Adventure, baby!

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Visiting Granville Island, Vancouver, Canada

Visiting Granville Island, Vancouver, BC Canada

Once a place where factories, plants and sawmills flourished, Granville Island has reinvented itself as a tourist and local hub for food, art and culture.

Technically a sandspit and not an island, the neighbourhood can be found south of the downtown peninsula, under the Granville Bridge. The industrial feel remains, but the buildings now hold the popular Granville Island Public Market, the Kids Market, theatres, artisan workshops and craft studios.

Granville Island, Vancouver, Canada

Granville Island Public Market
The Public Market is the main attraction on Granville Island. The indoor market is filled with countless stalls offering the most stunning fresh produce, baked goods (we had fruit tarts that were incredible, locally made chocolates, gourmet foods and seafood.

Granville Island, Vancouver, Canada Granville Island, Vancouver, Canada Granville Island, Vancouver, Canada

There is an eating hall where you can find ready-made takeaway meals such as fish and chips, sandwiches and the like, but the most delicious meal can be put together buying cheese, charcuterie, bread and fresh produce from the vendors.

Granville Island, Vancouver, Canada

Outside the market is the place to sit down and enjoy the market spoils. There’s plenty of entertainment happening to enjoy while you eat – just watch out the for greedy gulls that swoop in and try to steal food.

Granville Island, Vancouver, Canada

Net Loft Building
Granville Island is also home to plenty of stores selling unique crafts, artworks, souvenirs and yet more food items. Check out the Net Loft building to find items such as First Nations artworks and local wines.

Granville Island, Vancouver, Canada

Kids Market
Take little ones to the Kids Market, a two-story kid-centric warehouse filled with over 25 stores, a play area, games arcade and bistro. The stores stock books, clothes, toys, crafts, magic, games and costumes. The Kids Market is housed in an 100-year-old factory, two annex buildings and a train caboose. Outside there is a water park for kids to splash in.

Granville Island, Vancouver, Canada

Granville Island, Vancouver, Canada

Getting there
Find your way to Granville Island by car, boat, foot, bike or bus. We walked there from downtown Vancouver not realising how far it was, and caught the Aquabus back. The rainbow Aquabus was a great option. It’s fast and costs about $4 per person. Buy your ticket on board. Check out all your options for getting to and from Granville Island here.

Granville Island, Vancouver, Canada

Granville Island, Vancouver, Canada

Granville Island, Vancouver, Canada

Granville Island
Public Market is open daily 9am-7pm
Net Loft is open daily, 10am-7pm

Kids Market is open daily 10am-6pm
More info on the Kids Market
More info on Granville Island

Have more time and want to see more of Vancouver? Head to Victoria B.C.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Visiting Stanley Park Vancouver

Stanley Park, Vancouver Canada

Stanley Park is a 405-hectare urban oasis in the centre of Vancouver, BC Canada. It’s free to enjoy this public park, which features the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path.

The 28km Seaside Greenway includes Stanley Park Seawall, and extends from Vancouver Convention Centre to Spanish Banks Park. The flat, wide path is perfect for biking, walking or jogging, and is completely accessible for wheelchairs and strollers alike (there are also accessible bathrooms around the park – look for the icons on the park map to locate them).

Stanley Park, Vancouver Canada

Stanley Park is is surrounded almost entirely by Vancouver Harbour and English bay, resulting in stunning water views from the waterfront path. Inland, the park features more than 27 kilometres of forest trails, with majestic trees, beaches, wildlife and outdoor artworks scattered around it. Vancouver Aquarium is also located in Stanley Park (additional fee for entry).

Stanley Park, Vancouver Canada

The history of Stanley Park
The park was originally land that was home to the Burrard, Musqueam and Squamish First Nations people. The land was opened as a park in 1888, named after Lord Frederick Stanley, Governor General of Canada.

Stanley Park, Vancouver Canada

First nations art and totem poles
The totem poles in Stanley Park are most British Colombia, Canada’s most visited tourist attraction. Visitors to the Brockton Point Visitor Centre are welcomed to the traditional lands of the Coast Salish people by three carved, red cedar portals. Nine totem poles have been placed nearby, each telling a different story of the people who made it.

Stanley Park, Vancouver Canada

Stanley Park and kids
Stanley Park features four playgrounds, including one with an authentic fire engine for kids to climb on.

Stanley Park, Vancouver Canada

The Variety Kids Water Park is an all-abilities splash park that has accessible bathrooms and food outlets nearby; a fave for visitors in summer.

Kids will also enjoy riding the Stanley Park Train that winds through 2km of forest.

Stanley Park food

Dining in Stanley Park
There are plenty of cafes and food outlets dotted around the park that serve a good variety of food (look for the dining icons on the park map to locate them). We bought food such as grilled cheese toasties, fish and chips, veggie burgers and fruit cups from the outlets, which we found to be very reasonably priced.

You could also take a picnic lunch. Be sure to being plenty of water if you’re walking or biking around the park.

Stanley Park, Vancouver Canada

Getting around the park
While you can walk around the park, it’s a very large park. Walking the 9km seawall alone will take 2-3 hours for an adult. We made the mistake of thinking we would catch the Stanley Park hop-on, hop-off trolley which we read about on the Vancouver Trolley website, only to find, when we arrived, that it no longer runs.

