Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia, is a lovely city perched on Halifax Harbour, with the HRM encompassing several mainland peninsulas and islands. One of Canada’s largest cities (the largest on the Atlantic), Halifax’s reputation is for seaside fun. However, not all of the things to do with kids in Halifax need you to get into the water—there’s plenty to do on dry land!
Halifax Commons Central Park. What’s better than having fun with your kids? Having FREE fun with your kids! Located in the heart of Halifax, the Central Park is a clean, modern, well-designed park, where you can do everything from play basketball and baseball to swim in the pools (including a spray pool). Pack a lunch and have a picnic, let the little guys expend some energy in the gigantic playground, and spend some quality outdoor time with the ones you love most. And again…it’s free!
Outdoorsy Stuff. Halifax has a whopping 52 parks, designated and informal trails, and wilderness areas. Some of the best for kids are: Clam Harbour Beach Provincial Park (check out the sand castle building competitions), Crystal Crescent Beach Provincial Park (but you might want to keep the kids away from Mackeral Cove, which is a spot used by nude sunbathers at times!), Point Pleasant Park (beautiful mountain and forest scenery and easy-to-moderate hiking trails, lots of birds and critters to see), and Laurie Provincial Park (close to the city, good camping facilities, beautiful sights).
The Discovery Centre. (www.thediscoverycentre.ns.ca) The Discovery Centre, located in the heart of Halifax, is the city’s only “hands-on science centre.” This modern facility has fixed and traveling exhibits and attractions, a digital planetarium, live scientific demonstrations and programs, high-definition science media, and more. The gift shop has fantastic, educational selections, and try out the food at jane’s On The Common. Check the Centre’s website for events, pricing, schedule and hours.
Museum of Natural History. (http://museum.gov.ns.ca) The Halifax Museum of Natural History is a great place to both entertain and teach kids about the world around them. The museum has many static as well as interactive exhibits, the Nature Centre (where you can view and even interact with animals and plants), and a series of changing exhibitions and fun and educational programs. The kids will love seeing Gus the giant tortoise, Our Amazing World will teach them about weather, the Netukulimk exhibit will help them see the world through the native Mi’kmaq people’s eyes. There are new things happening all the time, such as up until April 22, the Museum will be hosting an array of interactive exhibits featuring rainforest creatures and flora.
IMAX Theatre. (www.empireimax.com )The Empire Theatre has Atlantic Canada’s only IMAX experience, which takes you to faraway places and explores the natural world through informational productions and brings some of your favorite new and old movies to amazing life with the high-definition, gigantic screen and cutting-edge audio. Check out the local website for shows and showtimes…and don’t forget to hit the huge concession area for some great munchies to accompany your pick! Oh, a new parents, do yourselves a favor and check out the Empire Reel Babies program, which allows you to watch your pick in a special theatre with dimmed lights and modified audio volume to accommodate sensitive baby ears, plus comes equipped with changing tables, baby exercise toys, and more (advance registration is required).
Saltscapes East Coast Expo. (www.saltscapes.com) If you’re in Halifax over the weekend, check out the best that Atlantic Canada has to offer at this huge exhibition, featuring more than 400 exhibitors, with over 100 presentations throughout the weekend. There are five distinct categories of the shows in the exhibition: Unique Retail (unique and innovative products), Culture/Music/Travel (anything about culture), Savour The Flavour (food!), Home/Cottage/Garden (educational programs and products about home and gardening), and Living Healthy in Atlantic Canada (dieticians, fitness and wellness programs, etc).