My advice to families planning their visits to Vancouver, B.C.? Block out an entire day for a visit to Granville Island. Here are five tips to help you get the most from your time there:
1. Arrive by Ferry – One of our favorite outings in Vancouver was our visit to Granville Island. We arrived on one of the False Creek Ferries, which is definitely a must-do activity when visiting Vancouver with kids and is also a very fun way to arrive at the island. Ferries run to and from the island constantly. Bringing your stroller onboard is no problem, just know that you will need to take your child out of it (sleeping or not) and fold it for the ride.
2. Enjoy the Street Performers – We made our way up from the docks to the sounds of bagpipes, and there at the top was the musician himself, kilt-clad and magnificent against the Vancouver waterfront. So inspiring was the scene that our daughters spontaneously began dancing a jig while we could only laugh, grab the camera and a tip for the bagpiper. We also enjoyed a fire-juggling comedian, flamenco dancers, and other talented musicians around Granville Island.
3. Visit the Kids Market – I’d been very curious to see what the Kids Market was exactly, and as you’ll see in the video clips it’s an area where you could end up spending quite a bit of time with children, between the shopping for magnificent kites or puppets, the 2-story play zone with slides into a ball pit ($5.95 Canadian – bring or rent socks), little kiddie rides ($1 Canadian, or free if you let your toddler pretend to use his car keys!), and an ice cream / snack bar. Behind the Kids Market, we also find face painting, henna tattoos for kids, and more musicians.
4. Be Prepared for the Water Park – There is a terrific, free water park operating on the island in summer months. If there’s any chance you’ll make a stop there, and if you’re visiting with kids in warm weather you should, be sure to throw your bathing suits and sun block in your daypack, and a hand towel wouldn’t hurt either.
5. Visit the Playground – My video doesn’t do this playground justice, but you can trust me that it is quite large and is apparently popular for birthday parties (two were in progress while we were there). At the edge of it, a face painter transformed children into butterflies. The large lawn beside it is also a perfect spot to bring your picnic of goodies from the markets.
Now, click here or click the video frame above for a virtual trip to Granville Island.
Related posts and pages:
Tips for visiting the Vancouver Aquarium
Review of The Modage – Vancouver vacation rental
Hooray, hooray for Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe
Tips from a local mom: Moms Around the World, Vancouver
Find baby gear rentals in Vancouver, BC
Shelly Rivoli, author of the award-winning guide Travels with Baby