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Dear Grandparents. We love you, especially at Christmas. But this year, please stop…

Dear Grandparents…

We love you. Especially at Christmas time. As Moms, we love that you adore the handmade cards and crafts that our children make you. We swoon when we see our children running into your arms on Christmas Day. We love that you’re a big part of their lives and are so grateful for everything you do for them. But…

This Christmas, can you do us a favour? Please STOP buying our kids more toys!

Don’t get me wrong. I know you LOVE to spoil our children, and want to give them everything in the world, but we’re drowning. Seriously, swimming in too many toys, and we’re worried that our children don’t appreciate what you’re giving them, and don’t even have the opportunity to really use the toys. Just last week I found THREE Christmas presents that have not yet been opened!

And it’s not your fault… you grew up in a generation of consumerism. Where the American dream was a tree surrounded by 6 feet worth of presents.  And Christmas is about giving, about spoiling one another, and about family, but I’m afraid we’ve gone so overboard that we’re overwhelmed. And it’s not just me… it’s all the talk among the schoolyard parents… we’re all struggling with this first-world problem.

But there’s a solution… and we’re here to help! Here’s a list of the top 20 Best Christmas Experience Gifts in Vancouver that you can give your grandchildren this year! Not only will these fun activities create great memories, but they will also instill the value and importance of spending time together over the consumption of “stuff.”

Ultimate Guide for Grandparents

 

Vancouver Aquarium

This was my daughters favorite Christmas present last year… she was able to do an animal encounter with her favorite mammals, Otters. Not only do you get a trip to the Aquarium but you also get a behind the scenes look at their residents. Encounters include visits with penguins, dolphins, otters and more! 

Location: Vancouver

Cost: $38 Adults, $21 Children. Family Annual Pass $199

Animal Enounter: Prices Vary but start around $60 per person.

Website: www.vanaqua.org

Best time to visit: Open year round

E-Cards Available: Yes – http://www.vanaqua.org/visit/facility/gift-cards

Gift (if you must): A sea animal orca to go along with the gift card.

 

Britannia Mines

How many times have you driven by the Britannia Mine Museum and said, “We should stop there someday!” Well, time to put it on your 2017 calendar and take the grandkids on a day trip with you!

Location: Brittania Beach (Just south of Squamish)

Cost: $27 Adults, $18.50 Children. Family Annual Pass $140

Website: http://www.britanniaminemuseum.ca/

Best time to visit: Open year round

E-Cards Available: Yes – http://www.britanniaminemuseum.ca/OrderRetrievev2.aspx?CatalogueID=21131

Gift (if you must): A book about mining

 

Snow Tubing at Cypress Mountain

Imagine flying down the hill listening to your grandchildren screaming their heads off and laughing. Does being a Grandparent get any cooler than this?

Location: West Vancouver  

Cost: $22

Website: http://www.cypressmountain.com/snowtubing

Best time to visit: December – February

E-Cards Available: No

Gift (if you must): A new toque

 

Bowling

When is the last time you went bowling? Or maybe you’re a regular bowler and want to show off your moves? Grab a pizza and book some lanes and having fun showing off your strikes and spares to your grandkids.

Location: Available in most cities

Cost: $25 average price per game for a family

Website: Google search for the one nearest you

Best time to visit: Open year round. Be sure to call ahead in case of special events.

E-Cards Available: Check your location.

Gift (if you must): Glow in the dark t-shirt for night time bowling.

 

Family Kayaking Tour

Hop into a single or double kayak and get exploring the ocean! Tour guides will educate you about proper kayak use and safety. Learn about all the creatures and plants found in our local waters while you paddle close to the shoreline.

Location: Deep Cove, North Vancouver

Cost: Tour prices vary. Approximately $80 for adults, $50 for children for a 3 hour tour.

Website: http://www.deepcovekayak.com/

Best time to visit: Open year round!

E-Cards Available: Yes, visit their website to choose the tour that’s right for you.

Gift (if you must): Bathing Suit

 

Fly Over Canada

This international attraction is often overlooked by locals. However, with their ever-changing shows and awesome interaction with the audience, it truly is an experience the whole family will love.

Location: Vancouver

Cost: Adults $28.05 Children $19.55

Website: https://www.flyovercanada.com/

Best time to visit: Open year round.

E-Cards Available: Yes – https://shop.omniticket.com/foc/index.cfm?performanceID=117574

Gift (if you must): Toy Airplane

 

Capilano Suspension Bridge

Whether you’re heading to Capilano for a Christmas themed tour under the lights, or taking in their tree top adventures in the summer, Capilano is one of Vancouver’s quintessential experiences everyone should have!

