Monday, January 16, 2012

Explore: Victoria!

I'm constantly BLOWN AWAY by all of the amazing places there are to go and visit in the Pacific Northwest.  As part of our stay-at-home summer last year, we took the kids for a weekend in Victoria, on Vancouver Island, BC. 

It's only a ferry ride away, and the kids had a great time on the ferry.

Victoria isn't the most kid-friendly city around, it's a little more geared towards adults and couples.  But you certainly can take kids there and have a wonderful time!  We found a hotel to stay at close to the waterfront that had a separate bedroom and a pull-out couch in the main living area.  The girls had a blast swimming in the pool, and we had a nice view of the city from our window! 

Because of Vancouver Island's location, they get a LOT more sunny days than most of the Pacific Northwest does.  We enjoyed lots of bright, sunny weather while we were there!  The city of Victoria has a European feel to it, and it's very beautiful!

Eating is a bit challenging there with young kids, since the food is kind of pricey and most restaurants don't have kid menus.  We had lunch one day at an old-fashioned soda shop right on the waterfront, and we shared a banana split afterward.  We paid too much for it, but it was delicious!

Some more gorgeous views of the city of Victoria!

We spent the majority of Saturday at the stunning Butchart Gardens (separate blog post about that, we got lots of beautiful pictures!), and that is a MUST-see!!!

I felt like we were quite the spectacle, checking out of the hotel on Sunday with the three girls and ALL our stuff!

Lots of people don't even take a car when they go, and just take the Victoria Clipper straight from Seattle and walk off the boat.  I think that would be fine when just going with adults, but I really enjoyed having our car with us since it gave us the freedom to drive around the island and see Butchart Gardens and some beautiful views of the ocean and mountains!

Where are all the pine trees???  It really was a whole different climate there, even though it's not very far away!

If you take kids to Victoria with you, you definitely need to spend some time at Beacon Hill Park.  It's right in the city and has several ponds and fountains, big forested grounds, a fun playground for the kids, and even a really awesome petting zoo!  We spent all of Sunday afternoon there before catching the ferry back home.

The girls loved the water and all the ducks and geese!

Brooke loved hanging out in the swings!  And Kirsten was even pushing her in the swing, which was adorable!

The Beacon Hill Petting Zoo was impressive!  It was huge, with tons of different animals to see and pet, and it's donation-only, so you can pay whatever you want and spend lots of time there!  They had piglets, llamas, turkeys, peacocks, chickens, donkeys, horses, goats, sheep, seriously everything!
I think all the girls loved the goats the best!

These goats were playing with each other and butting heads, it was hilarious!

Victoria was such a fun place to go for a family weekend getaway!  We all had a wonderful time there!

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