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Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) travel advisories, some destinations may be unavailable for certain dates. Find out more.
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Thunderbird Park

See totem poles and an authentic First Nations house standing alongside heritage buildings in this park where history meets culture.

Come to Thunderbird Park to admire the art of carved totem poles and learn about the culture of British Columbia’s First Nations communities. Opened in 1941, the park is part of the Royal BC Museum. While at the park, visit two of the oldest buildings in British Columbia and explore museum exhibitions dedicated to human and natural history.

Start at the Kwakwaka’wakw heraldic pole. It stands in front of Wawadit'la, a painted wooden building also known as Mungo Martin House, named after a famous local carver. Nakapenkem, as the late chief was also known, modeled it after a house from an indigenous village in the northeast of Vancouver Island at Fort Rupert. The family has hereditary rights to Wawadit’la as a ceremonial meeting place.

Except for the heraldic pole, all the poles that you will see in the park are replicas carved by Mungo Martin and others. Take time to study the intricate carvings, including human figures, birds and bears. Go to the First Peoples Gallery inside the Royal BC Museum to see the original totem poles. Here, you’ll also find examples of the clothing and regalia of the Pacific Northeast Coast’s indigenous groups. Further museum exhibits showcase the region’s human and natural history.  

While at the park, pass by Helmcken House. Built in 1852, it’s the oldest building in British Columbia that still stands on its original location. Step inside to find artifacts relating to 19th-century domestic arts and traditions. St Ann’s Schoolhouse building dates to the mid-1840s and became one of Victoria’s most important schools starting in 1858. It was moved to the park in 1974.

Situated in the Royal BC Museum complex, Thunderbird Park is a short walk from downtown Victoria. There are several pay-and-display parking lots nearby and public buses stop close to the museum’s main entrance. Thunderbird Park and the Royal BC Museum are open daily, except for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.


Guide to Exploring around Thunderbird Park - Royal BC Museum


Best Lodging Options Near Thunderbird Park - Royal BC Museum

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Chateau Victoria Hotel and Suites $117
Chateau Victoria Hotel and Suites

Chateau Victoria Hotel and Suites

740 Burdett Ave, Victoria, BC
     
    3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Downtown Victoria, this eco-friendly hotel is steps from Maritime Museum of British Columbia and Victoria Conference Centre. Victoria Harbour and Royal BC Museum are also within 10 minutes.

    Victoria Regent Waterfront Hotel & Suites $131
    Victoria Regent Waterfront Hotel & Suites

    Victoria Regent Waterfront Hotel & Suites

    1234 Wharf St, Victoria, BC
       
      3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      This family-friendly Victoria hotel is located near the airport, within a 15-minute walk of Lower Johnson Street, Victoria Harbour, and Victoria Clipper Ferry Terminal. Victoria Conference Centre and Royal BC Museum are also within 15 minutes.

      Hotel Grand Pacific $141
      Hotel Grand Pacific

      Hotel Grand Pacific

      463 Belleville St, Victoria, BC
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in James Bay, this romantic hotel is steps from The Robert Bateman Centre, Victoria Harbour, and Victoria Clipper Ferry Terminal. Royal BC Museum and Victoria Conference Centre are also within 10 minutes.

        Royal Scot Hotel & Suites $91
        Royal Scot Hotel & Suites

        Royal Scot Hotel & Suites

        425 Quebec St, Victoria, BC
           
          3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in James Bay, this eco-friendly hotel is steps from The Robert Bateman Centre, Victoria Harbour, and Victoria Clipper Ferry Terminal. Royal BC Museum and Victoria Conference Centre are also within 10 minutes.

          The Magnolia Hotel and Spa $147
          The Magnolia Hotel and Spa

          The Magnolia Hotel and Spa

          623 Courtney St, Victoria, BC
             
            4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Downtown Victoria, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Government Street and Victoria Conference Centre. Royal BC Museum and Victoria Harbour are also within 10 minutes.

            Days Inn by Wyndham Victoria On The Harbour $81
            Days Inn by Wyndham Victoria On The Harbour

            Days Inn by Wyndham Victoria On The Harbour

            427 Belleville St, Victoria, BC
               
              3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in James Bay, this eco-friendly hotel is steps from Victoria Harbour and The Robert Bateman Centre. British Columbia Parliament Building and Royal BC Museum are also within 10 minutes.

              The Oswego Hotel $136
              The Oswego Hotel

              The Oswego Hotel

              500 Oswego Street, Victoria, BC
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in James Bay, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Victoria Clipper Ferry Terminal and Victoria Harbour. Victoria Fisherman's Wharf and Royal BC Museum are also within 10 minutes.

                Coast Victoria Hotel & Marina by APA $96
                Coast Victoria Hotel & Marina by APA

                Coast Victoria Hotel & Marina by APA

                146 Kingston St, Victoria, BC
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in James Bay, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Fisherman's Wharf Park and Victoria Fisherman's Wharf. Victoria Clipper Ferry Terminal and Victoria Harbour are also within 10 minutes.