Monday, December 24, 2012

Wildlites ~ BC Wildlife Park ~ Kamloops, BC

The BC Wildlife Park in Kamloops, BC joins in the festive season with a wonderful display of colorful sights and Christmas sounds!  This is a great place to take the family and enjoy the entertainment offered for young and old.

entering the light display in the park
Wildlites in the BC Wildlife Park
The 15th Annual Wildlights Festival is happening on December 14th to January 6, 2013 this year, except for Christmas Day so there is time to get out there and enjoy the excitement between 5pm to 9pm. 
light displays in the park
Follow the walk in the BC Wildlife Park 
Once you pass through the Visitor Center, you are greeted with lights galore that hang in the trees and line the walkway.  Your walk will take you past light displays of animals and Christmas displays. 
The lights create an Arc
The Arc on the lake in the BC Wildlife Park
The lake has an Arc in lights that reflects on the lake, home to some swans and other waterfowl that were hard to see during this visit to the Wildlife park, perhaps they were inside the Arc! 
Santa display in the park
Santa in lights
 Memberships are a wonderful gift to give and can be used all year round.  There are so many activities offered throughout the year.  The BC Wildlife Park membership also means you have free admission to zoos in Vancouver, Edmonton and Saskatoon, Sask. 
Campfires to warm up at
Campfires in the Wildlife Park
Chris the Clown is a regular entertainer at this event and keeps the kids smiling with his fun antics and magic shows.  He has scheduled shows at 6 pm & 8:30 pm during the evening, be sure to check it out.  He’s not far from the bonfires and seating where you can enjoy a hot chocolate and get warmed up, too.
Lights and music make a great show
Laser Show at the BC Wildlife Park
The second year for the Spectacular Laser Light Show is happening in the amphitheatre each evening at 6pm, 7pm and 8pm.  Be sure to take one of those in but I suggest taking a blanket or cushion to sit on the outdoor seats.
display of bears in colored lights
Bear in lights
Clover, the Kermode or Spirit bear will be in hibernation during these winter visits but will be ready to meet us next year.  He brings something special to our Wildlife park and he will be residing in an area built especially for him that will include a bear interpretive center once the funds are raised. 
Wolf waiting for dinner at the fence
Wolves in BC Wildlife Park
The feeding time happens during the evening hours for the elk and wolves so if you’re able to time it right, you can watch the elk get fed at 5:30pm and the wolves at 6:30pm at each of their enclosures. 
light displays in park
Dinosaur lights in the park
The BC Wildlife Park has a great motto: Conservation through Education and programs are offered to support that.  There are Kids Science day camps happening for kids 6 to 12 yrs where they learn about the wildlife and nature; to learn more, click here. 
School programs and field trips including free class rides with the Kamloops Transit System available, to learn more about those, click here.  That sounds like a fun day for school.
The miniature train and all shiny and ready for a ride
Wildlife Express Miniature Train
Wildlife Express Miniature Train covers a kilometer track that circles around the park.  The rates are great, only 50 cents for the kids and $1 for adults.  You will see sights all lit up throughout the ride.  
lights of flowers line the walkway
Flowers line the walk
There is the Wildlights Maze to have fun getting lost and found in and the barn with the little petting animals that enjoy some attention, too, so don’t miss them.  The Wagon ride is available and makes it all part of a fun family evening.

The restaurant in the Visitor Center is open for snacks and the gift store to enjoy while you’re here, too. The Wildlife Park is a non-profit organization so purchases made in the gift store contribute to support the park, as well.  To learn more, click here and see all that the BC Wildlife Park has to offer and how lucky we are to have this in Kamloops, BC.

The Wildlites at the BC Wildlife Park is just another reason why we love Kamloops,
there is just no place like home.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Santa Claus Parade ~ Kamloops, BC ~ 2012

Here comes Santa Claus!  He is in the annual Santa Claus parade in downtown Kamloops.  The event was held on Nov. 24 after the kids woke Santa from a sleep while waiting for the parade to begin.  The day was overcast but quite mild and lots of smiles can be seen as everyone enjoys the parade celebrating the Kamloops Bicentennial this year.
Float with princesses and costumed characters
Enchanted Teacup in Santa parade
The Enchanted Teacup is a local them party business and features princess parties for  the princess in every little girl.  They had a float full of princesses and placed third in Santa’s choice category.

