When my in-laws visited at Thanksgiving, we decided to tour the UBC Botanical Garden. The first day of their visit had been pouring rain, so we were happy when the sun came out as we drove across the city. Bright flowers greeted us at the entrance to the gardens, suggesting that summer wasn’t quite over yet.
Inside the garden, we chose a path and wandered along. The girls had fun running ahead as the sunlight danced between the leaves onto the path before us. I spied big-leaved rhododendrons which I knew would have been gorgeous a few months earlier (or if we return in February). Towering trees invited us to stare upwards and hints of fall colour glimmered among the green.
As soon as the girls spied the canopy walk in the trees above us, they wanted to know how to get up to it. My husband and mother-in-law were a little less enthusiastic, but we followed the trails around to the entrance. As soon as we punched in the code, the girls were heading up the ramp, which was much wobblier than I expected. I expected something like the treetop walk at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, but this walk was much narrower and subject to swinging.
We got the girls to stop and wait for us at each tree between the walkways. I was glad that we had the canopy walk to ourselves and could go slowly. Jade wanted to be carried a few times, but I insisted that she had to walk; carrying her would have put her above the railing in my arms, which didn’t feel safe. I hadn’t brought the Ergo and my husband had smartly pointed out that bringing the stroller wouldn’t work on the canopy walk.
We also saw big spiders spinning their webs, vines wrapping themselves around trees, and funghi clinging to the sides of trees. There were still a few late flowers hidden throughout the gardens, but I imagine it’s much more spectacular during the summer.
From there, we headed through the tunnel under Marine Drive to access the other half of the gardens. The girls had fun in the tunnel, particularly with the echoes. On the other side, the bright sunshine was a sharp contrast to the shade we’d wandered in before. We climbed up the hill to flowers and vegetables still growing thick. Produce from this garden is donated to local homeless people.
Overall, we had a lovely afternoon at the UBC Botanical Garden.
Kid-friendly: Yes. The girls enjoyed running along the paths and had fun on the Canopy Walk. The paths are wide, but they are dirt so I’d recommend either a baby carrier or a jogging stroller.
Cost: The Canopy Walk does cost extra to do. You can get a multi-access pass to several UBC attractions, including the Garden and the Beaty Museum, which gets you a discount for visiting all six locations within a six-month period.
For more information about the UBC Botanical Garden, visit the website. The Garden is now closed for the winter and will re-open in April so check the website for opening details and other events.