Location: North Vancouver

Annual Passes: Adults $46.95, Children $14.95 (Same price as admission so worth it to get annual passes for everyone!)  

Website: https://www.capbridge.com/

Best time to visit: Open year round.

E-Cards Available: Yes – https://estore.capbridge.com/estore/Default.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

Gift (if you must): Basket of hiking snacks (granola bars, gummy fruit, water bottle)

 

Harbour Cruises

Our city is beautiful, especially when experienced from the water. Whether you treat the family to a daytime cruise, or a nighttime lights excursion, it really is a great way to see the best of Vancouver. 

Location: Vancouver

Cost: Adults $38.95, Children $12.00

Website: https://www.boatcruises.com/tour.php?pv=p5

Best time to visit: Open year round. Day trips, sunset cruises, fireworks cruises and carol shop cruises all available.

E-Cards Available: Yes – https://www.boatcruises.com/book_Harbour-Tours.php

Gift (if you must): Book about Vancouver

 

Stanley Park Horse Drawn Tours

The Stanley Park Horse Drawn Tours are an excellent combination of educational stories and facts combined with beautiful scenery and experiences. Our children loved touring through the park in a carriage being pulled by the horses!

Location: Stanley Park

Cost: Adults $42.86, Children $19.05

Website: http://www.stanleypark.com/

Best time to visit: March to October

E-Cards Available: http://www.vancouverattractions.com/buy-now

Gift (if you must): Daypack or water bottle for your adventure day.

 

Vancouver Art Gallery

Do you have a passion for art? Do your grandkids? Want to introduce them to a new experience? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions then the Vancouver Art Gallery may be the perfect fit for you!

Location: Vancouver

Cost: Family $55, Adults $24.00, Children $6.50

Website: http://www.vanartgallery.bc.ca/

Best time to visit: Open year round – check for holiday closures

E-Cards Available: Yes – https://tickets.vanartgallery.bc.ca/Commerce.Web/product_list.aspx?catID=42

Gift (if you must): Arts and Craft Supplies

 

Vancouver Trolley Company

Spend the day being a tourist in your own town! Enjoy the hop on, hop off capacity of your tour and check out Vancouver’s most popular destinations with your family.

Location: Vancouver

Cost: Dependent on tour type

Website: http://www.vancouvertrolley.com/

Best time to visit: Open year round – check website for times

E-Cards Available: Yes – http://www.vancouvertrolley.com/buy-tickets

Gift (if you must):  Book about Vancouver

 

WESTCOAST Sightseeing Tours

Enjoy the buzz of people seeing Vancouver for the first time! Tour around some of our most picturesque stops and take photos that will last you a lifetime. The kids are only going to be little for so long!

Location: Various Tour Locations (Vancouver, Victoria, North Shore, Whistler, Seasonal and Christmas Tours)

Cost: Tour Dependent, visit website for details

Website: https://westcoastsightseeing.com/

Best time to visit: Open Year Round (check website for tour hours)

E-Cards Available: Yes, through website.

Gift (if you must): Children’s Binoculars

 

Science World

There’s nothing like hands-on learning and there’s no place to indulge in that like Science World. Block yourself off for the day and head down to Vancouver’s most famous golf ball!

Location: Vancouver

Cost: $25 Adult, $20.25 Senior/Youth, $17 Child, 3 and Under Free (Omnimax Films are Extra). Yearly Family Membership $195

Website: https://www.scienceworld.ca/

Best time to visit: Open Year Round (closed Mondays and Christmas Day)

E-Cards Available: Yes – http://tickets.scienceworld.ca/default.aspx

Gift (if you must): Science Set

 

Sea to Sky Gondola

One of our newest attractions, the Sea to Sky Gondola is a great place for families to visit. Not only is it accessible for all family members (wide stroller-friendly trails), but there’s lots to do and see once you get to the top. Be sure to check their special event schedule and visit when they have extra activities going on up top.

Location: Squamish

Cost: $41.95Adult, $37.95 Senior, $24.95 Youth, $13.95 Child, 5 and Under Free

Website: https://www.seatoskygondola.com/

Best time to visit: Open Year Round (check website for seasonal hours)

E-Cards Available: Yes – https://www.seatoskygondola.com/store

Gift (if you must): Hiking gear (whistle, ropes, map)

 

Passes To The Local Rec Centre

When was the last time you threw on your swimsuit and joined your grandkids at the pool. It would truly make their day to see you splashing around in the pool, or better yet, hitting the slide with them!

Location: Available in most cities

Cost: $12 average price per drop in visit for a family

Website: Google search for the one nearest you

Best time to visit: Open year round. Be sure to call ahead in case of special events.

E-Cards Available: Check your location.