Car made to look like the tv Thomas, the train
Thomas the Train in Santa parade in Kamloops, BC
Thomas the Engine will be a familiar face to many with the popularity of the books and the television series that began in 1984 featuring Ringo Starr, drummer for the Beatles, as the voice of Thomas.  The books, the Railway Series, television and videos are still current and available today.
The band dress up in costumes to entertain and the Keystone kops ride their firetruck
The Kamloops Rube Band and Keystone Kops
Any parade in Kamloops would never be the same without our world renowned Kamloops Rube Band. Their wild costumes and antics have been around for over 50 years and have been seen performing worldwide as ambassadors for Kamloops.
The Keystone Kops of the Shriners are based on the old silent movies known for their fun antics and are driving their 1934 Chevy, restored after originally being used as the firetruck in Chilliwack, BC.
the well known characters walk in the Santa parade
Ronald McDonald and the Root Bear in Kamloops Santa parade
Ronald McDonald, the clown mascot that everyone is familiar with, saying hi to all.  This clown was first created by Willard Scott, the Today Shows weatherman of many years, in 1963 to be used in the first commercials for the hamburger company. 

The loveable Root Bear has been the goodwill ambassador for the A+W since 1974 and can be seen in activities like walking the parade with his A+W buddies. 

The Grinch is in the jail on the cart
The Kamloops + District Crime Stoppers
 Crime Stoppers is an independent non-profic society and registered charity.  They are managed by a Board of Directors and worth with all levels, local citizens, media and police.  They’ve done a great job of catching the Grinch (who stole Christmas) in the Kamloops Bicentennial year theme.  Click here to learn  more about the organization.

The float has several animals on it and being followed by more.
4-H Club of Kamloops in Santa parade
The BC 4-H club has been around for over 95 years and offers several programs and teaches leadership abilities and skills for several different interests for those 6 years to 21 years. Click here to learn more.
The truck drives in the Santa parade in Kamloops, BC
Red Chevy carries Frosty & Christmas tree
Syd Smith, a regular participant in the Santa Claus parade, has their little red Chevy truck decorated and loaded with a big Christmas tree and snowman. 

Derby Dolls carry a banner in the Santa parade
Tournament City Derby Dolls of Kamloops, BC
Tournament City Derby Dolls were there in the parade, but without roller skates, much to my surprise!  Click here for their website to learn their history.  I could find no future events but am sure there are some in the planning stages.

The bus that operates as the mobile library in the Santa parade
The Bookmobile in the Santa parade
The Bookmobile has been out visiting rural areas in the Kamloops District for many years, making it easier for those who are not able to visit the Kamloops Library. Click here to check their schedule for a visit near you.

School band and enthusiastic students on the float enjoy the Santa parade
We 2 Me and Brocklehurst Middle School celebrate the schools in Kamloops, BC
The Brocklehurst Middle School Band is representing the school bands this year with their horn section carrying the Canadian flag.

ME 2 WE is “an innovative social enterprise that offers socially conscious and environmentally friendly products and life changing experiences”.  Their large events are attended by those who earn their tickets, which cannot be purchased.  There are thousands who flock to see the inspirational speakers, e.g. Spencer West, a man without legs who climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro.  There are more who help others around the world.

Santa and helpers ride on sleigh with reindeer on float
Santa has arrived in Kamloops, BC
Santa appears with his helpers and waves to all. The magic of Santa and seeing him every year puts happy faces on the young and old, now we just wait for that special day to arrive. May everyone enjoy a very Merry Christmas this year.

Unfortunately I missed part of the parade and learned later that the Donkey Refuge was chosen as the Parade Star, so was especially sorry I missed them. We’ve been out to the Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge a couple of times and are so impressed with it, check it out by clicking here and plan your visit.

Once again Downtown Business Association (KCBIA) has put on a great Santa Claus parade for everyone to enjoy, with a variety of interests and new floats for us to see, proving that there is just no place like home.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sun Peaks Resort ~ Canada's Alpine Village ~ Kamloops, BC

Winter means snow, snow means skiing and that means Sun Peaks to many avid skiers.  We have one of the greatest ski resorts right out Kamloops' back door.  We visit Sun Peaks at different times of the year as there is always something to enjoy with year round activities, (click here to see Sun Peaks other seasons) but it has been awhile since we were there during the winter months. 

