I’m just going to step over here into this teeny-tiny group of people who thought Granville Island was just OK. Yes, it had beautiful produce and some delicious-smelling food but…it was not nearly as large as we thought, there were really just a few shops and the area was kind of…well…grungy. Now that I really look at their web site, I think maybe we didn’t see enough or explore enough. I think we just saw the area around the Public Market. We may have to give Granville Island another chance.
We really wanted to spend some time in Stanley Park and visit the Vancouver Aquarium, so we gave Granville Island a cursory once-over and headed to the park. We were still riding around on the Big Bus, so we just hopped back on and rode it to where we could catch a bus to the park. We thought we would be able to get a bus right into the park, but they actually drop you off right outside the park. We were a little concerned that we might have a hard time finding our way around, but we had a basic idea of the layout since we had visited the day before with the Hop On/Hop Off option where they showed us around and we got a few photos. We knew then we wanted to return when we could spend more time and also visit the aquarium. We had some walking to do but the areas were clearly labeled with signs and, although it was a little gray and cloudy, the rain held off until we got back to our little attic room that evening.
Although we had not been terrible impressed with Granville Island (yes, I promise we will give it another chance), we were seriously, seriously impressed with Stanley Park. Huge (1,000 acres! Take that, Central Park.), beautifully designed, lush with greenery and spring flowers, it was a lovely place to spend an afternoon. One of the best things about Stanley Park and the one that everyone invaribly writes about, is the Seawall. Almost 6 miles long, the Seawall runs all around the outside of the park and you can see people walking, running, biking or just strolling along enjoying the scenery.
From the Seawall, we made our way to Prospect Point, where there was a lovely view of the Lions Gate Bridge. The lions were colorfully decked out in hockey jerseys in celebration of a recent win.
We were really amazed at all the beautiful flowers we saw all over Vancouver. It was too early for most flowers at home in Lexington, Kentucky so it was a pleasure to see them everywhere.
We had enjoyed our time in the park, but now it was time to head to what ended up being one of our favorite places in Vancouver – the Vancouver Aquarium.
Now, I have to admit that we were predisposed to enjoy the aquarium since we love aquariums and have visited them all over the world. However, this aquarium had something none of the others did.
The most amazing thing about the Vancouver Aquarium was the 4-D theatre.
Yes. I know what you are thinking. 4-D? Seriously, 4-D? What the heck is 4-D?
That is precisely what we thought.
And why we had to immediately check it out.
Admission to the theatre is included in your admission price to the aquarium and it plays about every 20 minutes or so – just check the schedule outside the door. We entered the pleasant but rather unassuming theatre and found a seat in one of the cushy theatre seats. The lights dimmed and we settled in for a showing of “Planet Earth: Shallow Seas”.
Just a movie…just a movie…and then.
At some point, a sea creature of some type that I have forgotten leaped out of the water and water splashed up.
Water splashed on us.
It was really just a light misting from some sort of gizmo that I guess was embedded in the seat in front of us but we, like everyone else in the theatre, jumped about a foot in the air. Then electric eels swam in front of the screen and the seat behind our legs bumped us. That one really did make everyone jump. Mists of water, moving seats, puffs of air – this theatre had it all and it added tremendously to what we were watching on the screen. We finally exited the theatre in a daze about the incredible experience we had just experienced.
We were way too wiped out to start the bus/train trip back to our B & B, so we just called a taxi and make our way back across Vancouver in the light misty rain that had started. We put on our pajamas, ordered a pizza and ate it in bed while watching a movie on the laptop.
We delayed packing until the morning. But it had to be done.
Packing, catching a plane, saying goodbye to Vancouver.
Skytrains and a beautiful harbor and snow in May and fantastic scenery and an incredible park and the coolest theatre we had ever attended.
Vancouver. We are not finished with you yet.
Full disclosure: Tourism Vancouver provided us with an attractions pass and the Manor Guest House provided us with accommodations, but as always, I will share my honest opinion about any travel experiences I have.