Tag Archives: alberta

Halloween’s A Hauntingly Good Time in Calgary

Calgary Top Halloween EventsIt’s scary how much fun you can have on Halloween in Calgary. Depending on what your little ghouls or goblins are up for you can do anything from scare up a few ghosts to plan for the big night. Here’s a list of some of the celebrations going on:

Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra Presents, Disney in Concert: Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Experience the thrill of the classic animated film, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, on the big screen as Roberto Minczuk conducts Danny Elfman’s original score. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the website.

When:  Saturday, October 31, 2015 at 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Location:              Jack Singer Concert Hall
Link:       www.calgaryphil.com

Little Spooks Halloween Party at Trico Centre for Family Wellness.

For kids up to six years old and parents. Join for fun, face painting, games, crafts and more! Wear your costume!

When:  Friday, October 30, 2015 at 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Location:              11150 Bonaventure Drive SE
Link:       www.tricocentre.ca

Monster Mash Halloween Bash at Village Square Leisure Centre.

Come dressed in your favorite costume and join for creepy crafts, ghostly games and ghouly activities. This is a free event!

When:  Friday, October 30, 2015 at 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Location:              2623, 56 Street NE
Link:       http://www.calgary.ca/CSPS/Recreation/Pages/Leisure-centres/Village-Square.aspx

Ghouls’ Night Out at Heritage Park.

Dress up and explore the Park after dark! Have tea with the Mad Hatter, wander through the pumpkin patch, play Carnival games, dance with zombies and more! To purchase tickets, visit the website.

When:  Friday, October 30, 2015 at 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Location:              1900 Heritage Drive SW
Link:       www.heritagepark.ca

Haunted Calgary’s Low Scare Hours

Do you have young children and worry that Haunted Calgary‘s The Coven may be too scary?

We offer a LOW SCARE attraction from 2-4pm on October 30, 31, and November 1.

During low scare, we have few to no actors throughout the haunt and there is more natural light available. However, our sets and props remain unchanged.

If in doubt, we recommend parents go through first before bringing their kids through. Many people also find their children are comforted by attending our low scare event during the daytime before attending full scare in the evening. The choice is up to you!

When: October 30, 31, and November 1 from 2-4 p.m.
Location: 222 Rocky Ridge Bay NW
Cost: By donation to animal rescue and the food bank – recommendation is $10 + 2 cans of food per person
Link: http://www.hauntedcalgary.com

Harvest Pumpkin Hunts at Butterfield Acres Farm.

Weekends in October. Check website for times available. Search for pumpkins in an old Hay Wagon. There will also be kid-sized pumpkins to decorate and spend time with the cute farm animals! Tickets go on sale September 1. This event sells out, so get your tickets early. Tickets must be purchased in advance. For more details and order forms, contact 403-239-0638 or visit the website.

When:  Sunday, October 25, 2015 at 12:00 am – 12:00 am
Location:              254077 Rocky Ridge Road
Link:       http://butterfieldacres.com/farmfun_pumpkin.htm

TELUS Spark Presents, Monster Mash-Up!

TELUS Spark Presents, Monster Mash-Up! Proudly Brought to You in Part by Calgary’s Child Magazine. Monster Mash-Up is the perfect family-friendly event to kick-start your Halloween celebrations. Enjoy activities like pumpkin decorating, mad science and ‘A Peek at Parasites.’ Or perhaps the toy mash-up is calling your name – channel your inner Frankenstein and cut, sew and glue together toys. It’s sure to be a frightfully fun time! Included with Admission or Membership. For more information, visit the website.

When:  Sunday, October 25, 2015 at 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Location:  TELUS Spark – 220 St. Georges Drive
Link:       www.sparkscience.ca/events/special-events-2/monster-mash-up-2015/?fullsite=1

 Little Boo – Haunted Atlas Coal Mine.

Families can explore the Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site, but must beware of ghouls! Ride the Train of Terror, put on your best poker face for Detective Fibs and the Truth Fairy, and give the pumpkin toss your best shot! Costumes are encouraged, but dress for chills! Children must be accompanied by an adult. To purchase tickets, visit http://littleboo.brownpapertickets.com. The Haunted Atlas Coal Mine is an annual fun(d)raising event for the Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site. Revenue generated supports building restoration at the Nationally designated, locally operated site. Between May and Thanksgiving, Atlas provides thrilling underground Tunnel Tours, narrow gauge Mantrip Tours, Tipple Tours and Unmentionables Tours.

Cost:      $5.00
When:  Sunday, October 25, 2015 at 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Location:              15 Minutes East of Drumheller on Highway 10
Link:       www.atlascoalmine.ab.ca/events

Halloween Boo Bags at North Mount Pleasant Arts Centre.

There are two times available: 4:30 to 5:30pm and 6 to 7pm. An instructor will be on-site and all art supplies you need to decorate a frightening loot bag! Bags are $10 each. Kids must be accompanied by a parent or caregiver. Space is limited. To register, call 403-221-3682.

