When the weather outside is frightful (I’ve got you humming now don’t I), and your kids are less than delightful…don’t fret. There are still many places you can go to keep them occupied! Find out where by reading this extensive list of the best indoor activities in Nanaimo.
The following list was updated January 2023
Activity: Indoor rock climbing
Location: 4385-B Boban Drive
Suitable Age: 6+
Do you often see your child climb to the very top of the monkey bars or play structures? If so, head to the Romper Room for a great indoor activity. It’s a state-of-the-art climbing center with over 7500 square feet of climbing surfaces. They have a Little Rockers Kids Club for children ages 6 – 12. Your child will join other kids who enjoy climbing, learn new skills, and possibly meet new friends!
- Saturday’s from 12:00 – 2:00 pm
- Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 4:00 – 6:00 pm
Cost: $20.00 per session, or save big and purchase a 10-day punch card for $150.00.
Important: This is NOT a drop-in activity. You must pre-register by calling ahead. Click on the link above for further information.
They also have a Youth Climbing team program from October to June. Training sessions run on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00 – 6:00 pm. This program is suitable for kids ages 10 – 17.
Location: 1870 Boxwood Road
Suitable Age: 6+
Hours: Monday – Friday from 10:00 am – 10:00 pm; and Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Nanaimo’s only bouldering facility offers drop-in sessions and exciting bouldering walls for every level. Whereas rock climbing (both indoor and outdoor) requires special protective gear and a rope, bouldering requires only a pair of shoes. And, of course, crash pads for those awkward landings are provided at the facility! Services also include a spray wall, a fitness area, board games, a lounge area, a sauna, and a coffee and smoothie station.
- Children ages 6 – 10 can climb with one-to-one supervision from a responsible adult over the age of 16.
- An adult must accompany youth ages 11 – 12 with a 2 -1 ratio (2 children per one adult).
- Children and youth climbing times are from 1:00 – 10:00 pm during the week and all opening hours on the weekends.
Please note RavenWood Boulders is a cashless business, so a debit or credit card is required.
Activity: Indoor trampoline
Location: 4381 Boban Drive
Suitable Age: 3+
This is a great place to bring the kids when they are bursting with energy. At Airhouse, they can jump to their heart’s content for a 1.5-hour session. Several options are available to you, depending on your child’s age and interest.
Including open drop-in sessions, Airhouse now offers the following at various times:
- Trampoline lessons
- Skateboarding lessons
- Gymnastics lessons
- Parkour lessons
- Mountain Biking
- Homeschool PE
There’s even an option to create your own type of lesson with your own ‘bubble.’
You can view their full monthly/weekly/daily schedule here: Airhouse Schedule
If you plan on being a regular and want to keep the cost down, they have monthly and annual passes available.
- You must sign a waiver for your child to jump at Airhouse and it is highly recommended you do this before attending.
- All participants must wear grippy socks (you can bring your own or purchase them at the front desk)
- Pre-booking is required
Activity: Multi-purpose indoor playground
Location: #400 – 2980 Island Hwy North (Rock City area)
Suitable Age: The website says 0 – 15 years of age, but I feel it is most suitable for children under 10.
Over 8000 square feet of fun! Enjoy Vancouver Island’s largest indoor play structure, bouncy castle, games room, air hockey, ping pong, foosball, toddler area, birthday party room, and an onsite cafe. You can spend all day here if you like!
Hours of operation: Open seven days a week.
- Monday – Friday from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
- Saturday & Sunday from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
- On Tuesdays from 2:00 – 5:00 pm, priority playtime is given to kids with disabilities
- 0 – 9 months: Free (with paid sibling)
- Adults: Free (with paid child)
- 10 – 23 months: $9.95
- 2 – 3 years: $12.95
- 4 – 15 years: $15.95
- Socks are required (you leave your shoes in a cubby)
- No outside food or beverages are allowed.
- Adults must remain on the premise (it’s NOT a drop-off situation)
- Several other rules apply.
Please visit Jumping Jiminy’s website for hours of operation and further information.
Location: Flipside Gymnastics – 1911 Wilfert Road
Suitable Age: 1.5 – 19
At the drop-in classes, your child(ren) will have the opportunity to explore all of the equipment and try new skills. They are sure to have a ton of fun all while in a safe and supervised environment. Everyone is welcome (no membership required), and no previous gymnastic skills are needed. However, reserving your spot ahead of time is highly recommended. Space is limited, and it is on a first-come, first-serve basis. A punch card purchase is required as well.
