For more than 30 years, the non-profit, volunteer-driven Canadian Museum of Flight has educated aviation enthusiasts about British Columbia's flying-machine history with a comprehensive, well-preserved collection of aircraft and aviation artifacts. Among its flock of winged warriors, visitors will find replicas of WW1 aircrafts, a Waco biplane from 1930, a Douglas DC-3 transport from 1940, and a 1942 Hampden bomber, which was used in World War II and is the last craft of its type in existence. Hand-plucked jets include a de Havilland Vampire fighter, the all-Canadian designed and built CF-100, and the needle-nosed Lockheed Starfighter. While some of these crafts, like a third eye, are just for show, many of the fleet-footed fleet regularly take to the skies at airshows and events during the warmer months. Groupon users also receive a 15% discount off anything in the aviation gift shop.
You can only get so much done in 50 seconds: It’s enough time to reheat leftovers in the microwave or frantically dress in the morning. At Top Gun Karting School, however, 50 seconds is all you need to complete one lap on the Greg Moore Raceway, whose 12-corner asphalt surface spans 1,224 metres. Under the instruction of internationally ranked kart drivers Blake and Bryce Choquer—the latter placed sixth at the 2010 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals in Italy—first-timers and experienced speedsters alike master the track through the school’s intensive programs.
After padding their pupils in complimentary driving gear, the Choquer brothers situate each guest behind the wheel of a Tony Kart EVRR for training sessions that can last a half-day to three-day courses During introductory lessons, Blake and Bryce review karting fundamentals, including throttle and braking techniques. From there, more advanced students learn starting procedures and passing techniques while manoeuvreing a 125 Rotax kart, which can hit a top speed of 125 kilometres per hour, the average pace of a winded cheetah. The three-day course culminates in a practice weekend, in which dedicated racers can test their skills in two heat races.
Los Vientos Equestrian Centre's hooved tenants include school, sale, and lease horses and ponies that delight pleasure riders and regularly win laurels in a variety of equestrian contests. The assembly of in-house instructors includes accomplished coaches such as Eleonore Elstone—a member of Canada's Paralympic dressage team—and Shelley Mills—a horseback specialist who teaches English riding basics to those interested in both competitive and recreational galloping. The spacious facilities offer boarding service for horses seeking proper shelter, with 31 covered stalls equipped to suit nearly every stallion's need. Sheltered turnout paddocks allow steeds to graze, a total of six hay and grain feedings each day provide nourishment, and individual lockers serve as spot for adolescent ponies to store their saddles and hang Paul Anka posters.
A riding teacher since 1976 and holder of numerous coaching certifications, Brinna Ellis heads up the instruction and training programs offered at Dip ‘N Run Stables. Whether individually or in small groups, fledgling riders are paired with the school’s trusty horses based on character, experience, and how many Kentucky Derby winners they can name. In addition to Brinna’s coaching of students from all walks, including therapeutic horse-riding sessions, the school also offers leasing programs for its horses, as well as show coaching packages.
The next generation of professional bowlers could very well be lacing up their small, adorable shoes at Sandcastle Bowl Bar & Grill. The alley hosts a youth league for bowlers as young as five, which is the earliest age Santa accepts requests for bowling gloves. Luckily, strikes and spares don't end once players reach adulthood. Adult leagues let grownups compete across the alley's 20 lanes, which accommodate both five- and tenpin bowling.
While competitive, Sandcastle Bowl Bar & Grill's leagues are primarily social gatherings, with plenty of opportunities to make new friends (bowlers can join teams or sign up as individuals). This spirit of friendly sportsmanship also extends to casual events. The alley hosts after-school bowling on weekdays, and on Saturdays, the staff cranks up music and turns on special effects lighting during an all-you-can-bowl party called Strike FX.
Visits often spill over into the onsite restaurant, Zachary's Grill. The menu puts standard snack bar food to shame with dozens of options such as handmade burgers and shareable baskets of dry ribs.
Chough, a 15-inch-gauge steam locomotive, was an international jet setter before settling down at Bear Creek Park Train. Built in Holland in 1968, Chough went on to serve stints in model-train stores and tracks in London, Kent, and Scotland before rolling onto Canadian soil in the spring of 1996. Today, he and chugging buddy Eddy the Engine haul passengers into the cottonwood forests of Bear Creek Park, passing through a tunnel decorated according to holiday or season. The pair trundles past Bear Creek Floral Garden and across King Creek Bridge before pulling back into the station, where passengers can slurp up ice cream and other treats.
Nearby, the 18-hole mini golf course offers a different way to commune with Mother Nature. Like the tank of a scuba-diving naturalist, the course is filled with fresh air. Each hole incorporates the surrounding landscape so that the putting greens blend into towering cedar, hemlock, spruce, and fir trees, and between holes nine and 10, gurgling water streams from a fountain sandwiched between Squamish basalt-rock columns.