Days out in Vancouver don’t get much more exciting than a trip up Grouse Mountain, an all-year-round entertainment paradise that mixes the wildness of the great outdoors with opportunities for family fun and learning. It takes only 15 minutes from downtown heading north to get to this amazing attraction, and I found it hard to cram everything it has to offer into one day.
This does exactly what it says, taking you on a 1,100 meter climb into the sky over a mountainside covered in pine trees. The whole cityscape below opens up, as well as nearby peaks, inlets and bays, the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf Islands. You’re in the wilderness but civilization is spread out beneath.
The Refuge for Endangered Wildlife is a conservation centre right at the top of the mountain, where research and education go hand in hand. It’s fascinating to explore conservation issues through its interpretative programs and find out more about wildlife and plants that are at risk. Spread over five acres, it’s home to a large habitat for Timber Wolves and for two orphaned Grizzly Bears.
Eye of the Wind
A gigantic wind turbine is the setting for a viewing pod accessed by elevator, some 20 storeys high. As the blades slowly turn, visitors get stunning views of the city and surrounding area, including the harbor and the Coastal Mountains.
Theatre in the Sky
Here’s a chance to learn more about the wildlife of Grouse Mountain, with an HD electronic cinema showing fascinating films about eagles, Grizzly Bears and the latest addition, a Barn Owl called Tyto and work underway to save another species, the Northern Spotted Owl.
When the snows come, Grouse Mountain acts as a magnet for skiers and snowboarders, hikers with snowshoes and ice skaters. There are trails for novices up to the highly experienced, and it’s easy to rent equipment and to have lessons to get into the swing of winter sports activities.
Outside of winter there are opportunities to go ziplining or do the famous “Grouse Grind” a steep climb to an 850 meter elevation that really does test the stamina!