Top 10 things to do in Cranbrook with kids

Rock climbing, mini-golfing and swimming are a few of the most enjoyable activities for Cranbrook kids

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A child climbs up a colourful wall inside Arq Mountain Centre.

Kids love climbing and playing at Arq Mountain Centre in Cranbrook. — Photo courtesy Arq Mountain Centre

“Mom, Dad, let’s do something fun!”

Finding enjoyable activities with your kids outside of the house can be problematic. Fortunately, we’ve compiled a handy-dandy guide to showcase the best businesses in Cranbrook that cater to children. Look over the list of eclectic options and scroll down for more comprehensive explanations.

  1. Rock Climbing—Arq Mountain Centre
  2. Swimming pool—Cranbrook Aquatic Centre
  3. Mini-golf—Elizabeth Lake Lodge
  4. Water park—Kinsmen Spray Park
  5. Train tour—Cranbrook History Centre/Canadian Museum of Rail Travel
  6. Bowling—Juniper Lanes
  7. Heritage tour—Fort Steele Heritage Town
  8. Comedy circus—Creative Monkeys
  9. Ziplining/tobogganing—Idlewild Park
  10. Hatchery and aquarium tours—Kootenay Trout Hatchery

Kid zone

1. Arq Mountain Centre

 

A child climbs a wall at Arq Mountain Centre.

The kids section at Arq Mountain Centre has been very popular. — Photo courtesy Gordon McArthur

Amidst Arq Mountain Centre’s colourful interior lurks a behemoth of a structure that is sure to test the limits of avid climbers and recreationists of all kinds. Don’t be too intimidated though—there are climbing walls for all levels and abilities in the Arq facility, including a kids section that has been very popular. “We have a massive playground and kids walls,” said Gordon McArthur, owner of Arq Mountain Climbing Centre. “There are couches for parents to hang out on which has been great. It’s a really social community. We have a fitness area, ping-pong table, retail, cafe, and a yoga studio with various classes like barre and pilates. It’s really multi-faceted.”

Products and services offered:

  • Climbing wall
  • Fitness classes—functional fitness and studio fitness
  • Kid zone
  • Retail products—clothing, climbing apparel and merchandise
  • Food
  • Beverages
  • Online birthday party bookings

2. Cranbrook Aquatic Centre

 

A large indoor pool.

Kids and adults enjoy swimming at the Cranbrook Aquatic Centre. — Photo courtesy City of Cranbrook

The Cranbrook Aquatic Centre is a multi-use aquatic playground that features an eight lane pool, a nineteen person hot tub and a leisure pool. There is also a steam room, dry sauna, one-metre springboard, rope swing and waterslide. The lane pool is equipped with stairs and a chair lift. The leisure pool has an overhead raindrop spray feature and a shallow water bubble pit. The leisure pool is kept at 86 degrees fahrenheit, a temperature that may be more comfortable for young children. This facility also includes a viewing area where health regulations allow street clothes to be worn.
 
Amenities:

  • Hot tub
  • Sauna
  • Steam room
  • 180-foot water slide
  • One-metre diving board
  • Rope swing
  • 8 Lane, 25-metre lap pool
  • Leisure pool with spray features

3. Elizabeth Lake Lodge Mini Golf Course

 

Murals are lined along the Elizabeth Lake Lodge golf course.

The mini-golf course at Elizabeth Lake Lodge was voted one of the most challenging in Western Canada. — Marie Milner photo

The Elizabeth Lake Lodge Mini Golf Course is said to be the most challenging course in Western Canada.

The perimeter of the golf area is painted with nature murals and the props for the course are creative, attractive and fun. Water features, a train, an outhouse, bridges, impossible curves, and loop-de-loops are all part of the obstacles for this distinctive mini golf course.

After you shoot an 18-hole round of mini-golf, wander the pleasant trails at Elizabeth Lake. The lake is right behind Elizabeth Lodge Lodge.

4. Kinsmen Spray Park

 

Kids play in a spray park.

Kids will have a blast at the Kinsmen Spray Park. — Photo courtesy City of Cranbrook

Cool off with the kiddos at Kinsmen Spray Park, a family-oriented community park that has a colourful assortment of water dispensing objects such as rainbows, palm trees and fire hydrants. There’s also a combination of open green space for games and activities, picnic tables, park benches and numerous water features.

Amenities:

  • Water features
  • Picnic tables
  • Park benches

5. Cranbrook History Centre/Canadian Museum of Rail Travel

 

A toy train car rides along a track.

The Cranbrook History Centre has a model train setup that appeals to children. — Photo courtesy Cranbrook History Centre

The primary draw of the Cranbrook History Centre is the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel.

“We are best known for our large collection of historic train cars, many of which are available for touring,” said Melissa Roberts, tour guide for the Cranbrook History Centre and Royal Alexandra Hall. “Our train tours are always a huge draw for tourists. We get quite a lot of return visitors who weren’t able to take all of our train tours and those who enjoy visiting our model train exhibit every once in a while.”

The Cranbrook History Centre isn’t all classical cafes and choo-choo trains either. The facility houses several displays about the history of the Cranbrook area, including a collection of local historical objects from fossils to basic home items and medical equipment.

“It provides a certain degree of variety that opens the museum to a wider audience rather than just focusing on rail travel,” Roberts said. “Our local fossil exhibit is of special note as it houses several exemplary local specimens.”

6. Juniper Lanes

 

Children bowl at Juniper Lanes under purple lighting.

