I have been wanting to check out Capilano Suspension Bridge for years. We have come to Vancouver every Boxing Day for the past 4 or 5 years and I’ve wanted to experience the lights they put up on the bridge. It sounds simply magical! However, it’s never worked out and it’s bummed me out each year. So, when I started planning a trip to Vancouver with my Mom and my toddler, Owen, I knew Capilano Suspension Bridge had to be one of our first stops.
We arrived just after 6pm and knew that the park closed at 8pm in the summer. Owen’s bedtime is usually 7pm and we hadn’t had dinner yet, so I knew I was playing with fire. We easily found parking across the street in their official lot and paid $5 to park. Then, we crossed the street to enter Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.
As soon as we walked through the gate I was instantly impressed! It almost had a theme park feel to it, as there were many great photo set ups and clear (yet adorable) signage. We stopped at the wishing pond so Owen could toss in a few coins for good luck. This led him to want to throw coins from every bridge and pond we walked across, which is (of course) not allowed. We walked by really beautiful totem poles that lined the walkway. My son is afraid of Hawaiian Tikis, and these were a bit too similar for him at first. By the end of the walk, he started to warm up to them.
We got to the Suspension Bridge and we were all impressed! It’s a lot to take in. I was surprised how wobbly the stairs were to get onto the wobbly bridge. Owen held my hand and the railing, but he was very unsure of what was happening. When we got about halfway across the bridge, I asked him if he wanted to turn back. He looked at me and said “wee! Owen keep walking!” I had no idea he was having a good time! I took lots of photos with my phone as we walked across the bridge, but that was only because my Mom was holding Owen’s hand. If I had been holding his hand, I would have needed my free hand to hang onto the railing.
Once we were across the bridge, Owen wanted to explore. I had no idea how awesome the Treetops Adventure or Nature Tour would be! We managed to do both, which were a total blast, before we heard the announcement that the park would be closing soon and we needed to head out. By the time we got to the Bridge, my legs were already tired from so much walking and I was shocked that Owen still had energy to run around trees before hitting the bridge. This time, though, my Mom carried him the whole way across.
It was 7:30pm and all the food options were closed except for the cafe near the exit. We grabbed some pastries and yogurt for Owen and fed them to him in the car. This was dinner but it was so worth it to do as much as we could in the park. My lasting impression of the park is that it is incredibly clean. For something that is entirely outdoors, I was elated to not see trash or even debris on the walkways.
We will definitely come back here on our next trip! They have a hot chocolate lodge that I feel the urge to explore in the Fall/Winter. I also want to get a selfie with Owen and the bear statue dress as a Mountie, simply because it’s a fun photo op!
6 Things to Know for Babies/Toddlers at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
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Seattle summers are hit and miss. When it's sunny out, Seattle is stunning and everyone rushes to take advantage of outdoor activities. However, sometimes it's a bit overcast and gloomy where you just want to curl up inside and drink soup.
After a morning of rain and clouds, I decided that a little rain shouldn't deter us from seizing our summer. My Mom was in Seattle visiting from Kauai and I wanted us to explore something. So, we loaded the car and headed to Remlinger Farms in Carnation, WA. We had been once before for their Fall Toddler Tuesdays, which offer a limited number of rides geared specifically to toddlers. My toddler Owen had a lot of fun then, so I was excited to see what it was like when the whole place was up and running.
As soon as we arrived, there were some fun photo ops and Owen promptly headed over to a sign for a quick pic. We walked through the produce market and country store to get to the check in area. After we paid and got our wristbands, we were free to explore the park!
Our first stop was the little toddler train. This was Owen's favorite ride last time we came and it was definitely one of his favorites this time. There were no other kids in line, so Owen got to sit up front and "drive" the train! It was hilarious because he had a very serious face the entire ride but then at the end he kept saying how fun it was and that he wanted to do it again and again!
We also checked out the flying corn ride right next to the train. Again, he was the only person and he was extremely serious. Halfway through the ride, he understood that he could move the corn up and down. That's when I saw a glimmer of a smile! Again, at the end of the ride he went on and on about how fun it was.
