The Fair at the PNE is a right of passage for most Vancouverites. This annual 2-week fair and exhibition has been around since 1910 and is always a great time. Although it can seem daunting to haul your kiddos to the PNE, we promise that if you do, you will all have a blast! It may even be their (and your) favourite day of the whole summer. To help make sure everyone has a great time, we’ve pulled together 10 tips on how to make sure your trip to the PNE is as stress-free as possible. That way everyone can focus on having fun!

pne with kids

Plan ahead

Before you go, take a look at all the fabulous shows, activities, concerts, and exhibitions to narrow down the best day and time for you and your family to visit the PNE.

Know before you go

Get out your tape measure and size up your kiddos. This way you’ll know before you go exactly which rides they can and cannot go on. When you are at the PNE you can then steer your kids in the right direction and prevent the tears that can happen when they discover that they aren’t big enough for a certain ride.

Pack snacks

We love that you can bring your own food and beverages to the PNE. It makes life much easier with potentially picky kiddos in tow. Plus, you’ll save some dough which we highly recommend spending on dough… doughnuts, that is! We love to bring snacky-type foods with us to nibble on throughout the day and then top our trip to the PNE off with some of those delectable mini-doughnuts.

Weekdays are the best days

For a slightly less crowded PNE experience, go on a weekday. Weekends are notoriously busy.

Safety first

The first thing we do when we get inside the PNE is to point out the information kiosks to our kiddos. We also show our kids what the uniforms of the people who work there look like. That way, just in case we happen to get separated, there is a plan in place of where they should go and whom they should speak with to get help. Our kiddos always feel much better about being in crowded spaces if we have a separation plan. We feel better too.

It’s ok to skip the rides

If you have kiddos that are too small or perhaps too timid when it comes to carnival rides, you can still have an absolute blast at the PNE. There are concerts, parades, shows, magicians, farm animals galore, and dinosaurs too. You can even learn how to fish! A family favourite is definitely the Superdogs show. We bet your kids will want to set up a course for their four-legged pals when you get home.

Bring the stroller, leave the wagon

Strollers are absolutely allowed at the PNE, but wagons are not. Just make sure your stroller is the approved size (nothing larger than 36” x 52”). If your stroller is too big, you can rent one at Guest Services.

Buy tickets before you go

Outings with the whole family can get expensive, so the best way to save money is to buy your tickets before arriving at the PNE. Buy them online or at one of the participating retailers for the best price.

Bring a buddy

Spouse, significant other, friend, grandparent, or sibling – it doesn’t matter who you bring, but bring another adult with you. That way you can divide and conquer. One adult rides on the rides that require parental supervision and the other can stay with the kids that are too small for the rides. This helps with bathroom breaks too. It’s not just about having a helping hand with you (though it is helpful), we always like to think ‘the more the merrier’, especially when creating great memories!

The best place to change a diaper

There is a parent’s room beside the Kiwanis Food Kiosk across from Celebration Plaza. It’s a great place to change diapers and nurse your little ones. They even have complimentary diapers on hand if you run out.

Armed with these helpful tips, you and your family will have a day full of summer fun at the PNE and are sure to make enough memories to last a lifetime.

Bring on the mini doughnuts!

Yo, mama! Looking for more summer fun? We’ve got you covered:

By: Michelle Hughes

Featured photo by Caelie / CC BY / composite by

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