Subject: Re: Victoria with kids (long)
Hello Angie in Kansas,

Early August is the warmest time of the year in Victoria but it's seldom uncomfortable and usually there is a light sea breeze to keep things moderate.

The 7 and 5, and maybe even the 3 yr old might be interested in the dinosaur exhibit at the Royal British Columbia Museum that has been very popular and is being held over for an extra month. It's called "Dragon Bones: When Dinosaurs Ruled China", and has a hands on Gobi Desert dig pit where kids can help unearth a dinosaur skeleton and also learn about the natural history of dinosaurs. If you know what day you'll be here your may want to reserve in advance as it's often been sold out this summer. There's info at

If this is your first visit to Victoria and you are only here a day then you'll probably find plenty of shops and places to explore just around the immediate inner harbour along Belleville, Government and Wharf Streets.

If the kids start to rebel against all the tourist stuff, and you have a car, take a waterfront scenic drive around the city coastline that includes a couple of parks with play areas and stop for a light lunch at a marina café where the 7 and 5 year olds can feed harbour seals from the wharf.

With city map in hand start on Government St. in front of the Empress Hotel then turn right on Belleville (Museum and Parliament Buildings will be on your left) and continue heading west on Belleville. Following the edge of the harbour you will zigzag left on Pendray St., right on Quebec, left on Montreal, right on Kingston, left on St. Lawrence and right on Erie St. This is all easier than it sounds, but if you're tired and need a snack you can always turn into the Fisherman's Wharf parking lot and order fish and chips at "Barb's". Look for a little shack on the floats surrounded by picnic tables and tourists (no offense .

Continuing on, from Erie turn left onto Dallas Road and follow it past the Coast Guard complex, heliport and cruise ship docks and you will see the breakwater. It's a popular walk amongst locals but there are no railings so hang onto the 3 year old.

A safer choice further eastward along Dallas Road is Beacon Hill Park. It includes a playground and small petting zoo.

Further east along the shoreline Dallas Road becomes Hollywood Crescent, then Crescent, then becomes King George Terrace. Here, there is a viewpoint with a parking area allowing you to look over where you've been as well as providing a panoramic view of the Straits of Juan de Fuca, Olympic Mountains to the south, and to the east on a clear day, the Coast Range including Mount Baker (extinct volcano, we hope).

King George Terrace then merges with Beach Drive, and once past McNeill Bay, it enters a picturesque area passing through the grounds of the Victoria Golf Club. From here it's only a couple of minutes to the Oak Bay Marina where there's ample parking, a café with waterside deck for light meals, and a restaurant for more formal dining. (bring the gold card for the latter, although converted into US$$ you will probably think it's a bargain compared with similar dining in most large US cities).

Here's where the kids can feed seals. Go to the marina store and ask to buy some sardines for the seals then walk down the ramp to the wharf level, turn left by the fish cleaning station and peer into the water. Make sure that the sardines are tossed to the seals as hand feeding is not recommended.

>From the marina follow Beach Drive, eventually passing through Uplands Park Gate, (no entrance fee) until you see a lane to the right marked Cattle Point. There is a brief historical marker sign explaining the origins of the name of the park but no real play areas, so carry on along Beach Drive northward and you will eventually come to Uplands Park Gate marking the end boundary. You will realize by now that "Uplands Park" refers to a turn of previous century housing development rather than a recreational area (some would argue otherwise).

At this point Beach Drive merges with Cadboro Bay Road. Follow it to the bottom of the hill then turn right on Sinclair Road and continue a short distance to the beach and Gyro Park where adults can rest and kids can play on the mythical sea serpent "Caddy". Caddy is short for Cadborosaurus, and some say that it's not mythical, so be careful. (hey, search google

The least complicated way back to the downtown area is to return staying on Cadboro Bay Road. It eventually merges into Yates St. at Oak Bay junction which leads to the town centre. Without stops the route will take about 45 minutes.

Have a nice visit, Jerry in Victoria