Sometimes no matter how far ahead you plan, vacation gets all messed up.

Our original plan for Spring Break was a camping trip down to Disneyland, but it turned out my husband couldn’t get enough time off. Our back up plan was to visit Mount St Helens then camp in Oregon for a week but a few days before we were going to leave, we saw that the weather was going to be the pits all the way down the coast. So rather than be stuck in a 200 square foot tin can with each other for a week in the rain, we decided to stay home and see what Vancouver and surrounding area has to offer.

We’ve done the Aquarium, and we prefer Stanley Park in the summer when we can play on the beaches, and we went to Science World about a month ago we weren’t ready for another visit yet.  Although, since the Lego Castle exhibit opened this week, we will definitely head back before it’s done on May 21.

The first place we visited was the HR MacMillan Space Centre:

We chose the Space Centre because the kids had displayed such an interest in the recent planetary conjunction of Jupiter and Venus. I’m glad we went because it’s in such a cool building.

I loved the architecture (it even looks a bit like a space ship!) and spent much of my time looking up and taking in all the mid-century groovy details and it’s in the beautiful Vanier Park which has such gorgeous views. If we’d been thinking ahead, we would have given ourselves more time and checked out the Museum of Vancouver or the Vancouver Maritime Museum in Vanier Park too.


Crab sculpture in front of Space Centre

Crab sculpture in front of Space Centre


We paid about $40 for our family (my son is not yet 5 so his admission was free) and it was a reasonable amount. (We paid about $80 for Science World and even though there is a lot to see, I think that is really steep. The annual membership definitely makes sense there because you can keep going back to see what you missed and your cost per visit goes down)

Lee launching misson to Mars

Parents get to play too!


The Space Centre is having events for the Spring Break, but I admit I was a little disappointed by the black hole ‘talk’. I expected it to be a bit more involved than a guy sitting around a table with some craft materials. I didn’t see any pictures or other displays (although the lighting was dim so I may have missed it) and when we got there, the table was packed with kids jockeying to do their craft, so we moved on before hearing if there was any more to it.

There are lots of neat things to see and interactive displays. My husband was sad he couldn’t finish his mission to Mars before we moved into the talk and demonstration on the Color of Fire and then to the Planetarium Star Theatre for ‘Harold’s’ talk on the Solar system. We loved Harold. I thought it was a great way to engage the kids, especially younger ones, by giving the projector a name and personality.


Canada Place:

My in-laws decided since we weren’t going anywhere they’d come to visit us and they came for a week. We were going to go check out the Vancouver Art Gallery one afternoon, but we were feeling so sluggish after a nice lunch that we decided to go visit the “Lego Orca”  (with apologies to Douglas Coupland…) on Canada Place and walk around the water. I love the architecture at Canada Place and the convention centre. I like all the wood they used and the public art; they did a great job.

Douglas Couplands Digital Orca

Douglas Coupland’s Digital Orca

The kids love running around the Jack Poole Plaza. Coming from Canada’s other winter Olympic City, I get a great kick out of visiting the Cauldron, or the “Fortress of Solitude” fountain as our kids call it  (we’d just watched the original Superman for family movie night). Trying to splash in the fountain is as great a draw for them as climbing on the orca despite my admonitions and the teeny tiny signage…


Kids splashing in Cauldron Fountain

Tiny sign on Digital Orca


Seeing the float planes land, the entertainers and simply people watching is always fun for us.  We also enjoyed the interpretive panels along the seawall and public art. So we got our art fix after all and it was free! 🙂

We left refreshed after walking around for an hour and felt like we’d thoroughly enjoyed this tourist attraction.


My in laws reminisced about a visit to Vancouver and Whistler about 20 years ago and my father in law mentioned that he liked Steveson. Since I’d never been there I suggested we go to Pajos in Steveson for lunch and we could wander around and watch the boats.

It was a gorgeous, sunny but windy day so we didn’t end up walking around for too long, but my kids loved the dock, watching the boats and the fisherman selling their wares (despite the aroma). Because of the wind, we ended up indoors at the Blue Canoe but the kids finished off with an ice cream cone on the wharf. The great thing about going to Steveson at this time of year (I’m told) is you can actually find parking and walk around without huge crowds. I’m looking forward to a repeat visit.

The second week of spring break will be spent a little closer to home. We think we’ll visit one of the indoor play places and maybe investigate the indoor beach I’ve heard about and the Mine Museum at Britannia Beach is another attraction that we’ve had our eyes on visiting too. Stay tuned!

There’s still several days of Spring Break left; what are you doing around Metro Vancouver this spring break?