Gift (if you must): Goggles

 

Burnaby Village Museum

Take a step back in time at the Burnaby Village Museum. If you’re looking for an extra special visit, plan your trip around one of the times when they are all dressed up for a special celebration.

Location: Deer Lake Park, Burnaby

Cost: Free Admission (Carousel Rides – $2.65 each)

Website: http://www.burnabyvillagemuseum.ca/

Best time to visit: November 19, 2016 – January 2, 2017 (Heritage Christmas) / March (Spring Break) / May 2017 – September 2017 (Summer Season) / October (Haunted Village)

E-Cards Available: No

Gift (if you must): History Book

 

H.R. MacMillan Space Centre

There’s nothing like looking up at the stars… especially when you’re peeking through Vancouver’s biggest telescope! This gift is not only fun but it’s also uber-educational!

Location: Vanier Park, Vancouver

Cost: $19 Adult, $15 Youth/Senior, $14 Child, 5 and under FREE, Family Rate $56

Vanier Park ExplorePass (Museum of Vancouver, Maritime Museum and Space Centre) $36 Adult, $30 Youth/Senior http://www.spacecentre.ca/explore-pass

Website: http://www.spacecentre.ca/

Best time to visit: Open All Year (check website for hours)

E-Cards Available: No

Gift (if you must): Buy a star!

 

Tickets to the Vancouver Giants

The Vancouver Giants hockey team have settled into their new home in Langley and have really been showing off their skills! Not only are they great on the ice, but their games are engaging for children due to the on ice entertainment, giveaways, and games. Take the family out to the game and cheer on the local team!

Location: Langley Event Centre

Cost: $19.50-$30.00

Website: http://www.vancouvergiants.com/

Best time to visit: Check website for Game Days and Times

E-Cards Available: Yes – http://www.ticketrocket.co/event/season/103

Gift (if you must): Hockey Jersey

 

Tickets to a movie

Everyone loves going to see a movie, however, these days taking the family can cost an arm and a leg. Why not spoil the crew (and buy popcorn too) by planning a family movie date!

Location: Various Locations throughout the Lower Mainland

Cost: $13 Adult, $9 Child, $9.50 Senior, 3 and under FREE

Website: https://www.cineplex.com/

Best time to visit: Open All Year

E-Cards Available: Yes – http://www.cineplex.com/Promos/eGiftCard

Gift (if you must): Box of candy

 

Family Baking Day

There’s nothing like making a mess in the kitchen with kids! How about creating some special treats and some wonderful memories, all at home!

Location: At Home!

Cost: Cost of supplies

Recipe Website: http://allrecipes.com/

Best time to do the activity: Planning for a special event? Or are the kids off on early dismissal one day? Any day is a good day for baking with grandparents!

Gift (if you must): Apron

 

Hell’s Gate Airtram

Next time you’re headed out on a family vacation, make plans to stop at the iconic Hell’s Gate Airtram. Or, plan a special adventure day and take your family on a ride across the Fraser River!

Location: Boston Bar (2.5 Hours from Vancouver)

Cost: $24 Adult, $18 Child, 5 and under FREE,

Website: http://www.hellsgateairtram.com/

Best time to visit: Open April through October

E-Cards Available: Yes – https://secure.ticket-ops.com/Hells_Gate_Airtram/eDirect

Gift (if you must): B.C. Gold Rush History Book

Now you are armed with some amazing experience-based gift ideas! Just wait for the look of excitement on the grandkids faces when they unwrap the coolest gifts from Grandma and Grandpa!

3 comments

Jami

I’m a Family Travel Writer based out of beautiful Vancouver, BC. Our family adventures take take us all over BC, Alberta and the Pacific Northwest. You'll regularly see us hiking, biking, snowboarding, wakeboarding, and camping our way around the province. Our passion is recreation and our mission is to explore and protect this beautiful earth of ours.

JamiDear Grandparents. We love you, especially at Christmas. But this year, please stop…

3 comments

Join the conversation
  • Maureen - December 3, 2016 reply

    Great ideas! I’m a grandparent and agree kids have way too many things!
    On another note… As a retired teacher I have noticed recently how many people misuse the apostrophe!!!!!
    In your first sentence you wrote mom’s instead of the plural, moms. Hope you don’t mind this small correction!

  • Amy - December 7, 2016 reply

    Hi there – just to confirm Deep Cove Kayak is not open all year round 🙂 We are open for rentals from March to October, and are only running Winter Tours on select weekends through the winter which you can pre-book through our website here: http://www.deepcovekayak.com/kayak/kayak-tours/winter-tours/

  • Nina - January 25, 2017 reply

    this is a brilliant list. 🙂

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