Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo in Halifax a Must-See for Families

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Disclosure: We received tickets to attend this event. We only partner with businesses that we believe bring value and enjoyment to Halifax families. If you’d like to talk about working together, please contact us. As always, all opinions are our own. *All images courtesy of the Royal International Tattoo.

I last went to the Royal Nova Scotia Royal International Tattoo about twenty years ago.

*hangs head in shame*

I loved it at the time and kept meaning to go back every year but life got in the way and I started taking it for granted. This year the kind people at the Tattoo offered my family tickets to check it out and we happily accepted.

Let me tell you, it won’t be twenty years before I go again! This show is AMAZING!!

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The kids (and adults!!) were spellbound the entire show.

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The format of the show is great for kids as it’s very fast-paced and hops from one performing group to the next (a new one every 3-6 minutes!) seamlessly without giving time for kids to get antsy. My kids would often be pointing at shadows on the other side of the room moving in as one act finished, excitedly anticipating the next performer.

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I highly recommend bringing along some ear protection headphones if you have kids that are at all sensitive to noise. I brought headphones for both of the kids, which they wore throughout the event (there are several surprise loud sounds like gunshots, bagpipes, etc.). This allowed them to still hear everything, but at a volume that was more comfortable for their little ears.

The Nova Scotia Tattoo was first held in 1979 to mark the visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother to Nova Scotia for the International Gathering of the Clans. It has been held every year since and was granted Royal Status by Her Majesty The Queen in 2006 on the occasion of her 80th birthday.

— Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo

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At the risk of gushing, WOW! What a show! The Tattoo is the largest annual indoor show in the world and boasts over 2000 performers from all over the world and there truly is a little bit of everything and something for everyone in the show.

From BMX Bikes (a family favourite) to musical performances to gymnasts (another fave) to amazing dancers, musicians, and singers… there is so much TALENT in this one show, no wonder people travel from around the world to perform with such a high calibre group of people. 

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One thing our family particular loved was the local talent in the show, such as local kids from the Tattoo Children’s Chorus to highland dancers to the Titans Gymnasts group from Dartmouth! Every time my two kids saw another child on stage they excitedly pointed and exclaimed about them.

The theme this year is Heroes and Legends and I especially enjoyed the tribute to women in service. It was amazing to be able to point it out to my little girl and acknowledge the important contributions women have made – and are still making – in our world.

We all were raving about the show as we walked to our car and the kids have already asked if we can go back next year, to which my reply is, of course, “ABSOLUTELY.”

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The Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo runs from June 26 to July 2. Evening performances (7:00 start) are on June 26, 27, 28 and July 1; and afternoon performances (2:00 start) are on June 29, 30, and July 1 and 2. 

The show is about two and a half hours long plus a twenty-minute intermission to fill up on snacks and make a bathroom trip before the excitement gets underway again.

All shows are at the Scotiabank Centre at 1800 Argyle Street in Halifax, however there are also pop-up performances all over the city, including having the Canadian Armed Forced Parachute Display team, the Skyhawks, who fly into the Halifax Commons on Canada Day – cool!

They are also offering a free highland dance workshop on June 29 – advanced registration on their website is required.

You can find the full schedule of events, times, and locations on their website under Festival Info on the main page (link below).

Ticket prices start at $32/person, and backstage passes to see all the behind-the scenes action are available at $15/person, although everyone is invited down onto the main floor after the show to meet and greet the performers.

All of the show information, including performer lists and links to ticket sales can be found on the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo website here.

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