We recently purchased a Strider bike for Aiden. He was a pro at his Wishbone Bike in the 2-wheel combination, but never seemed to get the hang of two wheels. He said it was “tippy.” Since there were a couple of instances when he got on other bikes at stores, while refusing his own bike at home, we wondered if it was too heavy for him.
Since Aiden can be rather temperamental about these things, and we wanted to encourage him to at least try to ride a bike, we opted for the Strider. Damien will be on the Wishbone by next summer (yikes), so we would be looking for a new bike anyway. We loved that the Strider offered tool-free height adjustment.
Aiden took to his Strider right away. Although he has little patience for any activity, he has taken some longer bike rides. He mostly walks his bike, not trusting himself to ‘glide’, but his skill level is improving. He doesn’t usually ask to ride his bike, so I know he’s not in love with it (perhaps because it’s basically just sitting and walking not gliding), but it’s been a good step towards him using the bike.
Did your kids enjoy the run bike concept?
Carisbrooke park is a beautiful oasis in upper Lonsdale. Built in 1912-1923 by the BC Electric Street Railway Company, the park boats a beautiful greenscape and path with a fenced (from the road) playground. The playground itself is fairly new featuring some really unique elements such as the merry-go-round.
The playground has two main play structures which are mostly connected offering a great circuit for active climbers. There is a large slide, monkey bars and a net bridge. There are swings for those kids who love to swing and lots of shade for young babies. The only downside to this park is the lack of a washroom or port-a-potty.
See all photos from this park here.
Park Location: North East corner of Lonsdale Avenue and Osborne Rd E.
Yesterday, our little family of 4 headed up Grouse Mountain for an adventure at the top of Vancouver. We don’t often have a chance to go up Grouse, even though it’s just minutes away, so we jumped at the chance to head up as a family.
Aiden and I paid a visit to Grouse Mountain last year when we had family visiting from Argentina, since it’s one of Vancouver’s top tourist destinations, but it’s also great as a local family destination. As a local, we actually have the best rate with the Annual Local’s Pass at only $99 or $199 for the family (2 adults, 2 kids) – a great way to spend a few days a year up the mountain (including the great Christmas festivities they do each year).
We spent about 2.5 hours up the mountain (not bad with a toddler and a newborn!). I had Damien in the sling most of the time, taking Aiden first for lunch (pizza), then over to see the Grizzy bears in the wildlife refuge (we only saw one – first he was sleeping, but later playing in the water) and around to catch some action during the Birds in Motion show. We got to see a baby owl, just 18 weeks old – very cool.
Aiden enjoyed climbing on all the sculptures and enjoyed his first Beaver Tail as his snack:
After that, Aiden and I sat down for the Lumberjack show. Though the comedy went over the head of my nearly-3-year-old, there was still a lot to entertain him. He’s talked a lot since about how the lumberjacks fell in the water during one of the ‘competitions’. During the show, the lumberjack carved a little chair (aka the bunny that didn’t work) and it was given to the youngest member of the audience – Damien! As you can see in the photo at the top of this post, it was the perfect fit for him… it’s now proudly sitting in our garden.
During all this time, Ianiv was off for the adventure of a lifetime with the Zipline experience. He took part in the 2-hour, 5-line tour going all over the mountain, including the Peak Chair). Ianiv said the views from the zipline experience were breathtaking and his guides, Lee and Danny, were great fun. As you can see from this photo, Ianiv thoroughly enjoyed himself!
Once 5pm rolled around, Aiden was getting grumpy and Damien was getting tired, so we had to skip on any further adventures. I was hoping we’d be able to go up to the Eye of the Wind and maybe sit down for a video in the theatre – next time!
All said and done, Aiden’s favourite part of the day was the ride up and down in the skyride – a little scary on the bumps, but he was fascinated by the whole process! He’s been telling everyone all about it today :)
See all our photos from the day here.
Please vote for this post in the Unlimited Blogger Contest from Grouse Mountain and you could win an Annual Membership, a Zipline tour or an Eye of the Wind tour!