On our way to finding the Steam Locomotive (whose whistle we could hear), I saw a sign for pony rides and Owen said he wanted to do that. We had tried to get Owen on a pony at an event last Fall and he was really wary. So, when he said he wanted to try it this time, we had to give it a shot. The staff there were so nice! They found him a tiny pony named Bean and she was the perfect size for a toddler! We patiently waited for the handler to come over and she put Owen on Bean and told him he needed to hold on with both hands. Since Owen is a toddler, I was asked to walk next to him on his left side and keep an eye on him the whole time (meaning no photos on my phone,) This was a really good rule because I was much more engaged in the whole experience and got to see flickers of a smile as Owen bravely balanced himself while meandering on the trail. At the end, we waved goodbye to Bean and sought out to find the elusive Steam Locomotive.
When we found the train station, there was a sign saying the next train would leave in 20 minutes. So, we got Owen on a little canoe ride that he seemed to enjoy. We were able to walk next to him taking photos and chatting with the staff member, which was nice. Then, we started to explore the area outside of the train station that included a vintage firetruck, school bus, and several photo cutouts. Just as we were about to explore further, we saw the train pull into the station and then all bets were off. Owen insisted that we stand in line for the next 10 minutes and just watch the train conductor oil the Steam Locomotive and make sure everything was in working order.
When it was finally time to board the train, Owen was beyond excited! He quickly chose a train car and we hopped in and waited until it was time to go. After the train conductor bellowed "All Aboard!" we started on our journey around Remlinger Farms. We got to see goats, alpacas, deer, and geese in addition to the lovely scenery. At the end, we went through what looked like a mining tunnel before pulling into the station. This was definitely the highlight of the day for Owen!
After the train ride, we went on a ride where Owen got to "drive" a vintage car while Grandma and I sat as his passengers. This was a lot of fun for all three of us! Owen kept giggling and saying "this is fun!" as he vigorously turned the steering wheel as we swayed back and forth on the guided track.
At this point, it was 1pm and we were all getting hungry. So, per Owen's request, we did the little toddler train and flying corn rides one more time on our way to the cafe. At the cafe, they had lots of prepared options. My Mom and I grabbed some turkey sandwiches and soup and we got a boxed lunch for Owen that included sandwich, chips, cookie and juice. As soon as we sat down, Owen noticed a little train running on tracks near the ceiling. Then we realized there were two trains on two different tracks. This became our lunchtime entertainment as Owen waited to see if they would "bonk" into each other. Near the end of lunch, the trains stopped and we were all a bit confused. As we left the cafe, we saw a place to turn on the trains and Owen insisted that he press the button on our way out. It was a great way to end our fun day at Remlinger Farms!
6 Tips for Remlinger Farms
My husband Darren and I love to be on boats! Whenever we travel, we usually try to squeeze in a boat trip of some sort as an activity. We like to sit and relax while looking at the scenery from a different viewpoint. In fact, we even had our rehearsal dinner on a boat! So, when our toddler Owen kept telling us that he wanted to "sit down on a boat," we thought maybe it was time for him to share our excitement for boats.
Waterways Cruises offers a Sunday Supper Cruise all summer long. For those in Seattle (or who are visiting) we know that summer in Seattle is best experienced on a boat! This 2 hour cruise features the sights of Seattle's lakes and city skylines and a buffet of Northwest food. The cruise runs from 5pm-7pm, with boarding at 4:30pm. The boat has two stories. The bathrooms and the buffet are located on the main floor and the outdoor deck is located on the upper floor.
We were greeted by the Captain who gave us our boarding pass and table assignment. We were lucky enough to be seated upstairs, with just a few tables and just steps away from the outdoor deck! Our waiter came over to take our drink order. Being pregnant, I had to refrain from the delicious cocktails but our waiter suggested a virgin Mai Tai. Mai Tais are my all-time favorite cocktail but I never thought of ordering it without rum. It was delicious! So delicious that my husband ended up also ordering one. For parents of young children, note that there is no milk on board so you might want to bring your own.
The boat headed first to Lake Washington and we heard a bit of narration as we passed places of interest, like Chihuly's glass studio, Bill Gates' house, the new 520 bridge, etc. I appreciated that the narration wasn't constant, but in short bursts that were filled with humor and personality. It was easy to focus on what was being said and then go back to table conversation. Between the narration was a variety of music.
