One way to make the start of the week more relaxing is to take the day off. And on February 17, everyone gets Monday off in honour of Family Day. Instead of spending these extra 24 hours bingeing on Netflix – although, also a good option for a cold winter day – make the most of the holiday by participating in a few of the special happenings taking place.
Maple syrup candy, crafts in a giant igloo and hay rides are just a few of the special activities taking place at Fort Calgary on Family Day as part of their annual Winter Carnival. For those who don’t want to brave the cold, opt instead for one of the scavenger hunts inside Fort Calgary. Best of all, free hot chocolate is being given away courtesy of TD. After a fun-filled day at Fort Calgary, try out the East Village skating rink on your way home.
(806 9 Ave. S.E., 403-290-1875, fortcalgary.com)
Cheer for the Calgary Hitmen
Nothing brings a family together like major junior hockey. Support the local team, the Calgary Hitmen, as they take on the Red Deer Rebels. Pay special attention to Jake Virtanen, one of the top ten players on the leaderboard this season. The game starts at 4 p.m.
(Scotiabank Saddledome, 555 Saddledome Rise S.E., 403-777-4646, hitmenhockey.com)
Watch a Magic Show at WOWFest
Forget boring card tricks – this is the real deal. The WOWFest festival is dedicated to both magic and comedy, and begins on Family Day with a family-friendly show taking place at 4 p.m. A show targeted for older audiences, the magic cabaret, takes palce later in the evening at 7 p.m. Be prepared for awe-inspiring tricks by a mix of local magicians.
(Motel Theatre, Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts, 205 8 Ave. S.E., wowfestmagic.com)
Refine your knowledge of Albertan history this weekend. Head to this UNESCO World Heritage Site to learn more about a very old hunting practice that helped the aboriginals live off the land for nearly 6,000 years. For Family Day only, admission to this historic site is free. A family-friendly “Full Moon of the Eagle” event has been planned, as well as a display dedicated to Albertan birds of prey. And the simulated archaeological dig and artifact demonstrations aren’t to be missed.
(Fort MacLeod, 403-553-2731, history.alberta.ca)
Free Public Swims and Pool Parties
Head to one of six public swimming pools between 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. and swim for free. Splash around in the pool (Glenmore Aquatic Centre) or relax in the hot tub (Canyon Meadows Aquatic and Fitness Centre) on Monday afternoon. A full list of the participating city pools can be found at calgary.ca.
For more of a celebratory atmosphere, the Talisman Centre is setting up the floatables in their pool between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Family Day. Brave the inflatable jungle gym before either unwinding in their enormous hot tub or running a few laps on the indoor track.
(2225 Macleod Tr. S., 403-233-8393, talismancentre.com)
The last day of Heritage Park’s hands-on quest is taking place on Family Day. This year’s theme is “A Star is Born.” Test how your wits would stand up in an audition, plan your very own movie, attend your movie’s premiere and find the perfect pair of sunglasses for avoiding the paparazzi. As a family, try to win the Heritage Park Oscar.
(1900 Heritage Dr. S.W., 403-268-8500, heritagepark.ca)
Unplug From Everything
Even if you don’t want to make plans, challenge yourself to do something new. The City of Edmonton is encouraging Edmontonians, and all Albertans, to “disconnect to connect” on Family Day. Challenge yourself and your family to disconnect from the Internet, from smartphones and from video games and log some real family time.