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Home » Things to do Vancouver

Rainy Day in Vancouver – Take the kids to the Airport!

Submitted by on Sunday, 20 December 20093 Comments

Running out of things to do with the kids on these rainy Vancouver days?  Been to the Mall, Community Centre, Chapter’s, Science World, Aquarium, and Kid’s Market with them a million times already?  Here’s something that you can do with them that I’m sure many of you haven’t thought of yet… take them to the new Observation Area at the Vancouver International Airport!

Don’t know what that is?  Don’t worry… I didn’t know either, until I recently had the pleasure of touring it myself.

The Observation Area is designed for young inquiring minds to explore and learn.  For example, did you know that the airport has 26,000 employees… two of which are dogs?  Fun facts like these are abundant at the Observation Area kiosks.

Here are a few things you’ll find for the kids (and the kid inside of you) there:

  1. A model of the Airport and island (Sea Island) that the airport is situated on.  You can press different buttons to make the runways light up!
  2. A cool flight simulator that allows you to fly over B.C. and land in different communities.  You can watch videos and learn about each community that you land in.
  3. Kiosks with fun facts and info – Like a “follow your bag” video; jobs at YVR; facts quizzes; airport art; listen to a recording of air traffic control; and the past, present and future of the area.
  4. Mini-telescopes that allow you to view the airplanes along the runways as the take-off and land.

The airport observation area at YVR opened this past July after much demand from the community.  Now is the perfect time to go there and get a change of scenery on a rainy day.  The kids will love it, and there is lots of room for them to run around and explore.

The observation area also ran a pilot school program from September to November, where school groups came in and learned about the airport, how to pack their bags when they travel (e.g. what you can and can’t put in your carry-on luggage), and other fun and practical facts and tips.  With any luck, this program will continue, and open up to more schools to enjoy.

On the lower level, just under the observation area, there is a food court with a play area for the kids to climb and tumble around while you take a break and have a coffee.  And if you’re in the mood, there are some shops right there as well, including a Vancouver Aquarium souvenir shop and some Olympic souvenir shops.

One thing I liked about this area is that it is a little bit away from the high-traffic areas of the airport, so you don’t have to worry about your kids wandering off or getting lost in crowds of people walking by.  They would have to wander pretty far to get to the higher traffic areas – giving you enough time to catch them before they get there.

Getting there is also easy – the new Canada Line Skytrain goes straight there.  Just take the Canada Line in the direction of YVR Airport and get off at the very last stop, which is the airport terminal.  Head towards the Domestic Terminal and you are practically there.  Just follow the signs to the Airport Observation area, or ask one of the info people on the ground.  This is my recommended option for getting there… the Skytrain is fun for kids, and you don’t have to worry about fighting traffic or finding parking once you’re there.

So get on out there and make a day, or morning, or afternoon out of it.  It’s fun and exciting for kids, and something completely different than the usual rainy day outings.  You and the kids will learn a lot too!  Click here to visit their website for more info.

Take care for now and Merry Christmas!

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  • Liisa says:

    This new observation area is fantastic! I went the day they opened the Canada Line when they had all kinds of events out at the airport. It took 2 hours of standing in line with my 6 year old daughter and 4 year old granddaughter to get on at Oakridge but it was worth it! In another part of the terminal they had a version of the airport made out of Lego, with a Sky Train that moved. And the girls loved the observation area. They looked through the binoculars at planes taking off and played with the flight simulator that showed an interactive view of the whole province, as seen from the air and really didn’t want to leave (although by then it was the end of the day and I had to get home).

  • Head Jammer says:

    Hi Liisa, that is great! Thanks for sharing, I’m very glad to hear that you and the kids enjoyed it! That is even more encouragement for parents and grandparents to get out there with their kids. Glad to hear you took the Skytrain too!

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