Vancouver Day Trip
Bloedel Conservatory is a destination that has been on our list for several months, while we waited for a cold and rainy day. Fortunately Saturday November 3rd ended up being the perfect day to explore the tropical interior of the giant glass dome. The conservatory sits in the geographic center and at the highest point in Vancouver, British Columbia. It is home to over 500 plant species and about 50 unique bird species.
The plan to build the conservatory was hatched by Vancouver Parks Superintendent Stuart Lefeaux, in 1966 to celebrate Canada’s centennial. Prentice Bloedel of Macmillan Bloedel Lumber Company who was a pioneer in the areas of recycling and human/environmental connection provided financial support to the tune of $1.25 million.
The triodetic glass dome was manufactured in Ottawa and then transported 4,800 kilometers across the country to its final position in Queen Elizabeth Park. The framework structure took only ten days to assemble with a grand opening occurring in December of 1969. The dome is composed of 1,490 plexiglass bubbles and 2,324 pieces of extruded aluminum tubing, is 43 meters in diameter and 21 meters high.
The climate within the dome must sustain three different climatic ecosystems (tropical rainforest, subtropical rainforest, and desert), therefore there are eight air circulating units and 24 mist sprayers. There are towering trees, flowering plants, ferns, agave, succulents, and cacti all arranged around a spiraling pathway within the conservatory.
In addition to the wide array of plants, there is a small waterfall, and a meandering stream with various fish. However, my personal favorite part of the conservatory is the freeflying birds and the 11 resident parrots standing watch from their perches.
Upon entering the glass dome there is a small gift shop and front desk with finches and parakeets flying over head. We began down a small path where a Napoleon Weaver perched on branch over our heads. We continued on through the tunnel of green and paused to watch a pair of Java Finches splashing in the waterfall. We then passed by Carmen and Maria, 18 year old Green-Winged Macaw sisters perched under an umbrella, who were followed by Art a 41 year old Blue and Gold Macaw. Casey the 56 year old Yellow-Crowned Parrot was focused on her midday snack, paying us little attention.
Moving on from the South American parrots to the we stopped to watch Kramer the 17 year old Moluccan Cokatoo playing with some toys. Then we met Gidget a 24 year old Citron-Crested Cokatoo who neighbored with Rudy a 20 year old African Grey Parrot who was busy ripping up an old phone book. Across the trail there was a large feeder featuring Diamond Doves, Gouldian Finches, Cape Doves, Canaries, Red-Winged Laughing Thrushes and Princess Parrots.
Next to the feeder there was a 41 year old Hahn’s Dwarf Macaw named Nelson along with Blanca, a 20 year old Umbrella Cockatoo and Mali a 28 year old Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo. Ruby, the 7 year old Eclectus Parrot held the last perch before the exit and was busy grooming as we passed by. Overall, I think Apryle and I both agreed that the Bloedel Conservatory is the most beautiful man-made structure that we have ever seen.
Pacific Spirit Regional Park
Following our conservatory adventure, I went for a rainy run around Pacific Spirit Regional Park, which is a 874 hectare park near the University of British Columbia. The park is essentially a large version of Bridle Trails State Park in Washington. The trails are crushed stone, well groomed and wide enough for a car to pass through. The forest is thick with conifers but has minimal understory and the overcast conditions along with the rain made for an ominous passage through the park.
In addition to the forests there is also a beach trail that skirts along the Strait of Georgia. The cliff that drops down to the water is only elevation loss/gain in the park. There are views of Vancouver Island to the west and the mountains to the north. In addition to the views there were also several seals popping their heads out of the water, the only wildlife in that I could see in the park.
Vancouver Night Life
West Coast Tropical Bird Studio
After the run we picked up a few foraging and chew toys for the birds at West Coast Tropical Bird Studio. This is the most well organized and well supplied parrot specialty store that Apryle and I have ever been too. The proprietor of the store even opened the doors after closing for us to look around!
Locus Restaurant & Lounge
To cap off the evening we had dinner at our new favorite restaurant: Locus Restaurant & Lounge. Apryle got the autumn vegetable risotto consisting of arborio rice, parsnip-turnip cream, brussel sprouts, heirloom carrot, charred broccoli, cauliflower, red kale, crispy sage, pine nuts and parmesan. I got the pan-seared wild local Coho Salmon fillet, maple-orange beurre blanc, French green lentils, rock crab, caramelized gala apples, smoked rainbow chard, pickled pomegranates, and purple radish.