In search of a fun, family, indoor activity?

My family loves swimming at the Vancouver Aquatic Centre (VAC), but the tot pool isn’t as exciting as it used to be for our increasingly adventurous four-year-old.

So, we’ve spent January visiting other pools in and around Vancouver to find one which is safe enough for a dare-devil two-year-old while providing enough diversion for an older kid. This is what we’ve found:

1. Aquatic Centre at Hillcrest: The leisure pool at the Aquatic Centre at Hillcrest is teeming with fountains, spray jets, cannons and toys. The lazy river is great fun and the hot-tub extremely popular too.  However, the pool gets deep quickly so you really need one adult per child unless your children can swim well. We also always have to wait for a change room in the family change area which is a drawback.

Aquatic Centre at Hillcrest, 4575 Clancy Loranger Way, Vancouver, 604-257-8680

2. Watermania: What makes Watermania in Richmond brilliant also makes it terrible.  The main attraction is the giant wave pool which is activated every 15 minutes.  The novelty of riding the waves is wonderful until you start to feel seasick from being pounded against the walls.  The toddler play area has an enormous climbing structure which can keep toddlers busy for hours.  But the deluges of water that are dumped off the roof of the structure are so forceful they knock tots off their feet. This place is perfect for pre-schoolers and older kids and parents with good sea-legs.

Watermania, 14300 Entertainment Boulevard, Richmond, 604-448-5353

3. Killarney’s: Killarney’s leisure pool is a hidden gem.  This ozone treated pool boasts beach style entry, a kid’s-slide, a lazy river, and lots of toys.  It’s like a smaller, quieter version of Hillcrest with stunning views of the North Shore Mountains.

Killarney Pool, 6260 Killarney St, Vancouver, 604-718-8280

4. VAC: Despite its lack of waterfalls and lazy rivers, the tot pool at the VAC remains my favourite because it never gets too deep and the water is as warm as a bath.

Vancouver Aquatic Centre, 1050 Beach Ave, Vancouver, 604-665-3424

Last modified: January 2, 2017

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