When:  Friday, October 23, 2015 at 4:30 am – 5:30 pm
Location:              523, 27 Avenue NW

Halloweekends at Calaway Park.

Saturdays, Sundays and Holiday Mondays from September 5 to October 12. Join the Boo Crew for a spooktacular good time. Take a stroll down Hall-Street if you dare! Join the Boo Crew for a spooktacular good time. Take a stroll down Hall-Street if you dare!

When:  Saturday, October 10, 2015 at 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Location:              245033 Range Road 33
Link:       www.calawaypark.com

Day Tripping around Alberta – All Aboard a Prairie Adventure

Riding the Rails at Aspen Crossing
Every wonder what it’s like to ride the rails? We recently had the chance to take the new Circus Train excursion at Aspen Crossing located just outside of Mossleigh, Alberta.

Train travel is something my children have never experienced. I was a bit worried that we would get onboard and they would spend the next three hours pestering me if we were there yet.

Aspen Crossing 2I had nothing to worry about. Once our tickets were punched we got to pick out seats on the train. The three cars we could choose from included the lounge, the dining car and the Pullman. We took the Pullman it was the perfect choice, not just because of the wide, cushy seats and great views. It also had quick access to the open air patio car and caboose which turned out to be my daughter’s favourite place on the whole train.

When everyone was on board the train slowly pulled away from the station and on to the spur line – after a brief safety debrief it was on with the show. Most of the kid aged entertainment happens in the back of the Pullman car and the caboose. Our ring master handed out balloons, the face painter got ready and the smell of popcorn wafted out of the caboose.

If you’re wondering if there is enough to keep you entertained the answer is a definitive yes.  There are balloon twisters who made some truly incredible animals, live music in the lounge car and a mysterious golden elephant that gets lost and can be returned to the ring master for a treat or two or eight if you are a motivated six-year-old.

Aspen Crossing 1If that’s not enough to captivate you there is also a mystery on the rails. I won’t spoil it except to say there is a robbery and the shootout where they use blanks can be quite loud for little children.

Last but not least is the scenery. Chugging peacefully across the countryside the views are incredible. When we weren’t running from one end of the train we saw cows, llamas and deer along with the Mossleigh grain elevators.

If you get hungry or thirsty the dining car has a selection of hot dogs, sandwiches bagels, chips, sodas, bottled water,souvenirs and drink tickets if you would like something stronger from the lounge. They also take debit so you don’t have to worry about remembering to stop at a bank machine.

When we left that day my son asked when we were coming back. “It was epic mom.”

If you child is a Thomas enthusiast, loves Supertrain and knows all the names of the trains then this is the day trip for you*

Even if they aren’t train junkies this is a pretty amazing way to spend the day.

Aspen Crossing has eight train tours that run the gamut of themes. From dinner theatre – to Ale on the Circus train they have something for every age group. If a day trip is too much time on the road there are 85 camp ground spaces and two converted caboose cabins. If you don’t want to ride the rails you can enjoy dinner on their 1887 Pullman dining car that once belonged to John Diefenbaker or simple take stroll around The Station to find a perfect memento from the day.

For more information visit aspencrossing.com

Tips for taking it all in at Aspen Crossing:

  1. Check out the Cupola in the Caboose
  2. If you have small children pick the Pullman car, it’s air conditioned and if they fall asleep the seats recline. There were several kids and dads or grandpas snoozing.
  3. Get there early. We didn’t have time to look around before the train left and the kids were so exhausted from all the things they did on the train we couldn’t check anything out after.
  4. It was over 30 degrees the day we went and while the cars are air conditioned the patio space has no shade, but it does have the best views, so pack sunscreen and water.
  5. Take the time to ask questions about your trip. All the staff have a passion for the rails and can tell you lots about the train and tracks you are riding on.

Edmonton’s TELUS World of Science & Harry Potter The Exhibition – Worth the Trip?

My husband and I were very fortunate to have the chance to explore the TELUS World of Science in Edmonton this past weekend. We both love museums and this one was definitely worth a look.

The TELUS World of Science in Edmonton is similar to TELUS Spark in Calgary in a lot of ways – it’s a science museum, and features a lot of the same traveling exhibits that Spark does. (For example, while we were there, it had the How to Make a Monster exhibit which was at TELUS Spark a little while ago.)

The biggest difference between the two museums is the scale – TELUS World of Science has an IMAX theatre (the biggest in Canada) as well as a dome theatre with awesome programming that comes free with admission, tons of permanent exhibits, and room for two traveling exhibits at a time. TELUS World of Science also has a free, volunteer-run observatory on the grounds, which doesn’t run on cold or cloudy nights, but which would be awesome to check out in the spring or summer if you are in the area.

