You are finally recovered from the holiday season and have been more than happy to spend the last couple weeks doing nothing and spending nothing. Now, mid January you realize there is still lots of winter left (and the kids are going a bit stir crazy). I wanted to provide a list of family friendly activities (that won't break the bank) to get you through the remaining winter months.
1.) Tobogganing at Diefenbaker Park
If you grew up in South Delta this is a given. OF COURSE that is what you do when it snows. BUT during the last snowfall I recommended this activity to a friend who had just moved to town and she thought it was a brilliant idea. It almost made me sad she had spent two winters here and was out of the loop on this one. It's fun, it's free and there is plenty of room for everyone.
If the winter season is lacking snow, you can go ice blocking. This involves "sledding" down the grassy hills on a large block of ice. It sounds crazy but it's loads of fun. Here is a website with great information on how to make your own "sled" and safety guidelines. http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/arts-culture/stories/no-snow-sled-try-ice-blocking
Located in Ladner on Westham Island, the Bird Sanctuary is open 9am-4pm during the winter. This is a great activity for the whole family (stroller friendly). It has endless loops and trails with lookout points and bird watching huts throughout. It's $5 for adults and $3 for kids to enter the grounds and you will be greeted by a flock of hungry mallards. The trails are beautiful and the chickadees will eat right out of your hands (so will the herons if you are brave enough - not recommended!). You may even be inspired to start your Big Year after the visit.
3.) Ice Skating
Delta Parks & Rec offers family skates at the Ladner Leisure Centre and in Tsawwassen at the South Delta Rec Centre. Admission ranges from $4 - $7 depending on age and it's free for under two. Skate rental and sharpening services are offered.
I welcome the outdoor 'Skating on the Fairways' at Tsawwassen Springs, Pat Quinn Restaurant. Unfortunately it is only seasonal over the holidays (late November - Mid January) but it's magic to skate outside with Michael Buble blasting in the background.
4.) Hot Chocolate at Petra's
I remember when Petra's opened, what 20 years ago? It was a quiet café where you could enjoy a bite and paint pottery. Now Petra's is basically the pulsing heart of Tsawwassen. It is the meeting place for runners, bikers, walkers, birders, workers - you name it! The food and drinks are equally as good as the atmosphere. Enjoy your hot chocolate (kids hot chocolate come with classic tiny marshmallows) in a mug and stay a while to enjoy the bright and buzzing vibe of this local hang out.
5.) Tea at Stir Coffee House
Alright Ladner, you also have a good cafè. To be honest, I am not sure when Stir popped up, but I am sure glad it's here! This trendy little nook goes for a warm and relaxing atmosphere but every time I go its smoking busy and rightfully so. The coffee is awesome and it is worth waiting for the steeped tea. Grab a hot beverage and enjoy one of the surrounding parks.
6.) Hotdog Roast at Centennial Beach
Centennial beach in the summer is so busy it's bonkers. This is why us locals need to take advantage of the winter months. The fire pits are available year round and you generally have no problem claiming one for the afternoon. There are washrooms on-site, a playground for the kids and nice walking trails. On a nice day, rally some friends, family, beach chairs and picnic food and hit up this local spot. Bundle up and the fire will keep you warm!
7.) Brunch at Boundary Bay Airport & Visit OWL
Skyhawk Restaurant at the Boundary Bay Airport is located off highway 17 in East Ladner. It is a small airport that caters mainly to small airplanes and local flying. You can dine while watching the planes take off and land. It has a vast menu specializing in western, asian and an all day breakfast menu.
After lunch, walk over to OWL (Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre). You can take a guided tour and learn more about their 'local residents', which include owls, eagles, falcons and hawks. Tours are by drop-in donation and last 30 minutes long. September - June tours run 10am - 2:30pm.
It doesn't get any more Canadian than this! Located behind the South Delta Rec Centre is Tunnel Town Curling Club. They have leagues you can join (including junior and novice leagues) and facility rentals. If you check out their website throughout the winter they have free learn to curl clinics. If you have never curled before I would highly recommend the tutorial, curling is a lot harder than it looks! If you have young children or hitting the sheets is not for you, there is a heating viewing area with a popcorn machine and concession.
9.) Watch an Ice Hawks Game
The Delta Ice Hawks are a junior "B" hockey team who play their home games at the Ladner Leisure Centre. The calibre of play is good and it's an outing that won't break the bank. $10/Adults $5/Kids for regular season games. You can find the schedule for their next game here. http://www.deltaicehawks.com
10.) Winter Walk at Lilly Point
Okay, you got me, this isn't technically in South Delta but this is a hidden treasure I am going to include it. Located in Point Roberts, Lilly Point provides lush forests trails, natural beaches and of course, the clay cliffs. I would only come to recommend this for a winter activity in recent years because now they have put in a public washroom and stairs down to the beach; back in the day we were doing switch backs through the dirt to get down.
Before you go, stop at The International Marketplace for American candy, chicken & jojo's (fried chicken and potato wedges) and an Arizona Ice Tea (I really mean a tall boy of beer but I wanted to keep this post family friendly ;).
There you have my Ten Winter Activities in South Delta. I hope you enjoyed reading and hope you explore this amazing community we live in! Stay tuned for my February blog post on 'South Delta Date Ideas'.
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