Butchart Gardens in Victoria

Just down the street from the Butterfly Gardens in Victoria is the famous Butchart Gardens. Though not originally on my list of things to see with Aiden, its proximity to the Butterfly Gardens made us change our minds. Additionally, I was hoping to give Aiden something ‘fun’ to do (as opposed to another ‘observation-type’ activity with a visit to the Rose Carousel.

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Despite my best intentions, Aiden was too afraid to go on the Rose Carousel (which was an extra fee). Going a whole weekend without a nap (while still normally napping), Aiden spent most of the trip in the provided strollers (nice perk!), though he did walk and explore the Japanese Gardens, up and down the twisting paths and stairs. 

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A visit to the gardens is not something to be taken lightly. It’s an expensive trip, quite outside of Victoria, though many of the tour buses make a stop there. There are many dining options – from cafeteria-style to cafe to sit-down eating – making it possible to extend your visit with kids who may not appreciate the gardens as much as you do!

The gardens does offer a Family Discovery Walk pamphlet geared to much older kids. If I were to make a suggestion, it would be to make a second pamphlet for younger kids that is more of a scavenger hunt with pictures of flowers or landmarks that they have to seek out; would be a fun way to get them involved.

See all our photos here.

Ridgeway Annex School Playground

A short walk from where we live is an unused elementary school, Ridgeway Annex. Once Ridgway school was upgraded, Ridgeway Annex was closed and may be redeveloped in the future. Until then, it features 2 playgrounds:

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Though the playgrounds are not the newest, they retained a lot of charm for my nearly 3-year-old. He loved the little junior area with the mini yellow slide to climb up and the twisty slide to go down. The climbing structure was a little big for him, though he was able to use it to still enjoy the slide. 

Address: 450 East 5th St, North Vancouver

Bridgman Park Review

Bridgman Park is a beautiful area to take a walk along Lynn Creek. You can take a 5.5km loop around the river or follow the trail right up to Lynn Canyon. The area is very popular for dog walkers. We went one day to explore the playground.

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The playground is not very large and is nestled in the trees, so it’s quite shady. The playground is a little on the older side, but it’s serviceable. Aiden spent a few minutes playing there, going down the slide and climbing the different areas, but he soon grew bored of it and the total lack of other kids. That’s usually not an issue for him at the park, so I’m going to say this one was too tame for him (small slide, no really interesting play structures). 

I think this is a great area to take your kids for a walk, especially as there is an on-site washroom, but it is not a great location just for the playground. 

Bridgman Park is located on Keith Road before it turns into Mountain Highway.

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?