And some clever quip...
We arrived right when the park opened but already there was an
impossible line up at the water slide. Nara was amazingly
patient navigating the long line up - perhaps 15 minutes waiting
for a 30 second ride. Claira wasn't so into the water slide
- even riding on my lap, but she did enjoy playing in the water
We met a lot of people we knew at the water park - David and
his two kids were there, Nancy from swimming and her kids and
others from Daycare. We stayed until Claira got too cold.
One of Nara's daycare friends happens to
be born on Canada day and she had a birthday party on Canada
day! We went our to Richmond to the "air park" - a
trampoline filled warehouse where kids could literally bounce off
the walls. Fun time had by all.
Spanish Banks is one of those places I've
been to as part of a large activity (summer BBQ party or bicycle
meet up) but I've haven't actually been to go experience the
beach. The tides were planning to go low so I thought I
would take the kids.
We arrived a little early (the banks
weren't yet exposed) but the kids were happy - lots of fine sand
to shovel and build things with. Nara started walking down
to the water to get building materials and very quickly the water
was running away. The banks are so flat that when the tide
goes down it really exposes a lot of sand in a hurry.
Once they figured out there was nice sand to play with, the kids
moved to the newly exposed sand and started to play there.
We went for a walk in the ankle deep shallow water and walked from
island to island forging the small streams between islands.
If you looked further out you could see great blue herons fishing
where the water got more than ankle deep. The herons kept
Soon enough the kids were tired so we headed back to the
car. We had a good time!
Bug Walk at Work
I work right next to still creek - the
poster child for invasive species. I often walk or cycle by
short segments of the creek but I don't spend much time walking
around. I decided to bring my 105mm into work and shoot for
a little at lunch time one day and after work the next. I
was surprised at how much there was to see!
The biggest surprise was the Alder Borer Beetle - a large insect
that was walking around an Alder stump. I had no idea what
it was but it turned out to be quite easy to lookup online.
Beaver "Lake" in Stanley Park
We had one of the those Sunday afternoons
where Claira went for a nap and Nara and I needed to head out of
the house. I noticed I thought it would be good to see a
body of water and decided on Beaver Lake in Stanley Park.
To make my life more challenging, I only brought two lenses - my
105mm and my 400mm. Nara got the gold start for spotting
something cool - the first time I have seen a bullfrog in the
Vacation in Victoria
My parents live in Victoria. Helen
works in a Hospital and getting summer vacation time is a bit of a
trick. We wound up with two weeks in July (yeah!) but turned
out to be short on ideas. Originally we were thinking a
short road trip and some camping but the road trip part didn't
have the yield I was looking for (hard to work afternoon naps in)
so we decided a few days with the grandparents (and a bit of free
childcare!) was the more attractive option. We took a Sunday
morning ferry - no reservations! We arrived in time for
Claira to take a nap.
The first thing I did was walk over to Outerbridge park. The early
summer was very hot this year so the plant life is mostly in the
"brown" stage. That said, the bigger pond on the property is
very active - lots of things to see.
What is the first thing the kids did? Claira napped and Nara
started on an art project. After that, they go play on the
deck. We have a wide variety of toys (including the kids
bikes) that are fun outside and the option to just walk outside from
the living room is almost magical to the kids.
The next day we tried for a beach day! My parents and I almost
make a game of finding great places in Victoria I didn't go to when
I lived there but are worth visiting. Today's lucky
location? Willows beach!
Willows Beach is in Oak Bay, very close to the
boarder of Uplands. Like most other things in Victoria, it was
almost empty compared to a similar attraction (say Spanish Bank) in
Vancouver. Turns out we picked a windy day - the kids made it
about 15 minutes before they started complaining of the cold.
We packed up and found something else to do.
much every trip to Victoria includes a trip to the local
playground. McMinn Park has a nice playground, a large field
and blackberries around the walkways - lots of things for
This time the city of Saanich had an event called "Playtime in the
Park" where the city provided a coordinator and activities for two
hours for a fee. They were short of kids for their parachute
songs and games so Nara and Claira got to play.
We also borrowed some of their art
supplies. I haven't used sidewalk chalk before - it's crude
but effective. The kids that actually signed up (and paid) got
to paint bird houses, but we didn't pay so no bird house for us.
I've always liked Mount Doug for the view
but I'm starting to like it as a wildlife viewing area. In
the warm summer butterflies and birds like to ride the updrafts
and can often be seen from the top of the mountain. This
time didn't disappoint.
Swan lake has two "birding walks" each
week - Sunday and Wednesday. I've actually run into the
group before while at the park with Nara - today and before it was
about a dozen people with binoculars moving slowly around the
park. I have a big lens - people come up to me and remind me
of that when I'm walking around. I was a little worried
about "coming out" with a group of birders and then not knowing
the difference between a common and western Sandpiper. "More
Lens than Brains" probably describes me well. Turns out I
didn't have much reason to worry - the members were quite patient
with newbies which I appreciated.
The floating bridge at Swan lake is under repair this summer so
our walk couldn't go around the lake the short way. We
decided to start walking clockwise around, first passing by the
old farmers fields. I haven't walked that way before so I
was surprised to see how different the habitat is from the rest of
the lakeside habitat.
The bird walk finished around 11am in the morning. Later in
the day the Nature House put on Reptile day for the
kids. We planned to arrive early and leave early so we
could head home for Claira's nap.
When we arrived we noticed the face
painting space had no line up. Vancouver events often have
multiple painters but still end up line ups several kids
deep. Nara and Claira got reptiles painted on their faces!
They had arts and crafts and meet the animals shows. The
kids really seemed to like the touch the snakes area. They
had a garter snake out that the kids could touch and both Nara and
Claira seemed really into it.
We stayed until Claira almost fell asleep standing.
After dinner we we decided to return to McMinn park to try out the
kids new kite! It was just barely windy enough - if you came
behind the trees the wind died and kite fell out of the sky.
The kids played with the kite for about 20 minutes and then hit
the reliable swings.
Trestle Over Blenkinsop Lake
Normally the kids have a bath around 7:30 or
8pm, but since it's Grandma's house we can sometimes bend the
rules. We decided to go out for a walk over the Trestle that
bridges Blenkinsop lake. We parked on the South Side and
walked the few hundred meters to the bridge where there is a great
view of the lake:
The low sun was out casting everything in a
lovely warm light.
Petting Zoo at Beacon Hill Park
Last day in Victoria, family favorite, we
had to go to the Beacon Hill Petting Zoo to see the goats.
Neither kid was actually that into it - Claira was scared of
Peacocks and Nara wasn't thrilled with the goats.
Trying for a new tradition, we went down
to the fisherman's wharf to see if we could see the seals.
No so much luck there, but the kids did get ice cream and they
certainly liked that! Thanks Parents for taking us in!
My building has a roof top deck.
Previous years it's been a first come first served to reserve the
key for the roof - this year they just left the door open and
anyone can drop in. It was actually the first time I'd been
up there - the view of the city is pretty good and while it's not
a perfect view of the fireworks, it's a lot less obscured than
what we see from our unit.
Tags: fireworks(8), insect(5), Vancouver(4), McMinn Park(4), Swan Lake(4), beach(3)
People: Claira(13), Nara(9), Janet(3), Lloyd(1)
From: John Harvey Photo > Blogs for 2016 to 2005 > July 2015
Last Modified Saturday, August 22nd, 2015 at 23:12:07 Edit
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