See the Sights in the Capital Regional District

With so much to do in the Capital Regional District, your biggest challenge will be narrowing down your options! To help, here’s a list of favourites. From “star” gazing (both sea stars and the stars in the sky!) and chasing butterflies to cooling off at the Potholes and stretching out at Sidney Spit. Hint: No matter what you choose, you can’t go wrong!

Plan Your Escape to Capital Regional District

Victoria Escape Games offers both indoor and outdoor adventures. Watch for Raiders of the Lost Tomb coming soon! Indoor and outdoor adventures. victoriaescapegames.com

Dominion Observatory & Telescope

Star Parties are back this summer at The Centre of the Universe. Take a Dome Tour, get involved in children’s programs and see the night sky through the Plaskett Telescope (weather permitting). Specific Saturdays throughout the summer. From 7:30–11pm. Gates open at 7:15pm. centreoftheuniverse.org

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Meet SUE the T-rex at RBCM

Royal BC Museum’s SUE: The T-rex Experience starts in June and runs until January, 2024. Meet SUE, the most complete and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex ever found. Learn how SUE survived their challenging and dangerous world, living to old age despite the odds. Don’t miss Angkor: The Lost Empire of Cambodia where you can marvel at 120 spectacular artworks and original artifacts from ancient Angkor, never before seen in Canada. royalbcmuseum.bc.ca

See a Show at IMAX Victoria

Escape the heat—or the rain—and watch the Super Mario Bros. Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, Animal Kingdom or Wings Over the Water to name a few. There’s nothing like the big BIG screen to make you feel like you’re part of the action. imaxvictoria.com

Roam Around at Fort Rodd Hill

Tour through secret bunkers, military command posts and original 19th century buildings at Fort Rodd Hill, a west coast artillery fortress on active duty from 1895 to 1956. Learn the personal stories of soldiers and their families. Camp overnight in a group-friendly oTENTik. Grab the wheel as a “master mariner” at Fisgard Lighthouse, the oldest on the Canadian west coast and wander through a rare Garry Oak meadow. pc.gc.ca/en/lhn-nhs/bc/fortroddhill

Think Small

Miniature World, located within the Empress Hotel, is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10am-5pm. The Greatest Little Show on Earth features over 85 miniature scenes. At Miniature World it is as if you suddenly became a Gulliver-like giant among the tiniest of villages, or has the world itself shrunk? You be the judge, it is a question Alice must have asked herself many times in Wonderland so enter now this miniature wonderland. miniatureworld.com

Stroll the Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf is a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. Peruse food kiosks, unique shops and eco-tour adventures in a working harbour setting. Buy seafood fresh off the boat, check out the unique array of commercial, pleasure vessel and float home moorage, watch the commercial fishing vessels unload their wares, become a pirate and see the seals. tourismvictoria.com

Play in Capital Regional District Parks

Beacon Hill Park offers 200 acres to play in, just steps from downtown Victoria. Explore the trails meandering through meadows, gardens and trees, the 18-hole putting green (bring your own clubs and balls), spray park and playground. Stroll past the duck ponds, over bridges, through gardens and find what was once the world’s tallest free-standing totem pole. beaconhillpark.com

Gallop Along the Goose

The 60-km partly paved Galloping Goose Trail winds from Victoria to Sooke with access points along the way. It also intersects with the E&N Rail Trail-Humpback Connector, the 17km cycling and pedestrian trail. Start the Goose in the heart of the city or drive out to a rural access point for more of a country experience. gallopinggoosetrail.com

Lose Yourself on the Lochside Trail

The 29-km Lochside Regional Trail starts in Saanich and ends at the ferry terminal in Swartz Bay. In some places trail visitors must share paved or gravel public roads with motor vehicles and farm vehicles. Trail maps and suggested access points/day trips are available from the CRD website: crd.bc.ca/parks, then select “Find a Park.”

