Visiting a beautifully landscaped garden with kids isn’t usually the first thing that springs to mind when planning a family activity. Traditionally families with young kids are looking for a place to take their offspring that provides space to move, nothing to break, and visitors who don’t care if the little ones are loud…really loud. But, I strongly recommend you consider visiting VanDusen Botanical Garden with your kids. No matter how young they are!
First off, there is space…lots of it! In fact the Garden, which is located in the heart of Vancouver, is 55 acres in size. Yes, there are gorgeously created gardens which kids can’t go traipsing through. However, there are ample wide open grassy fields just begging kids to come play. Whether rolling down hills, spinning in circles, or practicing cartwheels, there are many grassy knolls where your kids won’t bother anyone.
Second, many of the gardens have features kids will find fascinating. Whether looking for turtles in the big pond at the Garden’s entrance, or finding the monkey puzzle tree in the middle of the maze, VanDusen Botanical Garden will keep kids interested. Our boys love the covered tunnel, the weeping willow hideaway by the waterfall, and the endless paths to explore. Sure the little ones’ legs will get tired but that’s what strollers are for. If the kids are too big for strollers, just focus on how well your kids will sleep following a day of exercise & fresh air.
Third, VanDusen Botanical Garden plays host to some truly wonderful & family-friendly events throughout the year. A must-do holiday events, is the VanDusen Festival of Lights. Every year the event gets bigger and more and more lights are added. Whether watching one of the 3 light shows, or exploring the new kid zone, everyone will be dazzled by the Christmas light spectacular. A new event for 2016 is the VanDusen Glow in the Garden. Lights, ghoulish music, glowing pumpkins, and kid crafts will be lots of fun. VanDusen Garden also hosts many family-friendly workshops & lessons.
So don’t be daunted by the idea of taking your children to a garden with over 7,500 different kinds of plants assembled from six continents! Your whole family will enjoy the picturesque landscape settings, such as the Rhododendron Walk, or Sino Himalayan Garden, set amidst rolling lawns, tranquil lakes and dramatic rock work, with vistas of the mountains and Vancouver cityscape.
VanDusen Botanical Garden:
Dates: open every day except Christmas Day (December 25th)
Hours: check website for current hours as they vary with the seasons
Address: 5251 Oak Street, Vancouver