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  1. #1
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    Things to do with 6-8 hours near Vancouver's Airport

    I'm flying through Vancouver with my wife and 7 year old son in a few weeks. We have a 12 hour layover, getting in at 9AM and leaving at 9 PM. I figure that even with a pessimistic take on how long it will take to get through customs and getting back early for our international flight, we'll have at least 6 hours in town. I've never been to Vancouver.

    Any suggestions on things to do that are easily accessible from the airport. It looks like we can get downtown in half an hour or so via Skytrain. Ideally any activities should tire out a 7 year old, as when we get back, we have a 15 hour overnight flight and things are a lot easier if he sleeps through most of it. We won't be taking hardcore winter/rain gear (though we can pack something), so I'm open to indoor as well as outdoor activities. Annoyingly, it looks like both the Aquarium and Science World are on the other side of town, so we'd be eating up an hour or so each way going there and back (especially the aquarium).

  2. #2
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    Things to do with 6-8 hours near Vancouver's Airport

    City is smaller than you are estimating. You can 100% hit up science world or aquarium. Aquarium is in Stanley Park which is huge and ringed by the ďseawallĒ - a paved waterfront path that extends all over the city - including to Science World but that would be quite the trek to walk between the two.

    You could skytrain to the downtown station on the water. Itís still a bit of a walk from closest stop to Aquarium - but using google maps you can easily check the walking distance and see if you want to do that one way.

    Uber is everywhere. Itíll be ballpark 45-50 to Uber back to airport from central downtown that time of day - maybe a bit longer. Check the Uber app as the afternoon progresses to confirm that. It will be an hour+ if youíre starting the ride back from the Aquarium - which is the furthest from the airport so maybe start your morning there and move closer to airport as day goes on. Thereís no freeways in the city so all the transiting is on surface streets.

  3. #3
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    Cool, that's good info. My son and wife are both big marine people so maybe the aquarium is a good starting point and then - like you say - we work our way back.

  4. #4
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    Marine as in sea life or in maritime history? - cause there is also a small maritime museum closer from downtown to the airport - itís certainly not as popular as the aquarium but is outside the city core on a beach overlooking downtown. Would be less of a big city visit and more of a neighborhood walk on the beach with good coffee and croissants type of visit.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by bennymac View Post
    Marine as in sea life or in maritime history? - cause there is also a small maritime museum closer from downtown to the airport - itís certainly not as popular as the aquarium but is outside the city core on a beach overlooking downtown. Would be less of a big city visit and more of a neighborhood walk on the beach with good coffee and croissants type of visit.
    Sea life. Oddly my son is super into airplanes and semis, but ships are not his favorite cargo transport method.

  6. #6
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    you can get get a transit pass on the arrivals level for cheap and then just do the transit thing around the city

    I was born/ lived in vangroovy for a lot or years but I had always driven everywhere missed a lot of things, the rapid transit & bus system is just a whole nuther level of awesume

    museum of anthropology at UBC is cool
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusBrody View Post
    I'm flying through Vancouver with my wife and 7 year old son in a few weeks. We have a 12 hour layover, getting in at 9AM and leaving at 9 PM. I figure that even with a pessimistic take on how long it will take to get through customs and getting back early for our international flight, we'll have at least 6 hours in town. I've never been to Vancouver.

    Any suggestions on things to do that are easily accessible from the airport. It looks like we can get downtown in half an hour or so via Skytrain. Ideally any activities should tire out a 7 year old, as when we get back, we have a 15 hour overnight flight and things are a lot easier if he sleeps through most of it. We won't be taking hardcore winter/rain gear (though we can pack something), so I'm open to indoor as well as outdoor activities. Annoyingly, it looks like both the Aquarium and Science World are on the other side of town, so we'd be eating up an hour or so each way going there and back (especially the aquarium).
    Everything you want to see in Van is away from the airport. Take the skytrain into downtown and get off at waterfront station.
    From there you have the opportunity to get on another train directly to Science world. Great place for kids for a few hours. Another option is to get on the seabus from Waterfront station and take a trip to North Vancouver to have some lunch or food at Lonsdale Quay. If its not pissing rain, its a nice way to spend the day. its touristy but tolerable. From waterfront station, you could take an ubr or lift to Stanley park and do the aquarium and hang around Staley park. Agian, if its not pissing rain, would be quite enjoyable for the afternoon. Then go somewhere on Robson st for some sushi. grab an ubr back to the skyttain back to the airport.

    Depending on how mobile your kids are and how able they are to walk, you could get off the skytrain from the airport at Olympic station and walk to Science world on the North side of false creek.

