Spring has officially sprung here in Vancouver, which hopefully means that we are in for a sunny and warm next few months! With flowers blossoming as early as mid February, it feels like it has already been spring for ages. If you're looking for ideas to do with the little ones, here's some tried & tested activities that will be a hit with kids of all ages. Get out and about and enjoy all spring has to offer!
A sightseeing tour could add some locations to your 'go-to' list. The Vancouver Trolley Company offers 'Hop-On, Hop-Off' Sightseeing Tours aboard a replica San Francisco trolley in the downtown core of Vancouver. Tours take about two hours unless you hop off to tour at your own pace, Just be sure to look for the 'Trolley' sign at most bus stops to hop back on.
Learn to ride a horse together at Maynard's Pony Meadows .Visit the working farm any day between 10 am and 5pm at 6767 Balaclava St, at West 51st Ave. Check their website beforehand for any special events throughout the season!
Play in the largest indoor sandbox in the city at Little Diggers in 6Pack Indoor Beach. Maybe it's not QUITE beach weather in Vancouver (although I'm sure there's some families who would disagree) but either way, this place brings the beach to you all year round! Open seven days a week and located at #115-13180 Mitchell Rd. Richmond.
Take a stroll along the beautiful Greenheart Canopy Walkway. Located in the heart of the UBC Botanical Garden, reaching a height of nearly 20m above the forest floor, you can traverse from platform to platform at your own pace or with a guide. Contact the gatehouse at 604-822-4208 or go to www.greenheart.ca. (No open toed shoes allowed. Small children must be able to walk on their own or be carried in an approved backpack or carrier. No strollers, walkers, or wheelchairs allowed on the walkway).
Let their imaginations run wild at The Forest Fairy Gathering. This takes place from 11 am to 3 pm Saturday, May 16 Burnaby Lake Regional Park. Fairy attire is welcome. Meet at Burnaby Lake Nature House, 4519 Piper Avenue, off Winston Street.
Pet some furry friends at Maplewood Farm. On five acres in North Vancouver, Maplewood Farm has over 200 domestic and friendly farm animals and birds. This is definitely a family favourite, and spring is the perfect timing as there's lots of cute baby animals. Closed on Mondays (except during Spring Break). Situated near Mount Seymour at 405 Seymour River.
Snuggle up with the kids and watch a great movie in the comfort of your own car. Two shows: first one begins at dusk and no earlier than 7:30pm. Open every night between March and mid-November. The Twilight Drive-In only plays current movies. For upcoming shows go to http://members.shaw.ca/twilightdrivein/. Located at 260th Street at the Fraser Highway in Langley.
Stop by East Vancouver¹s famous La Casa Gelato. This place has over two hundred different flavours including curry, corn, dandelion, wasabi, and blue cheese. What?! Don't worry, they have lots of kiddie flavours too. Open seven days a week, located at 1033 Venables St.
Go on a nature hike and try your hand at geocaching. We are surrounded by beautiful trails and mountains that are waiting to be explored. They can range in difficulty, so finding one suitable for your kids will be important. To add even more excitement to your nature hike, check out geocaching.com, or download the app, and your hike can turn into a search for a hidden treasure! Have your kids make a prize that you can leave behind for someone else to find.
Some good kid-friendly hikes to consider:
Lighthouse Park - stunning views, wildlife, old trees, and easy trails! A perfect concoction for hiking with the kids. You can also catch an amazing sunset from here.
Pacific Spirit Regional Park - with many different hiking trails to choose from, they range from easy to difficult, so you can tailor your hike accordingly. A great option for beginners is the Huckleberry Trail.
Deep Cove Lookout - slightly more challenging than the others, however still a relatively easy hike. About 4km roundtrip, so make sure this is something your kids would be comfortable with! Crossing the creek bridges is fun for the kids, and the lookout is definitely impressive.
On a rainy day, visit Canada¹s largest indoor trampoline parks. Extreme Air Park in Richmond and Langley and have 2,000 sq. ft. of interconnected trampolines and The Foam Zone, an 8-lane foam dive pit. Make reservations or drop in. Guaranteed to be a hoppin' good time!
Learn about keeping the family active at the Wild About Vancouver Outdoor Education Festival. This free public festival happening throughout the spring season with multiple events for families. Click here for a list of events.
Vancouver Art Gallery has weekly family programs and every Sunday, the Gallery offers unique activities geared towards children 12 and under and their families. Bring a camera to capture your child¹s projects, I'm sure they will create some masterpieces.
Chase the wild bunnies at Jericho Beach. They live in the bushes near the walkway, sleep amongst the sailboats at the sailboat club and eat carrots from your hand if you are patient enough. Pack a picnic for a beach day and bring some extra greens to share!
Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company has locations in Kitsilano and Main Street. A special kids menu offers popular cheese pizzas and homemade chicken noodle soup, using mostly locally sourced and organic ingredients. On Sunday Family Nights kids12 and under can make their own pizzas, fun and scrumptious.