48 Hours in Vancouver for Adventurous Families

Richmond Go Karts. Photo Credit: Richmond Go-Karts

Richmond Go Karts. Photo Credit: Richmond Go-Karts

48 Hours in Vancouver is a weekly series appearing on the Inside Vancouver blog featuring photos and information on interest-based itineraries such as food/wine, arts & culture and luxury travel; helping visitors plan the best Vancouver trip possible based on what they love. Today’s feature focuses on unique adventures designed for families who want to step outside the typical box for their vacations.

What You’ll Need to Go on This Family Adventure:
• A vehicle (rented or your own)
• GPS/Map
• Sunglasses & sunscreen (for when you’re on the water)
• Appropriate water shoes
• Good quality walking shoes
• A good quality camera (For when you want photos of the scenery and of key stops on the activities)
• A backpack to carry all your items in

Day 1

Morning to Early Afternoon- 10 am-1:45 pm

Sea Quest Adventures. Photo Credit: Sewell's Marina

Sea Quest Adventures. Photo Credit: Sewell’s Marina

After an early breakfast, head over to Sewell’s Marina in West Vancouver for your first family adventure.

Sewell’s Sea Quest Adventure** is an amazing scavenger hunt quest designed for groups between 8 and 180 people and you must use all of your cunning brainpower to solve the riddles and work together as a team.

When you and your family arrive at the dock for your 10:15 am trip, you’ll be greeted warmly with a hearty welcome and then given a safety briefing and boat operation review, lifejackets and other safety equipment. The boat will be fully fueled and ready to go once you receive the most important game pieces: a map and related questions.

The Sea Quest Adventure covers over 12 square miles of ocean so appoint your kids to plan the best strategic route, tackle questions and explore the absolutely breathtaking inlets and coves of spectacular Howe Sound. You’ll be able to see everything from Snug Cove on Bowen Island to Passage Island, Bowyer Island and southern Anvil Island.

If you get hungry or thirsty during your quest, Sewell’s Marina has you covered! You can purchase snacks, water, pop, boxed lunches, ice and coolers, as well as award medals with ribbons, hats, shirts and other gifts from the marina before your quest. You can even stop for lunch at the Boathouse Restaurant in Horseshoe Bay or lunch at Doc Morgan’s Inn at Snug Cove on Bowen Island on the trip back.

Once you get back to the dock, all of your team’s answers are scored and the winning team gets extra creativity points for having a theme. So before you go, think up a fun theme for the hunt, anything from comic books to the 1980s is fair game!

Anvil Island Howe Sound. Photo Credit: Sewell's Marina

Anvil Island Howe Sound. Photo Credit: Sewell’s Marina

When you’re ready to leave the marina after lunch, it’ll be short half an hour drive to get to Granville Island for your next adventure on the water. (Note:**Reservations required**)

Afternoon and Early Evening- 2:30 pm to 5 pm

False Creek. Photo Credit: Skidmore Photography via Flickr

False Creek. Photo Credit: Skidmore Photography via Flickr

Once you get to Granville Island at 2:30, you can take advantage of the waves and the horizon by having your own tour and renting a sea kayak from Ecomarine Paddlesport Centres. You can rent a single sea kayak for two hours or a double kayak for two hours. A single kayak for two hours is $39 while a double kayak is $49. *Make sure you make reservations half an hour before arrival*

No matter whether you choose a single or a double sea kayak, your family will have life jackets provided for you, so you can enjoy coasting over each wave and exploring False Creek and into English Bay with no worries.

Sea kayaking. Photo Credit: Ecomarine Paddlesport Centres

Sea kayaking. Photo Credit: Ecomarine Paddlesport Centres

Paddle through the currents, watch the gulls and other birds fly overhead and make sure to keep your sunglasses on to shield your eyes from the sun rays glistening off the waves.

After you dry off on the dock, get ready for your next adventure on the water at Jericho Beach.

Stand-up paddleboarding. Photo credit: Ecomarine Paddlesport Centres

Stand-up paddleboarding. Photo credit: Ecomarine Paddlesport Centres

Following a 12 minute drive, you’ll make it to Jericho Beach when the warmth of the sun rays are just starting to fade at 5 pm.

Hop into another wetsuit and take an entirely different watercraft out into the ocean this time. Have your kids paddleboarding and they’ll have an entirely new appreciation of what it means to feel the wind through your hair and to be on top-rather than in-the water.

Bring your own paddleboard and gear along with you if you have it, but if you are an occasional paddleboarder who would rather have someone else take care of the storage and maintenance, Jericho Beach has you covered!

You can rent a paddleboard for as little as  $20 from providers at Jericho Beach. Life jackets for your kids, both the two legged and the four legged variety are also available.

Enjoy the views of English Bay and Burrard Inlet as you let the wind push you towards the horizon.

Once you’re ready to dry off, return your paddleboards and gear and enjoy a relaxing dinner in the downtown core before your last nighttime adventure for Day 1.

Night-8 pm

Lost Souls of Gastown. Photo Credit: Forbidden Vancouver

Lost Souls of Gastown. Photo Credit: Forbidden Vancouver

Dry off for the rest of the evening and take a walk to experience on the darker side of Vancouver with a Lost Souls of Gastown walking tour with Forbidden Vancouver.