Stanley Park, Vancouver Canada

If walking around the park isn’t your thing, your choices are:

  1. Hire a bike.
    There are plenty of bike hire shops near the entrance to Stanley Park.
  2. Hop-on, Hop-off City Tour
    Both the Vancouver Trolley and Westcoast Sightseeing companies have tours that make stops in Stanley Park. If you decide on this route, look at the map of the city that each tour covers to decide which is the best option for you. The Vancouver Trolley is wheelchair accessible.
  3. Horse-drawn carriage tours
    From mid-March to the end of October, take the one-hour narrated horse-drawn carriage ride through the park’s eastern side and its sites. Departs from the tour kiosk at the parking lot beside the Information Booth. No reservations required. Wheelchair accessible.

Stanley Park, Vancouver Canada Stanley Park, Vancouver Canada Stanley Park, Vancouver Canada Stanley Park, Vancouver Canada Stanley Park, Vancouver Canada Stanley Park, Vancouver Canada

Stanley Park, Vancouver Canada Stanley Park, Vancouver Canada Stanley Park, Vancouver Canada Stanley Park, Vancouver Canada Stanley Park, Vancouver Canada Stanley Park, Vancouver Canada

Get more info on Stanley Park

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Visiting Grouse Mountain Vancouver in Summer

Grouse Mountain, Vancouver, Canada

Grouse Mountain is an all-season attraction in Vancouver, Canada. While in winter the mountain is a popular ski resort, it has plenty to entertain visitors all year ’round.

Often called the “Peak of Vancouver”, catching North America’s largest areal tramway to the top will take you to 1,200 m (4,000 feet) in altitude at its peak.

The mountain was named after the blue grouse bird which can still be found on the slopes (by people like us!).

Grouse Mountain, Vancouver, Canada

Things to do on Grouse Mountain

Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife
A big drawcard for us was visiting the two rescued bears who live in the refuge, Grinder and Coola. For a special bear experience consider having Breakfast With The Bears where, for an additional fee, guests are given .early access to the mountain to watch the bears and enjoy a bear-inspired breakfast. We felt we had adequate time viewing the bears when we visited in the afternoon, although the refuge viewing area was very crowded at the same time.

Grouse Mountain, Vancouver, Canada

Birds in Motion Demonstration
We highly enjoyed watching this demonstration of raptor birds. The bald eagle, owl, Red-tailed hawk and Peregrine Falcon were introduced to us in a demonstration that educated and awed.

Grouse Mountain, Vancouver, Canada
World-famous Lumberjack Show
We didn’t have time for this show, and as we have seen a lot of woodchopping elected to go up the ski lift at this time instead. The show is very popular however and features a crew of lumberjacks performing in an outdoor set features two logging camps from the early 1900s. During the 45-minute show the lumberjacks perform a 60-foot tree climb, two-man peg and raker saws, axe throwing, and a springboard chop.

Grouse Mountain, Vancouver, Canada
Peak Chairlift Ride
Take the chairlift to the summit for a stunning panorama view of Vancouver. We highly enjoyed walking around and admiring the scenery and plant life, while our daughter wanted to play in the patches of snow that were still on the mountain in July.

Grouse Mountain, Vancouver, Canada

You can walk to the summit but it’s a steep incline and, for a few dollars extra to take the chairlift, you get an incredible view for the 14 minute ride both up and down the mountain.

BeaversTail

Try a BeaversTail
This fried dough pastry, individually hand stretched to resemble a beaver’s tail, is incredible.

Grouse Mountain, Vancouver, Canada

Spot a Grouse
We found one on the summit just sitting by the main path and watching the tourists go by.

Getting there
Catch the free shuttle from Canada Place, departing every 20 minutes from 9:00am – 1:30pm and again from 2:30pm – 6:00pm, and the return shuttle departing Grouse Mountain every 20 minutes from 9:30am – 1:00pm and again from 2:00pm – 6:30pm. If you hire a car you can drive and pack in the parking lot.

Grouse Mountain, Vancouver, Canada

Connecting Grouse Mountain with Capilano Suspension Bridge
We went to Capilano Suspension Bridge in the morning, catching the 8:30am free shuttle from downtown. We spent two hours at Capilano and then caught the local 236 bus to Grouse Mountain, a five-minute drive down the road. More info on visiting Capilano Suspension Bridge.

Grouse Mountain, Vancouver, Canada

What ticket should you get?
There are three choices of tickets to buy.
Alpine Experience (Adult $44.95) Includes round-trip Skyride and access to plateau activities like visits with our resident grizzly bears and the new disc golf course.
Peak Experience (Adult $48.95) Includes the Alpine Experience plus the additional Chair Lift to the peak. You can walk this distance if you don’t want to pay the extra few dollars, but we enjoyed the view and not having to walk up a very steep hill.
Ultimate Experience (Adult $58.95) Includes Peak Experience plus entrance into the Eye of the Wind at the top of the peak – the world’s only glass viewPOD attached to a working turbine.

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Grouse Mountain
Hours: Daily, 9am-10pm
6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver, BC
grousemountain.com

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Capilano Suspension Bridge Vancouver

Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver Canada

The Capilano Suspension Bridge is a popular attraction in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Originally built in over the Capilano River in 1889, the bridge has been rebuilt numerous times  over the years and has grown in popularity for adventurous tourists visiting Vancouver.

Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver Canada

The Capilano Suspension Bridge stretches 450 feet (137m) across and 230 feet (70m) above Capilano River. While the bridge is the main attraction, there are other activities that have been added to the park that engage visitors in exploring nature – and challenging their ability to deal with heights!

Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver Canada

Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver Canada Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver Canada Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver Canada

Over the suspension bridge lies the Treetops Adventure, a series of seven smaller suspension bridges attached to eight 30 ton, 250 year old Douglas-firs. Viewing platforms between the bridges are attached to an innovative tree collar system that uses no nails or bolts to attach to the trees, thereby allowing them to continue to grow, unhindered.

Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver Canada

The suspension bridges reach as high as 110 feet (33.5m) above the forest floor. Visitors can choose to take a guided nature tours or participate in the Kids’ Rainforest Explorer Program while enjoying this unique rainforest experience. Both the Treetops Adventure and CLIFFWALK have excellent educational components for teaching kids about their environment while on the journey.

Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver Canada Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver Canada Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver Canada Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver Canada Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver Canada Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver Canada

Before crossing back over the suspension bridge, take a look at the Birds of Raptors Ridge, which is a program that runs weekends from April 14th to October 9th and everyday from June 17th to September 4th and features birds of prey including hawks, falcons and owls (sadly it wasn’t open when we visited).

Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver Canada

Back over the suspension bridge and near the gift shop lies the newest attraction to the park, the CLIFFWALK. This cantilevered walkway is attached to the granite cliff above Capilano Canyon and gives another high view of the surrounding forrest and water below.

Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver Canada Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver Canada Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver Canada

Before leaving Capilano, take a close look at Totem park, where a series of totem poles placed in the park by local First Nations tribes.

Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver Canada Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver Canada

What time should you get there?
The bridge is extremely popular and gets very busy throughout the day. I would highly suggest getting the first shuttle bus of the day at 8:30am and arrive at the park as it opens, or visiting at twilight, in the last two hours that it’s open.

How long does the experience take?
Around two hours

Getting there
The easiest way is to catch the free shuttle service to Capilano Suspension Bridge from one of several pick up points in downtown Vancouver. The shuttle also offers a free return service back into town.

Getting to Grouse Mountain
A popular day trip is to connect Capilano Suspension Bridge with a visit to Grouse Mountain, which is a five minute drive down the road. Catch the local 236 bus from out the front of Capilano park, which stops directly in front of Grouse Mountain down the road.

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and Grouse Mountain in One Day
We arrived when the bridge opened and left at about 11am. We caught the local 236 bus that leaves from directly across the road from the park and, after arriving at the bottom of Grouse Mountain, lining up for tickets and catching the sky tram, were on the mountain around 12pm. We caught the free shuttle bus back from Grouse Mountain to Canada Place at around 4pm. More info on our time on Grouse Mountain here.

Capilano Suspension Bridge
3735 Capilano Rd, North Vancouver
capbridge.com

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

What To Pack For An Alaska Cruise

What To Pack For An Alaskan Cruise

Wondering what should be on your Alaska cruise packing list? This is one of those trips where you need to take a lot of items as the weather might be reasonably warm, or incredibly cold and rainy. You might be walking around all day in the rain or even snow. We recently sailed the Inside Passage on the Disney Wonder and found that every day was a different temperature to dress for.

The daytime temperatures in Alaska from May to September range from 55-65˚F (12-18˚C). It can get to as hot as 80˚F (27˚C) on the odd occasion too. Evenings range between 40-50˚F (4-10˚C). Generally the inside of the ship will be warm but you will need to rug up on deck, particularly if your ship gets close to a glacier.

Ketchikan, Alaska

Alaska Cruise: What To Pack

The key is layers! Lots and lots of layers.

For both general cruise wear and excursions

– Two pairs of jeans
– Seven tees
– Two sweaters or hoodies of various weights
– One heavy fleece jacket (I love Kathmandu and North Face)
– Seven pairs of underwear
– Two bras
– Wind/rain jacket (Mine is this Gortex – find a similar one by Kathmandu or North Face)
– One dress for formal night (a second one for semi-formal night if you like to dress up)
– Cardigan for formal night
– Beanie
– Lightweight or medium scarf
– One pair warm socks
– Seven pairs of athletic/walking socks
– Sleep clothes
– Weatherproof pants for kids, particularly if you are planning a trip to a glacier.
– Gloves (weatherproof ones for kids)
– Princess dress for little girls sailing a Disney cruise – they are more expensive to buy on board. Many girls wear the princess dresses every day on board.

Disney Wonder, Alaska Cruise

Footwear

– Sneakers/trainers for walking in (I wear lightweight Skechers)
– Ballet flats or sandals/heels for evening attire
– Waterproof shoes – I wore these L.L. Bean Boots in the rain and snow.

Alaska, USA

Toiletries and other items

– Toothbrush
– Toothpaste
– Body wash (the cruise we were on has soap but no wash)
– Shampoo and conditioner (unless you are happy to use the generic cruise one)
– Sunscreen (for the rare chance there is sun)

Disney Wonder, Alaska Cruise

Other items

– Sun hats
– Sunglasses
– Medications including seasickness meds
– Backpack for port adventures (I use this foldable backpack by New Outlander)
– Refillable water bottle
– Binoculars (optional if you don’t have much room)

Disney Wonder, Alaska Cruise

Cameras

– DSLR (Mine is a Canon 5D)
– Point and shoot for around the ship (Mine is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100)
GoPro HERO5 for video
– Chargers for all electronics plus power converters. The cruise ship has North American power outlets.

That’s it! You’re ready for Alaska! Note: If you’re travelling in August it might be a bit colder, so add an extra fleece layer into your packing.

This blog post contains affiliate links. This means if you purchase something through this page I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting Adventure, baby!