- Parent/Tot/Preschool (ages 1.5 – 3.5) – Thursdays from 2:45 – 3:45 pm
- Little People Drop-In (ages 1.5 to 5.5) – Mondays from 11: 30 am – 12:30 pm
- Friday Night Drop-In (ages 7+) – 6:45 – 8:45 pm
Activity: A mental challenge
Locations: Various locations across Nanaimo (see below)
Suitable Age: All ages are welcome to most escape rooms (room dependent, of course), but I’d say age eight or older to be a contributing puzzle solver.
This is a fun family activity. You will be locked in a selected room for no more than one hour. During this time, you must search the room and work as a team to solve the puzzles and escape before the clock hits zero! It tests your ability to work together as a team, as well as your use of common sense.
Cost: Price varies depending on the number of players. Your chances of success greatly increase with more players, and they recommend at least 4 for optimal results.
StrongStart Early Learning Centres
Activity: Early learning
Suitable Age: 0 – 5
Hours: 9:00 am – 12:00 pm; unless otherwise posted
StrongStart is a school-based, free drop-in program for families with young children. Parents/caregivers accompany their children in play-based early learning activities. Qualified Early Childhood Educators lead learning activities that help children learn through play. Carefully selected materials and activities help promote language, physical, cognitive, social and emotional development in each child. It’s a great place to help prepare your child(ren) for Kindergarten.
Programming schedules will vary at each location, but all will include a snack, circle time, and free play time.
Please note that this is not a drop-in program, for you must stay with your child the entire time.
Registration for StrongStart can now be done online. Please visit the SD68 Strong Start website for more information.
Current StrongStart locations include:
- Bayview Elementary – 140 View Street
- Cedar Elementary – 2215 Gould Road
- Fairview Community School – 205 Howard Avenue
- Frank J. Ney Elementary – 5301 Willamson Road
- Georgia Avenue Community School – 625 Georgia Avenue
- Ladysmith Primary – 510 Sixth Avenue, Ladysmith
- McGirr Elementary – 6199 McGirr Road
- Quarterway Elementary – 1632 Bowen Road (hours of operation are 9:15 am – 12:15 pm)
Tiny Tots Playgroup
Activity: Group play
Location: Country Club Center (2A – 3200 North Island Hwy)
Suitable Ages: 0 – 5
Tiny Tots FREE ‘parent and me’ drop-in playgroup is every Wednesday from 10am – 11am. Little ones will enjoy an hour of play, crafts, stories, and songs with a certified ECE educator from Pacific Care.
There is also an indoor playground at this mall too!
Activity: A history lesson
Location: 100 Museum Way
Suitable Age: All ages
The Nanaimo Museum hosts informative and interactive exhibits that tell the story of Nanaimo’s history. You will find award-winning exhibits and ones loved by all ages. Two favourites are the coal mine, as well as a replica of a 1920’s schoolroom. It’s a great way to while away an afternoon, and it’s extremely easy on the wallet!
Winter hours: Tuesday – Saturday from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm. Please check the Nanaimo Museum website for up-to-date information.
Activities: Group story time; Lego days and clubs; and Baby time
Location(s): There are three public libraries in Nanaimo, and all branches offer activities for families.
- The largest (and oldest) is located in the heart of the city on Diana Krall Plaza (90 Commercial Street)
- The newest one is located inside Country Club Centre near Shoppers Drug Mart (3200 N. Island Hwy)
- The most kid-friendly (and nicest) one is located in North Nanaimo at 6250 Hammond Bay Road.
Suitable Age: Any age, but the virtual storytimes offered by the library are most suitable for Preschool-aged children.
Please check the Vancouver Island Regional Library events page to find a suitable activity for you and your child(ren).
Take a Dip
Location(s): There are two indoor pools to choose from. (Nanaimo also has an outdoor pool that is operational in the summer).
- The Aquatic Centre – 741 Third Street
- Beban Pool – 2300 Bowen Road (Currently closed)
Suitable Age: All ages
The Nanaimo Aquatic Centre is home to one of the largest wave pools in Western Canada. It houses three water slides, a lazy river, and a fun, interactive fishing boat water feature with a slide and climbing net. There is also a separate pool designated for length swimming and diving. You will also find a large hot tub, sauna and steam room, a great swim shop, a large gym, and a cafe where you can buy everything from burgers to sushi.
