For friends and family, a visit to the parents or grandparents living well on Canada’s Sunshine Coast is the preferred summer vacation spot. For the hosts, it’s sometimes fun to find activities that don’t involve beach time, trail walks, or picnics – especially on rainy days, or to fill in the gaps between festivals.

Our local libraries have a full summertime schedule of activities for all ages and best of all – they’re free!  The online events calendars for Gibsons (gibsons.bc.libraries.coop) and Sechelt (Sechelt.bc.libraries.coop) list weekly drop-ins (such as Magic and D&D, the Lego Builders Club, etc.) and special workshops. “Puppet Making & Make Believe” at Gibsons Library August 6 – 8 runs from 1-3:30pm and is geared to ages 9-12. On July 23 a workshop for ages 9-13 will create and launch rockets made from film canisters.

Learning about our environment makes the Coast visit a much richer experience, and there are several excellent facilities offering tours, hands-on learning experiences, day camps and other programs. At the Gibsons Public Market, the Nicholas Sonntag Marine Education Centre (gibsonsmarine-ed.org) invites visitors to get up close and personal with the creatures that live below the surface of Howe Sound. Sechelt’s Chapman Creek Hatchery (scsalmon.org) offers tours for small or large groups (by donation) and reasonably-priced day- and week-long camps for children ages 7-11. In Pender Harbour, the Ruby Lake Lagoon Society’s Iris Griffith Field Studies and Interpretive Centre (lagoonsociety.com) hosts nature tours, and a summer day camp program for “Lagoonies.”

Often overlooked, the Coast’s rural character features a number of farms and a thriving equestrian culture. For a real farm experience, book a hands-on tour at Farm Ventures in Roberts Creek (mystiqueandalusian.com). All ages will enjoy petting and feeding the horses, ponies, donkeys, goats, pigs, peacocks, llamas, bunnies and guinea pigs. Tour guides are knowledgeable, patient, and will carefully adapt the tour to suit the ages of participants and their comfort level around animals. Pony trail rides are a great add-on, and more interesting than the usual “riding ring” experience. 

Just a few of our community’s family-friendly attractions!

by Heather Jeal

Photo at Chapman Creek hatchery by Allan Forest