Around Town with the Wee Ones

–4th Edition, June 2016                                                                                             By Krista Wilson For Vancouver Start Smart Preschool

With the end of the preschool year, there is a lot of excitement in the air as we recognize our children’s growth and achievements.

When it’s all said and done, it’s nice to break from our busy schedules and give the kids some down time. We all have busy summers planned¾whether it be trips to visit grandparents and cousins, or camping trips with friends¾so in this edition we focus on easy breezy days with the kids in nearby locations, day-trip destinations to help you plan kid-friendly adventures with your out-of-town visitors, and, as always, a little inspiration for our budding performers.

Have a wonderful summer and don’t forget to exchange contact information with fellow Start Smart families to continue meeting up at Grays Park and, hopefully, explore some of the locations below.

Local Family Outings…

VanDusen Botanical Garden

VanDusen Botanical Garden is ranked 10th out of 308 attractions in Vancouver by TripAdvisor. And for good reason. There is an entrance fee, but it is peaceful, colourful, and educational. The kids enjoy walking the many trails and finding their way through the Elizabethan hedge maze. Check the website for a list of birds to spot during your visit and, if your kids like to draw, pack some paper and pencils for them to draw their favourite trees or flowers. Bring a picnic or pick up the picnic pack from the café.

Outdoor Pools and Water Parks

Grays Park Wading Pool / 10am-3.30pm

We hope to see lots of Start Smart families at Grays Park wading pool this summer. Fingers crossed that the water restrictions don’t shut it down again this summer.

Hillcrest Outdoor Pool Open now thru September, early summer hours are 12-6pm.

Maple Grove Pool / 6875 Yew Street

This outdoor pool in Kerrisdale is great for younger kids as it’s not as breezy as Kits Pool and Second Beach Pool.

Robson Park Wading Pool / 599 Kingsway

Go with a group and take turns playing tennis on the adjacent courts.

MacLean Park Water Park / 710 Keefer Street

Named after the first mayor of Vancouver, this park has a spray park, playground, and large fields for the kids to run around while you admire the colours and architecture of the houses that surround the park.

Prince Edward Spray Park / David Livingstone Elementary School

A few years ago this wading pool was replaced with a spray park that has become a popular community gathering spot.

Water parks and wading pools:  Spray parks in Vancouver are push-button operated from 10am to 8pm.

Outdoor pools:

More Local Family Outings…

 Richmond Nature Park

Head south on Knight Street all the way to the end of the road and just to the right is the Richmond Nature Park. Explore the park on its boardwalk or trails, watching for birds, turtles, and other bog critters. The Nature House next to the parking lot has interactive displays, animals and a beehive. Some family events happening this summer include Gnome’s Sweet Home on June 12, where kids of all ages look for gnome’s in the park with the help of Sherlock Gnomes! And on July 24 children aged 4 to 12 years can ride through the park on a pony ($10). Open 9-5 daily, 11-4 for special events. Admission by donation. 11851 Westminster Highway (approx. 15 minute drive from the preschool)

Lynn Canyon

No matter the weather, a walk in Lynn Canyon Park is always a great way to enjoy the beautiful west coast. Follow the trail to the Lynn Canyon suspension bridge and 30-foot pool, or head down to the water via the 100 stairs to a great beach area for kids to explore. The Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre (open 10-5 in summer) is well worth a stop to learn more about the coastal temperate rainforest or catch a story time or puppet show. You could also preregister for a two-hour nature program for 3 to 8 year olds and their families.

Maplewood Farm

Petunia, Priscilla, Gus and Snicklefritz are just a few of the over 200 animals and birds you will see at Maplewood Farm. Feed the chickens, ducks and bunnies, and watch the milking demonstration of Lima the cow at 1.15pm daily. 504 Seymour River Place, North Vancouver. $8/adults, $5/kids

Day or Overnight Trips with Out of Towners

Golden Ears Provincial Park

Sometimes we get the urge to jump in our car, coffee in hand, and leave town. Whether it’s just for the day or you have reserved a campsite, Golden Ears is a beautiful provincial park and makes for a great day at Alouette Lake. About 1.5 hours from Vancouver, aim to arrive before 11am to find parking. There is no cell coverage in the park so be sure to make specific plans if your group is travelling separately.

Train Wreck Hike

Just south of Function Junction in Whistler, train wreck hike takes you to a 1956 train wreck where several boxcars loaded with lumber crashed and were dragged into the nearby forest to clear the tracks. The hike is flat and takes just over an hour return. It’s a fairly busy hiking and mountain biking area but best to make noise as you hike, just in case. Head to Function Junction and look for Flank Trail just behind Olive’s Market.

Inspiration for our Little Performers…

On My Walk

This interactive play explores friendships and the seasons and is specifically produced for newborns to age 3. At the Carousel Theatre for Young People on Granville Island from June 7-19 with two morning shows per day and an afternoon show on Saturdays. $15 per ticket.

Vancouver Performing Stars

This company offers various dance, hip hop, and musical theatre classes and camps with lots of options for 3-5 year olds.

Rock of Ages

Okay, this one’s for all you 80s music fans. Leave that sweet child o’ yours at home and plan a date night set in 1987 Los Angeles. Sit back and enjoy all the top rock anthems of the 80s. Don’t forget to tease your hair! Playing at the Arts Club Granville Island Stage June 19 to July 30. Tickets from $29.

Updates and Reminders…

Check out June’s Cineplex Family Favourites $2.99 movies

Hillcrest Rink remains open and offers the Parent & Preschooler free skate. You can rent skates on site.