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Royal Court Royal Tea: Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line

Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line

For little girls who dream of princesses, there is no experience more magical than the Royal Court Royal Tea aboard the Disney Cruise Line fleet. The tea is available on all four ships – we experienced our tea aboard the Disney Wonder on our 7-night Alaska cruise.

During Royal Court Royal Tea, children are crowned young princesses or dubbed royal knights, in a special celebration that is full of songs, gifts, food and royal guests. It’s a truly special experience that is unforgettable for kids and their parents alike.

The Royal Court Royal Tea is offered just once during the cruises to a small group, making it an intimate setting. We tried to book the tea last year on our Caribbean cruise and weren’t able to secure spots. This year on the Wonder I was a silver Castaway Club member thanks to my previous sailing, so was able to book it with my early booking window.

When we boarded the Disney Wonder, a special invitation was waiting for us on our bed, with the request to call and let the staff know which princess we would like on our specially designed cupcake. Belle is the favourite in our family, so a Belle cupcake was requested.

Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line

Our tea took place at 3pm in Triton’s, the main dining room on the ship. We joined the other guests outside and checked in with the cast members who were from the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique that we had visited the previous day. Many girls visited the same day as the tea so had perfectly coiffed princess hair.

Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line

At 3pm, the Royal Tea experience began with a royal greeting from Lady Chamomile, the host of the event. Each child was escorted by a Royal Page into the dining room, with a special individual announcement and crowning (or knighting) before being taken to their dining spot at the tables.

Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line

Each dining spot was filled with beautiful gifts for the kids. A large Aurora doll, Cinderella jewellery box with a charm bracelet and necklace, large autograph book and fancy princess pen was ready for each “princess”.

Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line

Lady Chamomile was joined by Chef Brule, and the two entertained the kids throughout the tea with singing and stories. The pair were immensely fun and had excellent singing voices.

Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line

Tea was served to all guests – apple juice to the kids, real tea for the adults, and tiered platters of sweets and sandwiches. We had a lot of mix ups with the food after letting them know we were vegetarian, but really there was no need for any trouble over the food – with the exception of one sandwich (which had salmon), the entire tea was vegetarian.

Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line

The staff did their best to cater to all dietary requirements, including vegan and allergy-friendly options which were given to us by mistake, but which were happily received by other vegan diners.

Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line

During the tea, three princesses joined us for the celebration – Cinderella, Ariel and Tiana. Each princess made their way around the room, spending quite a lot of time with each child for autographs and photos, and leaving them with an additional charm for their bracelets.

Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line

The children had a magical experience at the tea – so much special pampering and entertainment made this tea party an incredible highlight for the cruise.

Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line

A few days after the tea party we receive a luxe folio with the photo taken from the tea inside as a special take-home gift. It was a very thoughtful way to end the royal experience.

Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line

Pricing for Royal High Tea is currently $270 for one adult and child. Each additional child is $210 and an adult is $69.

Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line

More information on the Royal Court Royal Tea.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA

A must-visit in Monterey, California, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a non-profit public aquarium that is located on the site of a former sardine cannery on Cannery Row. The aquarium opened to the public in 1984, and now houses more than 35,000 creatures, with over 550 species in 34 major galleries.

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA

The Monterey Bay Aquarium aims to inspire conservation of the ocean. There is a strong focus with all the exhibits on conservation, including information on how we as individuals can modify our choices to be more environmentally friendly.

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA

The aquarium has a variety of tours where visitors can go behind the scenes and learn more about the work they do. We did the family tour, which was advertised as being suitable for kids under 8, but we found it to be more suitable for kids aged around 6-10 as there was a lot of talking and asking of questions.

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA

The tour was an extra $15 on top of general admission and lasted half an hour. The tour took us behind the scenes of the aquarium where the kids were able to see how it runs and learn about some of its inhabitants. There were plenty of hands-on elements involved, and the 30 minutes was a good amount of time to hold short attention spans. The kids loved holding the hermit crab and hearing how the animators of the movie Finding Dory visited to the aquarium and based the scenes on it.

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA

The aquarium is large and has a lot inside to see and do. It’s very easy to spend an entire day here, particularly with kids as the kids’ education and play stations are extremely well designed and plentiful.

Highlight exhibits include

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA

The Kelp Forest
At 28 feet tall, the Kelp Forest is one of the tallest aquarium exhibits in the world. We enjoyed watching the swarms of sardines, leopard sharks and wolf-eels weaving through the swaying kelp, just like in the wild.

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA

Sea Otters
The spirited sea otters are all rescued animals that are no longer able to survive in the wild.

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA

Penguins and Splash Zone
A fave with families, there are over 45 interactive exhibits in English and Spanish in this area to explore. African penguins and clownfish can be found in this area, as well as telescopes to look out over the bay and spot sea lions or wild otters.

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA

Open Sea
This is the the aquarium’s largest exhibit. it includes several types of luminous jelly fish plus a 90-foot window that feels like being under the ocean, with tuna, sharks, sardines swarming in mesmerising schools, and sea turtles floating by.

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA

Monterey Bay Aquarium
886 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA
Hours: Daily, 9:30am-6pm
montereybayaquarium.org

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Four Bucket List Destinations Worth Saving Up For

Four Bucket List Destinations Worth Saving Up For

Travel is expensive. There, I’ve stated the obvious. It costs a lot of money to travel around the world, particularly when you’re based in Australia and faced with expensive flights and exchange rates that are usually not in my favour as an Australian.

