All school age children are on holiday from their regular schedule of classes and studies from December 17th through to January 2nd. Great for the kids but a challenge for parents – how to keep them busy and entertained? Many Hope families are also hosting family and friends from far and wide for the holiday season – how to keep them busy and entertained? Here are some ideas that have been compiled by the staff of the Hope Visitor Centre.
One of the first options to consider should be the wonderful recreation facilities that our small town is fortunate enough to have in the Dan Sharrers Aquatic Centre, Hope Arena and Gym/Cardio Room. While all of the facilities will be closed on December 25th, 26th and January 1st, there is a special schedule of expanded public hours over the rest of the holiday break. By offering your children and visitors a fun outing of swimming, soaking, skating or working out, you can also help them burn off some of those extra holiday calories! Contact the Hope Recreation Complex at (604)869-2304 to check on schedules and admission rates.
The Hope Library is another local facility that can offer you hours of enjoyment this holiday season. Everyone should be familiar with the fact that they have thousands of book titles ranging from children’s picture books to full length novels and informative non-fiction options. But you should also know that they have movies and music available as well! The Hope Library is open Tuesday through Sunday but will be closed December 24th through to December 27th inclusive as well as December 31st to January 2nd. Call them at 869-2313 to confirm hours of opening.
Another fun option for all age levels is five pin bowling at Sunshine Lanes. For extra excitement try their “Galactic Bowling” option complete with music, lights, and lasers. Reserve a lane by calling them at (604) 869-7027. Also ask them about their racquetball and “wallyball” activities.
The Hope Cinema is another entertainment facility in Hope that caters to all ages. They have first-run movies playing Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday nights at 7:30PM. Check their Show Information Line at (604) 869-0752 for current titles and times.
Another cultural option is The Hope Arts Gallery on Fort Street, which is open through to December 18th from 11AM to 4PM. Go to admire the talents of Hope artists or buy some truly unique local gifts to put under the tree.
December 31st – New Year`s Celebration at the Hope Legion Hall (344 Fort St.) featuring live music by Roger Schmidt and his band. Tickets $25 per person – includes entry into draw for a TV. Light snacks and champagne at midnight included. Tickets available at the Legion Lounge or call Al at 604-869-7372.
Hope is fortunate to have many great walking trails and two that remain easily accessible throughout the winter season are the Rotary Nature Trail along the Coquihalla River (accessible from the corner of Seventh Avenue and Wardle Street) and the Thacker Regional Park trail on the abandoned Kettle Valley Railway grade along Thacker marsh (accessible from Union Bar Rd). Both are easy strolls of about 30 to 45 minutes return in length and provide bird watching opportunities.
If Santa brings you new electronic gadgets equipped with GPS abilities you can also get out to explore the world of geocaching (treasure hunting using GPS coordinates). There are hundreds of hidden treasure caches in the Hope region but not all of them will be winter friendly so choose wisely from those listed at www.geocaching.com – just enter a local postal and lots of choices will be offered.
If Hope should be fortunate enough to have snow over the holiday season you can add tobogganing and cross country skiing to your list of activity options. The hill at Kawkawa Lake Park is a perennial favourite for those with tubes and sleds.
Even if Hope does not receive snow itself there are a number of locations close by that offer a wide variety of winter sports.
Manning Park Resort is only about an hours drive east of Hope on Hwy #3 and it offers downhill and cross country skiing as well as snowboarding and snowshoeing,. They also have a toboggan hill and the “Polar Coaster” tube park. These facilities are open daily over the holiday break plus they offer equipment rentals and lessons. Call (250) 840-8822 or check www.manningpark.com for prices, times and details. Even if you don’t want to be active, a drive to the Manning Park Lodge will offer you spectacular winter scenery and a tempting menu of treats in the Cascade Café or Bear’s Den Pub. This outing is great at lifting spirits if Hope suffers through an extended period of gloomy weather since Manning Park almost always offers sunshine and clear blue skies during the winter season.
Another local ski destination can be found at Hemlock Resort, just west of Hope past Agassiz and Harrison Mills off of Highway #7. Operating hours and rates can be found on their website at www.hemlockvalley.com.
Snowmobiling in the Falls Lake and Coquihalla Lakes area will appeal to those who want more speed and excitement. These areas are only about a 30 minute drive northeast of Hope on Hwy #5. You must have your own snowmobile or you can arrange for a rental through Variable Rentals in Kamloops. Call them at 1-250-573-6073 or 1-250-319-3424 for details or visit their website at www.variablerentals.com.
A short drive to the west of Hope on Hwy #7 will take you to Agassiz and through to Harrison Hot Springs via Highway #9. In Harrison Hot Springs you can enjoy a relaxing soak in the mineral waters of their public indoor pool. It is open daily from 9AM to 8PM (open till 9PM on Fridays & Saturdays). They have rental bathing suits and towels for $4.25 each and admission rates range from $9 for adults to $6.75 for children (5-14) and seniors 65+. Children under 4 are free. Call (604)796-2244 – Extension 249 for further details.
Just a few miles further west of Agassiz, lies the community of Harrison Mills at the junction of the Harrison and Fraser Rivers. This is a perfect destination for a family outing as you will surely see more bald eagles here than anywhere else in our area. Between 500 and 1,500 eagles makes this area home through the winter months as they come to feast on the salmon carcasses along these river shores. The best viewing occurs during their morning feed near shallow river waters. Follow the signs from Hwy #7 to Kilby Provincial Park to find the public access point.
For more activity ideas and travel information, contact the Hope Visitor Centre at (604) 869-2021 or drop into our location at 919 Water Avenue. The Visitor Centre is open daily from 10AM to 4PM but will be closed on December 25th, 26th and January 1st. Visitor Centre staff will also have information available about, Christmas church services and New Years Eve festivities in and around Hope plus the holiday operating hours of local restaurants.
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