I was quite confident that I was not the only person in the world who wanted to try to combine traveling with kids and wine tasting. I felt validated when I stumbled across an article titled “family-friendly Okanagan wineries” (Westjet Up Magazine). Feeling confident that I might actually be able to pull this off, I set out with my husband and kids for an early fall road trip to the Southern Okanagan Valley towns of Osoyoos and Oliver, in beautiful British Columbia. Perhaps it was the kid-friendly wineries we chose, but during our travels, we encountered many babies in slings, toddlers under foot, and kids playing hide-and-seek in the vineyards, while mom and dad took a quick sip of the latest vintages.
Kid Friendly Southern Okanagan Wineries (Osoyoos and Oliver)
Tinhorn Creek (website)
Address: 537 tinhorn creek road, oliver (map)
For Kids: apple juice tasting, colouring table, grape tasting, bocci and a lovely place to have a picnic on the grounds (food available for purchase)
Road 13 Vineyards (website)
Address: 799 ponderosa road (map)
For Kids: medieval castle with plenty of outdoor space to enjoy a picnic
Note: As the entire property is licensed, children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
Please see the following articles for additional family-friendly Okanagan winery options:
Other Activities for Kids in Osoyoos:
This indoor and outdoor facility provides a great educational experience for all ages, highlighting the history of the Okanagan’s Syilx people, and consisting of interactive displays, tours and several multi-media shows. If you choose to do the 45 minute outdoor informative walk, be sure to wear a hat and sunscreen (think desert). The best part for my children was the live snake presentation back a the facility.
Osoyoos Desert Model Railway (website)
Address: 11611 – 115th street (map)
Reviews: 97% recommend on tripadvisor
Rates: adults $7.50, children 2-12 years $4.50
Hours: mon-sat 10am-5pm
May I preface this by saying that a tiny train museum is not something that would normally attract me in any way. Quite frankly, I find train collecting to be an odd hobby, and miniature worlds make me feel a little uncomfortable (same effect clowns have on some people). The reviews for this attraction, however, were so great, that we had to check it out. In the end, my kids simply could not get enough of it, and were begging to return on our way out of town. This is not a dusty relic of an exhibit, but rather one painstakingly put together over the past 12 years by a family with a hobby that went out of control (their words, not mine).
The Spotted Lake – Kliluk Lake (map)
On Hwy 3 just 5 minutes outside of Osoyoos, you will find a very cool looking saline endorheic alkali lake (bit of a mouthful). While only worthy of a short stop, it is interesting nonetheless. It is considered a sacred healing site for the First Nation bands of the Okanagan. You can learn more about it by visiting the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre.
Where to Stay in Osoyoos with Kids:
Spirit Ridge vineyard Resort and Spa (website)
We chose the family-friendly Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort and Spa as our base in Osoyoos. With the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre, Nk’Mip Tasting Cellar and the awesome family pool with water slide, all within a stone’s throw, we could have easily never left the property. The one to three bedroom luxury suites all have full kitchens, and with a little cafe and store on site, self catering is a breeze. Optionally, you can order from room service, or dine at the well reviewed Mica restaurant (both offer a kid’s menu). The hotel can also provide both a crib and high chair for in-suite use. In the summer months, the hotel has a wonderful kids club, and during the rest of the year babysitting can be arranged from $12 an hour. The front desk also has DVD’s and a video game console for loan. What more do you need? Oh yes, I almost forgot. Spirit Ridge also welcomes dogs.
Rates From: $179 May/June, Sept/Oct, $289 in July/August, extra discounts in winter see specials
Reviews: 88% of families rate as very good or excellent on trip advisor
Room to Book: The rooms overlooking the vineyard have stunning uninterrupted views, although many families prefer to be on the first floor of the Lavender building, close to the family pool.
Note: If you are looking for a very quiet getaway, the weekdays make for a much more serene experience, since the property is also a popular location for weekend events and weddings.
Getting to Osoyoos : See where in the world are we on the Destination Osoyoos website.
Current Events Osoyoos: See upcoming events on the Destination Osoyoos website. October in particular, has a number of fun harvest festivals.
the new sea-to-sky gondola in squamish
media disclosure: I was given a media rate at the Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort and Spa as well as complimentary entry to the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre. All other expenses were paid for personally. All opinions in this post are entirely my own.