The Ultimate List of Family Things To Do in Halifax

Being a family photographer who was born and raised in NS, I get asked all the time by families (whether visiting or recently moved here) who are looking for some fun activities to do with their children. So I have finally taken the time to compile this ultimate list of favourite things to do around the Halifax area for families. Scroll down to learn more:

Museums

Natural History Museum

Halifax, NS

The museum first opened under a different name in 1868. It has had multiple locations and name changes until 1970 when it moved to where it is now. 1993, it swept across the province and divided into 27 different museums and historic buildings. Once it was niched down, it became The Museum of Natural History. The museum has collections and artifacts that have cultural significance to NS and promote our natural landscape. They often have special exhibits such as dinosaurs, ancient Egypt, mastodons and more. Plus, you can’t forget to say hello to Gus, the 100-year-old Gopher Tortoise. (Turning 100 in August of 2022, be sure to visit for a big birthday bash!) 

 

 

Pier 21

Halifax, NS

Learn what it was like moving to Canada between 1928 to 1971. Pier 21 was the actual gateway for nearly 1 million immigrants and now has activities, first-person stories, educational opportunities and you’re even able to map your own family tree.

 

 

Discovery Center

Halifax, NS

The Discovery Centre is the newest science museum in the country with exhibits, curriculum-based workshops, hands-on STEAM learnings, facilitated programming, curriculum-based workshops, and educational outreach.  (note – they are currently booking tickets online for time slots because of covid restrictions)

 

Cole Harbour Heritage Farm Museum

Cole Harbour, NS

Dedicated to preserving Cole Harbour’s agricultural past, and understanding plants, animals and farming today. They rely on community support, volunteers and donations and admission is by donation. They are open for the season from May to October and have animals such as sheep, poultry, pigs and calves.

 

Citadel Hill

Halifax, NS

Citadel Hill is impossible to miss while driving around Halifax. This hill overlooking the city is part of a series of HRM forts that protected the Halifax Harbour from 1749 to 1906. It was rebuilt 3x and yet was never attacked once. The fort offers a window into Halifax’s colonial past where you can explore the grounds, barracks, tailor shop and school.

The Black Cultural Centre

Dartmouth, NS

The Black Cultural Centre celebrates the history and culture of African Nova Scotians that date back to the 1600s. The centre takes a closer look at the community, military service, and migration of this amazing group of people.

 

Africville Museum

Halifax, NS

Africville was settled in the 1860s and was a thriving community located right on the edge of Halifax Harbour. The community was destroyed in the 1960s to free up land for industrial development. The Museum is a replica of the church and inside is the story of this world-famous community.

 

Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

Halifax, NS

Located on the Halifax waterfront, this museum has information on boatbuilding, the Halifax Explosion, the Titanic and more. Depending on covid restrictions you may even be able to climb aboard the CSS Acadia (the only ship to survive WWI, WWII and the Halifax Explosion). The museum even features its very own mascot, Merlin the rainbow macaw! Learn more here

 

Bedford Institute of Oceanography

Dartmouth, NS

Grown to be Canada’s largest center for ocean research where you are able to book a guided tour from May-August. Tours can be tailored to specific interests, ages and sizes. Learn about species at risk, corals, geoscience, and the Titanic finishing up at their Sea Pavillion Touch tank. To book a tour click here.

 

halifax family playing together

Activities

Hop Skip Jump

Halifax, NS

Hop Skip Jump is an indoor play space for kids up to 12 years old. There is a play structure with three levels to climb and toddlers have their own play area with a merry-go-round, spinning palm tree and balloon carnival. Parents can relax and sip a cup of coffee while their kids burn off some energy.

 

Get Air Nova Scotia

Dartmouth, NS

Ger Air is one of the most popular spots for birthday parties and they offer SO many fun activities for the whole family. Trampoline court, ninja course, kiddie court, slackline, foam pit and more!!

 

JFarewell Sailing

Halifax, NS

Unique family experience for all ages! Be actively involved in the whole process learning about the ins and outs of sailing and kids bring home their own Official Crew Member certificate. They also offer a more sit-back and relaxed sailing experience.

 

Go Kayaking with Kayak Halifax

Halifax, NS

No experience is necessary to enjoy this family adventure (children ages 6+). Everyone will get a short intro to paddling and safety before you take out to explore Halifax from a different perspective.

 

Habour Hopper Tour

Halifax, NS

The most popular tour in Atlantic Canada! See the best views of Halifax by land and sea while sitting 10ft high on the unique Harbour Hopper. Fully narrated 1 hr tour showing off the best sites and history of the city.

 

Spryfield Wave Pool

Halifax NS

The Spryfield Wave Pool is located in the Captain William Spry Community Center. It features a small waterslide (perfect for kiddos) and the shallow end is great for younger toddlers. The max depth is 6 feet. Every 15 minutes the waves go through the pool and they get smaller towards the young children so all can enjoy them. I would make sure to call ahead so that you go when they have the waves turned on.

 

Action Lazor Tag

Bedford, NS

Work as a team to complete missions ranging from easy to more complex which makes it the perfect activity for all ages. They offer special events for birthday parties, team building, corporate events and more.

