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Killarney Pool

Another new pool is Killarney, situated at 49 and Kerr caters to the east side of Vancouver. It’s smaller then Hillcrest but it does have a slide (both a large one and also a smaller baby slide). The kids pool is not as separate, they do have a lap pool but they also have roped off lanes in the kid area.
There are tones of toys and floating devices, there is never any waiting time for them. There is also a floaty boat which is very cool. They offer lessons and public swims.
The only downside is the change rooms. If you go during the week you risk going when the gym class at the high school is there which wouldn’t be a problem except they clog up ye change room and they also tend to change in the bathrooms where the change tables are so I’ve had to change my baby on the benches which is a bit of a pain.
One more thing, the water is a bit warmer in the play pool which is perfect for little ones! Overall a great family pool.

Hillcrest Pool

Built a couple years ago to replace the aged Percy Norman pool, Hillcrest is certainly much better! There is a lazy river, diving boards, lots of toys, a lap pool and in the summer there is an outdoor pool with spray park (the spray park is over-run with big kids and not as great to bring little ones to).

After your swim you can now get a coffee and a snack at their cafe. They have swimming lessons and birthday parties too. When I was a kid, you’d go to the pool then back to a friend’s house for the cake but at Hillcrest they have a party room! Yay, no clean up!

Hillcrest Pool Website

Family Friendly New Years Eve

Can you believe 2013 is only two days away??? I know I can’t! This year we lucked out and a friend of ours is throwing a family friendly New Years Eve party complete with crafts for kids, blow up mattresses for them to crash on and fun times for the adults, but most years we’re left wondering, what can we do that includes kids in the festivities? If you still don’t have plans and are looking for something fun to do that includes everyone, read on and cross your fingers for no rain!
This year the city of Vancouver is hosting a family friendly celebration at Robson Square. There will be music (live dj starting at 8pm), entertainment, ice skating and a countdown at 7pm and 9pm to accommodate the earlier bedtimes. To find out more, visit the event page.
Happy New Year everyone! See you in 2013.

VanDusen Festival of Lights

For its 28th year, the VanDusen Festival of Lights opened tonight (and will be open until January 1). Featuring hundreds of thousands of lights, carolers, Thomas Haas hot chocolate, music and even visits from Santa at 5:30, 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 in Santa’s living room. Click here to find out more.

VanDusen Botanical Garden is located in Vancouver at 37th and Oak easily accessible by car or transit.

When I was little, my family would go every year, a tradition I plan on continuing with my family. I remember the lights, my dad getting roasted chestnuts and trying to make us eat them – yuck! Along with the good memories, I remember waiting forever in line to buy tickets. Now you can buy them online. Brilliant! $7.75 for children (3-12),$14.25 for adults, $10.50 for youth and seniors and free for children under 2. They also have family rates of $32.50 for two adults and two children. Buy tickets.

Skating at Robson Square

Today the skating rink at Robson square (downtown at 800 Robson street between Hornby and Howe) opens and will be open until the end of February! This outdoor rink is free fun for the whole family. The rink is open 9am to 9pm except Fridays and Saturdays when it’s open until 11pm. Skating is free if you bring your own skates but for a nominal fee you can rent skates there. They also provide a concession stand to warm up with a hot drink after you’re done skating!

There are many family friendly activities planned there this season, free concerts, djs and photos with Santa. To view a schedule of events, click here. To learn more about Robson Square, click here.

Bright Nights at Stanley Park

When I was in high school my friends and I started a tradition of going to Bright Nights every year.  We would go to the petting zoo, ride the train and then we would all go out for hot chocolate.  The petting zoo is gone, but the tradition continues now that we have kids of our own.  Personally, I think it can be enjoyed by people of all ages, but probably only the little kids will want to go with their parents.  With over 2 million lights, The Vancouver Parks Board and the Fire Fighter Burn Fund run the event with partial proceeds from the train and all donations at the event help raise funds for the important work carried out by the British Columbia Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund.

I’m super excited that it opens for the season this year on Thursday!  Matinees run Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 1pm to 3pm, nightly from 3pm to 10pm (11pm on Friday and Saturday).

To find out more, visit the Vancouver Parks Board website.  To purchase tickets, visit Ticketmaster.

Peak of Christmas

Starting tomorrow and running through December 24, Grouse Mountain presents, a Peak of Christmas.  Though a bit of a more expensive family activity, $79.95 gets a family of four (two adults and two children) access to access to the Skyride, Holly the Jolly Reindeer show, antler making, sleigh rides, Gingerbread Lane, mountaintop ice-skating, Santa’s Workshop and more festive fun.  This year they have centered their festivities around REAL visiting reindeer named Dancer and Vixen.  Events include (taken from their website):

SOS Children’s Gingerbread Village (9am-10pm): Stroll through and vote for your favourite sweet creation.
 
‘Picture Yourself’ as a Reindeer (9am-10pm): See what you would look like as a reindeer before jumping on the Skyride.
 
Santa’s Workshop (12-8pm): Meet Santa in person to share those holiday wishes.
Antler Decorating & Reindeer Tattoos (11am-8pm): Decorate your own antlers and get a reindeer tattoo at the entrance to the Spirit Gallery Gift Store.
Visit Dancer and Vixen (9am-10pm): Meet two of Santa’s reindeer in the Wildlife Refuge.
Outdoor Ice Skating (9am-10pm): Enjoy the crisp mountain air as you glide atop our magical 8,000 square foot skating pond.
Holly the Jolly Reindeer Show (Fridays, 3pm, 4:30pm, 6pm; Weekends and Dec. 17-24, 11:30am, 12:30pm, 2pm, 3:30pm, 5pm, 7pm): See if Holly has what it takes to be one of Santa’s reindeer.
Reindeer Ranger Talks (Monday-Thursday until Dec 13th 11:30am, 3pm): Learn about our two reindeer Dancer and Vixen.
Mountaintop Sleigh Rides (9am-9pm, weather permitting): Embark on a magical ride through our Winter Wonderland.
Reindeer Christmas Favourites (9:30am-9pm): Watch fun family Christmas movies on the big screen in our mountaintop theatre.
They also have special events including breakfast or lunch with Santa, and skating with world champion Karen Magnussen.  To find out more, visit the Peak of Christmas website.