While I’ve talked in the past about ways I save money to travel more, the best way to afford to travel is really to cut back on things you don’t need and put the money away for what you really want – such as a holiday to one of these incredible locations. Have a look at these gorgeous spots that I love, and then get some info on how you can slowly pay off your dream holiday with LayAway Travel.

Disney Aulani Resort & Spa via christineknight.me

Hawaii
We’ve been to Hawaii four times over the years and are planning our fifth trip because we love it so much. The islands of Hawaii are warm, welcoming and relaxing. We love to swim and laze the days away (our hotel of choice is Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa, because of it’s incredible facilities and quiet location).

Observations on living in New York christineknight.me

New York
The Big Apple has a big piece of our hearts after living there for almost four years. It’s a vibrant, exciting place to visit and there’s so much to do! From museums to art galleries, incredible food (hello cupcakes!) incredible shopping and the most gorgeous carousels I’ve ever seen, it’s impossible to ever be bored in New York.

Travel Guide: Singapore With Kids via christineknight.me

Singapore
An easy flight from Sydney, Singapore is a great place for a warm family vacation. Kids will adore the futuristic Gardens by the Bay, the beaches on Sentosa and trying hand cut noodles in Chinatown, as well as Universal Studios, the incredible S.E.A Aquarium and the brand new ArtScience museum.

Wat Karon, Phuket, Thailand

Thailand
We absolutely adored the temples in Chiang Mai and the laid back beaches of Phuket. Families in particular will love the beach-front resorts Phuket has to offer as well as the natural beauty nearby. The days in Phuket fly by with a combination of resort relaxing and pool-time play, and exploring local treasures such as Phang Nga Bay. An added bonus – the Australian dollar is strong in Thailand so your money goes further.

How can you make your dream holiday happen?

When you book through LayAway Travel, your entire trip, including flights, accommodation and transfers are included in the total price, you can also ad on extra for spending money when you get there! Simply select the variables such as destination, number of people and room type and you will see the payment schedule, broken down into weekly, fortnightly and monthly instalments depending on length of the layby. Choose your layby payment period from 3 to 24 months, start date and book on the spot.

Layway Travel get wholesale prices from their vendors so you pay a great rate, and can start paying off your dream holiday from only a few dollars a day.

What are you waiting for? Where are you headed next?

This post was produced in conjunction with LayAway Travel.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

The Best Things To Do In San Francisco With Kids

The Best Things To Do In San Francisco USA With Kids | Family Travel | Travel With Kids
San Francisco is a town with many faces and a long, fascinating history. Originally a Spanish mission and pueblo, it joined the United States in 1846, and became a thriving city with the Gold Rush in 1848. San Francisco is known for its diversity and tolerance. While it’s no longer the hippy city famous for the 1967 “Summer of Love”, it’s still a place where activism is part of the culture, particularly gay and women’s rights. Walking the streets of San Francisco is a stroll back through time to historic moments in history that gained media attention worldwide.

Today, San Francisco is also a hotbed for the tech industry, so it’s not surprising that the city boasts numerous science and cultural centres both in the city and outlying suburbs. When visiting San Francisco with kids, you’ll be spoiled for choice with activities everyone will enjoy. From incredible museums and kid-friendly galleries to lush parks and innovative playgrounds, San Francisco is a city that welcomes families with open arms.

The Best Things To Do In San Francisco With Kids

Downtown San Francisco
The heart of San Francisco, Downtown/Union Square is the busiest part of town. Filled with restaurants, shops and hotels the constant stream of people in the area makes downtown an assault on the senses (and the wallet!).

Union Square, San Francisco

Union Square
A busy plaza that was set aside for public use by the city’s first mayor in 1849, Union Square is in the heart of the shopping district of San Francisco. We love the public art and kids adore the Disney Store (39 Stockton St, San Francisco) where upstairs they can watch Disney videos and colour in and the Lego Store (Westfield San Francisco Centre, 865 Market St C41, San Francisco) which has various Lego stations set up for free play.

Geary, Powell, Post and Stockton Streets

SF MOMA, San Francisco

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
Give kids an early education in modern art at SFMOMA. Head to level five to explore the Oculus bridge, sculpture garden, kid-friendly cafe and eye-popping Pop Art. Our fave was
Richard Serra’s Sequence sculpture on Floor 1 in the Atrium, which is kind of like a labyrinth. Best of all it’s free to enter off the street and explore. Kids under 18 are free to enter the SFMOMA.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
151 3rd St, San Francisco
sfmoma.org

Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco

Yerba Buena Gardens
An oasis in the heart of busy downtown San Francisco, Yerba Buena Gardens is a place to find culture and green space. Galleries, museums and cafes frame landscaped lawns with a stunning waterfall at the back, a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. During the warmer months, free performances are held in the park.

Children's Creativity Museum, Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco

Also housed in the park are the Children’s Garden, play circle and Children’s Creativity Museum, an ice skating rink, bowling and the historic Leroy King Carousel, built in 1906.

Children's Garden, Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco

The Children’s Garden, located on the top of the Moscone Center, features a sand play area, water play, several climbing structures and slides.

Yerba Buena Gardens
750 Howard St, San Francisco

yerbabuenagardens.com

Children's Creativity Museum, San Francisco

Children’s Creativity Museum
Children’s Creativity Museum is a hands-on, multimedia arts and technology museum for kids of all ages. Little kids will enjoy the lower level, filled with hands-on activities that including building, shaping and dressing up. Older kids will enjoy the singing studio, animation studio, tech lab where they can program robots, and the innovation lab that encourages curious minds to solve problems. It’s impossible to leave the museum without taking a ride on the Leroy King Carousel outside.
Read more about our experience here.