The dinner buffet opened just a few minutes after we set out on the cruise. We headed down soon after it opened and the line wasn't bad at all. We filled my plate and Owen's plate and the brought them upstairs before sending Darren down to fill his plate. We were thrilled they had macaroni and cheese because Owen has been requesting it everywhere we go because he ate it with his older cousins a few weeks ago and thinks it's the "cool" food. We were really impressed with the quality of food. When I think of buffet food on a boat, I don't have high expectations. But I really enjoyed the tomato bisque, the veggie lasagna and the rolls/herb butter. I wasn't as enthusiastic about the salmon, but I prefer my salmon to be raw, so I'm biased. My husband devoured the beef and the Caesar salad,
The dessert buffet was laid out about 20 minutes before the end of the cruise on the main floor, right as we headed into Lake Union. Owen was most excited for the chocolate chip cookies. I enjoyed the apple crisp, brownie (which Owen helped me with) and the chocolate chip cookie. We also grabbed some tasty sliced fruit that was available. I noticed that they had a tea station and if I wasn't holding Owen's hand and our dessert plate, I would definitely have grabbed some.
We ate our dessert while awing over the amazing summer Seattle skyline!
Overall, we had a great time on the Sunday Supper Cruise! The weather was gorgeous (which always is a bonus) and it was pretty relaxing. Even though Owen was whinier than usual, he had a lot of fun and it was a great family outing. The upper deck had a lot of room for him to walk around and explore without disturbing other guests. We docked right at 7pm, which coincided with Owen's bedtime and we were able to put him down as soon as we got home.
Waterways Cruises provided my family with tickets for review purposes.
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It’s no secret that I love to travel. The hardest part is usually figuring out which shoes to pack and how much suitcase space I really want to use up. The same goes for when I pack for my toddler, Owen. Sometimes his shoes take up as much room as his clothes! That's why I love moccasins. They are easily packed in checked luggage or stored in your carry-on until you reach your destination and they make any outfit seem put together.
I was recently talking with Rachel over at Freshly Picked and she is giving my readers a pair of free mocs! They are the "it" shoes for babies and toddlers and are available in an array of colors for both boys and girls. These mocs can be any size, and any color. Don’t have a baby to put mocs on? Win them for a friend or family member! They also make the perfect baby shower present. Read below how you can win them.
I get to give away a pair of soft soled moccasins to one of my readers! The contest starts July 24th and ends at 11:59pm PDT on July 30th. Entering is easy (located below)
+ Like Marcie in Mommyland and Freshly Picked on Facebook
+ For additional entries, follow Marcie in Mommyland and Freshly Picked on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest
It doesn't get much easier than that! Winner will be announced on Sunday, July 31st.
Rules: Open to US residents only. You cannot have won a Freshly Picked giveaway within the last 60 days. One winner will be selected at random and will get to pick one pair of moccasins (soft soled only). Contest ends Saturday, July 30th at 11:59pm PDT. Good luck!
My son LOVES trains. Specifically, he loves Thomas and his friends. So, when I heard that Thomas was going to be in our neck of the woods this summer, I had to get tickets. It's a good thing I did because tickets for our chosen date went quickly!
I had heard mixed reviews from people who had been in past years, so I made sure my expectations were in check. I told my son Owen that we were going to meet Thomas in the Summer and he reminded me all Spring that "Owen see Thomas in Summer." When the time finally came, he couldn't contain his excitement!
We arrived at the Northwest Railway Museum one hour before our train ticket time. I had originally thought this would be too early, but we could have shown up even earlier. We found parking in a gravel parking lot across the street and by the time we walked over to the Museum, Thomas was pulling into the station. It was a very exciting way to start our Day Out with Thomas!
Once we were cleared to cross the street, we headed to the entrance where we got our wristbands and a sheet to collect stamps for a prize. The wristbands allowed us to re-enter at any point during the day. This was very helpful as my husband ended up going back in while we were waiting for lunch at a restaurant across the street to check out the gift shop.
