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7 Tips to Enjoy Bright Nights at Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC

7 Tips to Enjoy Bright Nights at Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC

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Heading to Vancouver, BC, for the holidays? Here are 7 tips on how you can enjoy Bright Nights at Stanley Park during this festive season.
This post about 7 Tips to Enjoy Bright Nights in Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC, was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung. It may contain affiliate links, meaning if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost. All opinions remain my own.

My family travels to Vancouver, British Columbia, every winter for Boxing Day and my son’s birthday. Each year, Bright Nights at Stanley Park has been on my itinerary, and each year, we fail to get to this beautiful forest park.

We’ve heard so much about the light display and how festive the whole experience can be when you go to Bright Nights in this forest park. I bet it’d be lovely to go there on their opening night.

To ensure that we experienced it, we headed to Vancouver for a “bonus trip” at the beginning of December, hoping that my kids would enjoy their forest park experience.

Bright Nights at Stanley Forest Park

I always research before trips, so I diligently scoured the Vancouver Parks & Recreation website to ensure I had the correct information. That’s when I realized that Bright Nights supports the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society and the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund.

Unlike most parks created by man, Stanley Park is considered a forest park that evolved in the urban area of Vancouver over the years. This makes the Bright Nights look like Santa’s magical forest.

Brights Nights at Stanley Park. A miniature train in Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC.

My son and I eagerly awaited for our train ride to begin!

I took my son on the Stanley Park Miniature Train over the summer, and we had so much fun! I knew it was going to be a great idea to take him back for the Bright Nights at Forest Park.

This made it more exciting this time because he knew what to expect, and we were both curious about what holiday items we’d see on our journey. The train ride did not disappoint!

We went during the day, so I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to see any lights. I was thrilled that the light display was still impressive against the grey sky!

We also saw many favorite Christmas characters, including The Grinch!

The train ride is just the right length to feel worth the fare. We paid $6 each for my husband and myself, and since both kids were under 3 years old, they were free.

The train ride was about 14 minutes long. The train was about 2/3 full, and we could have split our tickets (have one adult accompany our toddler for one ride and then switch), but we wanted to experience it as a family.

My son watching the rest of the crowd board the train while waiting for Bright Nights at Stanley Park.

After our ride, my son found the perfect spot to watch the train take the next batch of passengers on their ride.

What impressed me the most was how expansive the decorations were. I thought it was just the area around the train, but the entire area was covered with funky displays!

Again, we saw beloved characters and lots of Santa displays and reindeer! My son had fun pointing out all the elves that seemed to be placed everywhere. I could see how it would be really fun at night!

While we walked around, I saw several booths for hot chocolate, buttered popcorn, and other treats that were open in the evening. They also have live performances at night and photos with Santa starting at 4 p.m. There was also a booth selling glow sticks, which I bet would make a toddler’s night!

Frosty the Snowman was there in Bright Nights at Stanley Park!

My son had been singing Frosty the Snowman all week, so he was happy to spot him at Stanley Park!
Other than the booths, you can also drop by the Bright Nights gift shop to get some goodies or souvenirs. There are a few displays around it that you can enjoy and take photos of.
Bright Nights at Stanley Park was an amazing holiday stop. Kudos to the forest park and recreation management for putting up such a lovely Christmas display.

7 Tips for Bright Nights at Stanley Park

  1. There is FREE parking! That’s usually not the case at Stanley Park, so I thought this was worth noting. They also have overflow parking available, which is perfect for all the crowds coming in to see the Bright Nights at Stanley Park.
  2. Take the matinee train. We had no line to board the train, and the weather was a bit warmer during the day than at night. We also got amazing parking!
  3. Leave your dog at home. While service animals are permitted, all other dogs are not.
  4. Bring a baby carrier. I wouldn’t bother bringing a stroller unless someone is staying with the baby during the train ride. The Bright Lights plaza is fairly small, and it would be difficult to maneuver with a stroller.
  5. Get 10% off at Vancouver Aquarium. If you show your Bright Nights ticket, you can get 10% off at Vancouver Aquarium (also at Stanley Park.)
  6. Support the charities. Bring non-perishable food items to the food bank and a suggested $4.00 donation to the Burn Fund.
  7. Play at the park. There is an adjacent park that is perfect for toddlers/preschoolers. It’s a great place to burn off some energy before getting back in the car.

Looking for additional holiday fun in Vancouver or other places in British Columbia?

Polar Express at the West Coast Railway Heritage Park
5 Things to Do in Vancouver BC, During the Holidays
4-Day Vancouver Itinerary with Toddles
Christmas in Victora, BC

7 Tips for Brights Nights in Stanley Park

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