Beaty Biodiversity Museum

Museum in Kitsilano & University of British Columbia

A family-friendly museum showcasing a two-million-item natural history collection including fossils, fish and herbarium displays. The highlight is the 25m blue whale skeleton, artfully displayed in the two-story entranceway, plus the first display case, which is crammed with tooth-and-claw taxidermy. Consider visiting on the third Thursday of the month when entry is by donation after 5pm and the museum stays open until 8:30pm; there's often a special theme or live performance.

Many of the exhibits are in high-tech pullout draws, so you can spend hours poking around. There's also a surprisingly well-stocked gift shop. Across the street is the small Pacific Museum of Earth, where the kids can be further occupied by fossils, gemlike minerals and a large duck-billed dinosaur skeleton.