It’s not often (or really ever) that I get to take mid-school year trip but this fall I won our provincial indoor lawn bowling women’s singles competition and had the opportunity to travel to Vancouver to represent Alberta at the National Championships. E is still too little to be without me for 10 days so at the start of November the whole family headed west for our third west coast adventure of the year.
While I was definitely there to bowl, the schedule left me with quite a few opportunities to do some exploring too. So when I wasn’t on the green (where I performed with mixed results but was generally happy given that this was my first time playing on an indoor surface) we tried to get out and enjoy some mini-adventures.If you ever find yourself hanging out around the Pacific Indoor Bowling Club, here are a few easy things to do!
City Parks and Fall Foliage
Over the 8 days we had in the city, we took multiple trips to the nearby Queen Elizabeth Park to take in the fantastic fall weather and amazing colours. We had warm, sunny weather for the first couple of days we were there so took advantage with some long walks up the hill. We had a decent fall in Alberta but it was pretty nice to extend it for another week, especially with the leaves being brilliant shades of yellow and red. Everywhere I looked someone was taking a photo of the leaves.
We did a lot of walking on the paths, just looking at the gardens, the views of the city and checking out the ducks.
If you don’t want to tackle the park, the nearby neighbourhood streets or one of the many little parks were also great places to stretch out legs and get outside. Next time we’re there, E should be a bit older and I know we’re going to love playing at all the playgrounds.
Located in Queen Elizabeth Park, this was the perfect hour long outting on the one day it poured with rain. We got soaked walking up from the club (except E, who was nice and dry inside his stroller) but warmed up inside the tropical dome. The conservatory isn’t huge but we all enjoyed looking at the plants and birds (perfect for the little guy as the birds are SO close).
Hillcrest Aquatic Centre
If only our pool facilities in Calgary were as awesome (and affordable) as this one was. E’s dipped his toes in the ocean and we’ve tried a few lake dips but this was his first time in a real swimming pool. We weren’t sure how he was going to handle it but both times we went he seemed to enjoy the experience (except a major meltdown waiting for the showers). This pool has a huge lap pool but also offers a shallow kiddie pool with a lazy river, spray features and a very shallow splashing area. I thought the water was a little too cool for infants but not too bad. They also have a gradual depth hot tub so when we got chilly E was able to sit there and splash. The best part was that admission was only $6 for the three of us, which made me feel a little bit better about only spending 15 minutes or so in the pool. They also have an amazing universal change room and shower facility.
The Public Library
There is a small branch near the club and E loved going to read a few books, play with their toys and watch the other kids, We went over every day – sometimes twice a day for a little break.
Capilano Salmon Hatchery
I’ve always wanted to see the salmon on their annual spawning and while this isn’t a huge run, it is an easy way to see some fish. The hatchery is about 30 minutes from the lawn bowling club but on the Monday I only had a morning game so we used the afternoon to cross this longer adventure off the list. Since we didn’t have a rental car for the week we took advantage of Car2Go’s new SUVs and just “stopped” over while at the park.
It was very quiet while we were there so we had most of the facility to ourself. We checked out the fish waiting in the river, watched a few use the fish ladder through the observation windows and took a short walk in the forest.
VanDusen Botanical Garden
About a 30 minute walk (or a very short drive, we drove) from the club, this was an easy place to meet some friends and catch up while we walked. I’m sure the gardens are more spectacular in the spring/summer but again they were pretty quiet on Friday afternoon.
I can’t remember how I felt about the city last time, but this time I definitely fell in love with it and we certainly spent part of our trip dreaming about permanently heading west. We were all a little sad to land back in Calgary (and only part of that was because it was -20oC) and are already looking forward to heading back that way again.