Spring break: are we there yet?
It’s Spring Break! If your family is still wondering how to make the most of your time off, we’re here to help. In asking around, the word on the street is that the “staycation” is the new trip to Disneyland…. OK, maybe not Disneyland but staying home can be more of an adventure than you might think! Here, we reach out to Tourism BC and discover some very exciting options for how to spend Spring Break in BC, including everything from festivals to whale watching to digging for dinosaur bones!
Tip # 1: Put a new spin on the family drive
For most families, the family drive is guaranteed to make an appearance in the staycation. To make it a tad more exciting, try turning your drive into a scavenger hunt, otherwise known as car bingo, and help the kids notice some of those perhaps overlooked details along the way! Print out enough car bingo lists for everyone (except the driver), and see who can check the most items on their list. Here are a few ideas to get your car bingo list started (along with some great spring break activity ideas):
- Circle route signs. Did you know BC has thirteen circle routes, starting and ending at the same place and focusing on different themes, including hot springs (there are seven of them, from Revelstoke through Radium and Nakusp)?
- B&B signs. www.hellobc.com lists over 700 bed and breakfasts throughout the province.
- A train. Three passenger trains operate in BC – VIA Rail, Rocky Mountaineer, and Amtrak – as well as CN and CP’s freight trains. Bonus fact: The last spike of the Canadian Pacific Railway was driven on Nov. 7, 1885, at Craigellachie, marking the completion of Canada’s first transcontinental railway.
- A tunnel. Kids love tunnels, and BC has ‘em! We’ve got the Spiral Tunnels in Yoho National Park near Field. These two tunnels are the only ones of their kind in North America, and were built in the 1900's to ease the grade along one of the steepest and most hazardous sections of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Look for a long train to pass through the tunnel – it actually “criss-crosses” underneath itself.
- Wild animals. Try to spot a bear, elk, deer, mountain goat, moose or sheep. British Columbia has more than 1,100 different wildlife species and some of the most diverse ecosystems in the world.
- A BC Parks sign. BC has nearly 1,000 provincial parks and protected areas, attracting about 20 million visits every year. This year marks the 100th anniversary of B.C.’s first provincial park, Strathcona Provincial Park. (You might want to check HERE before you leave home to make sure there’s one on your route)
- A waterfall. BC is home to most of Canada’s highest waterfalls, including Della Falls on Vancouver Island, nearly eight times the height of Niagara.
- A horsey. The Cariboo Chilcotin Coast is BC’s cowboy country, and is home to the province’s highest concentration of guest and dude ranches. Ranches offer activities besides horseback riding, including hiking, fishing, canoeing, swimming and biking.
Tip # 2: The fastest way to escape the rain and snow…
Is a trip to Vancouver Island! In Victoria, enjoy spring at Victoria’s 35th Annual Victoria Flower Count, happening March 1-7 (last year, the flower count reached 21 billion blooms). Or if you're a whale watching enthusiast, check out the 25th Annual Pacific Rim Whale Festival happening in Tofino, Ucluelet and the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve March 19-27. The festival celebrates the northbound migration of 20,000 grey whales from the Baja Peninsula to Alaska’s Bering Strait.
Tip # 3: Living up North?
The Exploration Place in Prince George is inviting kids in kindergarten to Grade 2 to go Digging for Dinosaurs, and grades 3-7 can explore Prehistoric Times at spring break camps running March 21-25.
Tip #4: Visit the Amazon … in Vancouver
If you’re in Vancouver, the Vancouver Aquarium will be showcasing the New Amazon exhibit - where it can rain eight months of the year. Happening from March 19-April 30, this is a fun way to investigate the most species-dense area of the world.
Tip #5 Explore Okanagan Wildlife
Just in time for spring break, the BC Wildlife Park in Kamloops is hosting a series of kids adventure day camps. Each day of camp is based on an exciting topic with activities specifically designed for ages 6-12. Kids get the chance to explore wildlife and their habitats through education programs, games, and crafts and apply what they have learned during an animal encounter.
Enjoy your spring break! We’d love to hear what you’re doing with your family! Share your comments and ideas with us HERE. And of course, if you have any snack ideas, especially snacks that work well on road trips, post your recipe HERE for a chance to win $100 to spend at Cookworks! Winners announced at the end of every month.