Based at Kamloops and Boundary Bay Airport, Canadian Flight Centre has used its fleet of small aircraft to train more than 3,000 professional and recreational pilots since its inception in 1979. After a thorough ground-school education, potential commercial and private fliers hop into planes for flight training. Instructors utilize the region's unique proximity to coastal mountains and the Pacific Ocean to teach specific mountain checkout or water-related flying and instrument skills. They outfit their instructional aircraft with all the controls, instrumentation, and capabilities necessary to imbue industry-standard proficiency.
Staff Size: 25?50 people
Average Duration of Visit: 2?4 hours
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Recommended Age Group: All Ages
Visitors to the BC Wildlife Park have an unlikely benefactor to thank for the park's acres of sagebrush-coated hills and Ponderosa Pine-lined trails: Molson's Breweries. When the Greater Kamloops Zoological Society set out in search of suitable land for zoological facilities in 1966, Molson's donated 106 acres of their hop fields. Today, the natural landscape blends seamlessly from wilderness to animal enclosures that host more than 60 native and non-native species and offer visitors a chance to learn more about the region. Some dwellings host the largest mammals of the mountains?grizzly bears, cougars, and grey wolves included?while others contain spiders, snakes, and birds of prey. Visitors also find a few nods to the farm life in the big red barn known as Home Hardware Corral. Inside, miniature goats, pot-bellied pigs, and other cuddly farm dwellers frolic, giving children a gleeful glimpse into the life of a farmer.
The park's staff offer more than just an opportunity to observe animals, though. They supervise up-close encounters with some of their wildlife at special request, allowing guests the chance to meet and pose for pictures with birds and reptiles. In warmer months, they open up their splash park playground to kids of all ages. The staff also puts on an annual falconry show each summer in the Highland Valley Copper Amphitheatre, working with golden eagles, burrowing owls, and a massive turkey vulture. Visitors can also explore the grounds aboard the Wildlife Express Miniature Train, riding the miniature rails past some of the park's more stunning vistas.
As the sun’s rays reach across British Columbia, breakfast is being served, coffee and all, in the middle of Shuswap Lake. Though it's been cooked aboard one of Waterway Houseboat Vacations’ watercrafts, the diners devouring their morning meal still have the overwhelming sense that this is what it feels like to spend quality time in the wild. That combination of coming together as a group while communing with nature is Waterway Houseboat Vacations’ raison d'être and has been since its founding in 1968.
Dedicated to outfitting aquatic sojourners with the most lavish, well-equipped vessels possible, the company's proprietors had their own fleet of houseboats built up in their Sicamous-based boat yard. Each masterpiece of engineering is embellished with luxurious amenities such as hot tubs, fireplaces, and gold-plated shoulder parrots, each of which fight for boater attention with lake-adjacent activities such as swimming, hiking, water-skiing, and fishing. While eager to introduce visitors to the scenic beauty of the Shuswaps, the company simultaneously aims to uphold a dedication to environmental stewardship, preserving their beloved home with initiatives that include stocking boats with biodegradable soap and spearheading a comprehensive recycling program.
At the tender age of 11, Barb Rivest discovered her passion for nature tours when she landed a job taking visitors and horses through local trails. She's never let her fervour subside, having spent 14 seasons navigating the frothy rapids of Hell's Gate on Fraser River, and eventually founding Shuswap Unique Adventure Tour. Though her excursions include hiking the hills of Copper Island⎯home to the rare mariposa lily⎯and catarafting a 10-kilometre stretch of the Adams River, her signature tours use Segways as their mode of transport. Much like picnic-basket salesmen, these eco-friendly, zero-emission vehicles steal silently along the Coyote bluffs and trails of Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park, where Barb once held an administrative role.
Above 70 acres of orchards, vineyards, and alpaca farms, riders at Oyama Zipline Forest Adventure can soar seated or even upside down. That's thanks to Oyama's universal harness, whose automatic brakes also let riders dangle over particularly stunning views of Kalamalka Lake and nearby beaches. The park's seven ziplines?followed closely one after the other over a period of about three hours?range from leaps off 50-foot-tall towers to rides that begin through trapdoors. On Oyama's final double line, two participants fly down a 1,514-foot-long line at up to 85 kilometers per hour, about the speed of cheetah on a leisurely stroll.
At Freedom Flight School, pilots offer their passengers myriad ways to obtain a bird's-eye view. On the one hand, there's unpowered flight?or "free flight"?which includes hang gliding and paragliding after launch. On the other, powered trikes and ultralights easily and quickly ferry passengers to their destinations, offering the same sweeping views as free flight.