My Dad was in town for his 83rd birthday last weekend. He is always treating us and not one to let us celebrate him. But this birthday was different. He had been wanting to have dinner at Grouse Mountain for a long time, and we finally had our chance. The weather was picture perfect.
When we arrived at the gondola area that would carry us up the mountain, we weren’t sure where to go. There wasn’t any signage directing us, at least not that we could see. Half our party was still at the car gathering kids and bags. We went into one of the buildings and joined the queue. I couldn’t see the Skyride ticket prices there either, only ski lift tickets. When I got to the counter, I told the woman staff person that I wanted six tickets, one was for a four year old child. When she told me the total, I gasped. It was $44 per adult. I don’t want season tickets, I quipped. All the activities are included, she said. Oh, like the grizzly bears? I asked. Yes, and everything else. Okay, I said.
Meanwhile, the other half of our party, thinking we’d gone ahead, had just taken off in the gondola. They’d gone to the ticket booth where you can pay just before you step aboard. No line up there we learned later. We also heard afterwards that my brother was banging on the window trying to get my Dad’s attention as he took a photo of the gondola leaving. We spent a few frantic moments searching for them and finally reached them by cell when they got to the top.
Once we arrived, we put our names in at the Bistro restaurant and went for a stroll to take in all the activities. The grizzly bears were nowhere in sight, much to the disappointment of my nephew. The lumberjack show wasn’t on. The Eye of the Wind wasn’t operating (a ride up the wind turbine). The zip lines cost extra and so did the chair lift. Walking around appeared to be the only activity that was included in our peak experience; fortunately the views were breathtaking.
We headed back to the restaurant only to find that they were so understaffed on this perfect late summer evening that the seating with the best views was roped off. We waited a long time beyond our 7pm booking. Fortunately, we were finally seated on the patio and had a wonderful waitress who helped to make the evening memorable for us. When we got chilly, she moved us inside to a booth with a killer view.
The ride back down was worth the price of admission. It was a crystal clear night and the lights of the city glittered beneath us as we descended. My Dad said it was the best birthday he’s ever had. So yes, it was worth it, but likely a once in a lifetime event at those prices.