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Vancouver

The Best Things To Do In Vancouver With Kids

The Best Things To Do In Vancouver With Kids

Vancouver is a blend of spectacular scenery, vibrant culture and city living. It’s also easy to get around, clean and safe – as well as packed with activities that the entire family will enjoy. Whether you’re into winter skiing or summer fun, Vancouver should be on your family’s travel bucket list.

Grouse Mountain, Vancouver, Canada

Grouse Mountain
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. Visit the two rescued grizzly who live in the wildlife refuge up the top of the mountain, watch the raptor bird demonstration or enjoy the famous lumberjack show.

We visited Grouse Mountain after Capilano Suspension Bridge. The two attractions make for an excellent single day outing.

Get more information on our time visiting Grouse Mountain.

Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver Canada

Capilano Suspension Bridge
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. The Capilano Suspension Bridge stretches 450 feet (137m) across and 230 feet (70m) above Capilano River.

Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver Canada

While the bridge is the main attraction, there are other activities that have been added to the park that engage visitors in exploring nature -Treetops Adventure, a series of seven smaller suspension bridges attached to eight 30 ton, 250 year old Douglas-firs and CLIFFWALK a cantilevered walkway attached to the granite cliff above Capilano Canyon.

We visited 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.

Get more info on our time at Capilano Suspension Bridge.

Stanley Park, Vancouver Canada

Stanley Park
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.

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 features four playgrounds, one splash park and two pools for kids to enjoy. Visit the totem poles to teach kids about storytelling, symbolism and the First Nation people.

Get more info on our time visiting Stanley Park.

Granville Island, Vancouver, Canada

Granville Island
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

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.

Find out more about our time on Granville Island.

Vancouver Aquarium

Vancouver Aquarium
Meet sea lions, penguins, rays, sharks, otters and more at the Vancouver Aquarium. Located in stunning Stanley Park, the aquarium is not only home to thousands of ocean species, it’s also the headquarters of Ocean Wise,  an organisation dedicated to education and conservation.
vanaqua.org

Vancouver Art Gallery

Vancouver Art Gallery
Housed in a former courthouse in downtown Vancouver, the Vancouver Art Gallery has plenty to offer visiting families. Visit on Sundays to enjoy the weekly activities offered for kids aged 12 and under.
vanartgallery.bc.ca

Gastown, Vancouver, Canada

Gastown
Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood is a delightful mix of cobblestone streets, storybook buildings and vintage lampposts. This part of the city dates back to 1867. Stroll along Water Street, shop for souvenirs, grab a bite to eat, and watch the Steam Clock whistle and shoot steam every quarter hour.

Old Spaghetti Factory, Gastown, Vancouver, Canada

Where to eat
While we didn’t have a bad meal in Vancouver, the standout for us was our meal at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Gastown. Very reasonably priced Italian food in a cool setting, with a great kids’ menu and activity sheet to boot.

Getting around
Taxis are a relatively affordable way to get around. We stayed in downtown Vancouver and were able to walk to most areas easily. Visitors can also use the local bus network.

The Burrard, Vancouver, Canada

Where to stay
We enjoyed our stay at The Burrard, a retro, chic, boutique hotel in the heart of downtown Vancouver. This budget-friendly hotel has an excellent location, close to the main shopping district and near plenty of restaurants, plus a kid-friendly courtyard area with a ping pong table.

Tipping
Typical rates are similar to the USA:
Restaurant wait staff 15%
Bar servers $1 per drink
Hotel bellhops $1 to $2 per bag
Taxis 10% to 15%

Visas
Visas aren’t required for visitors from the US, the Commonwealth and most of Western Europe for stays up to 180 days. Visa-exempt foreign nationals visiting Canada (excludingUS citizens and those who already have a valid Canadian visa) require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). For more information on the eTA, see http://www.canada.ca/eta.

Granville Island, Vancouver, Canada

Best time to visit
If you’re visiting to experience snow sports, visit in December to March.

The warmest months are June to September.

Visit during Spring and fall for great weather and reduced hotel rates.

The Best Things To Do In Vancouver Canada With Kids | Family Travel |Travel With Kids

Sea life image courtesy of Vancouver Aquarium

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.

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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!