Until March 8th, TELUS World of Science is also home to Harry Potter – The Exhibition. This is fantastically popular, so much so that you have to book a timed entry ticket when you arrive at the museum. We arrived at the museum at 2:00 PM on Sunday, and couldn’t get into the Harry Potter exhibition until 6:45 PM. You can book ahead online, and we chose to go on the busiest weekend of the year, so your family will probably have a much easier time getting in than we did.

The Harry Potter exhibition is $26.50 for an adult, and $19.50 per child. This includes admission into the regular exhibits at the museum.

I’m going to break this review into two sections, because we had a very different experience at the Harry Potter exhibition than we did at the rest of the museum:

 

Harry Potter The Exhibition

Once it’s your turn to enter the exhibit, you line up with everyone else in your time slot. You will be asked if you would like to rent an audio guide for $6. The audio guide was pretty basic and mostly about the actual props involved. It might be of interest to more die-hard fans of the series. It will not be of any interest to the kids in your party, especially if they are under twelve.

You will then be guided along the line and given a house scarf to take a picture in with your party. Once you return the scarf, you will be given a card with a number on it. You can show this card at the very end of the exhibit to buy your picture, which is $25 or more depending on what kind of prints you want.

After that, everyone is led into a dark room with a chair and the sorting hat. This was really cute and added to the atmosphere. Due to the nature of the room, it may be very hard for little ones to see. The presenter will ask a few people to try the sorting hat on and it will “sort” them into a house – there’s only time for two or three people to be “sorted,” so prepare for disappointment if your child isn’t picked.

From there, you enter another dark room and watch a short video with clips from the films, ending with the door being opened onto a “train platform” at Hogsmeade, fully equipped with a realistic replica Hogwarts Express. The whole group will be led into the exhibit from here. It is visually stunning, and probably the highlight of the entire exhibition.

The exhibition itself is mostly comprised of loads of props from the Harry Potter films, including costumes, artwork, wands, magical items, and furniture. I could see that many of the families with kids in the exhibit were having trouble transitioning their little ones from the “hands-on” nature of the rest of the museum to this very “hands-off” section, as you are not allowed to touch anything. You travel through sections of props themed by classes, professors, and areas such as the Forbidden Forest or the Quidditch Grounds.

There are only three “interactive” areas in the exhibition – you have the opportunity to pull up a mandrake root; you can throw a quaffle (a kind of ball) through a hoop, just like in Quidditch; and you can sit on Hagrid’s giant armchair.

At the end of the exhibition, everyone exits through a long and winding gift shop. To give you an idea of the prices, they ranged from about $6 for a 30 gram chocolate frog to $60 for a Hedwig (owl) stuffed toy. Replica wands were $50, and house scarves and ties could run you between $25-$35.

I strongly recommend having a conversation with your kids about what you are and are not willing to buy from the gift shop at the end. At one point, a well-meaning dad had to try to convince his young daughter to leave the shop while trying to pry a scarf, wand, stuffed owl toy, and three chocolate frogs away from her. (You can imagine how well that went.)

I thought it was unfortunate that you are unable to exit any other way but through the gift shop – it is fairly expensive to get into, and you’re left with the potential of seriously ruining your otherwise perfect day at the museum by refusing to buy a $6 chocolate frog, or giving in and spending a lot more money than you meant to. The museum’s gift shop is separate from the exit, and has price points of all levels, which means you can always afford to grab a little treat for your kids if you’d like.

For a family with die-hard teenaged or tween Potter fans, this exhibition could be really interesting. Visually, it was stunning, and for my husband and I as adults it was well worth the extra cost. It may or may not be suitable for your young family.

TELUS World of Science

The World of Science was a totally different story. There is something here for literally every age range, every interest, and every ability level – ranging from very simple “press this button” activities to some genuinely challenging math-based puzzles and in-depth thinking activities, the museum is beautifully designed for the entire family to enjoy. Exhibit areas include the human body, space travel, forensic science, the environment, and loads more. We spent the entire time from 2:00-6:45 PM in the museum proper, and only just managed to see most of what the museum had to offer in terms of exhibits – never mind all the incredible IMAX and star shows!

We took in one show in the fabulous dome theatre, which was an interactive tour around our solar system. Kids were encouraged to shout out answers, move around the theatre, and even leave and come back if necessary – the presenter helpfully pointed out the nearest bathroom and reassured parents that they could come and go as many times as they liked during the program. It was so quiet and soothing under the stars in the theatre that a little guy next to us fell asleep watching the show. Each show runs about 40 minutes and is absolutely free with admission, and well worth your time.

I really cannot say enough good things about the variety of activities in the museum and the fantastic educational content and effort put into each and every one. I learned so much in the afternoon we were there, even as an elementary teacher myself – even if your kids aren’t old enough to get much out of the educational content, the hands-on nature of almost everything means that there is lots to keep all ages busy.

If you are in Edmonton for a weekend – and even if you aren’t! – the TELUS World of Science is well worth the visit. I highly recommend it!