In preparation for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, the city has done some pretty spectacular things. One of our favourites is the GE Plaza at Robson Square, an outdoor skating rink complete with live music, a zamboni painted like an Orca, and free helmets for children. Oh – and strollers are permitted on the ice. What more could a parent want? You can even rent skates (a la Rockefeller Plaza) for a romantic lunch date downtown with a working spouse (and the Bugaboo can accompany you as you glide together). Robson Street at Howe, free admission, $3 ice skate rentals. Open 9am – 9pm.
I remember being in Europe and asking for warm milk for my baby. It was scalding hot and the poor screaming child had to wait an hour for it to cool. Not the case at Sun Peaks Resort. Not only is the hot chocolate from Cafe Soleil lukewarm and perfect for kids (they asked), but it was covered in coloured sprinkles and whipped cream. This family resort, designed after a Tyrolean village, is 40 minutes north of Kamloops, and easily accessible from Vancouver, Calgary and Seattle by plane, shuttle and train. Not only is the resort friendly for families, but it has tons of terrain too. 122 runs (including 12 glade areas) will keep every member of your group happy. (At there’s a hot terrain park if you have a shredder in your midst).
Air Canada and the art of travel. But with kids and babies. It’s interesting what a sense of entitlement we feel when we’ve given birth. I walked into the Toronto airport, very grateful that the limo driver had a car seat in his trunk. (For the price of the ride I could have gotten some pretty hot jeans, but all is fair on travel days). Waiting in line, I approached a lovely female Air Canada agent, simply expecting that she would agree that stopovers while venturing across the country with a child were absurd. No matter. A friendly banter, the baby acting extra cute, and $75 for the change, and all was settled. She was a Mother.
I was recently introduced to the concept of Educational Trips for kids. Mommy or Daddy takes a child away for the weekend, and they get one-on-one time and learn together. What better place than Victoria, at the Fairmont Empress Hotel? I am very much an old Canadian. I appreciate modern, boutique hotels too, but there is nothing quite like the luxury of the old Canadian Pacific chain. Sometimes wallpaper, high ceilings, antiques and superb service are just necessary. On a recent stay at the Fairmont Empress in Victoria, I was reminded why I seek out these fabulous hotels, and what educational opportunities are available in every day life if you take the time to look for them.
While in Seattle (Washington) recently, Urban Mommies discovered Molly Moon’s Ice Cream and fell in love! The hand-made ice cream boutique has been featured in Bon Appetit magazine and features fantastic and creative gourmet and European flavours. There’s Birthday Cake and “Scout” Mint for the kids and flavours like Balsamic Strawberry, Honey Lavender and Rosemary Meyer Lemon for the big kids. The flavours–which include vegan sorbets–change daily and they have fabulously creative odd sundaes. Their prices are cheap and their portions are huge! Here’s a tip for ordering:
Dairy Queen birthday parties are so 80s! A clown or magician? So last century! Bouncy castles? Well that’s just 2000-‘n-late! A birthday party at the Telus World of Science is timeless and will be a guaranteed highlight in your child’s memories. You and your child will be a hit with all your child’s friends–and their parents–as the children will not only enjoy mountains of fun but will also learn that science is a pretty darn cool thing! Science World, as most Vancouverites call it, excels in creating exciting games out of scientific principles. Just be prepared for when it’s time to leave because the kids will not be happy that it’s time to go!
Spring, and a little toddler’s fancy turns to… baby lambs. Born last night at Maplewood Farm are two beautiful black ones that will melt your heart. Chasing the hens, climbing with the goats or feeding the bunnies is such fun at this North Vancouver barnyard. Spring is a great time to go and explain the difference between sheep and lambs, pigs and piglets (flash cards not included). Get up close and personal with the animals, and don’t forget your carrots and parsley for the rabbits. Birdseed is available for the chickens.