 

Kartbahn

Halifax, NS

Kartbahn promotes safe, fast driving in a controlled space for drivers who are at least 4’4” (52 inches) tall and they don’t offer dual-passenger karts. They also offer birthday parties at their location. Note that they don’t offer two-person karts.

 

 

The Putting Edge

Halifax, NS

The Putting Edge offers a unique mini-golf experience with its painted course and awesome music. They offer to host events such as birthday parties, youth groups and company events.

 

 

Seven Bays

Bayers Lake, NS

Seven Bays is a bouldering gym of 12 000 sq ft and has a complete training facility. They want to keep things fresh so they change up their boulders every week and also have a wide selection of hold from around the world. They offer competitions each year like the Tour de Bloc, Dyno Comp and North Send. Kids from ages 6 to 14 are able to climb with direct supervision at all times and they have a youth program. Don’t forget to stop by the cafe for a smoothie and a snack!

 

Splashifax

Hammonds Plains, NS

Splashifax is the only outdoor waterpark and obstacle course in NS (plus, home to the biggest unicorn floaty in the WORLD!). They recommend that you come already in your bathing suit although there are places to change at Hatfield Fields (they’re partner). With a Splash Pass you have access to Hatfield Farm’s petting pens, trolly ride to and from lake (where Splashifax is located), 90 minutes of playtime, access to hillbilly fun lines, playgrounds and mini-golf at Hatfield Farms. With a Land Lovers pass you have access to Hatfield Farm’s petting pens, trolly ride to and from the lake, hillbilly fun lines, playgrounds and mini-golf. Anyone who is age 5 years or older, 30lbs + and a strong swimmer can enjoy the park. Everyone must wear one of the provided life jackets and children 12 and under must be supervised by a guardian.

 

 

Tour Halifax on Sea-Doo

Halifax, NS

What a great way to see Halifax with a sea-doo rental from Harbour Watercraft Tours & Adventures! Offering sunset, self-guided tours and more. No experience is necessary but passengers must be 6 years or older. Drivers of the sea-doo must have a valid driver’s license and be 19 years of age or older.

 

 

Canada Games Centre

Halifax, NS

Here they offer 3 pools, 2 water slides, 4 mini basketball courts, a dance studio, fitness center and more! There is something for everyone.

 

 

Zatzman Sportsplex

Dartmouth, NS

So many options! Open swims, lessons, pool parties, waterslide, tarzan rope, splash pad, weight room, track, open skates, dance academy and day camps. Be sure to check out their website to see all of their offerings!

 

Emera Oval

Halifax, NS

Maximum skate capacity is 230 per skate time and fills by a first come first serve basis. Masks must be worn at all times including on the ice and they aren’t currently offering equipment rentals. CSA-approved hockey helmets are required for all children 12 years or under although all skaters are encouraged to wear a helmet.

 

Hypersportz Paintball

Lower Sackville, NS

Offering both walk-on games or group bookings, they have 3 different fields ranging from woodsball, speedball or splatmaster to choose from. This is great for kids 7+.

 

Tall Ship Silva Cruise

Halifax, NS

Take an evening cruise on the Halifax Harbour and relax while you learn about Halifax’s history. This 1.5-hour long cruise is available for all ages from June to October and put on by Ambassatours Gray Line.

 

 

Hatfield Farms

Hammonds Plains, NS

One of the most popular wedding venues in NS, Hatfield Farms also offers a petting pen, rubber rodeo, birthday parties, pony rides, wagon rides, playground, ziplines and small cabins for overnight stays.

 

 

child painting and doing crafts

Arts

 

DIY Studio

Dartmouth, NS

DIY Studio is a paint-your-own pottery studio no matter what skill level. They have hundreds of pieces to choose from such as figurines, dog bowls, piggy banks, mugs and other dishware. Also offering group events such as birthday parties.

 

 

Art Gallery of NS

Halifax, NS

Be sure to check their covid guidelines before you go but they offer family Sundays one day a month between 1-4 pm. Have an artist-facilitated afternoon of activities that are inspired by a theme or specific exhibition. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. The art gallery is a great learning opportunity as well.

 

 

Wonder’neath Art Society

Halifax, NS

Offering take-home art kits, Art Bikers (mobile art program), artists talks and a resources library. Go and create!

 

 

Board Room Cafe

Halifax, NS

The Board Room Cafe is the first of its kind in Nova Scotia offering over 600 board games. Featuring a large gaming area, espresso bar, great menu and a retail area.

 

toddler playing in lake in halifax, ns

Parks, Beaches & Hiking

Point Pleasant

Halifax, NS

Point Pleasant Park is a 180-acre wooded park that has 39kms of walking paths. There is also a beach for swimming, an off-leash dog walking area and Shakespeare By the Sea performances.

 

Rainbow Haven Beach

Cow Bay, NS

Swimmers are advised to stay away from the tidal channel and the strong currents. Beach conditions are recorded daily by lifeguards and post-hazard signs in front of the unsafe areas. They have facilities such as change houses, showers, toilets, volleyball nets and boardwalks.