We met up with a friend and her son and we headed straight for the train tables. The tracks and buildings were attached to the table, which was really helpful. Our kids could have spent the entire event just playing with trains and they would have had a great time! Next door, they had temporary tattoos, which Owen loved!
We got in line for our train about 15 minutes before its scheduled departure. There are two lines. If you go into the one on the right, you will be closer to Thomas. There was a clown handing out stickers right as we boarded. We saw many of these stickers on windows and chairs of the trains.
The train ride was a lot of fun! It's a short, 25 minute ride just to Snoqualmie Falls and back. The return trip is much quicker. On board, a volunteer takes your ticket and another volunteer in a top hat will present your child with a Junior Engineer certificate. Owen told us he wanted to color it.
After we departed the train, we immediately got in line to get photos with Thomas. They have two photographers stationed. One is directly in front of Thomas and the other one is slightly to the left (so you get a photo with more of the train body.) The line moves pretty quickly, but can get quite long. You have to purchase these photos or quickly try to take one while the photographer is taking photos. Our photographer took 4 photos and they were just okay. It's $40 for digital downloads, which felt really high to me.
Next, we got in line for a yellow cart that runs the length of the train station. This line moved really quickly and the ride was pretty fun for the kids. You can ride it as many times as you like.
We got in line to meet Sir Topham Hat, but Owen told us he was all done with photos. So, we just brought him closer so he could see him and then we decided to head across the street to find lunch.
10 Tips for Day Out with Thomas
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In an attempt to get out of the sun for part of the day, we decided to explore the Maui Ocean Center near Ma`alaea Harbor. I came here with my toddler Owen last October, but we both had the flu and were miserable. I thought we really needed to give it another shot.
We didn't arrive until almost 11:30am, which was our mistake. The Maui Ocean Center opens at 9am and that's probably a better time to arrive. By the time we got there, the parking lot was so packed that we had to park in the adjacent parking lot. There were no sidewalks at the adjacent parking lot, which was a bummer when walking with a toddler with short legs.
There was no line when we (finally) got up to the entrance and we were able to walk in easily. The aquarium basically has 2 areas that are inside with air conditioning and then there are several exhibits outside in the direct sunlight. On a hot day like the day we went, the indoor areas were so packed that we could barely get close to the glass to see the fish. Had we gone earlier in the day, that might not have been such a problem.
But, when we were able to get close, the indoor exhibits were great! I loved that there were steps for smaller kids to get up close. I always think it's a bummer when adults push to get up close to take photos and block the view from the kids. Having that step there is a subtle way to remind people that the aquarium is for everyone, even those with shorter legs!
I also appreciated how many large displays they had with benches. Being 6 months pregnant, it was nice to be able to sit down for a moment to catch my breath before continuing on. Owen especially liked seeing the submarine, since that's his favorite bath toy.
The only big letdown is that Owen didn't find Nemo or Dory, until we hit the gift shop where there was a big display. He kind of rushed through the aquarium looking for Nemo and Dory. But, it probably worked out because he was pretty tired by the end.
After the Maui Ocean Center, we ate at Seascapes restaurant that has an entrance inside the aquarium. The food was okay, but the service was abysmal. It took 20 minutes for our drinks to arrive and when they did, they were watery and unflavorful. We wanted to say something but no one ever came to check on us. It was also super windy and the kids menu was just paper and it kept blowing away as did the plastic cup of crayons.
Overall, we had a good time at the Maui Ocean Center, but wouldn't say it's a "must do" on Maui, if you only have a few days. It's a bit pricey for what you get, but if you were on Maui for a week or more, it might be a nice way to plan half your day, especially with kids who are too young to go snorkeling.
5 Maui Ocean Center Tips:
10 Tips for Traveling to Maui Solo with a Toddler
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On our latest trip to Maui, we stayed at the Honua Kai Resort in Ka`anapali, Maui. We went with family so we rented 3 units between all 14 of us. This was my first time staying at a resort, rather than a hotel or condominium. After spending a week there, here are my pros and cons for staying at the Honua Kai Resort:
I really liked the Honua Kai Resort. It was nice to be on a vacation where we really could just stay at the resort if we wanted. The pools were pretty incredible and I loved that there was food/coffee options on site! It's a great place relax and unwind!
