I love camping and travelling to (safe) places I’ve never been before. But this year, for a variety of reasons including finances and family commitments we haven’t had the chance to explore the world as much as we had hoped to.
Darren saw that I was feeling a bit down about this so brought up the idea of exploring the city that we’ve lived in for 25 years and my gosh, have we had a blast doing it!
I thought I’d share a few of the things we’ve done so far, hoping to inspire you to explore your own town if you start feeling bored.
- An after dark corn maze (bring your flashlights!)
- A medieval feast with longbow archery
- Pick your own strawberries (and eat while you pick, yum)
- Scottish highland games
We found all these and more within an hour drive of our home and had a blast with all of them. Who knew!?
MOVIES AND THEATER:
If you decide to entertain yourselves by going out to the movies or theater, try thinking out of the box a bit. In the city we found outdoor “drive in” (well, walk in) movies in the park … the movies shown weren’t new, but what fun it is to pack a picnic and watch a movie after the sun sets! We also visited Shakespeare in the Park (a free, amateur production that runs all summer in our city)
I think my favourite event was a 1980’s themed play that we got together with a few other families to attend. Just to make it a bit more fun, we decided to dress up in our best “80’s” outfits. Darren dressed up like Corey Hart and I dressed up like one of the singers from Heart (people barely recognized me *laugh*).
You can get dressed up for movies or the theater but keep in mind, if your family is like ours, it’s a bit easier and more fun as part of a bigger group!
When I started to look into live music events in the city, I was shocked by how many options there were including a few events where kids could try out a variety of instruments. I’ve never been that “in tune” (pun intended!) with music offerings in the city so I’m not sure if this has always been the case or if it’s because Calgary just opened a new music museum (the National Music Center).
While many of the music venues I found aren’t family friendly, odds are you will find a few that are. This summer we found lots of amateur and outdoor options we could all enjoy.
In our city, coffee shops seem to be a great family friendly alternative to the bar for amateur “open mic” events that young music lovers can enjoy watching along with a cup of hot chocolate.
Darren and I went to a Kentucky Derby style horse racing event. It was a charity event which cost a bit more than we’d normally spend, but we have a “charity budget” each year so we had a guilt free day that was a load of fun.
We also noticed the rise of a lot of new sport facilities in our city – many of which had open houses, Groupon deals and first-timers deals. These included archery dodge ball, a virtual reality arcade, a trampoline gym and a ninja gym.
And gosh, frisbee golf! I don’t know if this exists everywhere, but it’s so much more fun for the kids (and mom) than regular golf!
And last, but not least, we like to hike and this year decided to explore hikes we’ve never taken before instead of sticking to the same old trails. It never ceases to amaze how many pretty places there are in and around the city. I’ve been enjoying using the free AllTrails app to find new hikes. It isn’t always perfect but I find it pretty useful (sometimes, the “hiking elevation” listed on the app gets a bit messed up by rock climbers tracking their climbing efforts as hiking).
Anyways, it doesn’t really matter WHAT you decide to do. Just channel your inner adventurer and try something a bit different than you’ve done in the past.
HOW TO HUNT DOWN EVENTS IN YOUR AREA:
- Try looking your own city up on websites like TripAdvisor, Eventbrite, Groupon and Timeout. Whatever resources you use when you travel can be useful at home too!
- Keep an eye on social media. You can even make a deal with friends and family to share posts about events nearby that you all bump into (whether you plan to go or not).
- Check out event calendars posted by libraries, city parks, universities and your city’s official tourism site.
- And if you still can’t find anything interesting to do, try Google!