Hawaii Mom Blog: Visit Vancouver: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

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June 16, 2014

Visit Vancouver: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

My husband and I went to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park over 10 years ago, and even though so much has changed since then, it continues to thrill visitors as it has for the past 125 years.

Suspension Bridge
Highlights of Our Hosted Visit
Upon entering the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, Vancouver's oldest attraction, we learned all about those behind the suspension bridge through the Story Centre photos and memorabilia.
Story Centre
We also learned about the Kia’palano Totem Poles, and how they were created by people of the First Nations to pass on legends.

Kia’palano Totem Poles
Soon we were at the famous Suspension Bridge.

The 450-feet (137 meters) long bridge crossed the Capilano River at 230 feet high.
Suspension Bridge later in the day - a lot more people!
As our family walked along the bridge, I admit it was a bit scary to be so high up on a wobbly bridge, but fortunately everyone in our family did well, including the kids, who were simply excited to cross to the other side to see what awaited them.

Like many other guests, we stopped in the middle of the bridge to take photos and take in the gorgeous views of the Capilano River.


Capilano River
Once we crossed the bridge we did more exploring. 

Nature's Edge offered a nice, leisurely walk along the rainforest with great views of the Capilano River.

Nature's Edge Walkway
The Treetops Adventure, which was built in 2004 and starts at a cool tree house, consists of seven smaller suspension bridges supported by enormous Douglas-fir trees. 
Treetops Adventure
At the tree house my kids received a Rainforest Explorer guide which tasked them with collecting specific data at different sign posts.  What a great way to keep kids engaged!

Kids Rainforest Explorer Activity
The Treetops Adventure was my kids' favorite part of Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, but my favorite part was the Cliffwalk.

Added in 2011, the Cliffwalk allows visitors the chance to walk down a path that's just 20 inches wide for approximately 700 feet along the side of the canyon.

It was quite thrilling (and a bit terrifying!) to walk down such steep steps onto a narrow path and be suspended on a walkway anchored to the cliff at only 16 points.    
Cliffwalk
The views from the Cliffwalk were gorgeous as well.
Waterfall
Throughout the park there were also some interactive exhibits, and kids could look for six different stations to collect stamps for a Passport.

Fortunately (and surprisingly) my kids were not afraid at all traversing any of the areas throughout Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.  We made sure to constantly remind them not to run or jump around, and we made sure to always supervise them, and I am pleased that they enjoyed exploring the park just as much as my husband and I did.

My son measuring himself against a Douglas-Fir

Dining
There are a few dining options at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, offering everything from coffee & baked goods, to quinoa croquettes & beef brochette.  Click here for more information on dining options.

Our Experience Visiting as a Special-Needs Family
My oldest son has an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and although I know kids on the spectrum all behave and react differently in various environments, I always try to share our personal experience when visiting attractions.

We arrived at the park shortly after it opened, so the crowds were minimal, but as the day went on, there were many, many more people. Fortunately my son did well with the crowd, but if your child becomes overwhelmed in large crowds, the park advises 8:30am to 10:00am or from 4:00pm to 8:00pm are when the crowds are the smallest compared to throughout the rest of the day.

My son loves bridges, so as soon as he saw the Suspension Bridge he was very eager to walk across it. 

His favorite part of the park was Treetops Adventure since it consisted of many different bridges. 

My oldest loved Treetops Adventure
Since he enjoys walking, and a visit to the different areas of the park entailed lots of walking, he was very content. However, his eagerness to explore made it hard at times for the rest of us to simply appreciate the views and the nature around us, so we sometimes had to remind him to stay close and not get too far ahead. Fortunately, interactive exhibits and programs like the Passport and Rainforest Explorer Guide helped to keep him focused.

Rainforest Exhibit
There are several places to sit throughout the park if rest or snack breaks are needed.

Fortunately it did not rain (my son has sensitivity issues with rain), but if it had there are a few places where we could have sought shelter (e.g. the gift shop or dining areas).

Overall my son did really well at the park, and he had a great time exploring!

Final Thoughts
A visit to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park was a great experience for our entire family.

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park provided us with some educational and historical insight into the area, while providing us with some magnificent views as we walked throughout the park.

I love that the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is very family-friendly (if you have infants, baby carriers are encouraged, as strollers are not permitted in certain areas of the park), with interactive exhibits and programs that the kids can participate in.

Our family had a wonderful time, and our visit to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is one of the most memorable moments of our Vancouver trip.

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
3735 Capilano Road
North Vancouver, BC, Canada V7R 4J1
604-985-7474

Click here for hours and rates; Parking = $5

Thank you to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park for hosting our visit.

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