It’s sunny here in Vancouver! Is anyone wondering what to do? It’s really very easy to get stuck in a rut, or to be blocked in by plans and schedules. I’ve got an idea for a ‘series’ of posts. Fridays I’ll try to post ideas for families to get outside and enjoy themselves at relatively low cost and effort. Pack up a picnic, include lots of water and sunscreen, and get on the other side of that door! Call up your neighbours and get them to come too.
Of course, if you don’t live in Vancouver, the ideas should still transfer to wherever you are. Google is your friend.
You know that playground you drive past or ride the bus past? Instead of your usual one, head there! If you’ve got the time, maybe try two new playgrounds. This is your chance to broaden your repertoire, see what else is out there, and maybe discover new play places and friends. Consider a new playground every week or so, and keep a map so you know where the good ones were, and which ones were duds. Our favourites so far have been Second Beach (firetruck), Science World’s, and the one by Broadway close to the Knight St. 99Bline stop.
Beach. Duh. Pack up a picnic, and a big bag of sand toys. Use some of those yogurt tubs and other plastic recyclables for sand castle making, but remember to take them home with you for the recycling bin. Dig in the sand, find a rocky patch and see what’s under there, play tag. Go on a treasure hunt – who can find the most pink things? Bring a ball to kick around – running in the sand is great exercise. Find out when low tide is, as that’s your maximum beach space time, and on a weekend like this one promises to be you know it’ll be crowded. Earlier in the day is a good bet as well. Low tide at Spanish Banks is marvelous. Jericho has parks, and you can watch the sailing clubs launch and head off.
Go fly a kite! Great spots to do this are any of the beaches, Vanier Park, Trout Lake, and on Burnaby Mountain. Just keep your eye out for trees and wires.
Go see where your salmon dinner started off (you ARE buying wild-caught, aren’t you?) There’s a salmon hatchery up Capilano River, and I’m told it’s free to walk around, and there are forest paths to explore as well. This isn’t the same as a fish farm – the fish get released as fry. Enjoy the sense of macabre, pack salmon sandwiches. There’s another one on Seymour River, but it doesn’t look easy to visit.
Visit the UBC Farm, and learn about where food comes from. Another place to see plants growing, in case you don’t have a garden, is Van Dusen Gardens – they usually have a large vegetable garden. Visit the Farmer’s Market (there are three in Vancouver on Saturdays). Buy your week’s veggies, fruits, cheese, eggs (fresh! What a difference!) seafood, meats … heck, even bread. It’s local! Best time to head there is early, before pickings get slim.
Speaking of gardening, why not make one yourself? Container gardens flourish on balconies, patios, and small back yards. You don’t have to spend a mint on the containers (but you could grow mint), and if you’re composting you’ve got great stuff to mix in with the soil! East Vancouver’s Farmers Market is having a garden festival this weekend, complete with activities for the kids, seedlings to plant, and how-to sessions.
It’s a bit of a drive from the city, but why not visit the Reifel Bird Sanctuary? There are lots of paths to walk down, channels and ponds with nesting birds to see. Buy some food for the ducks, too. Should be a good time for seeing ducklings and goslings! A closer option is Burnaby Lake, which is also frequented by migrating visitors. Bring a bird field guide if you have one to either place!
There – that’s just a starter of things to do in Vancouver. I’d love to hear other ideas! Adventure doesn’t have to mean racing down whitewater rapids. It’s nothing more than pushing your boundaries, trying something you haven’t done before. Go out and enjoy yourself, and have an adventure. Then come back and share what you did!