 

 

Shubie

Dartmouth, NS

Shubie Park is a 40 acre heavily forested park with washrooms, benches, picnic tables and a small boat launch. Bring your dog to enjoy the off-leash area.

 

 

Peggy’s Cove

Not only does the world-famous Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse live here but you can also enjoy a nice walk around the quaint little fishing village. Just down the road is Clam Pond which has a beautiful view of the lighthouse and you may be able to find some sea life or visit memorials such as the Swissair Memorial Site and the William E. deGarthe Memorial Monument.

 

Polly’s Cove

Located down the road from Peggy’s Cove is this 4km loop trail featuring beautiful wildflowers and amazing coastal views. A great trail for families that on-leash dogs are allowed to visit as well.

 

 

Long Lake Provincial Park

Spryfield, NS

Long Lake Provincial Park has over 5km of trails to walk, bike or run and a kayak/canoe launch. Go swimming or use their rental service for kayaks, canoes or paddleboards.

DeWolf Park

Bedford, NS

DeWolf Park boardwalk follows along the coast of the Bedford Basin. They have a playground for kids and often host community events. Dogs are also able to use the trail while on leash.

 

 

Conrad’s Beach

Halifax, NS

Conrad’s is one of the best sand beaches around. Walk all the way down on the left side of the beach and you can cross over to the opposite side of Stoney Beach. The Lawrencetown River separates the beaches from each other.

 

Frog Pond Trail

Purcells Cove, NS

Located inside the Sir Sanford Fleming Park (home of the popular Dingle Tower), you can enjoy this walk around the 1.6km loop around Frog Pond (or even go skating on the pond in the winter). This trail also connects to others in the park so you can take your time exploring.

 

 

Crystal Crescent Beach Provincial Park

Halifax, NS

Wander the 3 white sand beaches at the Crystal Crescent Beach Provincial Park. The boardwalk will take you to the first 2 beaches. There are many bird species that call the park home that you can spot.

 

 

York Redoubt

Fergusons Cove, NS

York Redoubt was constructed in 1793 as part of Halifax’s defence system and overlooks the narrowest part of the harbour. On-leash dogs are welcome.

 

 

Duncan’s Cove Trail

Duncan’s Cove, NS

This out-and-back trail is a total of almost 8 km but don’t worry, you can see amazing coastal views without hiking the entire trail. It has a rating of moderate and is heavily trafficked from May until September. Dogs must be kept on leash.

 

 

Halifax Public Gardens

Halifax, NS

Right in the heart of Halifax is1 a 17acre garden enclosed by a wrought-iron fence. Featuring band concerts from mid-June to mid-September as well as storytimes twice a week. The garden is open daily from 8 am to 4 pm. No pets, smoking or biking are allowed inside the park to protect the flowers.

 

 

McNabs Island

Frequently called one of Halifax’s best-kept secrets. This is the largest island and can be spotted at the entrance of Halifax Harbour. It has over 22km of beautiful hiking trails and only accessible by private boat, water taxi or charter boat.

 

Events

 

Ghost Tour of Citadel Hill

Halifax, NS

See Citadel Hill in a whole new way, follow your guide and his lantern dimly lit passageways toward shadowy chambers. Available on Friday and Saturday nights from July to November.

 

Halifax International Buskers Festival

Halifax, NS

Hundreds of performers and shows throughout 6 days over the long weekend at the end of July/beginning of August taking place on the Halifax waterfront. See the best street performers from all over, musicians, fire breathers, acrobats, magicians and more! Let’s not forget the awesome food, clothing and shop vendors or the carnival rides. This free festival is a huge hit for all ages.

 

 

Glow Gardens

Halifax, NS

Open November to the beginning of January. Glow Gardens first launched in 2017 in Vancouver and quickly grew into one of the world’s largest indoor winter festivals. Located inside the Halifax Exhibition Center, showcasing magical light displays, entertainment, vendor market, food and a new interactive kid zone.

 

 

Other

Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk

Halifax, NS

Halifax Waterfront is a favourite by both locals and visiting families. You can walk along the boardwalk, do shop shopping and have lunch with ice cream for dessert. The waterfront is frequently having festivals, activities and local artists or vendors showcasing their work. Plus the wave sculpture is a huge hit and there is even a kids’ play area! For more information check out this link.

 

Woozles

Halifax, NS

Visit the oldest children’s bookstore in all of Canada! They opened in 1978 with the idea of being more than just a store’ and have continued being ‘a place for and about the children’.

 

 

Silverball Arcade

Locations inside the Best Western Plus Chocolate Lake Hotel and the Sunnyside Mall in Bedford

The largest retro arcade operator in Nova Scotia with more than 80 games, this is a fun way to spend an afternoon!

 

Halifax Public Library

Halifax, NS

Check out some books, find a take-home kit, or participate in a class. The library has so many offerings and ongoing events so it’s best to check out their Facebook page or website.

 

 

Do you have some must-see places or things to do in Halifax with your kids? Reach out to me so I can add it to my list! I’d love to hear from you.

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