We all wistfully count every summer moment with our kids, knowing that there will be a time when there are no more long, lazy days. Sometime in August, though, a chorus of ‘I’m Bored!’ rings through the house. The blowup backyard wading pool has lost its intrigue and you are breaking all of your parenting rules by caving in to extending their gaming time on a daily basis. By now, camps are all full and also expensive. Take a deep breath, because there are some amazing options!
You’ve been using your AIR MILES card for years now, but it may not have occurred to you that travel experiences can happen in your own city or one further afield! Recently, AIR MILES has expanded their offerings to include more selection in Rewards that are under 1000 Miles, like discounts on movie tickets, access to perks and ‘show your card benefits’ and increased merchandise and experiences. Your Dream Miles can be redeemed for incredible family adventures, events and attractions – either in your own city or on the other side of the country.
The boys and I experienced one of our favourite Vancouver outings and I would never have thought that our magnificent day could happen all because of AIR MILES rewards! The Vancouver Aquarium is packed with learning, shows, and of course – sea life. The views are constantly changing, and each time we go our respect for animals and the planet grows so much that we try to become more careful at protecting the environment. You can use your Dream Miles (340 reward miles) for a one adult admission.
Our day began in the Treasures of the BC Coast exhibit. It’s always boggled my mind that you can wander around the space and see life that you would experience in different parts of British Columbia if you were scuba diving. But without the safety stop. Or tank. Or travel time. We are blessed to have some of the rarest and most colourful underwater life in the world and yet so few of us can experience it. Unless you head to the Vancouver Aquarium and stay dry whilst seeing the corals, kelp and glowing fish.
The Tropic exhibit is one of our favourites. My son received his PADI scuba license when he turned 11, and has been obsessed with sharks since he was tiny. He even set the PVR to record all of shark week last year, including infomercials and any program with the word ‘shark’ in the title. Seeing these beautiful creatures, sea turtles, luminescent jellyfish and then the huge, scary Amazon marine life makes me tingle. Staring into the eyes of the piranhas, electric eels and green anaconda helps us marvel at the planet. The giant Amazon fish look prehistoric, and the boys ask more and more questions about evolution. These are massive, impressive creatures, and it’s a relief when we hit Clownfish Cove where Nemo and Dory happily just keep swimming.
Lunchtime means we dine on Oceanwise sustainable fish, fruit salad and a few decadent French fries. Our sunny table was close enough to the Marine Research Centre that we could pop over and learn about seals. They waved and gave the trainer a high five! I got an involuntary hug from my youngest that made me feel like an incredible Mom.
At Stellar’s Bay the sea lions swam and performed as we learned about their habitat and desires. It is incredible how much research and learning happens at the Vancouver Aquarium, and how much rehabilitation is done to assist and then release animals in need. The dolphin show at the Wild Coast exhibit was at the same time, but we were able to see the dolphins swimming swiftly.
One part of the outdoor section always stops me in my tracks. I cannot get enough of the sea otters. Cute, cuddly and playful, my son named one ‘Icy’ because the last time we visited, the otters played in a welcome pile of snow beside the water on a hot day. The toys in the pool and banter they have amongst themselves is magical.
Currently, there is an exhibit called ‘Vortex’ by Douglas Coupland about plastic pollution in the oceans that includes a magnificent sculpture. The Aquarium itself has taken huge strides to reduce single-use plastics like drinking straws and bags in the gift shop. They are even working with designers to eliminate nurtles in their stuffed animals and reduce plastic packaging in products they sell.
So are your kids searching for activities? In need of summer learning and great lessons in saving the planet? Maybe they need to realize that beauty comes in many forms. I can’t say enough wonderful things about the Vancouver Aquarium Offer: http://bit.ly/AIRMILESVancouverAquarium.
For lots of other opportunities you can check out the AIR MILES Summer Fun Section: http://bit.ly/AIRMILESSumerFun.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post through AIR MILES. All opinions and experiences are my own.