Loop Swan Lake

Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary features both marshy lowlands and the rocky, oak-forested highlands of Christmas Hill. The 12,000-year-old lake is home to a variety of birds and wildlife including muskrats, river otters and mink. Circle the lake along a 2.5-km trail and cross the floating walkway then stop in at the Nature House (open on a limited schedule). swanlake.bc.ca

Stretch Out at Sidney Spit

Sidney Spit Marine Park is a great destination for a day trip. The foot-passenger ferry service has re-opened so now you can book your trip to Sidney Island (25 minutes). Explore the sandy spit at the northeast end or hike around the whole island. Walk-in camping is also available. For updates on the ferry service, visit sidneyspitferry.com.

While Away the Day at Witty’s

Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park in Metchosin offers more than 5 kms of beautiful trails run through woodland, past lagoon and marsh. Watch for birds as you meander down to the sandy beach. The Nature House at the trailhead has some great displays. Check for opening hours. On Metchosin Road, approximately 40 minutes from downtown Victoria. crd.bc.ca/parks

Retreat to Roche Cove

Roche Cove Regional Park in East Sooke. Picnic at the protected cove after an easy walk from the parking area. Wander the 7 kms of trails through cedar forest and along a cool creek or climb a mossy slope for hilltop views of Roche Cove and the Sooke Basin. Roche Cove is also a good access point for the Galloping Goose Trail. crd.bc.ca/parks

Ease into East Sooke Park

East Sooke Regional Park offers 50 kms of trails along the windswept rocky coast, over dry hilltops, through dark rainforest to sheltered coves. Aylard Farm is popular with picnickers and those looking for an easy excursion. A 5-minute walk through open fields leads to a sandy beach. Trails head inland to hilltop views, or along the rugged, more challenging Coast Trail. crd.bc.ca/parks

Dig Deep at Capital Regional District Dino Lab

Check out this high-tech/low-tech, all fun fossil restoration lab nestled in Victoria. Tour the private gallery, roll up your sleeves, grab a tool and help turn back time using the same pneumatic tools and equipment that the experts use. Don’t forget to pre-book. dinolabinc.ca

Make a Splash at Thetis Lake

Hike scenic trails hugging Upper and Lower Thetis lakes. The beach area of Thetis Lake is perfect for a picnic or swim, although it tends to be crowded in summer. If you have a canoe, try an early morning or evening paddle. Pay parking: $2.25 for the day or $20 for the season. crd.bc.ca/parks

“Star” Gaze at The Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea

The Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea in Sidney is a state-of-the-art aquarium and marine education centre focused on the ecosystem of the Salish Sea. Spend a moment with calming, drifting jellies. Take a peek at invertebrates of all shapes and colours. The Centre is open and welcomes visitors on Thursday though Tuesday from 10am–4:30pm. Masks mandatory. salishseacentre.org

Fly by Butterfly Gardens

Victoria Butterfly Gardens. See thousands of exotic butterflies (up to 70 species) flying free in their own tropical rainforest environment. Wander through the orchid exhibit or carnivorous plant section. You’ll also see colourful fish and tropical birds. Open daily from 10am–4pm with the last admission into the facility at 3pm. Group bookings are only allowed between 8–10am. butterflygardens.com

Scream for Ice Cream

Beacon Hill Drive Inn. Cones, cups, sundaes and avalanches! So many choices—and you can’t go wrong! beacondrivein.ca. Cold Comfort’s Can Canteen window is open in summer and offers cool treats ranging from scoops of Plain Jane ice cream to Choc ‘o Clock Sandwiches and dairy-free options. coldcomfort.ca. Parachute Ice Cream is offering “walk-thru” scoop service daily from noon–7pm. Try the strawberry rhubarb sorbet or brown butter brownie. parachuteicecream.com.

