Photo Shoot & The PNE

Recently I signed up for a ‘perk’ on, a new website for Independent Parents (aka Single Parents) to have a photography session with Lynda Allen Photography.  She is based out of Campbell River but made the trek over to Vancouver for the shoot.

An amazing deal – an outdoor setting, gorgeous pics of you and your child(ren) for only $50 and includes 30 pictures.  You can’t find that deal anywhere else!  So I signed Mason and I up and was so excited for new pictures of monkey and I.

Originally the venue for the shoot was Deer Lake Park but I suggested Barnet Marine Park as it’s close to my house and it’s a nice beach/forest setting.  Lynda (also an Independent Parent) brought her 4.5 year old Michael along for Masey to play with.

I had a hard time choosing an outfit as all my clothes are out-dated and a bit large since my recent weight loss.  (I guess it’s now almost a year!).  I finally settled on a tank top and jean skirt and Mason had jean shorts and a cute ‘man shirt’ plaid short sleeved shirt.  We were all ready for our shots! 

If you haven’t been to Barnet Marine Park, it’s very close to North Burnaby and a nice drive along the Barnet hwy.  Unfortunately this little gem of a beach/picnic spot is down by the water and away from any accessible parking. They have about 7 spots reserved for physically challenged people and the rest of us have to hoof it down from the two small (and I mean small) parking lots above (there is a trail half way and the rest is walking on the road – no side walk).  A bit difficult with cars and small children.  Whoever designed this as a public area gets a major FAIL.

I dropped Lynda and the kids off while I ended up parking at the main entrance off the highway where there is a larger parking lot for the marina and found a parking space.  I'd guess it's a 7 minute walk for an adult but longer for the little kids!  And yes, we forgot the stroller. 

Mason and Michael were already playing in the water when I got to the beach.  I scooped Mason up and Lynda began clicking away.  She’s a speed photographer, taking multiple shots in succession to get the ‘perfect’ frame.  It makes me feel like a cover girl.  Snap, snap, snap.  She had me pose quite a bit and make me aware of how my legs were pointing (sometimes hard to do with bare feet on pointy rocks!).  The day was absolutely beautiful!  Once we have enough photos of sitting down, we headed uphill to a nice grassy area in the shade.  A ton of fun!

We made a quick stop to Mc’D’s to get some happy meals for our little men.  Going for the healthier options – grilled cheese, apples and milk.   They each got a little Smurf figurine for being so well behaved!

The second part of the day was hitting up the PNE which was Mason's first visit.   I had been avoiding the PNE for a few reasons; I am not a huge fan of the rides (I jumped out of an airplane at 12,000 ft so a few roller coasters aren’t that thrilling!), it’s expensive and it’s either blazing hot or raining.  Parking is also another reason to avoid it.  $20.00 for the day.  Yikes! That’s almost as worse as parking downtown Vancouver!  Luckily I spied an empty parallel spot heading east on Hastings (just before the Cassiar connector).  It is street parking but it’s FREE! Woohoo!  Issue #1 – fixed.  Next, admission.  I knew in advance that kids under 12 are free.  They cancelled the free PNE ticket in the report card (remember that from the 80’s?) and so that was a bonus for a parent on a budget.  But looking at the admission board, Lynda and I got a shock.

  • Adult gate fee - $20.00 EACH
  • Child gate fee – Free (yay) (keeping in mind the kids are under 5)
  • Child unlimited rides - $29.75 EACH (wtf? Seriously?).

I announced I’m not paying $30 so Mason can sit on a plastic horse and go around in a circle for 10 seconds.  What a ripoff!

How disappointing.  For a family of four with kids under 12 it is going to cost $100 for the parents to escort them and kids to go on silly kiddie rides.  The Ticket Clerk told us that we could opt to buy our tickets separately and we thought that was a better option.

Washrooms were fairly easy to spot, decent amount of stalls and fairly clean.  ATM’s were less easy to spot and two were out of order.  I withdrew $40 cash (after paying for my $20 admission with debit). 

This is what $60 bought:

  • Admission – 20
  • 8 ‘tickets’ – 12
  • A small Teriyaki noodle bowl @ Saltspring Noodle Bar* – 8
  • A jumbo sized fresh squeezed lemonade** – 6
  • A small bag of 14 mini donuts - 5
  • A major stomach-ache

 *The noodle bowl was extremely healthy and tasted fresh, lots of veggies but lacked in flavour
**Usually these are a waste of money but it was surprisingly sweet and delicious


Enjoying a drink and a nibble

After eating, we headed to the kiddie rides to let the boys play.  Due to the limited tickets Mason and I had, he got to go on three rides.  Most rides are 3 tickets each = $4.50.  Here is a link to the PNE Kids Playce Page that has the listing of rides.

First up – Carousel Horse Ride.  Pretty straight forward, Mason seemed to like it. I took a video, you can watch it here.

Mason on his 'Horsey'

Second ride – Monster trucks.  Mason and Michael went in alone and the ride went up and down.  Lynda sat in the front and said they had ear to ear grins.  The video is here.

Ridin' the yellow Monster Truck

Third ride – Little cars.  This seemed like a good ride to put them in, they could go in by themselves.  However this ride was a RIP OFF.  It was literally 45 seconds long and the kids only get to go around once.  Not impressed.  The video is here.

By this time we had our share of food and rides (well at least Lynda and I did) and it was blazing hot.  I was worried about Mason getting heat stroke and the lack of a stroller meant we were carrying very heavy kids.  By the time we got to the car, they were totally at their limit (also no nap time) and once we were in a nice air conditioned car, the two of them passed out:

Although this day went insanely fast, the boys had a blast and I had a great time visiting with Lynda (who is a long time friend, we met as coworkers when we were in our early 20’s (wow that just made me feel old!).  I got to have a sneak peek at the pictures Lynda took and let me tell you, this girl has an amazing eye.  I wouldn’t doubt if she took over 400 pics today and so many of them are perfect.  I’m going to have to buy a wall frame to display them all!

Thanks to Michael for coming over for a visit and keeping Masey company and to Lynda for offering this amazing deal through!

If you want to go to the PNE, here is a recap of what you’ll need:

  • Backpack
  • Cash ($60 was enough for Mason and I)  unless you have to pay for parking
  • Sunscreen and a hat
  • Water
  • An umbrella stroller – there is tons of room and heat makes for slow walkers
  • Snacks and lunch if you want to avoid take out
  • Diaper wipes for sticky fingers (mini donuts!)
  • Camera & batteries

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