Scuba Claus at the Vancouver Aquarium

If you are looking for a unique Christmas experience, try a visit to the Vancouver Aquarium! Although Christmas is not the central aspect of any visit to the aquarium, the special touches all around the aquarium do make it an extra special time of year. 

From trees covered in jellyfish and sea stars (each one incredibly stunning) to the appearance of Scuba Claus at set times, it’s a real treat to pay a visit at this time of year. 

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Scuba Claus pays a visit to the aquarium to seek out some bells he has lost. My kids (5 and 2) were mesmerized by the experience, and loved the opportunity to go up to the tank and give Santa a high five after the little show. It was such a fun time! They talked about it for days after. 

Have you been to the Vancouver Aquarium during Christmas? We can’t wait to go again this year! 

Update: we went and it was lovely! Also fun was the 4D Experience of the Polar Express!! Great integration of sounds and smells and even some snow!

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Vancity Box Launches to Celebrate Vancouver

This month, we were excited to be among the first recipients of the Vancity Box, a curated box of BC-made goods that celebrates local companies. Available as a subscription service, each box contains an assortment of BC goods from clothing and snacks to art and fun gadgets. Each month, the products will change, highlighting more of what makes Vancouver such an amazing place. This is especially great for those of us who love to buy hyperlocal goods and support local businesses!

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In their debut box, featured products include a beautiful jar of vanilla cotton candy from Petite Puf, which was the first item to be snagged by our very excited children. You can just see Damien’s nose in the photo below as he eagerly awaits the unboxing! My husband then snagged Billy Bob’s Jerky, which went to his office for snacks (my husband loves jerky). As the only blueberry-eater in our house, I got to enjoy all of the Living Lotus blueberry macaroons (that worked out nicely!). We we are extremely excited to try the Infusion Kit supplied by Graveley & Sons, we just need to go out and get the right rum. Perfect for Fall!

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It’s not often we would go out and get treats like these, so having them arrive at the door made it such a nice surprise. I think the box could function as a great showcase for products and companies you may otherwise have no exposure to, which is great for both vendor and consumer. A solid first box!

Disclosure: The Vancity Box was supplied for review, all reviews expressed are my own.

Third Beach: My New Favourite Spot

When it comes to beaches, Vancouver has a lot of options. We really are very lucky. But as parents in North Vancouver, we’ve become kind of lazy about going to the “best” beaches (you know, Jericho or Kits). With young kids still napping, it’s a long trek. Most often we head to Ambleside or Deep Cove or Cates Park. Late this past summer, we realized that Third Beach in Stanley Park is really not that far away! And it is downright amazing!

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On days when the tide is out, the beach spans forever with beautiful sand bars. The sand is wonderful here, with fewer rocks for little feet to navigate. 

You can get to Third Beach by biking around Stanley Park or alternatively you can drive there. There is a small pay parking lot above the concession stand. Near the end of the summer, it was not a busy beach, but my guess is you need to arrive early to secure your parking on busy summer days!

Bloedel Conservatory for Kids

After Aiden spent two nights away at his Babby’s house during Winter Break, we met mid-way at the Bloedel Conservatory in Vancouver. I hadn’t been to the Conservatory since Ianiv and I were dating, so we’re talking more than 10 years ago. Though it isn’t the best time of year to explore the surrounding gardens of Queen Elizabeth Park, the Conservatory is open all year and was still decorated with lights and poinsettias of all varieties for Christmas.

Bloedel Conservatory has more than 200 free-flying birds and 500 plants in its domed building. The building isn’t huge, but we spent about an hour or so there with our boys. Damien was less interested in looking at the birds and more interested in running the path… 10 times. I don’t have kids that stop to observe things in new environments, they have too much energy for that!

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Putting on my creative hat, we were able to slow the boys down for a little while by handing them our phones and encouraging them to take photos. Damien took many wonderful photos of his feet, and a few of flowers, while Aiden was able to take more time and care in his selections. Cameras (or phones) are a great option to get kids engaged when otherwise they would be distracted. 

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The best part of the visit? How happy my boys were to see each other after being apart for 2 days. 

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Biking Stanley Park with Kids

Aiden learned to ride his bike this Summer. As the Summer progressed, and the purchase of my own bike, we have been on bigger and better bike adventures. With a parent in front and behind, we felt much more comfortable on road riding scenarios. Our first major road ride was in Harrison Hot Springs. Following the invitation of a good friend, we made the jump and tried out the Stanley Park Seawall as a family. It was AMAZING!

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The Stanley Park Seawall is a 9km circuit. The path is fairly easy for young riders, particularly if you have a parent behind to keep your child on the proper part of the path. The view from the whole path is amazing and great motivation for young riders. 

Along the way there are many points of interest, from the lighthouse to the spray park to our favourite, Third Beach. 

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If you plan on biking the full 9km, pack lots of snacks for your young riders. We stopped for a snack early on, then biked to Third Beach for lunch. On our second trip, we added a second bike pannier filled with swim shorts and beach toys, so we were able to spend a very relaxing few hours at the beach! I even packed the Ergo so I could nap Damien when appropriate. 

We have ridden this path twice now and it is definitely more fun for little riders when they have friends, but it is entirely doable either way. 

Notes for families: The bike path is one-way only. There are a couple of points when you need to walk your bike through busy areas. The path is mostly flat and a very comfortable ride for confident young riders. Be sure your child knows to stay on the right of the path at all times, so others can pass, and can ride in single file without veering off the path (there are no guard rails). 

If you have a child in a bike seat like we did, have some handheld snacks on hand to keep them awake if that’s your goal. Damien always started to nod off before nap time, so I was glad we had a lot of snacks on hand. Also pack a light sweater for children in bike seats, as it can be windy and cool in some of the shady areas. 

As noted on Let’s Go Biking, the Stanley Park Circle route looks something like this:

 
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The only difference we made was to park in the lot on the North side of Georgia, off Denman.