This past week was my husband’s annual trek to a video game convention. Usually, I take time off work so that I can be with the kids while he is gone for these few days, but this year, I decided to make an adventure of my own.
And, to this end, I decided to take the kids to Canada on my own! Before you call me crazy, trust me when I say I thought I might have had a screw loose, too. But our kids are great travelers and so I figured I could handle the two long drives. My son was so excited about riding a ferry and had all sorts of questions for me about how the cars would ride on a boat. “Won’t the cars fall into the water, Mom?”
While we were actually on the ferry, my son stood on the deck nearly the whole ride, watching the water. We were able to see whales and seals and he was like a kid in a candy shop. It was a beautiful ride.
After we found our hotel and checked in, we started exploring the city. First we found a Friday night market along the waterfront and the kids enjoyed getting some balloons from a street performer clown on rollerskates. It was a nice walk downtown to see the beautiful waterfront.
We also spent more than an hour wandering through the Miniature Museum. The kids were seriously at the perfect age for this museum. There were so many buttons they could press and make things move in an animated way. It was definitely worth a visit for us.
Each day we also went swimming at least once (sometimes twice) although I didn’t get any pictures of these moments because I didn’t want to risk taking my phone into such a wet or humid environment. Besides, it was more fun to hang out with the kids and play games with them in the water.
On Day 2, we went to the Kids Fringe Festival which was about a mile walk from our hotel. Here, there were lots of fun kid activities involving theater, bubbles, paint, dirt and arts & crafts. And the best part of this? It was entirely free. We spent several hours here, experiencing all that this festival offered. My son even entered a dance contest. He seriously has some dance moves that surprise me.
As we explored the downtown area, we also found 4 comic book and game stores that we knew Daddy would appreciate. And, of course, because Daddy would like them, we visited each one and enjoyed looking at the various collectibles. At one of the stores, we even saw a Dr. Who collector who was selling his collection of Doctor figurines to the store. My daughter was salivating and got into a fun conversation with the store owner and the collector about her favorite Doctor and episode. She is definitely a Whovian.
Shortly after our visit to the kids festival, we experienced a pretty significant windstorm with accompanying rain which was a bit of a bummer because I really wanted to take the kids to the Butchart Gardens. The kid tickets to the Gardens are only $3 and I had heard that the summer fireworks display was worth seeing. So, we prayed all the way to the gardens that the rain would stop….and sure enough, by the time we reached the gardens, the sky was blue, but the ground was still pretty wet. We enjoyed the flowers, the carousel and the fireworks here at the gardens.
On Day 3, we visited the Bug Zoo where I learned that my little guy does not like big bugs, particularly cockroaches and beetles. He put his nose right up to one of the glass displays to see what was inside and jumped back about 4 feet when he realized how big the beetles were inside the case.
He decided his favorite bugs were the tiny ants because they were a lot less scary than many of the other things we saw there.
After the Bug Zoo visit, we attended two plays that were part of the Fringe Festival which offers 100 plays in 10 days. The two plays we saw were called the Brothers Grimm and Fortunately, The Milk which was about how a gallon of milk saved the world.
And later that evening, we wandered past an Old Spaghetti Factory and the kids begged to have dinner there, so we did.
On our final morning in Canada, we packed up our stuff and stopped for a special breakfast at a place that made fancy fruit plates. We shared one of the fruit platters, visited a park and hopped back on the ferry for our rainy ride home.
This simple 4-day trip was a lot of fun. While I had done some pre-planning, we enjoyed being flexible enough to sleep in, swim and take naps when we wanted to. We had enough time in our schedule that we didn’t feel rushed and had fun just discovering Canada through the eyes of the kids. The kids really liked Canadian money, particularly the bills that had some see-through panels in them. They also laughed at how $1 and $2 coins were called loonies & toonies. We also found many more “washrooms” than “bathrooms” and to the kids, this was “almost” a different language.
The kids are hoping that we make this an annual tradition when Daddy travels, but I told them we’ll have to see what next summer brings. Nevertheless, this was a pretty memorable adventure for all of us. Special times with our special kids.