Disclosure: This post is written in partnership with the Downtown Halifax Business Commission and ECM Media to promote Downtown Halifax as a March Break destination for families. As always, all opinions are my own.
As a school aged kid, “March Break” was the best thing about Winter. Getting to sleep in, no homework and a chance to do whatever we wanted? There really was nothing better. We always did some type of small trip, whether it be a stay-cation to check out local museums or a trip to Halifax for shopping and exploring.
March Break in Nova Scotia is the week of March 18th, 2019. Halifax is such a diverse hub of activity and Downtown Halifax is the perfect destination for some March Break fun for kids! Whether you are travelling from away or a local resident who wants to take in what downtown has to offer, you are sure to have some spectacular adventures.
This “March Break” as the university students gear up for parties and pub crawls, I propose a new idea for the little students. A “Kid Crawl” of the Halifax Waterfront. Downtown has tons to offer year round for families. Follow along on our adventure and get some stop ideas for your very own crawl for kids:
Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market
A traditional stopping place
1209 Marginal Road
What is a trip to the waterfront without a stop at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market? It is open Tuesday to Sunday and hosts tons of vendors all week (not just the traditional weekend market days). It is my favorite place to start the waterfront because you can grab a quick bite to eat and there is lots of parking available (which is a plus because downtown parking can be intimidating).
***5 minute walk to next stop***
The Discovery Center
1215 Lower Water Street
$40.00 for family of 4
$10 child (kids 2 and under are free)
If you have small kids and live in Halifax, chances are you have visited the Discovery Center at least once. I know my kids love it so much that we have even had a membership. Between the amazing static galleries, to the rotating feature exhibit, there is something for all ages here.
Our favorite gallery is the third floor “RBC Someday Street“. Imaginative play is so fun for kids and on this floor they can literally be anything. There is a construction site with interactive heavy equipment (which my son literally swooned for when they added them to the exhibit). Next to that is a farm and market where the little farmers can sell their fresh food.
There is also a theatre stage, health center, toddler zone and the famous bubble room. You can’t leave the third floor without getting inside the giant bubble. Trust me.
Since we started going to the Discovery Center, another favorite space is the rotating featured exhibit. Currently in this space is the amazing Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Crawling through the giant snakes body was my sons favorite thing about the exhibit. He had seen it on a commercial and was counting down the days until he could get inside that snake.
One of my favorite parts of the Ripley’s exhibit was the animatronic Robert Wadlow (history’s tallest man). It surprised me when I went over and saw his head and eyes move back and forth. It REALLY surprised me when he stood up and towered over the room. Lets just say, my kids were not huge fans of this part, so if you startle easily watch it from far back first :).
Parent pit stop
Coffee! Yes it is about time to stop for a delicious pick me up. On your walk from the Discovery Center to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic there are a few coffee shop options. Piece of Cake Fine Bakery & Cafe, Coffee Matters and The Summit Cafe are all located on Lower Water Street. If you are a devoted Timmies drinker, there is one located a few meters beyond the museum.
***8 minute walk from Discovery Center to next stop***
Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
1675 Lower Water Street
$12 for family
$3 Youth (children 5 and under are free)
If you have any boat lovers or history buffs, then the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is a must see. When we walked in the door and saw the “real bad pirate” we knew it was going to be a great visit.
The exhibit we spent the most time in was “Canada at Play“. This travelling exhibit from the Royal Ontario Museum is here for March Break to showcase the history of toys and games in Canada over the last 100 years. Every day between 10:00 – 4:00 during March Break, there will be daily programs for kids in this exhibit (1:00 – 4:00 on Sundays).
Around the corner is the Small Craft Gallery. In this awesome room you will find various sail boats on display. Perfect place for a photo-op in front of a boat. Many of the boats have steps next to them so you can climb up and see what the inside looks like. Can I also mention the view of the Halifax Harbor in this room is a sight to see.
Next we climbed upstairs to learn about the age of the steam boat. At the top of the stairs, there are two engine simulators to try. Kain loved trying the steam engine but needed a little help from Dad to lift up the pump.
From here we entered the exhibit about shipwrecks. There are over 10,000 recorded shipwrecks off the coast of Nova Scotia and in this section we learned the story of a few of them. My kids loved listening to stories on the telephone speakers.
There is a section all about the Titanic and what life was like in that time on the ship. I loved seeing actual artifacts from the ship. The grand staircase wall is another great spot to stop and take a photo (although I could not get my kids to stand still because they wanted to see more boats!).
The last exhibit we took in was the Days of Sail Gallery. We enjoyed learning about shipbuilding and our favorite schooner The Bluenose. We stepped inside the boat cabin which simulates being at sea. Between the movement of the “water” in the window, to the opening and closing cabinet doors, I had to sit down because I actually felt sea sick.
The Submarine Playground
1655 Lower Water Street
Just outside the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is the iconic Wave and the submarine playground. If the day is nice (for Winter) and you’re dressed for the outdoors, why not stop and let the kids run off some steam before your trek back along the Waterfront.
These ideas are based on an excursion with younger children. Here are some other suggestions of fun places in Downtown Halifax to create your families own custom “Kid Crawl”
Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21*
1055 Marginal Road
$30.00 for family of 5 (2 Adults/3 kids)
$12.00 for Adults
$8 Youth (children 5 and under are free)
Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame – Scotiabank Centre (above box office)
446-1800 Argyle Street
Art Gallery of NS – 1723 Hollis Street
$25 for family
$5 Youth (children 5 and under are free)
Halifax Hurricanes Basketball Game (March 20th)
Halifax Mooseheads Hockey Game (March 16th)