Disclosure: Grouse Mountain extended an invitation for us to visit the mountain. The opinions in this article are my own.
For one day of our Hawaii vacation, we rented a car to see some of the rest of the island. Our primary destination was Waimea Valley, where there is a very stroller-friendly walk through Waimea Valley up to the waterfall, where you can swim around and cool off after the walk (it is an easy 20-minute walk).
Aiden finds a giant leaf
We took our time walking to the waterfall, enjoying all the tropical plants and some of the sacred artifacts on the property. Waimea Valley is over 1,875 acres, though it is obviously not all open to the public. There are several scheduled activities on site, though none were running during our visit.
One of 5000 documented plants in Waimea Valley
Our walk to the waterfall took us past more than 5,000 kinds of plants, including native and endangered Hawaiian plants.
Posing in front of Waimea Waterfall – swimming welcome!
Waihï, the Valley’s waterfall, is approximately 3/4 of a mile from the entrance along a paved pathway. The waterfall wasn’t huge during our visit because of a drought in Oahu, but it was still impressive. Although we couldn’t encourage Aiden to go in the water so close to his nap time (kids are required to wear lifejackets and he wasn’t going for that), we all took dips in the water using the free floaties to relax a bit.
Aiden taking a welcome snooze in his stroller
Aiden took a nap on the way back from the falls (huge achievement!) and we all sat down in the cafe after to enjoy a break while he slept before later adventures in the day.
Visitors tip: there are lots of 2-for-1 coupons for Waimea Valley in local tourist magazines – keep your eye out! The beach across from Waimea Valley is also fantastic, with a huge rock that appeared popular for cliff diving.
You can find more photos from Waimea, and our whole Hawaii trip, here.
We celebrated Ianiv’s birthday in Hawaii with a trip to the Paradise Cove Luau. Though we knew Aiden would have enjoyed the music of the luau, we chose to have a date night on our own to celebrate Ianiv’s birthday – having two wonderful grandmas with us on the trip made such a thing possible!
There are 5 luau locations in Oahu, from what I can tell, and one was at our hotel, the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Starlight Luau. Though we could see from our hotel room that this luau was quite spectacular, with 5 fire dancers!, we wanted to get away and see another part of the island for our date night. We decided that a structured day at the Polynesian Cultural Centre was not right for Aiden at this age, so we passed on their luau as well, even though it is rated very highly. We chose the Paradise Cove Luau for what looked to be a good ‘experience’ along with the buffet and show.
Paradise Cove is located as part of the Ko Olina Resort on the leeward coast of Oahu. The area boasts a stunning sunset setting with a wide open space for activities before the luau including lei making, tattoos, canoeing, and games of skill. Periodically they draw your attention to a demonstration, including the Shower of Flowers. We were able to take some great photos throughout the evening, though we also did get sucked into buying a souvenir photo of us as a couple (yet to be scanned).
Before the buffet, the guests are gathered in an amphitheatre to reveal the roast pig and to watch some dancing – additional performances were shown during / after dinner, including a fantastic fire dancer. I did feel disappointed that Aiden was not there for that, although I was glad for the quiet time for the rest of the night!
The dining area itself was probably my biggest disappointment – I found the folding tables, chairs and plastic tablecloths a bit ‘cheap’ looking, though I’m sure it’s the most functional. Depending on your luau package, you either line up for a buffet or are served at your table. The food was ok, though not fantastic. I wasn’t feeling super great for this night, but I did find the buffet a little limited and would have liked to see a couple more dishes to round it out. The Kalua Pig was too salty for me, but I’m not sure if that’s atypical of the dish.
Overall, we enjoyed the experience of the luau, though neither of us were overly impressed by the meal. It did sound like the luau at our hotel had more ‘upscale’ food for the buffet. The location was beautiful and the activities were fun for all ages. We did get rained on a little bit during our meal, which would be a downside to any luau I suppose!
Since the Paradise Cove Luau is not in Waikiki, they offer a complimentary bus service that took us to and from our hotel. The bus driver offered his own form of entertainment for the trip, which was fun.
Have you ever been to a luau? What were your thoughts?