At Richmond Go Karts, one- and two-seater go-karts burn rubber as they race around a curvy, tire-lined course. The half-mile track, which can accommodate up to 25 karts at a time, features straightaways and a heart-stopping hairpin turn. Between races, riders can visit The Pit Stop, an arcade filled with coin-operated games, or refuel at the snack bar's covered picnic area. During the warmer months, engines start revving at noon and don't stop until the sun goes down.
Windsure Adventure Watersports' campers will never look at water the same way again. After five days of immersive instruction, certified instructors have transformed them into watersport experts. The instructors teach kids and adults how to control their vessels, and the bay surrounds surfers with views of sandy beaches, the distant Vancouver skyline, and lush evergreen trees that creep up mountainsides.
Common sights are elongated paddles that cut through its calm water as Windsure's standup-paddleboarding instructors teach classes how to propel themselves forward. Back on the beach, others learn to slide across the sand during skim boarding camps or lessons.
Meet Eddy the Engine. Eddy was an English mining train before settling down at Bear Creek Park Train in the spring of 1996. He's adapted to his new environs well, cheerfully hauling passengers through a seasonally decorated tunnel and into the cottonwood forests of Bear Creek Park. Eddy chugs past Bear Creek Floral Garden and across King Creek Bridge before pulling back into the station, where passengers can toot his whistle before heading off for an ice cream or a game of mini golf.
Speaking of mini golf, the park's 18-hole course offers an entirely different way to commune with Mother Nature. Each hole incorporates the surrounding landscape in a subtle yet unmistakable way. The putting greens blend into towering cedar, hemlock, spruce, fir trees, and gurgling water.
Like the colourful fan of its namesake's tail feathers, diamonds and triangles of billiard balls nestle into racks on Peacock Billiards' tables. A grid of 30 tables in an array of sizes and colours populates the room, surrounded by cushy leather couches and bright murals. Beneath the clatter of sunken shots can be heard the rhythmic tap of table-tennis matches and the furious spinning of foosball handles. The James Joyce Bistro resides in the corner, where patrons sitting in circular booths enjoy drinks and nachos served in cored-out copies of Dubliners.
Recipient of a British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association award for facility excellence, Watermania shelters aquatic attractions and swimming areas that drench bathing-suit-clad attendees of all ages. Patrons can practice backstrokes in a 57-metre competition pool, leap from 1- and 3-metre springboards, or use a pair of slides to drop into the water with more ease than an inflatable submarine. A wave pool enthralls tykes with a giant play structure boasting sprayers and a large seahorse that dumps water into a massive tipping bucket. Visitors aged 15 and older can relax in the steam room, whirlpool, and sauna. Rigorous workouts come to fruition in Watermania's 3,000-square-foot fitness centre equipped with 20 cardio units, Olympic weights, and exercise balls.
Looming 168.8 metres above the city atop the historic Harbour Centre complex, the Vancouver Lookout?s heated indoor observation deck has afforded visitors 360-degree city views since Neil Armstrong cut the ribbon in the 1977 opening ceremony. A pellucid glass elevator pilfered from Willy Wonka?s local chocolate factory speeds visitors up the tower?s side in a scenic 40-second ride. Once they reach their lofty destination, sightseers can peruse a host of interpretive displays that identify Vancouver?s landmarks including Stanley Park and the North Shore Mountains. An ensemble of knowledgeable staffers helms complimentary guided tours, doling out interesting historical tidbits. To further help guests decode what their eyes observe, a city-view guide slider clearly designates the names and locations of prominent sites. Single-visit passes grant all-day access to the observation deck, enabling visitors to watch planes landing on the sun-dappled waters of Harbour Water Airport throughout the day and return in the evening to bask in the glow of the city?s twinkling lights and prominently displayed bat signals.