We have two favourite haunts in Maple Ridge: Big Feast and Maple Ridge Park. Every few weeks either my husband or I wake up with the desire for a Big Feast breakfast. He is keen on the green eggs and ham; I love the spinach eggs benny (with yummy artichoke hearts). The food is FANTASTIC! However, what makes Big Feast so special is the marrying of great food with a super kid-friendly environment. When you arrive colouring sheets and crayons are brought to the table. The wait-staff immediately help adhere highchairs to the dining chairs. While you look over the menu, a play area does a fantastic job of keeping the kidlets entertained. The kids’ section of the menu is fun and healthy. From yogi-o’s (cheerios and yogurt) to cheesy eggs with toast to homemade granola, there is plenty to tempt any fussy eater.
I most most appreciative of the fact the kids’ meals come out as soon as they are ready, regardless of whether the parents’ meals are ready. The early arrival means you can help get the kids started eating and save yourself from children falling apart due to hunger. Even the delivery system for the kids’ meals is fun: a metal section-plate in the shape of a school bus. Each kids’ meal comes with an organic juice box, fruit salad and a homemade cookie.
Big Feast is so kid-friendly they even offer kids’ cooking classes! As I type I can feel a craving for Big Feast coming on. Recently they have started a dinner service. We haven’t tried it yet; I’m thinking tonight might be the night!
When we have stuffed ourselves silly we head down the road to Maple Ridge Park. It is a spectacular park. The playground has numerous climbing, spinning, and swinging activity-centres. The best part – the playground is at the base of massive evergreens. It is perfect for the summer when the heat is ridiculous and your kid is already sporting 6 layers of sunscreen. It is also great in the rain, the big trees keep the excessive raindrops at bay.
In addition to the playground there is a water park. In fact there are two water parks: one for the bigger kids (meaning 3+) and one for the little guys. The water park turns on in June and runs until September. Surrounding the playground and water parks are benches, picnic tables, a huge green space, the essential out-houses and walking paths.
If you haven’t headed out to Maple Ridge in a while, these two locations justify the trip. When heading out from Vancouver take Exit 44 and head towards the Hwy 7B E, get onto the Mary Hill Bypass which will lead you to the Lougheed Hwy. From downtown Vancouver it is about a 40 minute drive.