Looking back towards Kamloops hills from the road to Sun Peaks
Rolling hills and valleys on Heffley Louis Creek Road
 The Kamloops sky is blue with sunshine making today a perfect day for a drive up to Sun Peaks. The views on the way up offer some great photo opportunities but I am anxious to get to Sun Peaks while the sun is still shining and getting the best chance of some great photos. 
ski hills are visible from the village
Sun Peaks ski hill on a cloudy day, Kamloops, BC
 The low lying clouds up ahead were moving in and as we drove into the village of Sun Peaks, there was no sun to be seen but there was fresh snow on the hill, which is a good thing, too. The clouds in Sun Peaks will never discourage true skiers, there is a full parking lot so that meant that skiers had come up for this mid week day early in the season to begin their ski season.    
Racks hold the skis while the skiers have lunch
Snow boards and skis wait for the next run
There had been a time when we spent most Sundays here, pre Sun Peaks Resort, when it was Mt. Tod with the Burfield Lodge and a couple of ski lifts. Although we are no longer skiers, we have some great family memories.  Skiing is a sport that can be enjoyed by all ages and the snowboards also seem to be very popular not only with the young. 
the map shows all the ski runs and the village at Sun Peaks
Alpine Trail Map of Sun Peaks
Sun Peaks Resort has grown over the past several years, and looking at the map of the ski hills, shows a zillion more routes to ski than there used to be.  There are 124 trails including 13 glade areas, which are the ones not regularly patrolled, so never ski those alone.  Most of those trails are above the clouds today, now that would make some great photos!  Fresh new snow and sunshine while looking down on the clouds!
Several ski runs converge into the village of Sun Peaks
Ski-in to the village at Sun Peaks, Kamloops, BC
 There are all kinds of reasons to stay at Sun Peaks for more than just a day of skiing.  There are hotels, hostels, B&B’s, inns, lodges, condo and town homes, too for overnight visits.  Many of them are ski-in and ski-out which sounds like the best way to go. There are restaurants and nightclubs, too, as well as many events to enjoy all through the seasons.
Soup and sandwich makes a good lunch
Lunch at Mesa's Grill in Sun Peaks
 The day wouldn’t be right if we didn’t spend some time sitting and watching the kids enjoy the bunny hill and others skiing out of the clouds to the bottom of the hill.  The best way to do that was while we enjoyed some lunch at Mesa’s Grill, great service and food, too.  There are a total of 11 lifts including 5 quad chairs on the 3 mountains of Sun Peaks including the Sundance Express seen from our viewpoint in the village.  Mt. Tod is the tallest peak sitting above the clouds today with an elevation of 2152 m (7060’).  There  are plans for opening up more runs on Mt. Tod and Mt. Morrisey, elevation 1675m (5495’), coming soon.
Stores and condos line the streets of the village
Alpine Village at Sun Peaks, Kamloops, BC
The village is quiet today but stores are open for business, and they offer great services and merchandise, be sure to visit them while you’re visiting the alpine village at Sun Peaks Resort. There is also an outdoor skating facility, tube park, a sports centre with a heated outdoor pool and the Sundance Kids Center for child minding.  Sun Peaks is a great place to visit for every member of the family, even if you’re not a skier. 
The t-bar and conveyor belt to take young skiers up the small hill
Platter and Carpet Lift at Sun Peaks
The enthusiastic young group on the ‘bunny hill’ is having a great time and use a conveyor belt to get back up the hill.  That is something I’d not seen before, but it has been awhile since I’d been on a bunny hill and a lot has changed since then.  Wish they had them when I was struggling to stay upright holding onto that t-bar!  Not all ski memories are good ones. (:  
Sign posted for driving winter conditions
Mandatory for winter driving
 We turned off the Yellowhead Highway at Heffley Creek to follow Tod Mountain Rd. and it was right at this junction that we were stopped in a road block on our way to Sun Peaks.   The time had come for the winter tires or chains to be put on the cars and trucks, and there was no passing this location unless that had been done.  The roads may look good to this point but winter conditions have arrived in the mountains and care must be taken.

We had a great visit to Sun Peaks in spite of the lack of sunshine and know you will, too.  Winter has arrived so let the fun begin. To learn more, visit the Sun Peaks website.

Just another reason why we love Kamloops.  
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