Children’s Creativity Museum
221 Fourth St. San Francisco, CA
creativity.org

Lombard St, San Francisco

Lombard Street
This topsy-turvey street is like something out of a Dr Seuss book. Lombard Street is famous for a steep, one-block section with eight hairpin turns past beautiful Victorian mansions. Be warned, kids will want to bolt down at high speed.

Lombard Street, San Francisco

sftodo.com

Painted Ladies, San Francisco

The Painted Ladies
This postcard-perfect row of houses is located on Steiner Street, across from Alamo Square park. While this particular row of houses is known as the “Painted Ladies”, the term actually refers to any set of Victorian or Edwardian houses that use three or more colours to show off the detailing of their architectural design. Over 48,000 houses were built in this stye between 1849 and 1915, with the famous seven constructed between 1892 and 1896.

Alamo Square, across the street from the Painted Ladies is prime viewing position as well as the perfect location for a picnic. It also has a gated playground that will occupy kids.

Painted Ladies
710 to 720 Steiner St, San Francisco

Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco

Fisherman’s Wharf 
This is considered the “touristy” part of town, but I think it’s worth a visit as it’s right next to the aquarium and has a few fun things for kids to see.

San Francisco with Kids via christineknight.meVisit the California sea lions at Pier 39, where several hundred sea lions like to doze in the sun (be warned, they smell and are very loud!).

Eat at Boudin’s Bakery, home of the most delicious sourdough bread. This is their flagship location.

Ghiradelli Square, San Francisco

Dine and shop at Ghirardelli Square. Formerly headquarters of the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, the factory was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 and is now a retail and restaurant complex. On the lower floors of the Clock Tower you’ll find the Ghirardelli chocolate shop.

Fisherman’s Wharf
fishermanswharf.org

Aquarium by the Bay, San Francisco

Aquarium of the Bay
This little aquarium has over 20,000 marine animals to visit. With a focus on conservation, kids will learn a lot about taking care of our water and the animals within, while getting up close to exotic and local aquatic life. Highlights include 300 feet of crystal clear tunnels with marine animals from San Francisco Bay and nearby waters and Touch the Bay, featuring touch pools with sharks, rays and sea stars. Our fave exhibit was the feisty river otters. It’s a small aquarium and we were in and out in under an hour.

Aquarium of the Bay
2 Beach St, San Francisco, CA
aquariumofthebay.org

Alcatraz via christineknight.me

Alcatraz Island
A very popular day trip, Alcatraz Island is located 1.5 miles offshore from San Francisco. A visit to Alcatraz offers a close-up look at the site of the first lighthouse and US built fort on the West Coast as well as the infamous federal jail.

As well as being steeped in history, the Rock is also home to tide pools, bird colonies and stunning views of San Francisco Bay. Wear very comfortable shoes, bring a light jacket no matter how warm the day begins, and be sure to book your tickets well in advance.

Buy tickets for the cruise across to Alcatraz online.
Ferries depart from Alcatraz Landing at Pier 33.

Alcatraz Island
nps.gov/alca

Embarcadero
The Embarcadero is the eastern waterfront of San Francisco.

San Francisco with Kids via christineknight.me

Cupid’s Span
Kids absolutely love this sculpture by artist Coosje van Bruggen on the Embarcadero along San Francisco Bay. The art work was inspired by San Francisco’s reputation as the home port of Eros.

Exploratorium science museum, San Francisco

The Exploratorium
More than a museum, the Exploratorium is a hands-on laboratory designed to help visitors learn about the world through science, art, and human experience. A heavy focus on science will engage curious minds for hours. The Exploratorium is divided into six main galleries, with each one focused on a different area of exploration. Our favourite exhibits included a hurricane maker, spiral drawing creation and light play. Be prepared to spend the whole day tinkering, exploring and learning about how the world works.

The Exploratorium
Pier 15, The Embarcadero & Green St., San Francisco
exploratorium.edu

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Golden Gate Park
You could easily spend a week just exploring everything Golden Gate Park has to offer. This 1,017 acre urban park is open to the public for free (however there is an entrance cost for some of the attractions). Be sure to check out the American bison who have happily lived in the park since the 1890s.

Other attractions of note include Golden Gate Park Aquarium, Strawberry Hill (where you’ll find a waterfall and gorgeous views), Koret Children’s Quarter with its new and improved playground, Japanese Tea Garden, Carousel, windmill and tulips and the California Academy of Science.

Golden Gate Park
goldengatepark.com

Japanese Tea Garden, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Japanese Tea Garden
The oldest public Japanese garden in the United States is a fun place to explore. Kids can discover giant koi carp in ponds, climb the steep drum bridge and search for serenity at the zen garden.

Japanese Tea Garden
75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco
japaneseteagardensf.com

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Koret Children’s Quarter Playground
In the southeast corner of Golden Gate Park you’ll find a fantastic playground filled with climbing structures for all ages, a sand pit, slide and sea-themed structures for bringing imaginations to life. The playground opened in 1888 as the Sharon Quarters for Children, and is thought to have been the nation’s first public playground. It was a groundbreaking idea for the time, to have an area dedicated to children’s play.

The playground was renovated and reopened in 2007 as the Koret Children’s Quarter with new features including the climbing wall shaped like waves and a rope climbing structure. The historic concrete slide remains as a remnant of the original playground.

