The Langley Project
As a born and raised Langleyite, I admit that I have been guilty of overlooking how much there actually is to see and do in Langley. When you live here for your entire life it is all too easy to take for granted the beauty and abundance of this community. My so called “wake-up call” came when I returned home for the summer after attending school at the University of Calgary. As we finally exited Hwy 1 and entered back into Langley, I exclaimed the first thought that came to my mind: it’s so green! I never appreciated how gorgeous the many shades of green are until I spent 8 months in a land of grey, white and brown. Inspired by my “green” epiphany, I made the decision to spend my summer experiencing Langley like never before.
My “Langley Project” began on Tuesday, May 20. I decided to start by visiting a couple of local classics: the Fort Langley National Historic Site, and the Greater Vancouver Zoo. I had of course been to both before, but quite a while ago. I was alarmed to learn that my good friend had never been to either and quickly recruited her to be my sidekick on my first Langley adventure.
We began our day by visiting the Water Shed Arts Café in Walnut Grove. After reading so many great things about it online, I was very excited for my first breakfast visit. I’m pleased to say that I was not disappointed. The staff were very friendly and helpful – as someone who has spent a long time working in customer service, I always appreciate friendly and helpful staff. I told the gal that helped us that it was our first time there and she was quick to oblige my request for recommendations. I ordered a latte and a breakfast burrito. The latte was well-made and I thought the foam was perfect. The breakfast burrito was also delicious with great spice and a hint of heat from the hot sauce. It was filling without being heavy or greasy. The walls are adorned with great local art that helps create a unique ambiance. Overall, I give the experience a resounding thumbs up and I can’t wait to go back!
After we finished our breakfast, we made our way to the Fort Langley National Historic Site. My first observation was that the entrance has changed since the last time I visited (which I believe was in 2007). There were a number of other changes since my last visit. First, the 5 new oTENTiks. If you haven’t heard about them, they are described as a cross between a tent and a rustic cabin that you can rent to stay overnight in the actual Fort. They have also added a handful of farm animals including: goats, sheep, bunnies, and chickens. The gold-panning area has been moved but is still there and I am happy to report that there actually are in fact “gold nuggets” that can be found (I found 2!). I can’t quite recall if this has always been the case, but in case you don’t know, the exhibits and rooms in the houses are not roped off or behind glass which means that you can walk right into the rooms and get a good look around. We spent just over an hour wandering around and looking at everything, including having a pseudo panning for gold contest (I won). We also visited the gift shop on our way out. There were a number of really cool souvenirs and locally made products. If you’re going to the Fort, it’s worth taking the time to browse the shop as well.
After we had sufficiently explored the gift shop, we continued on our adventure to the Greater Vancouver Zoo. Note that there is pay-parking and the machine to pay is located just inside the gates of the Zoo, so don’t forget your stall number! We got inside in time to see the falcon portion of the Radical Raptors – Birds of Prey demonstration. It was very interesting to watch, and hilarious when the falcon chose not to co-operate with the trainer. We were lucky that the lion was also out and right at the fence, so we got an up-close and personal look at him while he growled back at us. I also really enjoyed the bald eagle exhibit.
They can’t fly because they were injured prior to being rescued and never regained the ability. They are very majestic birds and it was awesome to get to see them so close. We spent just over 2 hours wandering around and I will admit that I was starting to get tired of walking in the hot sun. They do allow you to bring bikes, roller blades, or rent two-person Quadra-Cycles by the hour (they no longer have 4-person ones). If you are planning on staying as long as we did, it might be worth it to bring along your bikes or, if you have children, you may want to consider renting one of the Quadra-Cycles. If you haven’t ever been to the Zoo, or if you haven’t been in a long time, most of the paths are paved making it very easy to get around.
We both thought that it was a very satisfying way to spend the day and I would definitely recommend both attractions to others. If you’ve never gone, or haven’t gone in a long time, then it is a great way to get out for the day.
I will be continuing to pursue my “Langley Project” until the end of August. If you can think of any local Langley spots that I should stop at as I explore, please share them in the comments section below. I will be sure to visit all of your suggestions as I continue on my Langley adventure!