out Tubular Terror and the Valley of Fear, amongst many others! Seeking a more gentle ride? On the Adventure River you can lounge and let the current take you out to sea (not really, but it's relaxing!).  There's a $5 parking fee, and depending on height, admission fees for a full-day pass range between $20-$30/person. Bonus: Cultus Lake Adventure Park, full of rides and attractions, is just across the street.

Dive in: 4150 Columbia Valley Hwy., Cultus Lake 604-858-7241

Granville_Island_Media-660 Photo: Granville Island Spray Park


3. Granville Island Waterpark The fun starts before you even arrive at Granville Island, thanks to a colourful ferry, called the Aquabus, that takes you to this awesome water world. Are you three foot six or taller? Then you can ride the massive, yellow waterslide at Granville Island Waterpark! There’s also a spray park with tons of refreshing little devices to squirt and splash you on those hot, Canadian summer days. The ground is cement, so make sure to bring water shoes. Oh, we forgot to mention the best part—it's free! Yep, this is the largest free water park in North America. You'll want to take the kids here every day. After a morning of sliding, head over to the Kids Market, where your tots can swing and climb on the playground or check out the vintage arcade. If travelling in a large group, the park kindly asks that you book ahead of time. And check the website before heading to the park because it is sometimes closed due to conservation efforts.

Dive in: 1318 Cartwright St. 604-257-8195

watermania-660 Photo: Watermania Tipping Bucket

4. Watermania The name of this indoor water park says it all—it's all the water play you could ever want under one roof! At Watermania, you’ll find a wave pool all ages can enjoy! The kids can grab a boogie board or a tube and just float on the waves. Or have a family game of basketball in the water! Do the kids want to get drenched? Have them wait under the tipping bucket as the giant seahorse tips over and slowly fills the pail with water. Wait for'll get drenched when you least expect it! For the little ones, there's a small slide that splashes into very shallow water. Two winding waterslides are perfect for your bigger kids to race down. For you (the biggest of kids) there are whirlpools, a steam room and a sauna. This amusement centre is a great place to visit on rainy Vancouver days!

This article was originally published on Jul 11, 2015

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