Anthony on , , , , , , 17 Jun 2008 10:21 pm

On Saturday, partying it up with the Girl Guides.

Aidan took quite a shine to this one:

The girls took turns hitting a pinata, and of course, Aidan wanted a turn too:

This girl beat the stuffing out of it with a power-swing:

On Sunday, first off to Stanley Park.  They have a miniature train:

Then to the children’s farm:

Then the playground:

Back home for a nap, then off to the Car Free Day party on Main Street:

Supper at our favourite Fish ‘n Chips restaurant:

Then back home:

Whew, what a weekend.

Anthony on , , 10 Jun 2007 04:53 pm

Today was our “Day Out With Thomas“. An early morning drive in threatening grey skies brought us to Squamish. There was periodic rain and blinding light; typical fare for unsettled weather in the Coastal Mountains. The excitement started with a shuttle bus ride from the parking lot to the West Coast Railway Heritage Park. Busses are typically a source of excitement, and we got to ride on this one! And, on arriving at the park, we turned it up another notch because there were Thomas and Friends posters and merchandise everywhere! It got even more exciting when the engine in question pulled up.


Whew. Good thing we had sporadic rain showers to keep us from getting over excited.

We got to ride on some old BC Rail coach cars that were pulled along behind Thomas. That part was a little disappointing. We didn’t really go anywhere, just up the rail line a little bit, onto a spur, into a rail yard, and then back again. I thought maybe they’d take us down to Porteau Cove, or maybe up towards Whistler a bit, but no dice. Aidan was strangely quiet inside the train. He seemed to like it, but the enthusiasm was a little muted. There were a few clowns wandering the aisles of the train (no not that type — real clowns: red noses, big shoes, fuzzy hair. No, it wasn’t Engineers out on a pub crawl!) and even these didn’t get much of a response. The one carrying the bird, or rather the bird itself, got some attention though.






After the big train ride, we rode on the miniature train that they have set up there. It was $2.50 per person, and even at many times that it would have been much better value and fun than the big train. It absolutely poured for the 20 minutes we tootled around on the mini-train, but Aidan seemed to enjoy that much more. The heavy rain meant that we didn’t take any photos, though. There was a little wooden train (stationary) that the kids could climb over and through and this was a hit too.


The place was quite a bit more crowded when we left, and the shuttle bus was full going back to the parking lot. It didn’t mute the renewed enthusiasm for being on the bus though!

All in all, I was impressed by the Railway Heritage Park. It was crawling with people, but I can see that we will definitely return there later this summer and take in more of the attractions. Squamish isn’t so far away, and that miniature train was pretty fun!

Anthony on , , , , , , 13 May 2007 11:06 pm

geocaching.gifGrab an organic latte, this one’s a long one.

A trend that Gwen and I have noticed is that for a lot of the caches we have tried to get, there are playgrounds near by. It’s essentially a function of finding urban caches … the caches tend to be in forested areas (easier to hide), and playgrounds tend to be near forested areas. Therefore, the two go together.

First, some shots from last weekend. Here’s the playground by Kits Beach — this wasn’t on a hunt for a cache, but it’s close to a couple.


Here are a couple of shots also from last weekend, in Horseshoe Bay. This playground was much closer to a cache. Well, it should have been. If you recall, we didn’t actually find that one.



This weekend was no different. On Friday, we spent a little of time at the playground by False Creek Elementary. Look at the leisure suit baby! And, notice he’s sitting in a big-kid’s swing and not one of the toddler swings.



On Saturday, we grabbed a BCGA (BC Geocacher’s Association) geocoin from a cache near QE Park in a dash-and-go (we pulled up, dug the cache from under a lamp post, grabbed the coin, and put it back all in about 5 minutes) and then headed down to White Rock.


Before we searched for any caches down there, though, we came to a level crossing where a train was about to cross. We quickly pulled over and hustled the boy out of the car. He just quivered with excitement and yelled “Train!” for the whole time that it roared by. For the rest of the evening we continued to hear the train whistles and every time he heard one, he yelled “Train!”. This bodes well for our planned “Thomas the Tank Engine” excursion coming up in June.


Our first couple of White Rock caches were on Blackie’s Spit. No playground there, but there was a film crew (although we couldn’t see what/where they were filming).


So, I hear you wondering, what do caches look like? Here’s a shot of a cache. Well, actually the cache is about 15 feet into the bush there. That one was a “regular” cache, in a lock-and-lock about 1 litre in volume.


Here’s another shot of a cache. That one was a micro-cache, in fact it was a pill container. The stones were neat, with inspirational writing on them. What’s that in TheBoy’s hands?



We headed up to Crescent Park afterwards, going after three more caches. Unsurprisingly, there was a playground there too!


The first cache was in the woods, by a “fitness trail”. The “fitness trail” consisted of hurdles, parallel bars, and other odd equipment in a deep-woods environment. This was also a micro-cache, and you can see the excitement of finding it!


Aidan loves being on trails in the woods, and you can see that he really likes it when he’s not confined! I wish he were a little *less* independent, though.


The next cache was a bit of a challenge, but we eventually found it. You can see some of the cache contents below. There was a “True North” geocoin as well as a travel bug. There’s a shot of the travel bug in action too.



The last cache we tried to find required quite a bit of bushwacking. Neither Gwen or I could find it, and after stirring up a bees’ nest, we abandoned the search. We were going to drop the coin in that cache, so instead we went back to the previous one and exchanged the BCGA for the True North geocoin.

We found four caches today too. The first one was up in a tree and easy to find. It was in “The Circle” in Shaughnessy. We dropped the True North geocoin in the cache while Aidan ran around in the park, exercising his independence. Again. After that, it was down to Vanier Park to pick up a few caches. The first one we tried was already discovered by a family — two kids, two parents, and a grandparent — who were sitting on a bench. We approached them, asked if they were geocaching, and swapped stories while filling out the logs. While we were doing *that*, the cache owner came by and joined in. She mentioned that the cache had been there for a year, and she walks by it often. And she had never seen anyone with the cache and today, there were two teams at once!

We made our way down to the next cache, out on the point behind the Vancouver Maritime Museum, and what do you know? There was another family there with that cache. This group was trying much harder to conceal what they were doing, but if you know what to look for (it’s not much) it’s hard to be invisible. So, once again it was an easy find. The hilarious thing was that after we left the cache, the first family we encountered went down to try to find it. The second family hadn’t replaced the cache, so we had the following situation: the family with the cache was trying to be invisible, waiting for this new crowd of people to leave the area where the cache needed to be replaced, and the family looking for the cache was trying to be invisible which searching for the cache. It was hilarious, because they were both trying to ignore the cache location while at the same time focussing quite intently on it. They must have resolved it because when we came back that way an hour later, they were both gone.

We headed down to Granville Island, picked up a “virtual cache” and searched once again (and unsuccessfully once again) for the one we had previously missed on the Island.

Whew, what a weekend. We doubled our cache count from 9 to 18!

Still reading? Wow! Well, if you’re that interested, you can check out a map of all our finds, and take a look at some statistics on them.

Anthony on , , 07 Apr 2007 08:15 pm

As promised, here’s video from the zoo:

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