Outdoor fun with kids: visiting the bird sanctuary in Ladner, BC

The George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary, located in Ladner just south of Vancouver, is a great place to take your kids for a walk, some outdoor fun, and a chance to get an up close and personal look at nature: especially different kinds of birds.

This past weekend, on the one really sunny day in the midst of our usual grey and rainy winter weather here in our part of British Columbia, my husband and I visited the Sanctuary with the kids. It's a really wonderful place to go for a walk, no matter what age your kids are. The trails are level and well-maintained (you should watch out for bird droppings however!), and can easily be navigated even with a stroller.

You do pay a fee to enter the trail area, currently $5.00 per adult and $3.00 for children 2-14 years old. At the same place where you pay to enter, you can also buy small bags of bird feed for $1.00. It basically consists of various types of grains, and my kids really enjoyed doling out to various birds along the route.

One thing you notice right away at the entrance is that there are a lot of mallards here. And I mean a lot. They are all over the trail in the beginning, and all over the ponds, and well... all over. But there are other kinds of birds too. What kinds of birds you'll see depends a lot on the time of year, since many migrating birds stop by here on their way elsewhere.

On our recent outing, there were owls, cranes, geese, and many smaller birds to be seen everywhere. Bring a camera and binoculars, climb up the lookout towers, take  a break in one of the small bird-watching cabins along the trails, or just soak up the sunshine on a sunny day and enjoy the views of the water.

The bird sanctuary has a lot of picnic tables at the entrance, so bring a snack or a packed lunch if you want to. There is also a small gift shop and washrooms. For more information, visit the sanctuary's website.

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