Written by Heather Maxwell Hall.
Step back in time to life in the 1920’s with a trip to the Burnaby Village Museum. It’s a great museum for kids, a pretty quick drive from Vancouver and a fun little family field trip.
There is no shortage of things to see and do here, so your kids are bound to love it. Take pictures of the huge botanical animal sculptures, climb aboard a restored interurban tram, check out the miniature train set and grab a sweet treat at the old-fashioned ice cream parlour. There are even interactive storefronts in the village, including a blacksmith, a working printing press, a tiny movie theatre and a one-room schoolhouse complete with a friendly teacher in period costume. I loved that the gardens were all bursting with colourful dahlias, marigolds and sweet peas when I visited. The huge meadow is perfect for picnics and playing–if the weather’s good, you may want to pack a lunch and blanket to have a picnic.
Kids Love the Carousel
The gorgeous 100-year-old carousel was definitely a highlight for our little guy. It features 36 intricately-carved wooden horses, a chariot and mini metal horses for the smallest riders. A 1925 Wurlitzer organ plays music in the background as you ride. Parents ride for free (if your child is young enough that you need to stand next to them) and at only $2.25 a pop for the kids, it’s not a stretch to pay for a few go-rounds on this crowd pleaser.
Explore the Village at your own Pace
Burnaby Village is a self-guided experience, so you can check out the farmhouse and the rest of this great museum for kids at your own pace. As our toddler ran from one building to the next (oooh, a handmade quilt with bugs all over it!), we got a kick out of learning about local history from the early 20th century. There’s fun at this museum for kids of all ages. Those who are a little bit older will probably gain more historical information from their visit, but there’s lots for toddlers, too. There’s even a restored garage filled with wooden toys and a general store with real products from the era.
More than Just the Museum
After you’re finished exploring the museum, there’s much more in the area to check out. Go for a leisurely walk around pretty Deer Lake Park’s boardwalks and paths, take the kids to the playground, visit the Burnaby Art Gallery, got for a sit-down meal at Hart House Restaurant, or marvel over the Grace Ceperley Edwardian Garden.
Special Events and Fun at this Museum for Kids
There’s a number of special events at Burnaby Village Museum throughout the year. There was a Fall Fair on September 6, they create a “haunted village” around Halloween, and pretty lights and more light up the grounds at the Heritage Christmas event.
Through the fall Burnaby Village Museum is only open Saturdays. If you visit soon, though, there’s an added bonus. We were surprised to get in for free on the day we went, in celebration of the museum’s 40th anniversary “forty and free” event, which is every Saturday from 11:00am-4:30pm until October 29, 2011. The promotion is put on in combination with the Burnaby Village Farmer’s Market, which takes place on the museum grounds every Saturday from 9:00am-2:00pm until the end of October.