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Also located in the Koret Children’s Quarter is the Herschell-Spillman Carousel, the last of three carousels to be housed near this location. It was built in 1914 and, after operating at amusement parks in Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon, was installed in Golden Gate park in 1940. The carousel features 62 colourful animals including a camel, dragon, cat, ostrich, horses, dogs and roosters.

Koret Children’s Quarter Playground
Martin Luther King, Jr and Bowling Green Dr, San Francisco

De Young Museum, San Francisco

de Young Fine Arts Museum
Kids will love running around the sculpture garden which is free for the public to enter and the extremely kid-friendly cafe. The museum, located in Golden Gate Park, also offers families hands-on art making activities designed by the Museums’ artist-in-residence.

de Young Fine Arts Museum
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco
https://deyoung.famsf.org

California Academy of Science, San Francisco

California Academy of Sciences
The California Academy of Sciences is a natural history museum in that is among the largest museums of natural history in the world, housing over 26 million specimens – 40,000 of them live. Inside the one building is an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum and rainforest – all under one living roof (literally – the roof is alive!).

The Academy has plenty of hands-on exhibits and activities for kids to explore. Our favourites were the Shake House section of the Earthquake exhibit where kids can experience what it would feel like to be on top of an earthquake, the aquarium with its immersive glass tunnels, the dinosaur in the foyer, and the rainforest with live butterflies and birds.
Read more about our experience here.
California Academy of Sciences
55 Music Concourse Dr, San Francisco
calacademy.org

The Mission
The centre of Latin culture in San Francisco, the Mission is an eclectic and hip neighbourhood in San Francisco. Mission Dolores, the oldest original intact mission in California and the oldest standing building in San Francisco, is located in the northwest of the area.

The Mission, San Francisco
Street Art

The Mission District is full of vibrant murals, particularly between 17th St. and 18th St., and Mission St. and Valencia St. Our fave was on the Women’s Building, a women-led non-profit arts and education community center at 18th Street.

Paxton Gates Curiosities, San Francisco

Paxton Gate Curiosities
A whimsical store where you’ll find a wide range of creative, educational and interactive toys, games and projects for children.

Paxton Gate Curiosities
766 Valencia St, San Francisco
paxtongate.com/curiosities

Bi-Rite Creamery, San Francisco
Bi-Rite Creamery
Delicious ice cream, hand-made in small batches in flavours such as the extremely popular salted caramel. Take your ice cream to go and eat it on the benches outside (there is an additional “eat in” tax if you stay inside!).

Bi-Rite Creamery
3692 18th St, San Francisco
biritecreamery.com

Tartine Bakery, San Francisco

Tartine Bakery
A bakery famous for their pastries and cakes. There is often a long wait to buy treats, but on the day we went there was no queue at all.

Tartine Bakery
600 Guerrero St, San Francisco
tartinebakery.com

Mission Delores Park, San Francisco, USA
Mission Delores Park

This lush, 16-acre green park lies in the vibrant Mission District. Located two blocks south of Mission Dolores at the western edge of the Mission District. You’ll find sprawling lawns, shady trees, a soccer field, six tennis courts, one basketball court, a multi-use court, a playground, and two off-leash dog play areas.

Mission Delores Park, San Francisco, USA

Helen Diller Playground
The newly renovated Helen Diller Playground inside Mission Delores Park contains seperate play areas for preschoolers (kids aged 2-5) and school ages (kids aged 5-12), plus a sand garden, wooden climbing structure, shipwrecked boat, nets and stones for climbing and swings, plus a 45-foot long super slide. The park has bathrooms and water drinking fountains.

Mission Delores Park
Dolores St & 19th St, San Francisco

Mile Rock Beach, San Francisco

Coastal Trail to Sutra Baths
We started the trail at Lands End, behind the Legion of Honor Museum. The trail goes along the headland to Mile Rock Beach, Lands End Viewpoint and Labyrinth, to Sutro Baths.

Labrynth,Land's End, San Francisco

Part of a much longer trail, we found this section to be easy to do with a child in tow at about 2km in length in one direction, not including the detours to each look out, and included plenty for her to enjoy.

Sutro Baths, San Francisco

Take plenty of water for the trail, and enjoy a late lunch at the end of the trail at either the historic (and slightly pricier) Cliff House or Louis’ Cafe (a traditional American Diner).

Legion of Honor
100 34th Ave, San Francisco
legionofhonor.famsf.org

Sutro Baths
1004 Point Lobos Ave, San Francisco
nps.gov

Marina District

Palace of Fine Arts
While the Palace of Fine Arts is actually home to art exhibitions, visitors also go to enjoy the beautiful structure (originally built in 1915), walkways and lagoon. The palace is iconic in San Francisco, and is a popular destination for family and wedding photos. Kids will particularly enjoy spotting the swans who live in the lagoons. Bonus: it’s free to walk around the grounds.

San Francisco with Kids via christineknight.me

Palace of Fine Arts
3301 Lyon St, San Francisco, CA
palaceoffinearts.org

Crissy Field, San Francisco

San Francisco Beaches
You’ve got to be pretty tough to swim at the beach in San Francisco but they do have fantastic views of Golden Gate Bridge, and provide ample space for kids to run around on, splashing in the waves and digging in the sand. Dip tiny toes in the Pacific Ocean at Crissy Field, Baker Beach and China Beach, three beaches in San Francisco city.

