Originally published July 29, 2016 and updated April 11, 2018.
I had been wanting to check out Capilano Suspension Bridge Park for years. My family visits Vancouver every Boxing Day and at least one other time of year for the past 4 or 5 years. I always had the Capilano Bridge on our Vancouver itinerary, but something always came up. So, when I started planning a trip to Vancouver in July with my Mom and my toddler (while 7 months pregnant) I knew Capilano Suspension Bridge Park had to be one of our first stops. We have since gone back during the holidays to experience their famous Canyon Lights.
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Why Should Your Family Visit the Capilano Bridge in Vancouver?
First of all, it’s one of Vancouver’s top attractions. I mean, it’s not just a swinging bridge. Once you arrive, you’ll understand why so many people flock there every year.
The Capilano bridge is just the path to get to the really cool stuff on the other side! They have 7 suspended footbridges high above the rainforest floor. There’s a Cliffwalk along the Capilano River with a series of tiny bridges, stairs and platforms. Capilano offers guided nature tours and a Kids’ Rainforest Explorer Program. Plus you can find totem poles. It’s no wonder visitors spend approximately 2.5 hours within the park.
Oh, and don’t worry: WiFi is available throughout the park.
What My Toddler Thought About This Vancouver Attraction
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 my son 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 also 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.
SUSPENSION BRIDGE IN VANCOUVER
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 this Vancouver swinging bridge. My toddler held my hand and the railing, but he was very unsure of what was happening.
There are a ton of photo ops around Capilano Suspension Bridge Park! I only had my iPhone with me and I was chasing a toddler. However, I’d recommend bringing a nicer camera so you can take advantage of all the fun places for photos!
Once we were across the bridge, my toddler 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.
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 my toddler 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.
Before You Go to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park:
WHEN TO VISIT CAPILANO
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is open every day except December 25th. Their hours vary depending on the time of year. The park is open late during the summer months and during their Canyon Lights event.
The park is outdoors, so I’d recommend going on a nice day during the Summer or Fall. And I’d definitely recommend going to experience Canyon Lights. However, we went on Boxing Day, which we later found out is their busiest day of the year.
PARKING AT CAPILANO SUSPENSION BRIDGE PARK
On a summer evening in July, 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.
During the holidays, we parked off-site and used their parking lot shuttle bus to get to Canyon Lights. The shuttle came pretty frequently, but it was PACKED.
CAPILANO SUSPENSION BRIDGE SHUTTLE
If you are staying in Downtown Vancouver, take advantage of the FREE daily shuttle to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. You can see the schedule here.
CAPILANO SUSPENSION BRIDGE PRICE
Kids under 6 years old are FREE. Kids ages 6-12 years old are $14.95. Youth ages 13-16 years old are $26.95. Students ages 17+ (with student ID) are 33.95. Adults ages 17-64 years old are $42.95. Seniors ages 65+ are $38.95.
Capilano Suspension Bridge at Christmas
WHEN TO GO
If you don’t mind the crowds, any time is good. If you are worried about long lines in the cold weather, avoid Boxing Day. That’s when we went and we later heard it’s their busiest day of the year!
WHAT TO BRING
It can be downright COLD in Vancouver in the Winter. Who would have thought? I recommend wearing lots of layers under the warmest coat you own. This is the most popular coat in Canada and we saw about half the crowd wearing one. And wear a hat, scarf and gloves/mittens. We always wear these Canada Olympic mittens because they are insanely warm and oh so spirited!
Seeing the Capilano Suspension Bridge lights had been on my Vancouver bucket list for years and years. That’s why it was our first stop when we drove up to Vancouver from Seattle last year for Boxing Day. And let me tell you, it lived up to the hype.
Not only is the bridge decked out in lights, but so is the entire park! And there’s live music, hot cocoa, yummy treats, caroling, cookie decorating, and more! We even got to take our photo in Santa’s sleigh!
6 Things to Know for Kids at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
1. STROLLER PARKING
There is stroller parking at the entrance to the suspension bridge. I’d personally bring a baby carrier to carry babies and young toddlers.
2. THE BRIDGE SWINGS
Even though they ask visitors not to jump or purposely swing the bridge, it will happen. If your toddler isn’t a strong walker, put them in a carrier or carry them in your arms across the bridge. Kids can get a bit scared due to all the movement.
3. HANG ONTO YOUR PHONES!
There are so many awesome photo ops everywhere, but there are many signs warning folks to hang onto their belongings and don’t try to retrieve items that have fallen. It would be very easy to drop a phone on the bridge or any other activity here.
4. TONS OF STAIRS
Be prepared for a LOT of stairs! The Nature Tour has lots of flat stretches but there are a lot of stairs up and down. Little legs might get tired. There are several benches near the end of the walk which make great resting spots.
5. TREETOPS ADVENTURE
The Treetops Adventure is super cool, especially for toddlers and preschoolers. There are little suspension bridges connecting the trees and it’s easy for little feet to manage them on their own.
6. FOOD OPTIONS
The food stands/restaurants close before the park closes. The only one that stays open until the end is a cafe and they stop serving sandwiches much earlier than closing time.
Tourism Vancouver provided admission for 2 to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park for review purposes. We paid our own way when we came for Canyon Lights.
Looking for more fun in Vancouver with Kids?
Four Days in Vancouver, BC with a Toddler Itinerary
Exploring Stanley Park in Vancouver with a Toddler
Vancouver’s Science World with Babies + Toddlers
Downtown Vancouver from Above and by Sea
Holiday Festivities in Vancouver, BC