I have been planning to visit my cousin in Vancouver, Canada for the past two years. I keep on delaying it because of pregnancy and bad weather and expensive flight tickets. Finally, I found a travelzoo airfare deal that's under $300 for each of the adults. Raphy had to pay adult price since he's over 2 years old but, Audrey gets to fly free I've had the kids passport ready since they were couple of months old so I didn't have to do any last minute preps on that end. Alejandro found North Vancouver hotel as a good place with free breakfast and wifi (and bike rentals, too!).
It was our first trip outside of US with the kids so we were curious on what it will be like. Fortunately, Vancouver is a great city with lots to offer. Soon as we drove out of the airport, the first thing we noticed are the green mountains with some ice on the top. The streets are filled with beautiful trees and the houses are interesting and nice. We spent the afternoon at Kitsilano. They have a huge and such a wonderful community garden - everywhere! The kids love the playground and walking through the gardens, checking out different kinds of interesting plants (most I've never seen before in my entire life) and vegetables and garden art. It was a great afternoon to start our trip. We even got couple of jackets from the Salvation Army store. I got a 2010 Olympics jacket and Alejandro got a Dickies outdoor jacket he's been looking for a while. Alejandro got us a take-out chinese food for dinner and brought it at the hotel. It was delicious! Best chinese food we've had!
It was rainy the next morning, so we decided to spend sometime at Vancouver Gallery store. The kids are not quite that ready for the museum. One thing I didn't like with Vancouver is the pricey parking! When the sun came out, we started walking around. There was a group that's setting up for a rally for #BringBackOurGirls. I asked for a shirt so I can wear it in US for awareness. They're nice enough to give me one. I had Alejandro wear it and take a picture with Audrey in front of the gallery. Put it up at change.org to sign the petition. From the gallery, we walked to the library and had lunch on our way back from a ramen place. Kids love the noodles and teriyaki chicken with rice. We went back to the car and drove around downtown, following the map to check out other spots. We decided to park by the Olympic Torch and walk around the Village. Couple of Princess Cruise are docked there and they're huge! We had couple of good samaritans help us down the stairs with the strollers. Elevators are not easy to find around here. Our best stop is Mink Cafe - best mocha ever!!! It was so pure and so tasty that you'll be satisfied to not have chocolates for a while.
Next day, we meet up with my cousin, Dianne, and her hubby, John, at Lynn Canyon suspension bridge. Kids love it! Great free outdoor place. They have a cafe but it's close for the season. We had a huge breakfast at Tomahawk Restaurant. They have big servings and I really enjoyed their Canadian bacon. We drove to Science World and walked to the boat launch to Granville Village and pretty much spent the whole day there. They have a huge market place that has the yummiest food but the kids play area and stores are not that great. They enjoy it outside by the dock more, where they can run around and chase birds. We stop by the Queen Elizabeth garden. The dome was closed but we enjoyed the scenic view of Vancouver from up there and the garden was bursting with different, pretty shades of colors. Our last stop was at the China town to grab dinner to go. Can't wait until we see them again on our next visit.
We started our 3rd day at Crema Cafe in North Vancouver. Great coffee and selections of pastries and desserts!. There was a new playground few blocks from it that we found and it's right next to the train tracts. It was the best playground I've ever seen and great for all ages. It's right next to the water, which makes the location even better. They have several sand boxes with pirate-ship looking structures. They have xylophones for kids to make music. They have differetn obstacle structures for the older kids. They have a big swing and all the fun stuff to keep the kids entertained for hours. We drove to Stanley Park and tried to find the zoo but it's closed. Anything else they have there is for a fee. It's a great place to run or if you just want to lay in the grass but there's nothing much there. So, we head out to Maplewood Farm - our favorite spot for the kids. It's a bit of a drive but the kids love all the barn animals. It's not too big that they'll get tired walking. They have all kinds of barn animals to pet and watch. Raphy loved riding the tractor for kids and he even started talking to the horses. He loves petting the goats, bunnies, and guinea pigs. On our way back, we did a short hike to the Light House and even stoped by another market place. Unfortunately, most of the shops were closed.
On our final day, we started our day trying more delicious chocolates and awesome coffee at Thomas Haas. It's next to a trail that we get to walk the kids at the trail a bit to a look out before heading to Capilano Suspension Bridge. Capilano is a great place to spend a whole day with your family. They have a lot of nature activities. We get to walk on the tree-top bridges and the skywalk and the suspension bridge! They have nice shops and beautiful grounds. The kids got tired exploring and walking and just fell asleep on our way to the airport.