|| British Columbia | Vancouver
Vancouver - Stanley Park & English Bay
|Many places in one. Stanley Park is a thousand acre park sitting at the tip of downtown Vancouver. Your kids will want to spend a day here and come back. There's an aquarium, miniature railway, hiking trails, horse-drawn tours, biking paths, shady forests, totem poles, playgrounds, theater, walking paths along the water and tranquil duck ponds.
|Information Booth Stanley Park is a big place, so pick up a map at the Information Centre (or find the map online). Around the Information Booth are picnic tables, good view of Coal Harbour, and playground.
|Horse-drawn Tours Get your tickets for a one hour 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-fashioned tram around the park. Tours are year round, operating daily, leave every 20 - 30 min.
|Vancouver Aquarium This aquarium is a wonderful introduction to colorful marine life of British Columbia. Check out "Treasures of BC Coast" to see strawberry anemones, giant kelp forests, bright orange rockfish, wolf eels and much more. In other galleries are tropical fish, sea turtles, sharks, sea jellies, an Amazon rainforest, and rays touch pool.
|Clownfish Cove is a play area for toddlers, and there shows and talks about dolphins, sharks, sea lions, penguins, sea turtles during the day.
|In outdoor pools see Stellar sea lions, adorable sea otters playing with balls, and harbor seals gliding under water. Check the schedule for sea otter feedings and more.
|Tip: There's lots to see in this aquarium, with your tickets you can go in and out, take your time, take a break, and come back to see more.
|Miniature Railway Little ones will enjoy a ride on the miniature train that chugs through 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.
|Near to the Railway (just east) is a playground with swings, slides, climbing structure, benches etc.
|Variety Kids Water Park In the summer months make sure your kids have their swimsuits. On the edge of the ocean (east side of the park), there are water canons, fountains, a dozen ways for kids to play with water while you lounge on benches nearby.
|Totem poles (Brockton Point) The totem poles are a "must see," majestic wooden poles carved and painted in fantastic animal shapes, symbolizing different First Nation clans and tell stories of legends, myths and heroic events. "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, and there's a gift shop.
|Read our blog post: "Totem Poles of Stanley Park" to help identify the figures on the totem poles.
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.
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.
|Theatre Under the Stars (Malkin Bowl) In the summer, the park open-air theater offers family-oriented productions, right next to the Pavilion.
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 totems poles and lighthouse at Brockton Point. The bike path goes all the way around Stanley Park to the Seawall at English Bay. If you bike all the way around Stanley Park, it's 5.5 miles (9 km). Bike path goes one way in a counter-clockwise direction.
Another bike path goes through old growth trees to Second Beach and back around Lost Lagoon (this bike path goes both directions).
|Find several bike rental shops of Denman St., near Georgia St., all have kids' bikes and helmets to rent.
|Stroll along the Seawall No matter what season or how small the kids, you can walk the Seawall. 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 harbors 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.