I was feeling very twitchy and wanting to travel while I was pregnant with my son, so I booked a Disney cruise to Alaska for one of the earliest dates he would be old enough to sail. We booked an extra 3 days in Vancouver. We had always wanted to visit and it was a good opportunity to beat the jet lag as much as possible before starting our cruise. At the time our son was 7 months old and our daughter was a week shy of turning 2.
Our criteria for the weekend was:
- Nothing too intense, low key fun with plenty of rest thrown in.
- Walk or public transportation everywhere, we had elected not to bring carseats or a stroller.
- Eat Chinese food.
Sounds pretty easy right? Here’s what we did!
We stayed at the Delta Hotel by Marriott in downtown Vancouver because it was walking distance to the cruise terminal. I’m sure there are many more budget friendly options, but we were very happy with our hotel choice. We were able to walk or take the bus anywhere we wanted to go, we received good service and welcome cookies, and we had a pull out couch and an in-room crib. Probably the perk we took the most advantage of was the free loaner umbrellas. They don’t call it Rain-couver for nothing!
Since we were jet lagged we left the hotel early each morning and explored the city on foot. This would include an early morning breakfast at Tim Hortons, some admiration of the banking and museum districts, and then bee line for the cruise terminal to watch the sea planes. From there we would wander along the seawall, admire the sail boats, run through Harbour Green Park, or play on a nearby playground. These first couple hours of the day were low key and fun, just like we wanted!
Once it was late enough for some businesses to start opening, we would head towards the day’s planned activity.
Day 1’s activity was taking a gondola up to Grouse Mountain and exploring their wildlife refuge. The weather was chilly and rainy so visibility going up the mountain was low and there was a dense fog the entire time we were up there. We walked around the park and were able to get a good view of the sleepy bears as well as a very up-close encounter with a wild deer. The kids both loved it, although they stayed pretty snug in the carriers the whole time.
This was a good day for transportation since we took a ferry, a bus, and a gondola. On our way back down the sky opened for a couple minutes and we were able to get a view of the city from the gondola. The bus ride took us through residential neighborhoods, so we were able to check out some local real estate too!
Day 2’s activity was visiting Granville Island. Neither Chris nor I are much inclined to shop when we travel, but everyone loves a good market! We spent some time at the indoor playground, the Adventure Zone, browsed through all the food stalls and wonderful ethnic foods, listened to some live music, and had lunch overlooking the sailboats at Dockside. We all had a good time, but it was a little too crowded to let HJ walk on her own, and she was feeling confined in the carrier. Fortunately she went from whiny to sleeping in only a couple minutes!
Day 3 we visited the Vancouver Aquarium and had a great time. You simply cannot go wrong with small children at the aquarium. Both children were thrilled with the animals and loved the special feeding shows. We even saw some non-aquarium animals a little closer then I would have liked, when a whole family of raccoons decided to join the audience at the beluga show.
After the aquarium we stayed and explored Stanley park for a short while. Next time we are in town we’ll plan to spend more time here since they have several beaches and a train.
We picked a restaurant on our way back to the hotel each night and had an early bedtime, but we had a great time in Vancouver and would be excited to go back again. Low key worked really well for us this trip but we still got to see a lot!
Where did we miss?