Vacation on kids’ time in B.C.

Shhhhh … here be dinosaurs. And whales slapping tails. And wilderness where you can zoom through trees on a cable or splash down whitewater rivers. Heck, there are even castles and gargoyles on a sandy promenade … at least until high tide.

Shhhhh … here be dinosaurs. And whales slapping tails. And wilderness where you can zoom through trees on a cable or splash down whitewater rivers. Heck, there are even castles and gargoyles on a sandy promenade … at least until high tide.

Sound like the theme park of your kids’ dreams? Pretty much. For families looking for fun time to share with their children, British Columbia is a playground so really-really big it has everything from mountains with steaming hot springs pools to beaches where you can learn to hang 10 on a surfboard.

Who wouldn’t like a vacation that starts with a prowl through dinosaur country that was discovered by kids? In 2000, two pre-teen boys tubing down a creek near the northern Rockies foothill community of Tumbler Ridge spotted dinosaur tracks imprinted into the stony riverbank. Their discovery led to the Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre (PRPRC) and its Dinosaur Discovery Gallery with hundreds of bones, tyrannosaur (Albertosaurus) teeth and some of the 1,500 fossilized fish and other 75- to 350-million-year-old specimens.

Best of all is heading out at night in the dark on a one-kilometre guided lantern tour to see dinosaur footprints: angled lamplight is perfect for illuminating details like the creatures’ skin. An added bonus?  Kids aged 7 to 13 are sure to dig the museum’s dinosaur day camps, which include learning to excavate and prepare fossils.  In the meantime, mom and dad can lace up to explore hiking trails and waterfalls, or wander the moonscape of Boulder Gardens studded with stone pinnacles.

Just to the west, the northern B.C. villages of Hazelton, New Hazelton and South Hazelton are perfect for family road tripping, thanks to the area’s deep canyons, lush forests and historic draws. Here, the reconstructed ancient First Nations village of K’san is a must-stop, offering insight into pre-European contact with its collection of longhouses and groves of still-standing totem poles.

Continue winding west towards the coast to Prince Rupert, then hop on board Seashore Charters’ boat to catch a glimpse of some of the creatures featured on those totems in real life. Watch for Orca, and grey and minke whales spouting, and even a few humpbacks breaching clear out of the water. Then take a waterborne safari into the rainforest and feel your heart skip a beat at the sight of grizzly bears in the remote Khutzeymateen Valley bear sanctuary.

Eager for heart-pounding adventure of a different kind?  There’s more adrenalin to be found at Kumsheen Rafting Resort near Lytton. Perched overlooking the historic Thompson River, the family-owned and operated soft adventure retreat features a menu of whitewater escapades for the energetic 10-and-up crowd. Hang on and scream your way through the Devil’s Gorge section of the river on a raft or learn to paddle your own sit-on-top kayak through easy whitewater. Teens can try rock climbing, rappelling and mountain biking, while adults can rise to the challenge with disc golf or settle in for lazy lounging by the pool. After a fresh gourmet meal in the Cutting Board Restaurant, head for your Gold Rush-era canvas prospector’s tent or tuck yourself into a family teepee — it sleeps four and comes complete with a candle-lit pit in the centre and an open top where you can watch the stars as you drift off to sleep.

And the kids won’t even notice they are getting exercise, becoming more agile or sub-consciously collecting great writing material for that inevitable September back-to-school essay on “What I did on my summer vacation.”

For more inside scoop on family fun in B.C., visit

Just Posted

Star Gazing: Binoculars on the Christmas list

Advice on buying a gift for the astronomer on your list

Independent Investigations Office seeks witnesses following arrest in Penticton

The male resisted arrest at approximately 8:40 a.m. and sustained a head injury

City of Penticton records all-time high for fatal overdoses

Seventeen people have fatally overdosed so far this year

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen directors to receive pay increase

Increase of 11.9 per cent to offset changes to taxation for elected officials

PHOTOS: Clean-up at Esplanade Park extensive

It took the clean-up crew seven hours on Monday and work is still ongoing

VIDEO: Federal Liberals’ throne speech welcomes opposition’s ideas

Trudeau will need NDP or Bloc support to pass legislation and survive confidence votes

Weak link in Sagmoen trial, defence says

Counsel questions whether search warrant police executed was obtained on reasonable grounds

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Vancouver Island college for checkup

Royal BC Museum, Camosun College and Coachwerks Restorations come together to care for car

North Okanagan MP says throne speech lacked specifics

‘Trudeau government presented a vague agenda,’: MP Mel Arnold

‘She was awesome’: Malakwa baker leaves U.S. holiday show

‘There are Christmas miracles, look at me’

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Letter: Examining the cause of anti-Semitism

“I was surprised to read how religious some in Penticton must be given the recent two letters”

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

Most Read