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In celebration of my Mother-in-Law's 70th birthday, we all got together for a trip to Maui. Since we were all going to be together, we thought we should do a special activity with everyone. We decided that since she loves to swim and make memories with the grandkids, doing a snorkel trip might be the right fit.
I did a lot of research on the various boat trips we could do on Maui. Since we'd be bringing our 2.5-year-old, I was a bit worried that he would be stuck on the boat the whole time and get restless. Many of the boats seemed geared for kids ages 8 and up, which would have worked for everyone except our toddler. When I found the Four Winds Maui, their website featured small children! Jackpot!
We were told to arrive by 7am for our 7:30am departure. The website said to park in slip 55, but the boat ended up being in slip 80 which was a decent walk for our group of 14 children and adults. We followed several groups who were also confused where the boat was. This confusion made us feel a bit rushed and by the time we got on the boat, there were very few seats available.
When we were all settled, the Captain introduced himself and explained a bit about what the plan was for the day. It sounded like things would be set for Molokini, but there was a chance that the wind was too bad and the waves would be too choppy. We were going to try to make it, though. Then the sales pitches started for snuba, underwater cameras, underwater photography services, wet suits, etc. I already knew about them because I combed through the website before booking, but some people in our party felt like it was a little much and they just wanted to get going. Some of our family headed downstairs to get drinks and grab fruit and muffins.
We headed out of the harbor and the waves started to get choppy after about 20 minutes or so. My toddler kept shouting "wee" when he was hurled from left to right but my nephew felt a bit overwhelmed with all the movement. The Captain announced that we'd be turning away from Molokini so that we'd have more time to snorkel and he brought us to Coral Gardens. They passed out the fins and snorkel masks on the ride out there and offered a snorkel class on board right before we anchored.
At Coral Gardens, we had 2.5 hours to snorkel. Since I didn't plan on going in the water, I thought I might get bored with that much time on the boat. I was totally wrong! I couldn't believe how quickly the time flew.
We let the masses get into the water while I hung out with our toddler on the upper deck. We watched many family members get into the water and start snorkeling, which my toddler found fascinating. He really wanted to go into the water too, so my Mom and Mother-in-Law decided to go out with him. The Four Winds Maui has cool floatation devices with a peep hole for kids to lay on to look at the fish. The crew members were really helpful bringing them the floatie and helping our toddler! They loaded my toddler (wearing a life vest and water wings) onto one of those and my Mom and Mother-in-Law pulled him around the ocean so he could participate. Almost instantly, all his cousins swarmed the flotation device and my son was in heaven being a part of the experience!
While he was in the water, I took lots of iPhone photos and video and then headed inside to grab lunch (at 9:30am). They had hot dogs, kalua pork sandwiches, burgers and chicken. They had lots of burger toppings, ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce and hot sauce and potato chips. There was also an assortment of drinks (both alcoholic and not.)
By the time I grabbed some food and water, my son and most of the family were ready to come back on the boat to warm up and get food. My toddler devoured half my kalua pork sandwich (which was really tasty) and at least one cup full of chips. As time went on, the majority of swimmers all came on board to get food. This was perfect timing because we were all done eating and ready to hit the water again!
My son really, really wanted to go down the waterslide and his cousins offered to go with him. I took him down there and the slide looked awesome, but too intense for a 2.5 year-old. Maybe he'd be ready in a year or two. But my nieces and nephews all went down the slide and had the time of their lives! They are all very experience swimmers and they were able to try going down on their tummies and backwards! I held my son while we watched his cousins fly down the slides and he was giddy just watching them!
Then, he said he wanted to go back into the water. My husband was already back out there snorkeling so I shouted for him to meet me at the back of the boat so he could grab a floatation device. Our son swam/floated for awhile before he was all done and wanted to head back up. It was good timing because we only had about 15 minutes of snorkel time left before everyone came back on board and we headed back to the harbor. On the ride back, we were offered chocolate chip cookies that were also very tasty!
After about 5 minutes in the car, our toddler was passed out and stayed asleep for quite some time! When he woke up, he kept going on and on about the boat ride and swimming and watching his cousins on the slide. This was a great adventure for our whole family!
