Out and about

Looking for fun, family-friendly outings in the city? There’s lots to see and do in Halifax this winter

By Suzanne Rent


Creative spaces
The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street is the place to go to learn about the province’s arts and culture. Exhibitions include Confederation: 150 Years, 23 Prime Ministers (running until March 26) and Autism Arts, celebrating the artistic talents of young people. The Maud Lewis Gallery is a must-see whenever you visit the AGNS. The kids will love Maud’s tiny home, decorated with her colourful and whimsical paintings. The gallery is closed on Mondays; admission is free on Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. artgalleryofnovascotia.ca


Game on!
With more than 500 games in stock, the Board Room Game Café is for families who love their board games. For $5, you can play all you want. Staff “game bosses” can help guests navigate the rules of many of the games. Minors must leave by 6 p.m., though. There are locations in Bedford and on Barrington Street. boardroomgames.ca


Discovering the natural world
At the Museum of Natural History, learn about Nova Scotia’s history, including its archaeology, ethnology, and geology. Running until April 9 is Here Be Dragons, which explores the myths, literature, culture, and folklore about these creatures. You can easily spend hours at Science on a Sphere, learning about our Earth, including live weather, shipping routes, air traffic, and ocean currents. naturalhistory.novascotia.ca


Stories of seafaring
The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic shares stories of our region’s rich seafaring history. Check out exhibits on the Halifax Explosion, Titanic, and the Franklin Expedition. Welcome Wednesdays are perfect for young families, daycares, and first-time visitors can explore the museum and take part in fun, hands-on activities. Say hello to Merlin, the Rainbow Macaw who is an unofficial mascot of the museum. maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca


A new space for science
Now in its fabulous new location on Lower Water Street, The Discovery Centre has more science and activities to explore. The new space houses five galleries, an open atrium, an innovation lab, a Travelling Exhibits Gallery, and the first Immersive Dome Theatre in the region. thediscoverycentre.ca


Stars on ice
The Oval is not just a place to skate during the winter months, but a friendly and fun meeting place for friends and family. Stay safe; all children 12 and under must wear a CSA multi-impact helmet. Users can borrow helmets, hockey skates, figure skates, speed skates, and sledges free (with photo ID) on site. If you can’t make it to the Common, HRM arenas are often open for public skates. halifax.ca/rec/PublicSkates.php


Flying high
Imagination takes flight at the Shearwater Aviation Museum just at 12 Wing Shearwater. The aircraft collection includes planes such as the iconic Snowbirds, an Avenger, and a Banshee. Browse exhibits of uniforms, and an interactive a T-33 cockpit. Open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free year-round. shearwateraviationmuseum.ns.ca


Go for a swim
With a leisure pool, competition pool, toddler pool, sprinklers, and waterslides, at the Canada Games Centre in Clayton Park there is something for every swimmer. Parents can relax in the hot tub and sauna, too. canadagamescentre.ca

The Captain William Spry Community Centre in Spryfield houses the wave pool, which has four lanes, two slides, and lots of waves. Other pools in the city include Centennial Pool, Dartmouth Sportsplex, and Cole Harbour Place. Find details on all regional pools at halifax.ca/rec/aquatics/Pools.php


History on a hill
The fortress atop Citadel Hill dominates the downtown core. Some of the visitor experiences are limited during winter, but you can still visit the grounds and step back into the city’s history. Remember: Parks Canada is offering free admission to all National Parks and some National Historic Sites in 2017 to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary. 


Back to the wild
The Shubenacadie Wildlife Park is actually open year round. Stroll along the paths over 16 hectares where animals such as moose and otters have a full-time home. Winter hours are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. You can even book a night tour to see how the animals behave after dark. Winter admission is cheaper, too. wildlifepark.novascotia.ca


Hit the hills
If you have snow, a hill, and a sled, you have free and instant fun. Halifax and surrounding areas have plenty of great places to take your toboggan for a slide. Brave the notorious slope of The Pit off Novelea Avenue in Halifax’s North End. Or try the hills at the Ashburn Golf Club near Fairview. Tobaggan Hills offers a great roundup of the best places to toboggan: tobogganhills.com

Courtside fun
Halifax’s basketball team, Halifax Hurricanes, put on a great show for families. Check out exciting action in the National Basketball League of Canada, Atlantic Division, between the Hurricanes and regional teams from Cape Breton, Moncton, P.E.I., and Windsor, Ont. There’s only one game scheduled for during March Break, but the team is on the floor at the Scotiabank Centre until the end of April. halifaxhurricanes.ca


Sky explorers
In a room at the physics department at Dalhousie University, there is a chance to see the stars. On every second Thursday, the Halifax Planetarium hosts shows that explore our universe. The dome that houses the planetarium seats about 30, so book quickly. Costs are minimal and shows are not for children under 8. Dates and times for public shows are posted at the Astronomy Nova Scotia site: astronomynovascotia.ca


Lens lookers
Stargazers can also explore the skies at the Burke-Gaffney Observatory at Saint Mary’s University. These free tours are offered the second and fourth Friday nights of each month
and start at 7 p.m. Space is limited, so sign up early. And admission is free.


Furry friends
Families and kids that love animals can take a tour of the shelter of the SPCA in Burnside. Visit the kitten and cat rooms for some snuggles or take one of the dogs for a walk around the neighbourhood. Note: dog walkers must be 16 years of age, but children can help with the treats. This is also a great way to learn more about the responsibility of having a pet.


Celebrating sports heroes
The Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame in the Scotiabank Centre celebrates the best athletes and sports stories in the province’s history. Browse displays the celebrate the achievements of the hall’s many inductees. A theatre highlights some famous moments in Nova Scotia sports history. Take your shot at the sports simulator. Or visit the Sidney Crosby exhibit that includes the famous clothes dryer Crosby used for shooting practices. Admission is free. nsshf.com

Turn the page
With a branch in just about every major neighbourhood, Halifax Public Libraries is a central spot for any family. Many branches have programs such puppet shows, reading programs, guest speakers and more. The Halifax Central Library on Spring Garden Road is worth the visit just for the architecture. Programs vary depending on the branch, so visit the website to find out what’s happening at your local branch. halifaxpubliclibraries.ca


Walk back in time
Between 1928 and 1971, Pier 21 was the first point of entry for millions of newcomers to Canada. Their decision to come to the country changed its landscape. Now, the Canadian Museum at Pier 21 on Halifax’s waterfront celebrates their history and contributions. Exhibits share first-person stories, learn about migration patterns, or dress up in period costumes. Hours vary through the week, so check the website for details. pier21.ca