    12 hours is enough time to eat good sushi and enjoy the sights albeit limited in terms of how far you could go.
    Just walking around Vancouver near the Seabus around the convention centre on a good day is amazing. Go see the Olympic torch and have some food overlooking the harbour is well worth the train into downtown.
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  8. #8
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    Speaking as a tourist, the aquarium is the #1 answer with a child your sonís age. Iím assuming they still have the touch tank. My son loved it.

    Another touristy thing to do is the Capilano Suspension Bridge park.

    https://www.capbridge.com

    You might be able to get into the Fairmont at the airport. If so, the western stairwell has good views of the runways. That with FlightAware and air traffic control radio will occupy your son all day.

    Alternatively, the baller move would be to book a room and watch the planes.
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  9. #9
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    Good suggestions, thanks guys!

    Spanky, my son would absolutely watch the planes all day. I just want him to get some exercise so he doesn't drive us crazy on the next set of flights.

  10. #10
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    Things to do with 6-8 hours near Vancouver's Airport

    There is a lounge/bar at the Fairmont with a fireplace + windows that overlook some of the runways - and you donít need to be a hotel guest to hang out there.


  11. #11
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    Back when we had NO money we used to take the kids on the sky train and then take the ferry across the harbor
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  12. #12
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    Well if we're a bit conservative in getting back to the airport for our flight, that looks like a great place for my wife and I to grab a drink while our son is entertained.

  13. #13
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    Also if youíre planning on eating sushi in Vancouver keep in mind that even the cheap sushi places (located on every block) are good - so no need to splurge on anything fancy.

  14. #14
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    Number 5 Orange


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  15. #15
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    The peeler bar with the shower stall ^^ thats where Bon Jovi got the album title for " Slippery when Wet "
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  16. #16
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    Lots of good suggestions. Not included yet is dim sum. Many outstanding places. Well worth it and fun for the kids.
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  17. #17
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    Something else that would be cool is to take a Harbour Air seaplane tour. Obviously on the pricey side, but very cool on a nice day.
    https://harbourair.com/tours/?depart=vancouver

  18. #18
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    It's at the south terminal so would probably need to cab back and forth but, the Flying Beaver restaurant has some good food / beer. Right on the river and you can watch Harbour Air's floatplanes take off and land.

  19. #19
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    I think there is a shuttle between the terminals - not sure if you need a boarding pass showing you need to be on it. Indeed the Beaver is a good place for food and beers during a medium length layover when you canít go into the city but want to get out of the main terminal.

    There is also the giant outlet mall on the grounds of the airport if a mag or their other half wants to get spendy - Iíve never been.

  20. #20
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    I am a total Vancouver tourist - have family who lives there and we go and visit all the time. I've done it all, with kids and without!

    What I would do in your situation:
    Forget the aquarium, it's a pain in the ass on public transit and is better in the summer anyway.

    Science World is great! They have enough to keep you busy for a couple hours, and it's Vancouver so they still have a section on marine life and local animals and whatnot. Very cool.

    Kids loooooove the Sea Bus! Come to think of it so do I... You can go across the water to Lonsdale Quay and walk around for a bit, grab a bite, whatever. There's a cool toy store there, you might be able to grab something special that will help keep your kid busy waiting at the airport later that day. Good place to stock up on some quality airplane snacks too - like some quality charcuterie or whatever. Inside the mall there as well is a jungle gym kinda thing that a 7 year old would dig. I think it's up on the 3rd floor.

    That should keep you busy for enough time to still not stress out over getting back to the airport. Use google to figure out transit spots to these places, or just ask anyone you see - people in Vancouver are very kind.

    Here's how happy kids get after riding the Sea Bus:
    Click image for larger version. 

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  21. #21
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    yeah the seabus over to lonsdale quay would be good for kids and/ or science world which is right on the sky train line,
    I have driven all over Vangroovy at one time or another doing business and its pretty stressful but sky train is zero stress, it used to be the all day 10$ transit passes were available at a small newstand in the arrivals level, the passes let you ride any bus or train

    Not that you are gona do it this time but it is easily possible to make it to the Intuition factory outlet to get fitted with new liners and get back to the airport on a 7hr layover
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  22. #22
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    just to clarify, the sky train will take you to olympic village from where you can walk to science world. the seabus from science world takes you through false creek (nice way to get to granville island or the beach).

    the londsdale seabus is different than the one by science world. for lonsdale you have to take the skytrain all the way to waterfront. just so you dont get it mixed up.

    if you need any food reccos let us know what yall are into! good ice cream around as well.

    i havent done it but some of my tourist friends have done fly over canada (right by waterfront sky train station) and raved about it. not sure if your kid is over 40" but theyd ride free if so i think. p


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  23. #23
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    Sounds like Science World might be the ticket, then decide what to add on based on the weather that day.

  24. #24
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    This is awesome advice. It inspires me to make a thread.
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  25. #25
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    Curious what to do if for those of us who don't have kids in tow.

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