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Whistler With Kids Itinerary

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Months ago I posted about our trip to Vancouver/Whistler with three grandchildren ages 6,4 and 9 mos. People were so helpful. Well, the trip is about to take place on Monday ( March 19th). Now I thought someone who is aware of the downtown geography and public transportation could suggest which to choose and how to group activities that are located near each other or easily accessable by public transportation. We have a lightweight stroller for the baby and the older ones love trains and buses. They are great in NYC on foot.We arrive Monday late afternoon so we will probably just swim at the hotel on that day. We have all day Tuesday, Wed., Thurs and Fri. On Saturday we leave for a week in Whistler. Our hotel in Vancover is the Renaissance Vancouver Harbourside on West Hastings Street.
Here are the suggestions I received from Fodorites:
Canada Place
Ferry to Lonsdale Quay
Gastown
Vancouver Lookout
Storyeum (Water St)
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
Vancouver Art Gallery
Vancouver Public Library
Salmon Stream Project
Vancouver Aquarium
Miniature Train
Totem Poles Brockton Visitor Center)
Stanley Park
Granville Island
Science World
Children's Maritime Discovery Center (Vanier Park)
Grouse Mt (Can you see grizzly bear? is there a lumberjack show?)

Are there activities yu would eliminate due to weather?
Are there places I have left out?
How would you group them?
Is there public transportation from our hotel and connecting activites in one day?
Can you suggest any places to eat with kids near these place?

I would appreciate any suggestions!

Thanks,
Arleen

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    Here are my comments:

    Canada Place: The view here is nice, but there's not a whole lot to do here as a family other than to admire the view. I wouldn't make this a destination so much as a pit stop to snap a photo before heading elsewhere along the way. The view from the seawall in front of your hotel is very similar.

    Ferry to Lonsdale Quay - This is called the SeaBus (not to be confused with the BC Ferries system to Vancouver Island). The Seabus is a part of Vancouver's public transit system (called Translink) and you can hop on the Seabus at Waterfront Station which is just east of Canada Place. Lonsdale Quay is a small market - not as impressive as Granville Island Market, but if you're looking for an excuse to experience the SeaBus, this is it. If you're taking public transit to Grouse Mountain, the SeaBus will be a part of your journey.

    Gastown - Vancouver's oldest part of the city, the original townsite which was once all saloons, brothels, and logging mills. Up until 3-4 years ago I wouldn't have recommended it because compared to elsewhere in Vancouver, it was run down and full of tourist trap restaurants/souvenir shops. Now, however, it's now gentrifying and there are a lot of fantastic lounges, bars, and restaurants. Some design boutiques are opening up here too. Not sure if it's all that interesting for kids and to be honest, I wouldn't call it a family destination, but it's a great place to grab a bite/drink.

    Vancouver Lookout - A great way to see the Vancouver Skyline.

    Storyeum (Water St) - This has been closed for many years now.

    Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden - It's a very tiny garden run by a non-profit organization. Some visitors are disappointed by this place and others love it, but it's all based on your expectations. To help: It's a true authentic Chinese classical garden with rocks brought in from China and everything placed in its location with a purpose. Pay for admission and take the guided tour to fully appreciate what you're looking at. Warning: there is a "free" part of the garden which is actually not a part of the Dr Sun Yat Sen gardens...it looks like it's a part of it, but it's actually managed by the Vancouver Park's Board and none of the plants/rocks are from China or are actually placed in any meaningful way. Many people will simply walk into the free part of the park thinking they've experienced Dr Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden, but in fact, they have not.

    I should also mention that since Dr. Sun Yat Sen is located in Chinatown. Chinatown is a morning/early afternoon type of destination. Everything closes by evening. If you do stroll into Chinatown from Gastown, do so from Pender Street and not Hastings. Hastings is incredibly seedy once you go east of Homer Street. Don't worry - your hotel is on a part of Hastings that's different world away from this area.

    Vancouver Art Gallery - You can easily spend 2 hours here. There are often kids programs happening, but you'll want to double check their website to see what's happening and when.

    Vancouver Public Library - It's a fun building to explore. 6th floor has travel books on Vancouver and BC.

    Salmon Stream Project - Not sure where this is, but could refer to the salmon streams outside of the Vancouver Aquarium.

    Vancouver Aquarium - Perfectly suitable for kids. You can easily spend 2-3 hours. You can build it into your one day in Stanley Park

    Miniature Train - Small train loop in Stanley Park. Perfect for small kids. Build it into your Stanley Park daytrip.