Juniper Lanes features laser bowling on Friday and Saturday nights. — Photo courtesy Juniper Lanes

Juniper Lanes has 16 lanes of 5-pin bowling, featuring laser bowling on Friday and Saturday nights from 8 to 11 and Saturday afternoon from 2-5. Wear white and you'll glow in the dark too!

Highlights:

  • Five-pin Lanes: 16
  • Glow Bowling
  • Rock n Bowl
  • Lounge
  • Snack Bar
  • Birthday Parties
  • Bumper Bowling

7. Fort Steele Heritage Town

 

A red wagon with a white linen roof holds passengers as two brown and white Clydesdale horses stroll through Fort Steele.

Thousands of visitors come to Fort Steele to enjoy—amongst other things—Clydesdale horse-drawn wagon tours. — Photo courtesy Fort Steele

See what life was like in Western Canada in the late 1800s—visit Fort Steele Heritage Town. This idyllic location is a preserved representation of Canadian history, including all the quaint architecture and art that you would hope to find within.

Fort Steele is perched on the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains. Since its gold rush beginnings in 1864, the village has gone from boomtown, to regional centre, to ghost town, to “one of the most important heritage attractions of its kind in British Columbia,” said Jasmine Beaulac, education co-ordinator for Fort Steele. “Fort Steele has always been known to have a rustic style to the site itself.

Thousands of visitors come to Fort Steele to enjoy Clydesdale horse-drawn wagon tours, steam-train rides, gold panning, live theatre and street performances, museum displays and heritage trades demonstrations, such as gold panning, leathersmithing, blacksmithing and tinsmithing. As of this year, Fort Steele now has film festivals, movie nights and live concerts in the Wild Horse Theatre.

“There is something at Fort Steele for all ages,” Beaulac said.

The best time to see exhibits at Fort Steele is during the spring, summer and early fall. That’s when the buildings are set up displaying domestic and commercial interiors of the Victorian era.

“Fort Steele has done exceptionally well with maintaining its history through building and archives,” Beaulac said.

There’s a lot to like about the charming nature of Fort Steele, whether it be the constantly changing summer shows and street scenes, baby animals, delicious baking from the woodstove oven or something else entirely. Whatever your tastes or preferences, Fort Steele leaves an indelible memory in one way or another.

“Having an experience they will remember is what keeps visitors coming back to Fort Steele,” said Beaulac.

8. Creative Monkeys

 

Lisa Aasebo-Kennedy is dressed up like a squirrel in front of an informational stand at a farmers market in Cranbrook.

Lisa Aasebo-Kennedy is the founder of Creative Monkeys. One of her favourite characters to dress up as is Squirrel. — Kyle Born photo

Cranbrook has a new space to create and nurture theatrical talent. Creative Monkeys, a theatre company started by Lisa Aasebo-Kennedy, has found a new home in the old Subway restaurant building on 10th Avenue South. For years, Aasebo-Kennedy has been seeking an appropriate, multi-functional space to offer classes, performances and events on a continuous basis as well as create opportunities for artists of all persuasions to show off their work. Now, she’s found it.

“The location is perfect!” Aasebo-Kennedy said. “It’s right downtown Cranbrook on a street teeming with other community-minded entrepreneurs.”

The new location has classes for two distinct age groups. Creative Monkeys is geared toward two- to 11-year-old children and entails theatre classes, camps, birthday parties, special events and family theatre performances. Comedy Circus is aimed towards adolescents and adults, offering improv classes and shows, sketch comedy shows, event entertainment and innovative, interactive theatrical events and performances.

“Theatre is always where my heart is and where I feel the most accepted, understood and useful,” said Aasebo-Kennedy. “I work hard at creating a safe, accepting, positive environment that supports and celebrates individuality.”

9. Idlewild Park

 

Idlewild Park has a newly restored dam and reservoir/pond with two fishing docks.

Idlewild Park has a newly restored dam and reservoir/pond with two fishing docks. — Photo courtesy Rob MacKay

Idlewild is the most versatile park in Cranbrook. It’s the perfect place for families to relax and have outdoor fun. The park has towering pines, open spaces, picnic benches, a horseshoe pit, and children's play equipment, including an adventure course and zipline. There are walking trails to guide you through the entirety of the park. Idlewild Park has a newly restored dam and reservoir/pond with two fishing docks.

The go-to hill for tobogganing in the wintertime is also found at Idlewild Park. Slide down with the kids for a fun-filled day in the snow.

10. Kootenay Trout Hatchery

 

A blue sign that says Kootenay Trout Hatchery.

Kids who love fish will have a fantastic day at the Kootenay Trout Hatchery. — Photo courtesy Kootenay Trout Hatchery

The Kootenay Trout Hatchery is a fun place where the whole family can see aquariums, educational displays, and take guided tours any time from May through August. An extensive interpretive area with aquaria, educational models, displays and a turtle pond is open every day for self-guided tours. There is also a stocked fishing pond on-site for new anglers to practice their skills in catch and release angling. Rods are available for loan and a guide can help get visitors set up for fishing. Learn to fish programs can be arranged in advance, which include a guided tour of the facility.

Located on the east side of the Kootenay River, the Kootenay Trout Hatchery rears up to three million baby trout each year. Rainbow, Cutthroat trout, Brook Char and Kokanee are raised to enhance recreational fishing opportunities. In addition, the red-listed White Sturgeon are raised here for conservation purposes.

There are various areas on the property where you can picnic or take a walk with a nature guide, and kids can even feed some of the resident trout. 

Kyle Born

Kyle Born is a writer for Kootenay Business and his initials match that of the magazine—it must be fate that brought them together. View all of Kyle Born’s articles

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