Grouse Mountain Eye of the Wind

Back in July, we were given a trip up Grouse Mountain as part of a great contest that they were putting on. At the time, we were only able to spend about 3 hours up the mountain, having 2 young kids and nap / bedtime schedules to juggle. As such, we weren’t able to see everything. A couple of weeks later, Ianiv and I took Damien up the mountain for a second visit. 

Although I still wasn’t able to do a helicopter ride (boo to the clouds), I did take a trip by myself up to the Eye of the Wind (what a treat, to be solo!). This wind turbine is the world’s first and only wind turbine with a viewing pod at the top of the tower. With 360-degree views of the mountains and Vancouver, you are in for quite a treat! To get to the Eye of the Wind, you have to take a chairlift and walk a short distance – there’s an elevator to the top. Even with the clouds, it was an amazing view (see more pics here):

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While I was up the mountain, Ianiv took Damien on a long walk and we later took some great photos of the grizzly bears, who were more visible on this visit. 

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Strider Bike Review

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.

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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 Review

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.

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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. 

Our Grouse Mountain Adventures

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.

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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.

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Aiden enjoyed climbing on all the sculptures and enjoyed his first Beaver Tail as his snack:

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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!

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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.

Waimea Valley Adventures

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.