    Totem Poles Brockton Visitor Center - Something I always find interesting, but none of these totem poles are actually indigenous to the Vancouver region; but they were imported here from elsewhere around the province. You can easily incorporate it into your day trip of Stanley Park.

    Stanley Park - you'll want to spend the whole day here. Young kids have a blast around the Second Beach area where there's a huge playground for kids.

    Granville Island - A whimsical place. Perfect place for families with small kids. The Granville Island Public Market is only one of dozens of buildings on Granville Island. Kid's Market will be a must. Also, the False Creek Community Centre will have a playground that the kids will love.

    Science World - Haven't been there in years, but all the exhibits are aimed at really young kids. They've been renovating the outside recently, but not sure what's happening inside.

    Children's Maritime Discovery Center (Vanier Park) - There are 3 museums at Vanier Park: Vancouver Maritime Museum, the Vancouver of Museum, and the HR MacMillan Space Centre. The Children's Maritime Discovery Center is merely one exhibit within the Vancouver Maritime Museum. The Space Centre is very small, but it's another excellent child-friendly destination. If you're going to go to the museums at Vanier Park, you should consider taking a False Creek Ferry/Aquabus water taxi from either Granville Island or from the False Creek seawall.

    Grouse Mt (Can you see grizzly bear? is there a lumberjack show?) - Right now there is snow at the top of Grouse Mountain, so I imagine the bears are hibernating and there aren't any lumberjack shows. I'd look up the Grouse Mountain website as I imagine they're still doing winter activities likes like skiing, ice skating, etc.

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    Saying all that... based on the weather, if on Tuesday it's cloudy but not raining, go to Stanley Park and the Vancouver Aquarium.

    On Wednesday if you're feeling up for it, take the SeaBus across to Lonsdale Quay and transfer on the bus to Grouse Mountain. Don't go up to Grouse if you have no intention of playing in the snow - it will certainly be a winter wonderland. Also, Grouse Mountain is impressive for its view, but if it's cloudy outside, you won't be able to see anything from the top of the mountain. If your only reason for going to Grouse was to see bears and lumberjack shows, I'd give it a pass.

    Instead, for Wednesday, take the bus to Granville Island. I believe it's the #50 bus. Spend the first part of the day on Granville Island. If that doesn't tire you out, then take the False Creek Ferry/Aquabus to Vanier Park and visit the Vancouver Maritime Museum. It's really a great small museum, interesting for all ages.

    Thursday I'd venture to Science World on the Skytrain. After Science World you can see if you want to visit the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Gardens, or stroll through Gastown or head up to the top of the Vancouver Lookout.

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    Friday can be a Vancouver Library/Vancouver Art Gallery kind of day. Use that day to stroll around the city. Maybe even revisit Stanley Park if you didn't get to experience as much as you had wanted.

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    Hi there,

    You have already arrived but I thought I would give my two bits. I have two kids age 4 and 7 and write about travel with kids. I am going to re-organize your list about in order of their preference (they also like transportation !)

    Vancouver Aquarium - a great way to pass a morning - you can walk to the train and there is a playground nearby (1/2 day total)
    Science World - has just been remodeled and has a great baby/toddler area (1/2 day)- combine with Kids Market at Granville Island

    Granville Island Kids Market - fantastic kids stores and activities, ducks to feed out back, cafe, playground nearby ( you can take the Aquabus from Science World (10 min?)

    Grouse Mountain Tram/Grizzly Bear Viewing is good although the mountain is receiving a ton of snow right now - hope you have warm clothes - this can be combined with the Capilano Suspension bridge which is on the way to the mountain.

    Robson Square - great covered outdoor skating rink (Robson at Howe St.)

    My kids enjoy the Big Bus also (especially the double deckers which you have to wait for sometimes).
    Canada Place - I agree, nice view but I can't think what there is for kids
    Ferry to Lonsdale Quay- my kids have done without me and enjoyed
    Gastown - super cool restaurants and stores but too seedy for kids
    Vancouver Lookout - we give it a 5/10, good view but that's it
    Storyeum (Water St) - closed a few years ago
    Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden - nice but not a great time of year
    Vancouver Art Gallery - check website for kids activities
    Vancouver Public Library - neat building, good kids area
    Salmon Stream Project - it will be wet and chilly right now - maybe take a pass
    Totem Poles Brockton Visitor Center - only if nice out
    Children's Maritime Discovery Center (Vanier Park)- my kids were not that interested in this one

    Those are our tops. I have written on my blog about things to do with kids in Whistler but this forum understandably does not allow me to publish the name of the site. If you are interested it's all in my name.

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