Beban Pool includes a leisure pool area with a spray boat feature and lazy river, a tot pool, aquacise pool and a length pool.
Head to the Ice Arena
Location(s): Nanaimo has three ice arena’s to choose from.
- The Nanaimo Ice Centre is located at 750 Third Street and features two NHL-size ice rinks.
- Centrally located within the Beban Park complex (2300 Bowen Road) you will find both the Cliff McNabb Arena as well as the Frank Crane Arena.
Suitable Age: All ages (as long as they can skate)
Between the three ice arena’s in Nanaimo, there are plenty of opportunities for public skating.
For a full schedule, please head to the Arena schedule.
Knock those Pins Down
Location(s): There are two locations to choose from in Nanaimo. Please click on the links below to learn more about each location.
- Brechin Lanes – 1870 E Wellington Road
- Splitsville – 171 Calder Road
Suitable Age: 4+
Brechin Lanes is a modern bowling centre that has kid-friendly bumper lanes available. The 5-pin bowling balls are lightweight and easy for kids to use. They have shoes for all sizes, from kids’ 7 to men’s size 20! They offer Glow Bowling, where you bowl in the dark with the special effects lighting. There is an onsite snack bar where you can purchase a few hot food items (pizza, nachos, hot dogs, etc.).
Splitsville offers 16 lanes, cosmic bowling, an arcade games room, a large redemption prize store, and a full-service restaurant and lounge. This bowling alley uses the larger bowling balls, however, they stock lightweight balls in-house to make bowling easier for children. They also have bumpers so kids can score on every shot, and have ramps available for the really small ones.
Both bowling alleys offer open (public) bowling opportunities on almost every day of the week as well as throughout the majority of the day.
Please click on the links above for admission rates at each bowling alley.
Virtual Reality Arcade Room
Activity: Virtual Reality Games
Location: 2-1585 Bowen Rd
Suitable Age: There is no age limit but you must be at least 48” (4’) tall to enjoy the spaces properly.
Welcome to the greatest location of VRKADE! Boasting 10 bays and includes a lounge area / party room available, as well as some old school video games. Many different games and experiences are available to choose from.
Price depends on which activity/experience you choose, as well as the day you attend.
For further information, please visit: VRKADE Nanaimo
Activity: Indoor Golf Simulator
Location: Inside North Town Centre (249-4750 Rutherford Road)
Suitable Age: All ages
Hours of Operation: Monday – Sunday from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Do you have a budding golfer on your hands? Check out Nanaimo’s first indoor golf simulator center! There are three simulator bays to choose from and there’s even a game to play just for little ones. The putting green will be a lot of fun for them too. Two different sizes of kids clubs are availalbe to borrow.
So there you have it, Nanaimo’s best indoor activities! As you can see, there are still plenty of opportunities to keep your kids busy when the weather is not to your liking.
Did we miss anything? Feel free to leave a comment below with your favourite indoor activities.
*Please note, all prices, information, and hours of operation mentioned above are based on a web search as of January 2021. Changes may occur. It is always best to click on any links provided for up-to-date information.
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Nanaimo Art Gallery!
Oh, thank you! I will add it to the list.
There is an all ages golf simulator business that opened up Sept 1 2022 in North Town Centre aka Rutherford Mall. Fun for the whole family at Prime Golf. Definitely worth adding to the list, my boys who are 6 & 9 had a blast
Thank you for this! I will have to check it out.
Country Club Mall has a new indoor playground in their food court. Probably best for kids under 8. Something to add to your trip while you pick up your library books!
Thank you, Krista, that’s a great addition to this list!
There are also Strong Start centers for kids under 5!
Thank you, Eleonora! I completely forgot about the Strong Start centres. I’ll see if I can get some more information on them to add to the list.
Look up the Nanaimo Science and Sustainability Society – NS3! Great drop in times including special events. Perfect for preschool to high school students!
Oh my goodness, how could I have forgotten NS3!? Thank you so much for the reminder, Elaine. I have added them to the list above.
Great list! A guilty favourite is also the McDonald’s play area off Rutherford 🙂 It’s like a mini Jumping Jiminy’s!
Thanks, Steve! Ah yes, I totally forgot about the play area at the Rutherford McDonald’s. Thanks for the suggestion!