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Vancouver Issue 248

Nutty for Nature

Nature Centres
Get the kids off the laptop and out into the landscape to these great nature centres.

Tired of your kids enjoying nature on a screen? Make sure they love the landscape as much as the laptop and get outside. When you’re lucky enough as we are to be surrounded by wildlife and nature, you need to make sure it’s appreciated.

Here are two great places to start.

Stanley Park Ecology Society is the place to go to get your kids off the beaten track at the city’s biggest (and arguably best) park. It’s fun and easy to enjoy with an informative guide and stroller-friendly paths.

Try a Sunday morning Discovery Walk where heron colonies and beaver lodges are just two of the fascinating places you’ll explore. These walks, and many of the society’s programs, start at the one-of-a-kind Nature House on Lost Lagoon where the little ones will want to spend some time (especially if there’s liquid sunshine) enjoying hands-on activities and local wildlife exhibits.

Nature-loving kids five and up can also join the Young Naturalists’ Club for activities like bee-keeping and pond-dipping. Parents accompany the kids and can extend the fun with a trip to the nearby Third Beach playground after.

We love the custom eco-adventure birthday parties. Kids can choose from themes like nature art and bug hikes and have use of an indoor room with a kitchen along with the beautiful outdoors as well.

Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre is always buzzing with the sound of excited children discovering something new about the plants and animals of the surrounding rainforest. 

On the first and third Friday of the month, you’ll find a cozy drop-in centre with a gathering ready for Treetop Tales. If your little one (three to six years of age) is keen to explore more, then the two of you can sign up for a Saturday session with titles like Itty Bitty Critters designed to spark their interest. 

Registration is open now for summer mini-camps for kids ages five to eight who will have fun exploring the forests with a focus on salmon and birds and bears (oh my!). Good to Know: Birthday parties are also available and summer dates are filling up fast.

So break out the backpacks, turn off the TV and get set for some back-to-nature adventures the whole family will enjoy. Tested by Carolyn W., North Vancouver

Tagged under family, activities, outdoor, camp
First published 2011.05.12