Vancouver with a Toddler (in the Winter!)
Our trip to Vancouver marked our first visit to Canada. Living on the islands places us far away from the snow, so believe it or not, we escaped our warm tropical weather in exchange for a couple of weeks of winter (nuts, right??) The bulk of our time was actually spent in Whistler and Victoria, but we managed to spend at least 5 nights in this city - just enough time to explore, see some friends, and enjoy the chilly weather. So what does a toddler do in this city with his four layers of winter clothes? Check it out:
1. We spent the day playing at Science World
Your tiny tot will be blown away by the highly-interactive exhibits in Science World. The Wonder exhibit was particularly designed for early learners ages 0-5 and is a large space filled with multi-sensory activities. Foggy absolutely loved the water tower (we had to pry him away from this spot!) and spent some time playing with the balls and wooden puzzles.
2. We got to ride the Bright Nights Christmas train in Stanley Park.
If you love holiday lights as much as we do, then this is a must see. With three million (!) lights, this is a popular annual attraction put together by B.C. fire fighters to benefit Burn Fund programs. Luckily, we visited on January 3rd and escaped the Christmas crowd. I have to admit though, it was pretty cold that night. But we settled in our seats with some hot apple cider and as soon as the train started moving, we were greeted by thousands of lights so spectacular that we forgot about the freezing weather.
A Christmas canvas over the water at Bright Nights Stanley Park.
3. We said hello to hundreds of jellyfish at the Vancouver Aquarium.
One of the best things about living in Hawai‘i is the abundance of marine life. I absolutely love snorkeling and watching fish and turtles swim freely. But until I can take my bear underwater with me, visiting the aquarium is the next best thing to experiencing these animals up close. At the Vancouver Aquarium, Foggy loved walking along the rocky ledge next to the big windows. He was also pretty mesmerized by all the swimming jellyfish, gracefully contracting and relaxing across the dome-shaped tank.
4. We went for a stroll in the cobblestoned streets of Gas Town.
Water street in Gas Town is my kind of scene. Victorian charm, cobblestone streets, art galleries, and lots of cute stores! We also had a superb lunch and beer at the Flying Pig. Make sure to stop at the vintage steam-powered clock (easy to find with lots of tourists).
Water Street in Gas Town, Vancouver.
5. We ventured off on our own.
On our last couple of days in Vancouver, we scrapped researching places to visit or eat. A planned spontaneous day is something we like doing because it makes the discovery of a new city more authentic - sans any online reviews or guides or blog posts (similar to this one). With no itinerary, we saw some art, stopped for some french pastries at Faubourg, and moved slowly through each neighborhood (downtown Vancouver is an easy, walkable city).