I’d never been to the Capilano Suspension Bridge before but as a kid growing up in Alberta it was one of those “must see” Vancouver attractions that we’d hear about, so when we had out of town guests recently we decided it was time to see the bridge. On a drizzly mid-week day (no crowds!), we headed off into the rainforest and were totally wowed. What a spectacular attraction! Capilano Suspension Bridge Park has done an impressive job of turning what was once just a bridge into an entertaining and educational nature preserve where we learned about bugs, birds, rocks, fish, water conservation and the difference between species of trees in the rainforest. The treetop adventure, rainforest walk, cliff walk and of course the bridge itself all combine for a great adventure.
They do a great job of engaging the children by encouraging the collection of stamps (from an old style press) on the attraction map at 5 different locations, the opportunity to be a rainforest explorer and earn a badge and an “I made it across the bridge” certificate at the end. The kids in our crew included my 5 & 7 Year old, plus our friends 4 year old and they had a great time as they went about with their maps searching for clues. The kids thought it was loads of fun to run across the forest paths, call to each other across the treetops, and act like young Indiana Jones’ crossing the main span pretending they were being chased by villains.
We may have broken a few rules however, like holding onto small children and not letting them run, but they were so delighted and had such a great time crossing the bridges in the treetop adventure that we couldn’t help but smile as we watched them gain confidence and explore independently while we watched at a slower pace. Had the park been more crowded, we certainly would have kept them closer but it was very quiet that day and a treat to be almost alone in the rainforest.
If you are afraid of heights, you may have some difficulty crossing the bridge. The 150 meter span is 80 meters off the canyon floor and delightfully wobbly! Out of our group of 7 there was one adult who did not enjoy the crossing but the kids did just fine after some initial trepidation.
The cliffwalk was spectacular as you walk a pathway attached to the rock cliff wall arching out over the canyon. The structural engineer in our group spent more time looking at the fastenings and joints in the rocks then enjoying the vista below him but I think that is part of the experience; there is so much to see and learn.
Now I won’t pretend we didn’t experience some sticker shock. Although children up to 6 are free, admission for our family was around $85. However as BC residents we chose to turn that into an annual pass which includes admission to the Canyon Lights display at Christmastime. That definitely makes the admission price much more palatable since we plan on going back at least one more time. You can also use your BCAA membership for 10% off the single admission.
And a final word of caution; you cannot take a stroller into this facility, which is also not wheelchair accessible. There are many steps, lots of climbing and some narrow paths. So unless your child can walk on their own or you can carry them in a secure device, you may want to wait until they are a little older.
If you’ve never been to this landmark or if you just haven’t been since you were a kid, it’s definitely time to see it now!