You’ll meet the group at Cathedral Square, just a 5 minute walk from Seymour St; just as it grows dark at 8 pm. On the Lost Souls of Gastown you’ll be transported back to the 1800s when Vancouver was a violent frontier town. Only a few thousand inhabitants hustled to survive in the Wild West of Canada. This is no conventional walking tour, you and your family will get a firsthand experience with gothic theatre.

You will hear the tale of a terrible and forgotten plague as well as the story of how a fire ate up Gastown in minutes while people sprinted for their lives down Water Street. You’ll live the story of how Klondike goldrush beauty who had her heart-broken and pocket-book looted by a cold-blooded theatre magnate.

Students and seniors tickets are $19 and tickets for adults $22. Be prepared to be scared!

Day 2

Late Morning to Afternoon- 12 pm to 5 pm

At the Start Gate. Photo Credit: Richmond Go Karts

At the Start Gate. Photo Credit: Richmond Go Karts

After a relaxing mid-morning brunch, have your kids get their adrenaline pumping again by taking the 20 minute drive to reach Richmond Go-Karts, Greater Vancouver’s ONLY outdoor go kart track. The kids will definitely find their inner NASCAR champions by speeding up and down the ½ mile track-which happens to be Western Canada’s longest track.

Make it a true family affair and have your little ones ride with you, while your older children get to choose between single-seat karts that can reach up to 22 mph and high-performance karts with accelerated speed and even a 3-point harness to guarantee driver safety.

A regular single or double kart costs $12.75/ride with the helmet rental included, while the high performance karts go to $15/ride with a helmet rental.

Take a couple of rides around the track with the family and see if you can beat your previous time or take on the challenge of beating a high performance kart with a single or double kart.

Once your race is over, take on an obstacle course that will test your climbing and swinging skills, just an hour away in Maple Ridge.

WildPlay Maple Ridge. Photo Credit: WildPlay Element Parks Maple Ridge

WildPlay Maple Ridge. Photo Credit: WildPlay Element Parks Maple Ridge

Once you reach WildPlay Element Parks in Maple Ridge at 2 pm, you already have your obstacle courses set up for you and ready to go*. You and your family can experience the adrenaline rush of the unexpected challenges over the 1.5-3 hour long courses and try to beat each other’s times.

You have a choice of trying the following 3 courses:

Monkido Classic: Guests (ages twelve and older) will love climbing, zip lining, and swinging on different obstacles. Suspended by a harness on the course at anywhere between 6′ to 60′ above the forest floor, you and your family are going to love conquering heights, realizing new physical abilities and simply letting loose. The course costs $42.99/Guest and you can tackle games in the Green, Blue, Red, and Black Course Sections.

Monkido Buddy: By partnering an adult and child (age 7 to 11), brave and able kids receive a greater challenge and give adults an opportunity to have a fun adventure with their young families.

Both guests train on the demo course to start and then the younger Buddy guest proves he or she can manage the Kids Course obstacles. If the attempts are successful, both guests head off on a fun adventure together on the higher (and more challenging) green, blue, and red sections of the Classic Course.

This course costs $35.99/guest and you have the flexibility to conquer obstacle games in the Yellow (kid guest), Green, Blue, and Red (both guests) Course Sections.

Monkido Kids: The self-managed Kids Course gives children the independence and freedom to explore their limits. Many kids become more comfortable with heights, and hone physical skills as they complete each obstacle. As a result, they feel empowered and energized after their 1.5-hour adventure!

The Monkido® Kids Course is lower than then where the “big kids” play, keeping safety lines within reach of little hands and you can use the wide trails below to observe your children on the course while the guides also keep a watchful eye out. The course costs $22.99/guest and kids can conquer obstacle games in the Yellow Course Section.

**Make sure to call into the Guest Services before you arrive to ensure that you receive a good check-in time or book online.**

When your challenge on one or two, or maybe even all three of the courses is over, how about taking a break for the final night of your trip and enjoying some hilariously funny live performances with dinner?

Evening-6 pm

Dinner performance. Photo Credit: Giggle Dam Dinner Theatre

Dinner performance. Photo Credit: Giggle Dam Dinner Theatre

Once things have been wrapped up at WildPlay, take 25 minute car trip to get to The Giggle Dam Dinner Theater for some amazing stage acts and a great dinner!*

Doors open at 4:30 for a Sunday show, 6:30 for a Friday-Saturday show. The pre-show festivities begin at 5 for a Sunday show & 7 pm for a Friday-Saturday show. Before all the insanity of the show gets under way, you’ll be treated to an outstanding 4-course meal, while the cast offers up some crazy impromptu performances. You’ll be entertained by impromptu sketches during dinner and the mood for humorous fun is set. After that, brace yourself – The show begins around 9:00 pm and ends at approximately 11:00 pm.

Everyone in the audience is met personally. Every name is remembered by the staff and on stage performers. If you and your family want to get in on the fun, you might even be invited on stage to participate in a sketch! It’s more than just theatre. It’s more than just comedy. It’s more than just music. It’s The Giggle Dam, a combination of all 3 and beyond all expectations.

You and your family may never view live theatre in Vancouver the same again after you try GiggleDam!

*Tickets are $55/person, order online through reservations or by phone through the box office beforehand.*

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