Crissy Beach is the easiest to access: an 100-acre shoreline park and restored marshland along the Bay, you can reach it by strolling alone the shorelines from Fisherman’s Wharf.

San Francisco with Kids via christineknight.me

Golden Gate Bridge
And lastly … don’t forget to check out Golden Gate Bridge. While the bridge can be seen from Alcatraz and various points on around San Francisco Bay, my favourite place to photograph it is Battery Spencer, on the Marin Headland just north of the bridge.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

You can also get fantastic views from Crissy Field and any areas on the coast line in the marina and Presidio areas, and at Lands End.

If you have enough energy, hire bikes from Fisherman’s Wharf and bike over the bridge into Sausalito, then catch the ferry back to the wharf. We used Blazing Saddles Bike Rentals, who have plenty of options for kids including kids bikes, trailers, tag-a-longs and baby seats.

San Francisco with Kids via christineknight.me

How to get around
The Cable Car is fun but expensive ($7 per person a ride, $21 for a day pass) and limiting in the directions it goes in, as well as slow due to the wait for a ride. You can also use the Muni Public Transport System. We found it easiest to walk and use Uber. When requesting an Uber, it costs $10 extra to request a car seat for kids up to 48 lbs. or 52 inches.

San Francisco Cable Car

San Francisco Cable Cars
It’s a must to ride the last of the world’s manually operated cable cars. There are three San Francisco Cable Car lines, each going to a different location: the Powell-Hyde Line, the Powell-Mason Line and the California Line.

The Powell-Hyde and Powell-Mason lines both begin at Market Street and stop at Union Square. The Powell-Hyde Line ends near Ghiradelli Square, and the Powell-Mason Line ends at Bay Street in Fisherman’s Wharf. The California Street Line runs east-west from Van Ness Avenue to the Financial District. Maps and stops here.

Note: the cable cars are NOT accessible for wheelchairs and strollers. If you bring a collapsable stroller, as the conductor if there is room before boarding – there may not be space to place it onboard.

Riders can board at the beginning/end of each route or anywhere along the routes where you see the brown and white stop sign. The cable cars are cash only – pay the conductor directly when you board, or buy a 1-day Visitor Passport before boarding if you’re planning to take more than three rides in a car ($7 per person for a single ride, $21 for a 1-Day Passport). More information on fares.

We found the cable cars to be fun but they’re so popular that it can be a long wait (30 minutes or longer) to get on board, so I would suggest taking a ride on one in one direction for the experience, but then catching an Uber back as they’re faster and cheaper, particularly if there are several people in your party. (an Uber from Fisherman’s Wharf to our hotel in downtown cost $15).

Exploratorium science museum, San Francisco

CityPASS
We used the San Francisco CityPASS to save money on visiting attractions. The $89 adult/$66 child pass (ages 5-11) includes Cable Car and Muni Bus Passport,entry to the California Academy of Sciences, Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure, Aquarium of the Bay and entry to either the Exploratorium or de Young Museum.

The regular pricing for adult entry to these is: Cable Car/Muni pass $32, California Academy of Science $35.95, Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure $31, Aquarium of the Bay $24.95, Exploratorium $29.95, de Young Museum $15 = $153.85. If you’re like me and want to see and do everything, this is a massive money saver.

You can also do what we did and substitute our Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure for tickets to Alcatraz. Read the instructions here carefully regarding purchasing your CityPASS if you want to do the same.
citypass.com

The Best Things To Do In San Francisco USA With Kids | Family Travel | Travel With Kids
Sutro Baths, San Francisco

What to pack
San Francisco has unpredictable weather all year round. July is the hottest month with an average temperature of 14°C (57°F) and the coldest is January at 10°C (50°F). No matter what time of year you visit I recommend jeans, comfortable sneakers and several layers such as a tee, light sweater and jacket. Even in summer you will find yourself wearing a jacket and scarf. It can also get hot in summer, so be sure to pack light layers, sunscreen and a hat.

What to tip
While tipping isn’t mandatory it’s an intrenched part of American culture and is deemed extremely bad form not to tip. A 10% tip is the absolute minimum and usually indicates bad service. If you’ve received good service, 15% is the norm. Tip hotel porters $1 per bag carried and leave $2-$3 USD per day in your hotel room to tip service staff. I prefer to leave the money daily rather than a tip at the end as there are different staff who service the room each day.

The View, Marriott Marquais, San Francisco

Where to stay
We stayed at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis this time, located on Mission St, near Union Square. The location is fantastic for a stay in San Francisco; all the major shops, restaurants and amenities like grocery stores all a few blocks away. Be warned however about hidden charges at this hotel – $100 a week for internet and $15 per packaged delivered. We did enjoy The View bar and lounge inside the hotel is open from 4pm and has them most incredible views over the city, as well as being super kid-friendly.

San Francisco Marriott Marquis
780 Mission St, San Francisco
Find the best prices and book online.

Other popular places to stay include Fisherman’s Wharf, which I find too touristy and out of the way apart from a few attractions, and Nob Hill, which is nicer than downtown, but means a lot of walking up and down the steep hill it’s located on or catching a lot of cable cars.

Find, compare and book your hotel in San Francisco online.

The Best Things To Do In San Francisco USA With Kids | Family Travel | Travel With Kids

Thank you to CityPASS for the complimentary passes to explore San Francisco. They are a genuine money saver and we will use them again in other cities we visit. This post contains affiliate links, which means if you book through my website I will receive a small commission from the vendor at no extra cost to you.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!