|| British Columbia | Vancouver|
Vancouver - Stanley Park & English Bay
|Many places in one. One thousand acre park sitting at the tip of the west end of downtown Vancouver. Your kids will want to spend a day here and come back. There's an aquarium, horse-drawn tours, miniature train, hiking trails, biking paths, shady forests, totem poles, playgrounds, street performers, theater, walking paths along the water and tranquil duck ponds.|
|Information Centre Stanley Park is a big place, so pick up a map at the Information Centre (or find the map online). Around the Information Centre are picnic tables, good view of Coal Harbour.|
|Horse-drawn Tours Get your tickets for a horse-drawn tour of Stanley Park at the kiosk across from the Information Centre. Sit back while two shire horses sedately pull the charming old-fahioned tram around the park. March 15 - Oct. 31. Perfect if you have youngsters who would rather ride than walk.|
|Salmon Stream Project The stream flowing into the wide pool and down into Coal Harbour is an artificial spawning ground for salmon. Salmon eggs are harvested at the aquarium and the young fish ("fry") are put into the salmon stream. The pond is artificially scented so that the fish can find their way back from the ocean. Each year, Aug. - Nov., the salmon return to the stream to spawn. Follow the self-guided trail along the stream to the Aquarium to learn about the salmon habitat.|
|Vancouver Aquarium The Aquarium is a wonderful introduction to marine life of the Northwest - view white beluga whales, dolphins and sea-lions gliding underwater, sea otter feedings, and more. There's also a wonderful 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. sleep-over program (you'll need sleeping bags). Click here for sleepovers and other special programs.|
|Miniature Train Your little ones will enjoy a ride on the miniature train that chugs through the towering cedar and fir trees. There's a Halloween train in October. In December, "Bright Nights" features a Christmas town, decorated with lights and cheery displays, and the train runs at night.|
Beaver Lake Follow the signs on a self-guided nature trail around Beaver Lake. Start where the fresh water Beaver Lake Creek flows down to the inlet. As you walk around the lake, you'll wander by ancient cedar, fir and hemlock trees. Look for iris in spring, salmonberries in summer, trout in the lake, and frogs, ducks and herons.
|Water Park In the summer months make
sure your kids
have their swimsuits. On the edge of the ocean, it has water
canons, fountains, a dozen ways for kids to play with water
while you lounge on the grass.
|Totem poles (Brockton Visitor Centre) The totem poles are a "must see," majestic wooden poles carved and painted in fantastic animal shapes, symbolizing different First Nation clans. "The eagle represents the kingdom of the air, the whale, the lordship of the sea, the wolf the genius of the land, and the frog, the transitional link between land and sea." Interpretive signs also explain the life and times of the Coast Salish, tribal peoples that lived in British Columbia.|
9 O'clock gun (Hallelujah Point) In 1894, this English-made gun was installed. It was fired every evening at nine so that fishermen and ship's captains would know the exact time. Today the 9 O'clock gun is fired off every day at noon.
|Theatre Under the Stars (Malkin Bowl) In the summer, the park open-air theater offers family-oriented productions, right next to the Pavilion. Click here for the schedule.|
|Lost Lagoon Follow the path around the Lost Lagoon nature habitat, where you'll see ducks puttering around and brilliant white swans elegantly cruising along the lake's edge. Serene and peaceful.|
|Go for a bike ride Rent bikes and go east on the bike path to the lighthouse at Brockton Point. The bike path goes all the way around Stanley Park to the seawall at English Bay. You can also take the path through old growth trees to Second Beach and back around Lost Lagoons. There several bike rental shops of Denman St., neart Georgia St.|
|English Bay |
|Stroll along the seawall No matter what season or how small the kids, you can walk the seawall, a promenade that encircles Stanley Park. On Sunday afternoon, you'll find families pushing strollers with little ones, or parents trying to keep up with their kids who are racing down the walk. Stop to explore the rocks and bits of driftwood on the beaches. Panoramic views of the inlets and harbours of Vancouver.|
|English Bay Beach |
|In the summer, a giant water slide is moored just off the beach (about the height of a high diving board). You can rent kayaks from the bathhouse or just stake a claim at one of the giant tree trunks the city strews about the beach and lay back to enjoy the sunshine.|
Take a look at the striking Inukshuk statue, a replica of Inuit stone cairns that look like people. In the Arctic, Inukshuk indicate a good spot to hunt or fish, mark safe passage through the snow or a food cache, or show thanks for a beautiful summer camp. The Inukshuk at English Bay is a wonderful expression of the natural beauty of Vancouver.
|Second Beach Second Beach has a shallow heated ocean pool. Water slide on the back of a green turtle is perfect for little kids. Pool is open May - Labor Day. Also, there's a large playground with climbing structures and swings, and a snack bar.|
|Tip: Free Shuttle Bus Stanley Park covers a very large area. Take the free shuttle bus, 10:00am - 6:30pm daily, June - Sept. There are 14 stops throughout the park.|