With the waves of Victoria Harbour’s Selkirk Waters lapping just below their headquarters, Switch Bridge Tours’ staff leads bicycle and kayak tours of Victoria and Vancouver Island’s waterways. The business’s proximity to the Galloping Goose and Lochside trails facilitates tours on frequently tuned-up bikes that venture into the Cowichan Valley or along the Saanich Peninsula. Kayaks cease their giant kazoo impressions long enough to cut through the Tod Inlet and the Inner Harbour on beginner or advanced tours. Each experienced guide is certified in First Aid and CPR.
Art On The Ridge’s galleries display fine art from accomplished local artists, but it’s not there to intimidate. The facility’s open philosophy for its classes and workshops revolves around encouragement: anyone can create art, and should have fun doing it. Painting classes for adults use wine to fuel creativity, whereas children’s sessions cover everything from pop-up art to classes illustrating how art links to math, science, and history. The lineup of instructors has included a fine-arts professor from Antioch University.
Local and visiting artists present their work in the gallery, introducing visitors to exhibits as wide-ranging as Mexican Oil Landscapes and Chainsaw meets Fine Art. Guests can purchase pieces or inquire about commissioning artwork from represented artists to fill their living rooms with portraits or acquire a masterfully forged signature on a report card.
The Salish Sea hosts one of the largest killer-whale gatherings on the planet. From its three large pods of fish-eating resident orcas to the pods of transient orcas that hunt for larger mammalian game, the Salish's waters often churn with a flurry of activity. Five Star's captains give passengers a glimpse of this underwater entertainment by charting courses through the sea's whale-filled waters atop stable catamarans outfitted with four separate viewing platforms. From these lookouts, guests may spot the black and white behemoths, as well as mink, gray, and humpback whales and other marine life. Between sightings, crews keep parties comfortable within the heated cabin by supplying them with complimentary coffee, hot chocolate, and liquefied Herman Melville novels.
For more than a century, Woodland Park Zoo's 92 acres of exhibits have provided an urban oasis replete with nearly 1,100 individual animals, representing almost 300 species and 75 animal vocations, such as jaguar dentist. Ooh and ahh your way through more than a dozen exhibits representing the exotic wilds of Australia, Africa, and Bug World. Should the sight of the king of the jungle paralyze you with fear, visit the golden lion tamarin, an endangered Brazilian primate that was hunted for its fur by hopelessly misinformed gold prospectors. Debate the appropriate classification of the red panda (aka the firefox), or marvel at the soaring majesty and silly names of the Hottentot teal, bufflehead duck, and Temminick's tragopan. The diverse array of flora and fauna ensures that every art lover will uncover a masterpiece within Mother Nature's gallery.