Take a Swing at Golf

Mattick’s Farm Mini Golf is open weekends only from 11am–5:30 (last tee off time at 4:45). Covid protocols are in place. After golfing, visit Mattick’s Farm Market for an ice cream cone from Adrienne’s Ice Cream. Or grab picnic ingredients from Red Barn Market and cycle the nearby Lochside Trail to a shady spot for a picturesque lunch break. matticksfarm.com

Pet a Pony

Ponies & Pipsqueaks’ Meet the Ponies program runs year round and is a great way to introduce kids to the responsibilities of ponies and experience their first ride. Go on a barn tour, learn to groom ponies, go for a pony ride and then feed the ponies treats. poniesandpipsqueaks.com

Bowl, Ice Skate & Golf

City Centre Park in Langford has opened some facilities. There’s Mini-Golf, now open from 9am–9pm daily, drop-in ice skating at Westhills Arena, snacks at City Centre Grille, bowling at Langford Lanes and indoor themed play structures at PlayZone. citycentrepark.ca

Seek Sun & Surf

Gonzales Beach: sure the water is freezing, but this is a beautiful sandy beach with the south-facing views and sunshing. It’s a great beach for skim boarding and splashing about in the shallow waters. Willows Beach has all the amenities at hand: bathrooms, a tea room for concessions, a playground and a sweeping sandy beach. There’s a grassy park for picnics and lots of trees for shade. Gyro Beach at Cadboro Bay Beach and home of the Cadborosaurus! The ocean is no warmer at this beach than any of the other Victoria beaches, but the stretch of sand and nearby Cadboro-Gyro Park make it a hit with families.

Cool Down at Sooke Potholes

Sooke Potholes are a series of deep fresh-water pools created by water falling over boulders in the Sooke River. Enjoy the views, explore the trails, camp under the stars or take a refreshing dip on a hot summer day. You can access the potholes at different points. crd.bc.ca

Take a Dip at Shawnigan Lake

Shawnigan Lake’s Mansons Beach Park and Old Mill Park are the perfect swimming spots. The beaches are shallow and they’re on the east side of the lake so they catch the afternoon sun. West Shawnigan Lake Park is great for families. It’s quieter than the other two and there’s some shade, but there’s more of a lawn than a beach.

Love a Llama

Millstream Miniature Llamas offers a guided tour of the farm for families and small groups. The tour includes an explanation of why llamas are special, the history of llamas in North and South America, how llamas interact with people and with each other, a discussion of the uses of llamas today, a chance to meet several llamas, experience a “llama kiss” and feel the fibre. Phone 250-478-9969 to arrange a tour. millstream-minis.com

Behold the Bugs

Welcome to the amazing world of insects, arachnids and their many-legged relatives. See live giant walkingsticks, alien-eyed praying mantids, hairy tarantulas and glow-in-the-dark scorpions, to name a few. Discover roughly 50 fascinating species including Canada’s largest ant farm. Masks are mandatory. To guarantee your spot at the time you’d like, book online at victoriabugzoo.ca.

Take Flight

At Wild Play Adventures you can soar through the air on six exhilarating zipline flights that criss-cross through the treetops. A guide will attach your harness to each zipline along the way. Just lean back and enjoy the ride. Afterwards, try your hand—and eye—at axe throwing (12+). Open Fri–Mon from 10am–7pm. wildplay.com

Visit Capital Regional District Farms

Beacon Hill Children’s Farm is located in Victoria’s beautiful Beacon Hill Park. Enjoy the farm animal experience, from alpacas to miniature goats, tropical birds and miniature pigs. The Farm is home to all kinds of fuzzy, furry, feathered creatures and features a goat petting area and the famous goat stampedes. Open seasonally. For dates and hours visit beaconhillchildrensfarm.ca.

Appreciate Capital Regional District Art

A visit to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria is a one-of-a-kind experience. The diversity of exhibits and programs is welcoming for all and there’s always something new to discover. On Thursdays from 5–9pm, admission is by donation. aggv.ca

Find Out About Flying

See airplanes, seaplanes, helicopters and more at the BC Aviation Museum. Learn about BC’s aviation history from early bush planes to water bombers and beyond. bcam.net

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