Capilano Suspension Bridge Park: Fun for the Entire Family
Vancouver, BC is a beautiful city in the Pacific Northwest framed by the sparkling Pacific Ocean and soaring snow-capped mountains, offering visitors breathtaking views in every direction. If you are fortunate to spend time in this city known for outdoor adventures, world-class shopping and sophisticated cuisine, make sure to set aside an afternoon to visit Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.
My family had a short two days to eat and explore our way through Vancouver before we embarked on a cruise to Alaska, and I wanted to capitalize on our limited time. I am so thrilled Capilano Suspension Bridge Park was highly recommended to us because it definitely was a highlight of our time in Vancouver.
Capilano Suspension Bridge was built in 1889 and stretches 450 feet across and 230 feet above the raging waters of the Capilano River. The bridge itself isn’t for the faint of heart but worry not, it’s been updated and well maintained since its humble beginnings.
Now the 27-acre park features several attractions to keep families engaged for hours while exploring a cedar-scented rain forest. I honestly didn’t expect to spend nearly an entire day at the park, but my kids kept finding fascinating exhibits to explore, and it was hard to drag them out at the end of the day.
Attractions at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park in Vancouver
Start off in the Story Centre
When we first arrived, the Story Centre was the first exhibit we encountered. We learned that early adventurers who made the long trek to the bridge were called “tramps” because people had to tramp a long way to get to the bridge.
The Story Centre is informative and filled with life-sized photo murals, artifacts and antiques that chronicle the early history of the bridge and Vancouver. Honestly, I found it more interesting than the kids because there was more reading and less action. They just wanted to get to the bridge. Fair enough.
Tip: Make sure to pick up a park passport at the entrance. If you get all the stamps found throughout the park, you get a special certificate when you exit. Kids love it!
After the Story Centre, we passed through Kia’palano which is the story of British Columbia’s First Nations people. Part of the story is told through the totem poles placed on the grounds. The totem poles also make for a great photo backdrop.
Capilano Suspension Bridge
The moment we had been waiting for! The park was a bit crowded on the particular day we visited. Although the lines were long, they did move quickly. In fact, it was fun watching people walk across the suspension bridge while we waited in line; some expressions were priceless!
Once it was our turn, and I stepped onto the bridge, I was a bit surprised to find it was a little wobbly! Of course it is: it’s a suspension bridge that spans 450 feet across a raging river 230 feet below! My kids, filled with excitement about crossing, motivated me to continue on.
Employees kept the lines moving and discouraged visitors from stopping on the bridge for photos. In the end, it was quite exciting to cross the bridge and the views really are tremendous!
The Living Forest
Once we crossed the bridge, we entered a magnificent rain forest ecosystem where we spent the next couple hours exploring and learning. We picked up a free Kids’ Rainforest Explorers Booklet next to the Treetops Adventure, and the kids spent the better part of two hours collecting data and learning about the West Coast rain forest. They turned into little researchers and had a blast in the process! The booklet contained age appropriate questions for them to answer, and they earned a keepsake badge when it was completed.
Tidbit: Can you tell the difference between a Western Helmlock, Red Cedar or Douglas fir? Your young explorer will learn those answers and more in the Living Forest!
Although the bridge was thrilling, Treetops Adventure was where the kids had the most fun squirreling from platform to platform up to 110 feet above the forest floor. It’s pretty phenomenal how they engineered the bridges and platforms so they are movable and adjustable without using any nails or bolts penetrating into the trees. It felt like we were in a giant tree house, and we loved walking among the tops of 250 year-old Douglas firs.
If the suspension bridge and Treetops Adventure weren’t enough to challenge your fear of heights, make sure to try Cliffwalk. And you don’t need to be a rock climber to enjoy this cliff-side journey!
The newest activity at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is a suspended walkway that juts out from a granite cliff face above the Capilano River. You can also enjoy previously unexplored areas of the park.
It’s not for the faint of heart because not only is it high and narrow, but the glass floor will make you feel like you are hovering over the canyon floor! My kids really enjoyed the views and marveled at the engineering design.
Tips for visiting the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park Attractions
Although the park is family-friendly, many parts are not handicap or stroller accessible. Wear comfortable walking shoes and even a light sweater during the summer. Finally, it can be crowded in the summer so I recommend coming earlier in the day to take advantage of shorter lines.
There is a FREE Capilano Suspension Bridge Park shuttle bus that picks up visitors in downtown Vancouver. See the website for the most up-to-date information.
You may also enjoy:
- 5 Great Reasons to Visit Canada Year-Round
- Best Things to do in Vancouver, BC with Kids
- Visiting Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia
- Welcome to “VanGroovy:” A Perfect Vancouver Vacation
- Stay at Hilton Vancouver Metrotown or search for other Hilton hotels in Vancouver
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