Field Trip: Vancouver, British Columbia's Science World

Since SPS did not have clases this past Friday we decided it would be a great opportunity to get out of town for a mini vacation.  Being within reasonable driving distance was key and we haven't been away from Portland long enough for it to make sense to go there.  Once learning that Vancouver British Columbia was a mere 2.5-hrs away our choice was made!

I haven't been to Vancouver since I was in college and that was many, many moons ago.  I told my kids about the plan and they were so excited.  1. because they were going on a vacation and 2. they were, technically, leaving the US.  Once I knew T could take the day off of work I went ahead and started our plans.

I'm a Starwood (SPG) member and will only stay at Starwood hotels, mainly because I accumulate points and i'm to far sucked in to stay elsewhere and potentially lose out on points.  Check out the program if you travel often, its free to join, you get priority check in, the hotels offer SPG only promotions and their chain of hotels are awesome (Westins, Sheratons, W's...)  Normally we stay at Westin's but this trip the Sheraton in Downtown Vancouver had the best deal and with the AAA offers it was hard to pass up.  We were lucky enough to score a Family Suite with free daily self-parking (which normally costs $33.88/day!)  The location was fantastic.  Walking distance to lots of shopping, eating and sites.  Close driving proximity to nearly everything!  And we had Japadog right across the street, Yum!  
Gray & Rainy!
We left home on Friday very early, it was dark out but the kids were warned.  Of course this was the first weekend, beginning on Friday, that we received rain.  Lots of rain.  Vancouver was not spared but we planned for it.  And really if we didn't go due to rain then we would still be in rain, at home and probably less likely to just go out and deal with it.  Anyway, the drive was mellow, we were travelling against traffic, and I had a bunch of DVDs I borrowed from the library so the movies/shows were all new for the kids (The Muppet Show, Pac Man cartoon...).  We finally rolled into Vancouver a bit after 10 and headed to one of our first stops, Science World.

Science World is AWESOME!  If you are a member of any other science museum that supports the ASTC Passport program your membership will allow you and your family free entrance.  Luckily, we still have our Evergreen Aviation museum membership so this was a fantastic free opportunity for us.  The museum is costly, especially with the crappy exchange rate, but even if we paid to get in it would have been worth it.  There is ample parking around the facility but it is pay parking with 4-hour meters.  Meters do accept credit card but there is lots of public transportation surrounding science world should you decide to go that route.  

All exhibits/activities were hands on.  And not the type of exhibits where you sit there and have a computer screen navigate you through whats going on (i'm looking at you OMSI).  Explanations were bold, concise and easy to understand for even beginning readers.  There really wasn't anything that was off limits to kids.  Science World also had a great common area that was sort of like a mini amphitheater, that allowed for a "scientist" to get on stage and hold presentations/experiments for the kids.  The "scientists" were engaging and the experiments were quickly and easily explained and provided for wonderful ah-ha moments for the kids.  Big Red  was both engaged and very much impressed.  Science World had something for everything, brain busting puzzels and activities, everyday science, illusion type science, biology, and even an enclosed play area for the littlest scientists.  We spent a few hours there and it flew by!  When we left the kids couldn't stop talking about how much fun they had and they were even thanking us for taking them there, which was jaw dropping to me!  We missed out on some of the outside activities but that will be for another visit.

Here's some photos from Science World:

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