Best Way to Beat the Rain in Vancouver? You Make the Call!

Sanafir-Bloedel-Little-India-VanAq-078-CustomWell, we had a good run.  But it looks like the wet stuff is finally here.

After an uncommonly mild spring, exceptional summer and very sunny fall, the clouds and rain have returned to Vancouver.  Sure, we’ll have a few bright, sunny days in the next few months … but don’t count on too many of them.

But that’s no reason to hunker down inside until next spring.  Vancouver is a city that comes alive once the liquid sunshine starts falling. With so many museums, great shopping, cafes and pubs and live entertainment options, there are plenty of ways to wile away an otherwise dreary afternoon out in the city.

In fact, the choices can be overwhelming, which is why I need your help.  What’s your favourite rainy day activity in Vancouver (apart from sitting on the couch watching Netflix)? Do you have a go-to place in the city when the skies are clouded over and the rain is falling? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

I’ll get things started with my top, all-time-favourite rainy day spot in Vancouver, a place where it’s warm and balmy 365 days a year – the Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park.

Photo credit: Sporkist/Taz | Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: Sporkist/Taz | Wikimedia Commons

Now, that name “conservatory” is a little misleading.  Think of it more as a “biodome.” Housed in an enormous 21-metre high geodesic dome, Bloedel is a little bit of the tropics – complete with birds and exotic plants – plopped down in the middle of Vancouver.

You enter through the sliding doors and are immediately greeted with a rush of warm, humid air and the smells of the forest. Pay the modest admission fee ($6.50 for adults) and you find yourself on a narrow pathway that leads into the leafy green jungle. Giant India figs, magnolias, eucalyptus and bougainvilleas tower overhead and climb toward the ceiling.  More than 500 exotic plant species from all corners of the world thrive inside Bloedel.

A hanging wooden bridge crosses a small river running through the conservatory, leading to the home of two of its star residents: a pair of giant macaws with brilliant red bodies. The birds are native to the Amazon, but have adapted well to the balmy climate of Bloedel and spend their days chattering away under the canopy and eating seeds.

Photo credit: Kyle Pearce | Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: Kyle Pearce | Wikimedia Commons

Plus, they have about 200 other feathered friends to keep them company.  Blue macaws, a rainbow of different parrots, sulphur-crested cockatoos and other tropical birds fly free throughout the conservatory. Follow a fork in the pathway and you’ll reach a twisted tree limb. Sprinkled with plenty of birdseed, it’s a popular avian hangout: tiny finches, each one splashed with brilliant blotches of purple, green and yellow, flit from branch to branch.

Photo credit: Dennis S Hurd | Flickr

Photo credit: Dennis S Hurd | Flickr

A circuit of the entire conservatory can take as little as five minutes or as long as an hour, depending on how long you stop and linger. In total, the dome showcases three distinct habitats: tropical rainforest, subtropical rainforest and desert. While it’s popular with kids, there are also plenty of quiet benches where you can sit back  and imagine you’re in a warmer climate – far away from the wet, rainy day outside.

Do you have a favourite spot to spend a rainy day in Vancouver? Let us know by leaving a comment below. 

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