Image: The Pirate Ship at Paradise Fun Park mini golf Credit: Paradise Fun Park
Did you know that, in addition to our motorhome rentals, Pacific RV also has a special Resort Package that lets you kick back, relax and explore the beautiful seaside town of Parksville? Our Resort Package is located in the friendly, family-oriented Park Sands Resort and features our deluxe Imagine Grand Design travel trailer – big enough to sleep the whole family, and stocked with the comforts of home.
If you can’t tell from our previous Parksville-and-area posts (here and here), we love Parksville! We think one of the greatest things about the town is how friendly and welcoming it is to families, and how many exciting options it has to entertain kids of all ages. To celebrate this special aspect of the community we’ve chosen for our Resort Package we’ve put together a list of top Parksville places to take your children for food and entertainment – and to burn off some of that crazy vacation energy.
Riptide Lagoon Adventure Golf
Even though it’s close to the highway, this well-maintained and sheltered mini golf centre is surrounded by trees and feels well off the beaten track. The mini golf course itself has two separate courses to choose from, each with its own theme (lagoon or mountain) and terrain. The architecture and design of the course is whimsical, fun and very kid-friendly. After a round or two of golf, you can try out the bumper cars and arcade, or relax in the shade with some mini-donuts and ice cream from the clubhouse.
Paradise Mini Golf & Fun Park
Driving through Parksville, kids always get excited when they see the Paradise Fun Park castle and giant shoe-house by the side of the road. This course is a bit older than Riptide Lagoon but has a ton of classic fairy-tale charm, and is just an all-around fun game of golf. Depending on which course you choose you could find yourself putting through a pirate ship, a watermill, a clock tower, under a waterfall or into a treasure cave. If you’re up for it, try both courses and get a discount. Afterwards, the kids (and kids at heart) will have a blast driving the bumper boats.
We covered seven great Parksville parks in our “The Parks of Parksville” article a couple of months ago, so if you love the outdoors be sure to check it out! Here are two of our favourites for kids.
Community Park enfolds 39-acres of spectacular beachfront, manicured fields and beautiful gardens. Activity options here are endless – take your pick from the horseshoe pits, kite field, lacrosse/street hockey box, tennis courts, beach volleyball courts or skate park. The Lions Ventureland Playground & Splash Park makes visiting this park a special treat for kids on any up-Island trip. This well-maintained playground – one of the Island’s best – is continually being updated with new equipment. Let your kids burn off some energy on the coloured slides and climbable sea creatures, swings, jungle gyms, trampolines and zipline.
Probably Parksville’s most well-known natural treasure, this provincial park encompasses 347 hectares of coastal forests, perfect sandy beaches, open meadows, campgrounds and playgrounds. Rathtrevor is especially famous for its warm, shallow beaches that give way to huge stretches of grey sand when the tide goes out. There’s no better place to spend a day building an elaborate sand structure, then trying to protect it with moats and walls until the sea inevitably takes it back. Many Vancouver Island residents have fond memories of childhood summers spent camping, hiking, swimming and digging in the sand at Rathtrevor.
Little Qualicum Cheeseworks
This small, family-run cheesemaking facility is located on picturesque Morningstar Farm in Parksville. If your kids love animals and you love cheese, this is a win-win experience for your whole family. Take the self-guided tour and meet the cows, sheep, goats and other farm animals; catch the “milking robot” in action, and peek into the cheese plant where the magic happens. You can also visit the farm store for coffee, gifts, toys, and of course lots and lots of cheese for your hungry little munchkins!
North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre
Another must-visit attraction for little animal lovers is the Wildlife Recovery Centre. Budding veterinarians and zookeepers can come and visit some very special patients, and learn how the Centre helps nurse injured wild animals back to health. Take a tour of the facility; meet eagles, owls, bears and other creatures; explore the wildlife garden; burn some energy at the “field of stones” playground; check out the eagle flight cage and “turtle town” and lots more. Admission for babies and toddlers is free, and kids under 16 are only $6 each.
Located in Parksville’s neighbour town of Coombs, Butterfly World lets you step into a magical land where the air is alive with the flutter of jewelled wings. Wander through a rainforest garden populated with brightly-coloured finches, turtles and tortoises, ponds full of koi (that you can feed), orchids in bloom and Izzy the bearded dragon. This calm and beautiful oasis will make you feel like you’re on a tropical vacation. Be aware that the greenhouse is kept warm and humid for its rainforest denizens, so dress in layers and bring something to drink.
Coombs Old Country Market (aka “Goats on the Roof”)
Over one million people visit this eclectic and unusual market every year to shop the dizzying variety of international merchandise and visit the namesake goats that live on the market’s sod roof. Visiting children love the market ceiling festooned with bright kites and lanterns, the bins of unusual toys and games, the hot meals and the mouth-watering delicacies in the bakery window. Souvenir collectors will enjoy the fascinating assortment of local and imported pottery, clothing, home decor items and other giftware. Gardening aficionados can explore an outdoor courtyard full of huge pots and interesting statues. Home chefs love the massive selection of delicious condiments and canned and packaged food from all around the world. There’s truly something for the whole family here!
For more info and “locals tips” on visiting the Old Country Market, check out our blog post “Goats on the Roof: The Magic of Coombs Old Country Market”.
Lefty’s is a family restaurant through and through… Expect your kids to be welcomed with warm smiles, colouring sheets and a kids’ menu with options like mac & cheese, kids waffle with fruit and whipped cream, or “worms and dirt” (vanilla ice cream and chocolate cookie crumbs with gummy worms). Lefty’s has a reputation for friendly staff and fresh, delicious food. They offer lots of gluten-free and vegetarian options.
Kids can be pretty picky eaters, but one meal they’ll rarely turn down is the classic burger, shake ‘n’ fries combo! That’s why we recommend Papa’s Burgers as a take-out joint of choice for families (there’s no seating here, so why not grab a bag of burgers and head to Community Park for a picnic?) Papa’s has fast service for eager kids and hangry parents alike, and as they say, their products have “wholesome ingredients, infused with love and made fresh every day”. Don’t miss this chance to enjoy what many reviewers say is the best burger in town.