Eat, Play & Learn In Beautiful Richmond BC – Part One
Have you been looking for the perfect place for a family getaway? A great mix of active fun, edu-tainment, and world class dining that everyone can enjoy, together? Richmond, BC might well be your perfect destination. Venture off the beaten tourist path (but not by far – the airport for Vancouver, BC is located in Richmond) and you will find a warm, welcoming city.
Richmond will dazzle your family with activites with it’s rich history, gorgeous landscape and seascape, fantastic food and photo opportunities galore.
Day One – Stay and Play:
Usually when you think of an airport hotel you might imagine bare bones comfort – a pit stop geared towards the business traveler. This is entirely not the case at the Vancouver Airport Sheraton in Richmond. The recently renovated property is just a skip from the Vancouver International airport, and it’s a haven for every type of traveler. What a fantastic surprise to find a hotel so convenient to get to, and so family friendly! Rooms are spacious and well appointed with dreamy cloud-like beds.
If your children are water babies, request one of the rooms arranged around the interior courtyard which open up to the outdoors and the sparkling pool and spa. Can’t go anywhere without your am brew? You’ll be happy to hear that there is a Starbucks located right in the lobby.
For breakfast and lunch, you don’t want to miss eating at the in-house bistro and bar “Harold’s”. This cafe is charmingly named after a long time patron. Harold is featured in iconic art throughout the bistro and the 90-something Richmond resident still lunches there daily.
This just doesn’t feel like an impersonal hotel The staff is friendly and helpful. Bonus points for the free shuttle running regularly between the hotel and airport. Proximity, comfort and warmth make the Sheraton a perfect place to stay with family. You’ll feel at home here. But you won’t want to spend too much time in the hotel. Make sure to pack comfortable shoes. Richmond has so much to see and do
Ready to get your bearings? A trip to the Richmond Nature Center is a perfect place to kick off a visit to Richmond.
As an adult, it’s fascinating to see and learn how Richmond’s unique geography, surrounded by the Frasier river, makes it such an ideal place to farm and live. But for the kids, the Nature Center is a perfect place to touch garter snakes and play tic- tac-toad with colorful plastic amphibians.
Our kids also thrilled at the chance to see native species like a giant black newt and a gooey banana slug up close and personal. The Nature Center engages both kids and adults with hands on activities including a scavenger hunt on their gentle trails and a water bug bonanza activity. For this exploration, young scientists used turkey basters to collect critters from a tub of local pond water . Critters were then squirted into ice cube trays and brought to a microscope that displayed the swimming critters on a large screened tv. We may borrow this activity at home!
From the Nature Center it is a short drive to the charming village of Steveston and another family friendly destination: The Gulf of Georgia Cannery. This historic landmark takes you back in time and shows you what it was like to be a fisherman in the area, through the ages. At the turn of the century, this cannery was producing over two million cans of salmon per year!
This is one historic site you won’t want to miss. Fantastic tour guides, life-sized realistic displays and interactive exhibits designed by special effects masters with as much care as a movie set, will take you and your kids back in time. Walking past the canning tables, sharp eyed visitors will spot some surprises such as the “finger” in the reject can of salmon at the quality control station. Realistic!
Our kids were wide eyed as they heard about how children as young as 8 worked in this cannery. We all learned fascinating facts about the lives of the fisherman who traded here and women who worked in the cannery.
The building has long been renovated but the remains of the trade that was done there are still visible. Layers of fish scales crust the walls and are preserved under plexiglass.
From the cannery, a short walk over to Fisherman’s Wharf gave us all look at what the modern day fishermen pull in daily.
The wharf is a great place to shop the catch of the day or set off on a killer whale watching tour (something for next time). We played lookie lou, strolling the dock and looking at the fish and shrimp and crabs for sale right on the backs of the boats. Then we went off to sample the catch of the day at Pajo’s, just a little past the wharf, and also right on the water.
After lunch we headed over to Garry Park where the locals picnic and play. Our kids were ready to run and this wide open space with panoramic views is a perfect place to work off your lunch! The wind at the park is legendary and just right for kite flying. Build your kite, watch it soar and watch your children’s look of wonder. This is vacation magic! When was the last time you and your kids flew a kite together?
Local Breakfast Secret: It’s a quick walk from the Sheraton over to the Richmond Center, for breakfast at White Spot - a famous eatery that is very dear to the hearts of local residents. The restaurant made our kids welcome with children’s menus, crayons and a sampling of fresh in-season local berries. Richmond is famous for it’s farmland and blueberries. If you are there during berry season, you must try some.
Lunch Break: Order a sampler at Pajo’s so you can try all the varieties of fresh fish and don’t forget the crab cakes. For gluten free diners and fry-phobes, grilled fish is available and also fantastic.
Shopping: The Village of Steveston is loaded wiht boutiques and shops that could occupy the mbetter part of a shoppers day. Quaint gift stores, boutique bakeries and bread shops line the streets. Your kids won’t forgive you however if you don’t stop into the toy shop. There you can purchase a kite, perfect for flying at Garry Park.
Lunch Break: Pajos – order a sampler so you can try all the varieties of fresh fish and don’t forget the crab cakes. For gluten free diners and fry-phobes, grilled fish is avaiilable and also fantastic.
Shopping: The Village of Steveston is loaded with boutiques and shops that could occupy the mbetter part of a shoppers day. Quaint gift stores, boutique bakeries and bread shops line the streets. Your kids won’t forgive you however if you don’t stop into Splashes Toy shop. There you can purchase a kite, perfect for flying at Garry Park.
Snack Break: Treat yourself to Screamers Soft Serve. You really don’t want to miss this stand located at the entrance to Garry Park. They serve up a mix of ice cream and slushies that your kids (and you) will love.
For more information on Richmond, BC and all the wonderful things this city has to offer for families, stay tuned for Part 2 and Part 3!
*A big thank you to the Richmond Tourism Bureau for inviting and hosting Child Mode on this sponsored trip!*