Stanley Park Attractions

Stanley Park attractions draw thousands of annual visitors—as much for its diversity as for the scenic, peaceful backdrops. Beaches, lookout points, islands, and lakes comprise the best natural elements in Stanley Park while a water park, popular café, totem poles, and even a miniature railway stack up to some of the best amusement parks in the province and one of the biggest attractions in Vancouver.

Stanley Park Train

Stanley Park Train
Stanley Park Train

Spanning more than a mile and traveling along a 20” gauge train track, Stanley Park’s Miniature Railway is one of the park’s most visited attractions. Over trestles and through tunnels, the train rides along a pretty forested path, carrying almost a quarter million passengers annually. Four engines and three sets of train cars are working displays, one which is meant to replicate the country’s first ever transcontinental passenger rail into the city in the later 1880s. Special rides include a Halloween Ghost Train and a Christmas Night Train.

Stanley Park Aquarium

Stanley Park Aquarium
Stanley Park Aquarium

Also known as the Vancouver Aquarium or Vanaqua, the Stanley Park Aquarium is one of the city’s biggest and best attractions. It is the country’s largest aquarium, located directly inside Stanley Park, and features more than 70,000 species. Visiting the many special and ongoing exhibits is one of the top-rated things to do in the city. Special insight into trainers’ lives and the lives of animals is a key feature and one the aquarium promotes to foster awareness of the ocean and its plight.

Totem Poles in Stanley Park

Totem Poles in Stanley Park
Totem Poles in Stanley Park

Southwest of the aquarium is yet another of the best park attractions, the colorful and poignant totem poles located at Brockton Point. The display dates back to the 1920s, when a mere four totems were displayed in Alert Bay on Vancouver Island.  Over the course of the following decades the number of totems grew to include those from the province’s central coast at River’s Inlet and the Queen Charlotte Islands. Some of these rarities date back to the late nineteenth century.

Lost Lagoon

Lost Lagoon
Lost Lagoon

Moving southwest from the totems, closer to the entrance, is Lost Lagoon, an artificial lake that bears little resemblance to anything manmade.  Lost Lagoon is one of the best places in the park to spot wildlife. The almost mile-long walking/hiking trail that circles the lake is the best place to see birds that live in the area including the Great Blue Heron, and Mute Swan. Looking north, it the lake feels isolated but turning around, visitors can enjoy a beautiful view of downtown Vancouver.

Stanley Park Bike Rentals

Stanley Park Bike Rentals
Stanley Park Bike Rentals

Almost every type of bike and hybrid bike is available to rent when exploring Stanley Park. In fact, if you want to see all or most Stanley Park attractions, a bike is the most efficiant. Adult and junior mountain bikes, tandem bikes, bikes with child seats or trailers, cruisers and all the safety gear necessary can be rented just minutes from the park’s entrance at Stanley Park Cycle at 768 Denman Street. Full and all day rental are available with student discounts offered.

Malkin Bowl

Malkin Bowl
Malkin Bowl

Concerts in the park have become another of the best things to do while visiting Vancouver, especially during the summer months. The Marion Malkin Memorial Bowl is an outdoor concert theater within the park that has been hosting concerts since it was constructed in 1934. The theater is home to TUTS, or Theater Under the Stars, one of the largest theater companies in Vancouver and one presenting two summer musicals annually.

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