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My family loves the Annual Seahawks Family Football Fest! We've been going since I was pregnant with Owen and we always are impressed with how well-run the event is. This year's tickets sold out quickly and they were expecting the biggest crowd to date. They seem to add new elements and continually improve each year. This year was no exception.
New this year was the Delta Dental photo booth. They had a Seahawks staff member taking photos with personal cell phones in front of the Superbowl display. All I had to do was post my photo to Instagram with the hashtag #HawkSmiles and it was printed minutes later and a staff member taped it to the frame. Pretty fun keepsake for our family!
Out on the field was where all the athletic activities took place. Last year, our toddler Owen was only 18 months and while he enjoyed running around on the turf, he wasn't able to really participate in the activities. This year, at 2.5 years old, he was the perfect age to test out some of the areas! The staff members were so patient and experienced when it came to toddlers and preschoolers, ensuring that fun was had by all.
I was really surprised how interested Owen was in all the activities. He seemed a bit nervous at first, but after watching the kids in front of us in line, he took off! He even said "more!" and emphasized it by signing it as well! We did several activities twice because he was having so much fun!
We ended the event by going back inside and hitting up one last photo op. I really appreciate that they offer plenty of activities so people can pick and choose the right ones for their family. Other activities offered that we didn't get a chance to experience include player autographs, photos with the Sea Gals, face painting, balloon artists, caricaturists, and the bouncy houses.
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While vacationing on Maui, my Mom popped over from her home on Kauai to visit with us for a few days. She offered to watch our toddler, Owen, so we could have a date night. When someone offers to watch your toddler, the answer is always YES.
After scrolling through several "Best Restaurants on Maui" listings online, cruising Front Street in Lahaina, and debating driving to Kihei, we decided to see if we could get in at Roy's in Ka`anapali. Roy's is a chain of Hawaiian fusion restaurants that are located on several islands. I'd only been to the one on Kauai before and the food was really tasty. Since we get so few date nights, we figured we'd go with something almost guaranteed to be a good experience.
Luckily, we were able to get seated within a few minutes at a quiet table in the back of the restaurant with a great view of the Ka`anapali Golf Course. The hostess noticed that I was pregnant and asked excitedly if we were celebrating our babymoon. We told her that we were and that our toddler was back at the condo and this was a special date night. She came back with little streamers to decorate the table! It was a very nice touch!
Our server came and took our drink orders and gave us some edamame to start us off. After perusing the menu and all the options, we decided to forgo appetizers in order to make sure we had room for dessert. That is the most important part of a meal anyway, right? My husband, Darren, ordered the Ni`ihau Lamb Leg and I went with the Macadamia Crusted Monchong (mostly because I saw that Monchong was served at all the fancy restaurants and I had no idea what it was.) We told our server that we wanted to save room for dessert so he brought us out a dessert menu so we could pre-order. They had several options that required 20 minutes, so we decided to try their Chocolate Souffle and their Key Lime Lilikoi Pie.
The food was spectacular! I discovered that Monchong is a flaky, white fish whose flavor came to life with the accompanying lobster sauce. It made me think that we should be encrusting the fish we make at home with macadamia nuts. Darren loved the darker flavors of his lamb and the sauce. I don't really eat lamb, so it's always a treat for him when we dine out. As we ate dinner, we saw the gorgeous sunset behind the golf course!
After we were done enjoying the flavors of our entree, it was time for dessert! The Chocolate Souffle was piping hot and had the right mix of a firm chocolate cake and the ooey, gooey molten chocolate center. Sometimes Chocolate Souffles come out as undercooked brownies, but this one was not! I especially enjoyed the Key Lime Lilikoi Pie. I'm a sucker for anything lilikoi, but this was extra yummy and light. It had a creamy filling with a graham cracker crust, so it was set up for success! Not only did they bring us the ones we ordered, but they also brought us a special Chocolate Banana Cake with "Congratulations" written in Hawaiian! It was a very sweet way to end our night!
I'm a mom to a 3-year-old and a baby. We believe in traveling as a family as soon as possible and sharing our tips and tricks with other families!