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Entertaining things to do for families, children

Lorraine Graves   May-15-2018

Claire, 8, at Terra Nova Adventure Park.

Photo by Chung Chow

Wondering what activities to sign your kids up to as the weather warms up?

Here’s a sample of the myriad things to do in Richmond.



• Lights Up Theatre School Richmond offers full-day and half-day summer camps. Each ends in a performance for family and friends. For information call 604-537-3669 or go to

• Arts curious? Richmond Gateway Theatre offers summer camps for kids who love performing and even those who don’t know they love performing yet. Starting July 3 for ages 8 to 13.

Before and after camp daycare also available in August.

Arts Connection offers a series of Wonder Camps for kids in a variety of age groups. Camps in the visual arts, musical theatre, dance and science. The on-site chef can provide wonderful lunches. Before and after camp care available.

• Take your family to tea, every Saturday or Sunday noon to 4 p.m. at London Heritage Farm. The farm itself is open to the public without charge daily during daylight hours.

• YVR offers activities for families even when they aren’t travelling. From concerts to fine art for perusal. Take Off Fridays every week in July and August in the terminal feature loads of family fun for free including face painting, arts and crafts, and kid-friendly entertainment.

• For fresh air fun, little beats the Terra Nova Adventure Playground. This million-dollar facility is free to all but dogs. (As per city bylaw, they are not allowed.) Accessed from the northwestern end of River Road, the playground offers something for every age of child from tandem 35 metre long zip-lines and giant swings for the older kids to a meadow maze suitable for all ages. There is a custom-designed 10 metre tall tree house with four platforms, a central rope ladder, and a stainless steel spiral slide (8yrs +) and a farm-inspired water and sand play area, as well as a timber swing for the young ones (2yrs +).

• Stop by Richmond Art Gallery's summer exhibition "Home Made Home" a small scale dwelling on wheels designed and built by Germain Koh. On June 2 and 3, during Doors Open Richmond, families can get a free sneak peek by visiting "Lululiving,” by going inside a Koh-built and designed 160-square-foot house in the grassy area near the Richmond Cultural Centre’s fountain. Gallery docents will be on-site to offer tours and answer questions in English and Mandarin from June 17 to Aug. 26. Admission to the Richmond Art Gallery is always free.

The City of Richmond through a host of locations offers activities for kids and families throughout the summer. Options run the gamut from a week of gymnastics camp at a community centre or an afternoon at the Richmond Nature Park for Slug Fest, from a Sassy Spa Party at Sea Island Community Centre to Magic Camp at Thompson Community Centre. Whether it is a one-off or a week-long day camp, by checking at then clicking on Recreation Community Centres, you can tap into the panoply of opportunities for healthy fun offered throughout our city. The other option is to pick up a Parks, Recreation and Culture Guide at any community centre or library in Richmond. It’s 190 pages of opportunities and something for everyone in our city.

• Fans of the world’s most popular game should be sure to mark July 20 to 22 on their calendars. The 39th annual Nations Cup Soccer Tournament kicks off at Hugh Boyd, Steves and Minoru parks. One of Western Canada’s foremost amateur men’s and women’s soccer tournaments is unique; players are grouped based on their ethnic backgrounds and/or countries or origin. All told, 1,100 players will compete in six age groups.

• Be sure to check out the high-flying action at the annual Dolphin Basketball Classic July 13 to 15 at South Arm Community Centre. Since originating in 1986 as a tournament for bragging rights among the top local high schoolers, the 4-on-4 outdoor tournament has evolved into a West Coast mainstay. Despite drawing players and fans from far and wide, organizers remain true to its roots: family, friends and basketball.

• The Canadian Community Picnic Party will serve up free entertainment and performances, arts, crafts and face painting June 22 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Thompson Community Centre. There’ll also be activity stations, games and interactive booths. Plus, there’s free food and refreshments.

• If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be a world-class athlete, a visit to the Richmond Olympic Experience can provide the answer. State-of-the-art Olympic and sport simulators allow the visitor the thrill of flying off a ski jump at a distance of over two city blocks, padding down a white-water kayak course, carving the perfect line in a National Paralympic Team’s sit-ski slalom race or zipping along at incredible speeds on the Vancouver 2010 Olympic bobsleigh track while challenging actual Olympic run times.

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