Spring break is now around the corner, and school children are counting down the days to freedom. As a parent, you’re probably looking forward to spending more time with your family. Are you looking for fun activities that everyone could enjoy (even yourself), but are unable to be away from work for long? Do you want your kids to get some exercise, and not be locked up all day playing video games?

Here are 8 activities the whole family can enjoy in Richmond, plus a couple of others that you could do in an afternoon without driving too far.

Minoru Park:

You may already be familiar with Minoru Park, the green heart of Richmond’s City Centre. But have you ever stopped to consider the huge amount of fun activities available for the entire family? Minoru Park was named after King Edward VII’s award winning race horse “Minoru”. In fact, the park was originally a horse race-track built in 1909. Today, the park is home to a huge amount of sports facilities such as a baseball diamond, 2 artificial turf fields, 5 tennis courts, a basketball court, indoor ice arenas, an aquatic centre, several art galleries, and a historic garden. A popular spring break event in Minoru park is the Cosmic Public Skating, available on the indoor arenas. Children and adults can practice their ice skating skills while being surrounded by multi-colour spot lights. Participants are encouraged to wear fluorescent colours, since the black lights make them glow in the dark, further adding to the atmosphere. Cosmic skating is available between Saturday March 16th and Monday March 25th. For more information about schedules, you can check out this link.

Richmond Nature Park:

Just like Minoru park, everyone living in Richmond knows about Richmond Nature Park. And yet a surprising number of Richmond residents has never visited the park, or hasn’t done so in years. If you’re looking to get some fresh air, and get a bit closer to nature, Richmond Park is the perfect place to do so. This 200+ acre park, located on Westminster Highway at No. 5 road, boasts a rare bog environment that provides a sanctuary for a multitude of unusual plants and animals not commonly found elsewhere. The whole family can enjoy hiking the over 5 kilometres of trails of breathtaking views. Once you need to take a break from all the walking, you can visit the Nature House, where you can check out a collection of live animals and plants that live in the park. A particular highlight is the Exotic Reptile Show, available on Saturday, March 30th to Sunday March 31st, from 11:00am – 4:00pm. On this event, participants will learn more about snakes, lizards, geckos and other reptiles, and be able to interact with them and take unforgettable pictures.

Richmond GeoTour Geocaching adventures:

If you want to enhance your outdoor exploration of Richmond’s many parks and cultural heritage sites, you can do so by combining it with Geocaching. Geocaching is an outdoor scavenger hunt game played by millions of people around the world, in which participants use their smartphones’ GPS to find hidden geocache containers found all over the world. Inside those containers, participants can find items such as small logbook, passwords, sticker, and other prizes, and leave small mementos for other treasure hunters to see. If you’re interested in Geocaching, you can can download a Geo-Quest Passport, or pick one up at the interpretative centre at the Richmond Nature Park. This passport lists 20 locations belonging to the Canada 150 Series, and 30 additional locations belonging to the Geo-Quest series. Each of those Geocache locations contains a password inside, which you can write on your passport. Once you have completed each of the two series, you can return to the interpretative centre to receive a travel tag as a prize for completing your quest, or you can scan your passport and email it to geocaching@richmond.ca to receive your tag by mail. Richmond’s 50 hidden Geocaches are located near parks, trails, and community centres, giving you the perfect excuse to better get to know your city, and have a great time treasure hunting in the process.

TBC Indoor Kart Racing

Preteens and adults looking to feed their competitive spirit can check out TBC Indoor Kart Racing, located at 2100 Viceroy Pl. If you think this is just a typical Go Kart location, think again. This is the real deal. TBC karts are capable of going up to 75 km/hr, and the track is a quarter of a mile long, and features 13-turns. Competitive racers can try to beat the Super Sprint Challenge, a competition to see who can make the fastest lap times in a 4 week period. The leader board is available on site and online, and at the end of the 4 weeks, the top racers receive a variety of prizes, as well as bragging rights. TBC Racing is open 7 days a week, from 10:00 am to midnight, and racing spots can be booked three days in advance. Drivers must be at least 11 years old and a minimum of 58 inches tall.

Apex Adventures Trampoline Park

If you or your kids are looking for something a little more exciting than a nature walk, but not as competitive as TBC Indoor Kart Racing than why not check out Apex Adventures Trampoline Park? Apex Adventures Trampoline park is located at 3810 Jacombs Road, which is only a block away from Ikea, and has something to offer to everyone in the family.Parents with children under the age of 6 can take advantage of Toddler Time, a time slot dedicated exclusively for young kids, without the interference of older children or adults. Toddler time is available on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings. Older children can enjoy the many attractions available at the trampoline park, such as the general jump area, the landing pads, bubble soccer, basketball hoops, wall runs, and dodge ball courts. Adults can also join the action, and channel their inner acrobat on the ninja course, or test their upper body strength at the and rock climbing walls.

Academie Duello

If your children are into fantasy, or the medieval world of knights and chivalry, you can help them live their dream by taking them to a lesson in swordsmanship at Academie Duello. This Historical European Martial Arts school, located at 412 West Hastings St, in downtown Vancouver, offers courses for youths and adults on historical weapon arts, such as long swords, pole arms, bows and arrows, rapiers, etc.
Children can take a stand alone lesson called “Taste of Youth Swordplay”, which gives parents and children an opportunity to tour the facility, familiarize themselves with the equipment, and meet the instructors. Parents and older children can also try out an exciting 90-120 minute introduction class, which allows them to put on a suit of out knight armour, test out real steel swords, and get a basic lesson on swordsmanship.

Escape the Room Games

If you or your children are looking to exercise your logic and deduction skills in a fun and intense environment, you may want to try out an escape the room game. Time Escape, located at 3471 No. 3 Road, offer a variety of themed rooms from which players need to escape by solving a variety of puzzles. Some of the rooms include “The Prophecy”, a Mayan Ruin themed room, “Operation Rescue”, an action film inspired, kidnapping rescue mission, “Sorcerer’s Quest”, a fantasy inspired room, and the devilishly challenging “Galactic Warfare”, a sci-fi themed room sure to challenge even escape the room veterans. Players have 50 minutes to complete all the puzzles and escape the room, and the games are designed to be played by at least 2 people.

Photo by Ruth Hartnup

Fun in the snow at Cypress Mountain

If your kids didn’t get enough play time in the snow during winter, there’s still time. Cypress mountain, located at 6000 Cypress Bowl Road, is only an hour away from Richmond. The entire family can enjoy skiing and snowboarding on its 53 exciting ski runs. If you prefer something a little less fast paced, you can also enjoy Cross Country Skiing on the 19 km of groomed and track set cross country trails.
Children will also love the Snow tubing park, which features up to 6 chutes, around 100 meters in length. Finally, the entire family can enjoy snowshoeing on the 11 km of snowshoe trails, which take you around the snowy forests of Hollyburn Ridge.

Lansdowne Centre Outdoor Spring Festival

Finally, after an afternoon of hiking, riding, and jumping, why not finish it up with a good old fashioned carnival? Beginning on Friday, March 16th, the annual 10-day carnival will be back to Richmond’s Lansdowne Centre, just in time for spring break.
The event comes with a selection of rides for all ages, from old classics like a Ferris wheel, to more intense ones like the Scrambler. Visitors can also enjoy carnival games, a wide variety of food stands, and gifts shops.The carnival opens up from 12pm to 11pm on most days. Ticket packages range from a single ticket for $1.15, a six-ride ticket for $16.99, and a daily wristband for $40.