The heart of Victoria is the Inner Harbour, where the big ferries dock (and sound their horns on arrival and departure), seaplanes take off and land on the water, and kids will enjoy all the boats going by. Walking around the harbor, listen to street musicians, watch jugglers, and check out the flowers that spell "Welcome to Victoria." At night, the Parliament Building is outlined in twinkling lights
Victoria Harbour Ferry - Take a ride on the pint-sized Harbour Ferry (room for twelve people) that chugs around the Inner and Outer Harbours, with seven stops. Ride just one stop, hop on or hop off, or a make the complete loop (takes about 45 min.). You can pick up the ferry at any of the stops, or start the route at the dock in front of the Empress Hotel. The ferry runs March to October and there are family fares.
Whale watching - April to September, orcas (killer whales) are plentiful around Victoria and Vancouver Island. On a whale watching trip, you'll also see seals, sea lions, birds and porpoises. Tours are typically three hours, in the zodiac style boats, plan to get wet, protective clothing is provided.
Horse-drawn carriage rides - Ride in an old fashioned horse-drawn carriage around town, the horses clip-clopping down the street. Kids will enjoy the short 15 min. or 30 min. rides. You'll find the carriages at the corner of Menzies St. and Belleville St.
Waterfront Walk - Walk on the boardwalk from the Inner Harbor west along Laurel Point (grass and benches) to Fisherman's Wharf. At Fisherman's Wharf, there are colorful "floating houses" (houseboats), whale watching tours, and an outdoor eatery (Barb's Place) for fish and chips, and ice cream. While we were there, sea lions (or seals) came up to the dock to be fed some tasty fresh fish. Tip: Rather than walking back, take the Harbour Ferry (Empress Hotel stop).
Watersong Way - Another fun walk is to walk north from the Tourism Centre, along the wharf where the seaplanes take off, and across Johnson Street Bridge. Johnson Street Bridge is a raising bridge, so you may see it raised to let boats pass through. On the west side of the bridge, pick up the path, Watersong Way, that goes all along the water to the Outer Harbour. Along the way, there's a totem pole of the Songhee people. (At West Bay, there's a ferry stop for the Harbour Ferry).
Pacific Undersea Gardens - In this stationary boat, plate glass lets you look right into the heart of the Victoria Inner Harbour, where you can see octopus, crabs, sea stars, wolf eels and more.