Happy first Family Day British Columbia! Unfortunately it's just a provincial holiday so our Daddio still had to punch in at work....but we brought him some yummy lunch and said hello.
Finally, I am honoring my commitment to share the last Take me TOO segment on Vancouver. As promised, I wanted to tell you about some of the things I think every family should do when visiting downtown Vancouver. Not that they are the only things... but they are some things we never tire of, and all the local families I questioned mentioned as favorites as well.
(need to catch up on the first 3? click over here for Segment 1, 2 & 3)
On our last day we headed out from the Four Seasons Vancouver and headed for the water. The boys had yet to see the Olympic Torch in Vancouver, or the other installations and new buildings that went up for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. They were smitten with this pixelated killer whale sculpture by the torch....probably because it looks like Lego. Ry is sitting at it's base to show how large it actually is, it's very cool.
We then followed the Seawall down to Coal Harbour to watch the Sea Planes land and admire the boats. When it's warm this is a perfect spot to grab a gelato and take a snack break...you might need a latte and hot cocoas on any other Vancouver day.
It took another twenty minutes or so to walk to Stanley Park the boys played lots along the way especially on the huge fallen trees just inside the park from a storm years ago.
Once you are at Stanley Park it's not a far walk to the Aquarium. There is a great playground you pass and the miniature train which is always fun to take a ride on, for information on tickets and such refer to the Stanley Park web page.
The Vancouver Aquarium is truly magical. We never tire of the exhibits and amazing animals. This year's new addition of penguins was something we were all excited about. The Spotlight on Penguins show was short but sweet luckily as it was cold and damp outside. They are adorable birds and a family favourite so we weren't disappointed. If you love penguins too, and happen to be near San Diego, the San Diego Zoo has the most awesome penguin habitat. That might have to be a future Take me TOO feature...I LOVE the San Diego Zoo. I think my boys actually liked our day at the zoo there as much, if not more than Disneyland.
Our little dolphin was mesmerized by the dolphins, and belugas. How I wish I had of waited for a shot with a dolphin in the glass in front of him but it was busy when we were there and I was lucky enough to get one of Ry alone. Like any tourist spot it's best to hit the Aquarium mid-week if possible and avoid the weekend crowds. Seeing the new 4D show they offer is also a must for any aquarium visit as far as I'm concerned...it's really well done. We went recently so we skipped the show this time.
There are some nice perks to having a family pass at the Aquarium...for our clan it pays for itself in two visits so it was an easy choice. If we don't happen to make it to the city again before it expires we know our dollars went to a good cause supporting an amazing facility.
This is a photo from last summer as it was dark when we went to visit Arty the Jester this past trip. He is unanimous must see everytime we go to the aquarium. He is a busker, and an amazing artist, ask to see his sketch book and he's absolutely hilarious. He makes us laugh and then makes the boys fantastic balloon animals. I am pretty sure he works for tips so do be sure to help our dear Arty out if you stop by. Be sure he does the act where he stands on his head, plays his cuzoo and slaps his flippers together,it's impressive indeed. Look for him outside the main entrance, he'll be around.
Just outside the Aquarium at Christmas time is the Bright Nights fundraiser put on by the B.C. Firefighters to support the burn fund. Over two million lights decorate the area. You can book tickets for the Miniature train to see the whole display...you'll need to be there right when it opens or book ahead of time as it's extremely popular. After a long day already we were happy to take them in a foot and keep moving as it was really cold by then. It's impossible not to get in the Christmas spirit within this beautiful setting.
I'm not going to kid you but it was a long walk back to our hotel...maybe 4o minutes. We contemplated a cab but everyone was happyily chugging along and admiring the city sights so we just did it. Hubbie is wearing Ry's gift from Arty...Elmo riding a motorcycle made from balloons on his head to expedite things a bit. We didn't loose a kid, he's hanging back with me to avoid being in the photo...teenagers are tricky that way!
Back at the hotel we got the boys fed at Yew (remember kids eat free when you stay at the Four Seasons!) then off to game and watch a film in the kids room set up for the holidays just off the lobby. Hubbie and I got some quiet time to eat together. I had some unusual but delicious soup...shrimp chowder with pear. We also got a bread basket or yummy artisan breads so I couldn't even manage dinner after that...my rich, creamy starter was dinner and so worth it.
Everyone was exhausted after our day of walking and exploring...we got Ry to bed. I snuck out for a quick soak in the hot tub and then we all cuddled in for trash reality TV as we don't have cable at home and it's always an interesting treat. We caught a bit of Mountain Men mania! Luckily our suite had two televisions so we could close the bedroom door for the earlier bedtime sleepers and still enjoy ourselves. There was also a PS3 gaming system, and music player with a nice CD collection that we never got around to using but were thoughtful perks.
Some of the things we didn't do this trip but I also would suggest (if it's a good fit for your family) are the Vancouver Art Gallery, The Vancouver Library and taking the Aquabus over to Granville Island where there is a big Kid's Market and lots of other shops and galleries to explore.
Whoa, well that was our four days of city fun in Vancouver. Hope our experiences and my multi-post ramblings help you in planning your next Vancouver family getaway. It is a pretty unique and wondrous city.
Leave me a comment if you have anything to add or suggest for future travellers or if you have any questions...I'll do my best to make suggestions and offer answers.
Watch for the next Take me TOO series in late March on the Riviera Nayarit area of Mexico. I am so looking forward to some sunshine and sand.