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When you travel with kids, a park can be a lifesaver: a place to run around, point little fingers at birds... This 1000-acre Park is all the above and is also the city's prime tourist attraction.
Call it either the heart or the lung of the city, Vancouverites of all ages flock to this place. Most of the Park's 1000 acres is forest with well-marked trails, but there are many other areas to explore.
The Park is named for Lord Stanley, Governor General of Canada in the late 1800s (and originator of hockey's famous Stanley Cup). Vancouver's first City Council petitioned the federal government for use of a peninsula that had been set aside as a military reserve. Thus the city became blessed with a huge park right near downtown.
- " To the use and enjoyment of people of all colours, creeds and customs for all time". --Lord Stanley, at the Park dedication.
A five-mile seawall circles the Park, and legions of parents walk strollers along this route. Lost Lagoon is a great area for a shorter walk, with many ducks, geese, and even swans to thrill toddlers.
Here's a list of areas, attractions, and activities that are great for kids:
Stanley Park Vancouver - Kids' Style
Stanley Park Vancouver: entrance area
- play pitch and putt (half-way between English Bay and Second Beach)
- play on the big swings and playground at Second Beach
- summertime: swim at the beach, or in the heated outdoor salt-water pool at Second Beach.
- wander around Lost Lagoon, looking at the ducks and swans and nests (right near the Park entrance)
- take a Guided Nature Walk at the Lost Lagoon Nature House
- try the inexpensive programs for families offered by the Stanley Park Ecology Society (build a bird habitat, find stream creatures, etc.)
Stanley Park Vancouver: around the seawall
- walk around the seawall, or at least part-way; the full walk is five miles. See photos.
- rent bikes and ride around the seawall in the special bike lane-- or roller-blade around. (Bike rental shops often rent 'blades too.) Try a tandem bike with your child!
- take a horse-drawn carriage tour
- take a free trolley bus during summer months
- visit the lighthouse at Brockton Point (a 20-minute walk from the park entrance)
- check out Brockton area totem poles and Visitors Centre
- hear the 9:00 gun fire: a bit of Vancouver local life
- walking left from the park entrance, you can walk past Second Beach to Third Beach and Siwash Rock. The walk is about 1/2 hour each way; food is available at Second and Third Beach.
- in summer: swim at Third Beach (15 minute walk past Second Beach)
- visit the Vancouver Aquarium, a 10-minute walk from the Park entrance
- in summer, play in the small water park area at Lumberman's Arch, on the seawall just down the hill from the miniature train. (No waterslides, just some fountains, squirters, etc., but still lots of fun.)
-See more about the Miniature Railroad, when it becomes the Halloween Ghost Train Ride
-Check prices for Vancouver BC hotels, at Kayak.com
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