Today I crossed the Capilano Suspension Bridge for the first time in my life. When I was growing up in the area we never really did the “tourist in your hometown” thing especially when it came to downtown or North Shore attractions. Sure we explored beaches, parks, and forest trails in the Valley (and I wouldn’t change a thing) although I have always been curious about these points of interest that are so heavily marketed to the visitor-centric crowd. Truth is, they’re pretty much just as fun for locals, if not more so if you head out with the right crowd.
I assembled the best team possible to explore this treetop adventure with me, which included my sister and four of her young ones (the littlest guy stayed home). We grew up absolutely loving the rain (especially walks in the rain) and this has been passed on to my niece and nephews. This trait was key as we were pretty much pelted with rain pouring down on us all morning, either out in the open or under the Cedar canopy. We also failed to pick up our biodegradable ponchos since it wasn’t raining very hard when we first started out but our group was not troubled by this.
The Capilano Suspension Bridge entrance is just along Capilano Road in North Vancouver and the parking lot has a flat fee of $5 for the day. Adult rates for the Capilano Suspension Bridge area are $29.95 although if you are a resident of BC you can purchase an annual pass for $20.10. That will include your initial visit and every following visit throughout the year. Family passes begin at $58.20 although they’re based on a family of four, which I didn’t think would be useful for my sister and her family of seven. However, kids 6 and under do get in free.
The kids got a map that highlighted special points of interest where they can visit and get a stamp (like a passport). Seeing as how the maps got really soggy, really quickly, we stamped them at the first stop and hid them in my purse for the rest of the journey. Would the weather have been a bit brighter this is something they would have really enjoyed completing.
The first area of interest once you pass the main gates is the Story Centre. This interpretive area shares a bit of the area’s (logging) history before you head over to a First Nations exhibit that consists of a variety of totem poles. You’ll then hit the cafe, and the gift shop before you take the plunge and head across the suspension bridge.
Quick fact: Originally constructed of hemp rope and cedar planks in 1889, the Capilano Suspension Bridge is 450 feet long, and 230 feet high. Today’s bridge is constructed of reinforced steel, that is anchored in 22 tons of concrete on either side.
Once across the bridge, a whole world of forest fun awaits. We headed off to the Treetops Adventure where the kids could travel along elevated wood and rope bridges from tree to tree. Having just watched Return of the Jedi this weekend I had fun pretending to be an Ewok.
When we came back down, we took the Cliffhanger Boardwalk around the hillside and right under the suspension bridge. The kids loved the ponds, the rushing waterfalls, and the birds found at Raptors Ridge. The trees around us were massive, most over 300 years old and some with friendly names like “Big Doug”.
We would have liked to check out the Kids Rainforest Explorer area however by that time we were thoroughly soaked with rain dripping down our Gore-Tex exteriors.
Even though we didn’t get to see all of the attractions, shopping, entertainment, or take any tours, it was still a fantastic morning with the kids. We piled back into the car and in harmony I was treated to a resounding, “Thank you Auntie Becky!” That in itself is enough to make anyone’s day, really.
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