A region steeped in history, Vancouver Island’s museums are some of the best in the world. Regardless of where you are staying on Vancouver Island, there are numerous different, informative museums that make for a perfect day trip. You will quickly find that you can spend hours upon hours, or even days, discovering all the incredible artifacts and exhibits that lend a little bit of insight into the city’s history.
After you visit one of Vancouver Island’s prized museums, you will leave an expert and be able to recite facts about the region’s Aboriginal culture, fisheries, boats, policy, native plants, and so much more. While there are certainly too many Vancouver Island museums to hit all in one trip, we have compiled a list of a few of the ‘must sees’.
BC Forest Discovery Centre
This museum in Duncan is a great way to learn about the plants growing near and all around you on Vancouver Island, as well as learn a thing or two about the industry built around the forests here. Catch a train ride, or check out the sustainable forest display being held in summer 2015 for the first time ever. The museum is also host to the annual Maple Syrup Festival every February, celebrating everything related to the art of maple tapping and syrup making.
Located right on Commercial Street in downtown Nanaimo, the museum here has lots of entertaining and educational exhibits, events, and storytellers featured on a regular basis. This is also the starting point of the Nanaimo Bar trail for those who want to satisfy their sweet tooth on the namesake treat.
Courtenay Courtenay & District Museum
This museum is great fun for any budding paleontologist! Come and take a look for yourself at the great Elasmasaur skeleton from 1988, when 12-year-old Heather Trask and her father Mike Trask discovered the then-unknown and extinct Elasmasaur along the Puntledge River. There are lots of kids’ activities and exhibits that also tie into paleontology, as well as fossil trails and tours to explore.
Comox Air Force Museum
This museum is the host for twenty years’ worth of collecting, preserving, and presenting artifacts from the Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Comox, primarily operated by the Royal Canadian Air Force, to the general public. Check out the featured exhibits, the reference library, the art gallery, and yes, the great machines themselves at the Heritage Air Park located just down the road from the museum. This is considered to be a must-stop for any enthusiast of aviation on the Island.
Museum at Campbell River
Considered to be “a gem of a place” according to countless testimonials on TripAdvisor, Campbell River’s museum is host to a fine collection of First Nations artifacts and exhibits that strongly represent the art and culture behind Northern Vancouver Island. Kids are sure to enjoy the interactive touch screens and kiosks, while fans of collecting First Nations art will find plenty to peruse at the gift shop. Don’t forget to make a stop to the Van Isle Theatre inside the museum, as well as drop by the Haig-Brown Heritage House.
Be sure to check out the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria as well – there’s always something new going on there!
When planning a trip to Vancouver Island, don’t forget to check out some of the region’s most incredible museums. There is something for everybody, and are sure to learn something and take a nugget of knowledge home with you from your trip.
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