A quick glance at Vashti Fairbairn’s resume is telling. At local theatre company Fighting Chance Productions, she has directed the critically lauded Little Shop of Horrors and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, both of which magically combine music with dramatic arts. At her own Music Box Music and Theatre Academy, Fairbairn, along with a team of dedicated teachers, does the exact same thing on a daily basis. Children’s group classes give little ones as young as 6 months old a chance to strut their stuff on the dance floor, belt out their favourite show tunes, and learn to tickle the ivories like a seasoned elephant sitter. Private lessons are open to adults as well, and expand the instrumental scope to include strings, music theory, and the speaking arts. The latter comes in handy during the school’s drama clubs, which teach kids 3 years and older how to use their imaginations to create real-life and fantasy scenarios. Outside of their educational programs, the facility entertains visitors to the River Market with free music and theatre performances in the Music Box Presents series.
Building strength and flexibility doesn’t have to be boring. At the Vancouver Circus School, classes allow you to exercise your artistic side as your try your hand at challenging workouts on the tightwire, trapeze, or aerial silks that hang from the ceiling. The All-Around Circus program is the most comprehensive, allowing adults, teens, and even preschoolers to sample the different big-top arts. Students get to hone their trampoline-jumping and hand-balancing skills, which may grant them greater agility during workouts or heists in the Smithsonian’s heavily guarded bounce house. They’ll also be able to acquaint themselves with the use of yo-yos and devil sticks.
Most of the classes are for recreational purposes, but students who want to take their skills to the next level can consider the school’s Ring Master program. During this program, they’ll commit to more training under the school’s top coaches to eventually transform into a professional circus artist.
It’s a Friday night at Xcalibur Bowling, and the lights have gone out. As a vibrant glow overtakes the space, with balls and pins blushing in the dark and laser lights dancing across the centre’s 36 lanes, it becomes clear: tonight is Xtreme Bowling. A DJ begins to spin chart-topping hits of yesterday and today—from Nicki Minaj to John Philip Sousa—and, as if on cue, the glowing orbs fly from bowlers’ hands and crash against their targets. The glow-in-the-dark party is a regular occurrence at Xcalibur, taking place every Friday and Saturday night. Yet, the rest of the week is no snooze fest: “Old Skool” music blasts from the speakers on Sundays, and a video arcade waits for antsy hands every single day.
The centre's The Edge Sports Bar tempts bowlers with LCD TVs, draft beers, and a pool table and dartboards. After a few frames, underage gamers can retreat to The Grill Restaurant to quell postgame hunger with salads, pizzas, burgers, and sandwiches.
Dell Lanes hosts friendly competition among players throughout the week with regular bowling hours or laser bowling sessions on its collection of classic five-pin lanes furnished with plush couches and automatic scoring. The alley dims its lights and dusts off its futuristic hues for laser bowling each Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. At the on-site bar and lounge, the kitchen staff fires up a full menu of traditional pub fare including house-made pizza, burgers, and beef sandwiches. Dell Lanes also hosts leagues for children, adults, and seniors, allowing the entire family to hone its skills for settling the neighbourly feud with the sparrows in the backyard birdhouse.
Since 1997, Big River Brewing Company has created its craft beers on the banks of the historic Fraser River. At the brewer's restaurants, you can pair their 8 distinctive brews with hearty pub food. In some cases, that pairing is taken care of for you?the chicken burger is marinated in Sidewheeler blond ale, and there are beer-braised onions, crisp bacon, cheddar cheese, and a special sauce on the Big River classic burger. Sauces are another specialty here?a cajun basil pesto amps up the chicken quesadilla; meanwhile, Frank's red hot sauce coats the brewhouse wings and the fingers of everyone who eats them. The Coquitlam location has an open kitchen, so you can watch at the chefs incorporate ales and lagers into their dishes and sauces.
Deemed one of the top places to hold a birthday party by readers of the Richmond News, The Zone Bowling Centre and its gleaming lanes host several leagues and themed parties at each of two locations. For an added element of mystique, cosmic bowling takes place on Fridays, featuring dimmed lights, atmospheric music, and bowling balls that form various constellations at will.