Here are the most popular children-oriented attractions in the Halifax area. Of course, you should consider the age, interests, and energy level of your
child to determine the most appropriate places to visit…but here are our recommendations.
Bluenose II Maritime Museum
1675 Lower Water St (at Prince), Halifax
(902) 634-1963 or toll-free 1-800-763-1963.
The Bluenose II is a replica of the original Bluenose schooner, and is docked at the Halifax wharf when not on tour. Bluenose II is Nova Scotia’s sailing ambassador and is Canada’s best known boat. Originally build in 1921 at Lunenburg the Bluenose has become nearly as familiar a Canadian symbol as the maple leaf as it is even depicted on the Canadian dime. The Bluenose II was launched in 1963 and offers 2-hour harbour sailing tours. You can tour this wonderful boat when docked.
Costume Studies Museum
Carleton House, 1685 Argyle St., Halifax
This small museum located in an historic residential building displays the work of students of the Dalhousie Costume Studies program. Costumes are based on records of early residents of Halifax. The gift shop features historically inspired articles of clothing. Open Mon. to Fri. 11 am to 4 pm May to Sept., by appointment from Sept. to April.
1593 Barrington St., Halifax
This science centre presents more than 80 hands-on exhibits to illuminate and entertain with educational principles of bridges, electricity, chemistry, bubbles, light and sound, health, physics, optical illusions and more. Changing exhibits, workshops and live science shows. Open Mon. to Sat. 10am to 5pm, Sun. 1 to 5pm. Adults: $7.50 Child/Youth: $5.00 Seniors: $6.50.
Fisherman’s Life Museum
Hwy. 7, 58 Navy Pool Loop Rd., Jeddore Oyster Pond
This tiny house and gardens have been preserved just as they were at the turn of the century when this was the home of an inshore fisherman, his wife and their 13 daughters. Open June 1 to Oct. 15, Mon. to Sat. 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, Sun. 1 to 5:30 pm.
Eastern Passage, off Rte. 322
This working fishing village offers a variety of ‘access to the ocean’ activities only 15 minutes from downtown Halifax. The shops offer local marine crafts, aboriginal jewellery, folk art, fine art paintings, paper tole, unique candles, woodworking and more. The Cove also has a seafood restaurant, ice cream parlour and diner. Enjoy the 1.5 km boardwalk, tours to McNab’s and Lawlor’s islands and deep-sea fishing. Interpretive Centre closed from January through March. April through May, open daily. Until October 15, open daily 10 am to 7 pm. October 15 through December open 10 am to 5 pm. Allow two hours
If you take the ferry to Dartmouth, look out toward the harbour entrance to the nearest island, with the small lighthouse on it. It played a key role in the harbour’s defence system for almost 200 years. Although not yet open to the public, it’s a National Historic Site, and its fortifications are currently undergoing restoration by the federal heritage department.
Halifax Public Gardens
Bounded by Sackville, Summer, and S. Park Sts. and Spring Garden Rd.
Main entrance is at the corner of Spring Garden and South Park.
This 7 hectare (17 acre) park is the oldest formal Victorian gardens in North America, this city oasis had its start in 1753 as a private garden. Its layout was completed in 1875 by Richard Power, former gardener to the Duke of Devonshire in Ireland. Gravel paths wind among ponds, trees, and flower beds, revealing an astonishing variety of plants from all over the world. The centerpiece is a gazebo erected in 1887 for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. Park has historic fountains, statuary, duck pond, tree-shaded walks and summer 2 pm Sunday afternoon band concerts, set among colourful flower beds and magnificent specimen trees. Open to the public from May until November, dawn till dusk. Allow 30 minutes.
Halifax Citadel National Historic Site
5425 Sackville St, Halifax
Operated by Parks Canada, the Citadel is now one of Canada’s most visited national historic sites. It features exhibits, audio-visual presentations, guided tours, the noon gun and the 78th Highland Regiment. The Citadel, a large star-shaped masonry fort built between 1826 and 1856, was the heart of the city’s fortifications and was linked to smaller forts and gun emplacements on the harbour islands and on the bluffs above the harbour entrance. Although never attacked, the fort was used by the British until 1906, and by the Canadians until after World War II. The fort features a musketry gallery, a dry defensive ditch, vaulted rooms, restored ramparts and commanding view of Halifax and the harbour.
The Town Clock, closed to the public is also on Citadel Hill. The clock, with four sides, was built in 1800 to prevent tardiness, and is used to se the noon gun, by which ships set their clocks for 200 years.
Exhibits include the defense casemate, detention cell, library, barrack rooms, signal masts, and a 50 minute audio-visual presentation “Fortress Halifax – Warden of the North.” Kilted soldiers of the 1869 78th Highland Regiment of Foot drill in front of the Army Museum, once the barracks, and a cannon is fired every day at noon. Before leaving, take in the breathtaking views from the Citadel.Open July-Aug., daily 9-6; Sept.-June 14, daily 9-5 Grounds open daily year-round, 9am to 5pm. Allow two hours. Admission.
1675 Lower Water St., Halifax
902-429-2132, 902-427-0550, ext. 2837
This World War II convoy escort corvette has been restored as a floating naval memorial to the courage and sacrifice of all who served in Canada’s navy. Immediately adjacent is an Interpretation Centre with a multi-media presentation. Open in summer. Free admission.
Reached by ferry from Eastern Passage or charter boats from Cable Wharf
This island, just inside the entrance to Halifax Harbour, was once an important part of the harbour defence system. It now offers recreation in the form of picnicking and hiking. Trails lead past the island’s lighthouse, ruined fortifications, sand beaches and old homesteads where once-carefully tended gardens now grow wild..