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Escapes for Parents and Families in the Calgary Area

Get Away for an Hour and Feel Like You've Been Gone for Weeks.

You've booked the kids' camps, planned their perfect birthday parties, enrolled them in their extracurricular activities, got them settled in school, and coordinated the family calendar! Now it's your turn.

Escape, relax, rejuvenate, regroup, retreat. However, you define it, every parent needs to take a break for themselves. Balancing out life's stresses is essential for maintaining your sanity and you need to regenerate regularly-not just one day a year.

The best and easiest way to regenerate is to find your own special place to relax or remove yourself from the world. Maybe for you that's a stolen hour in the middle of the day for coffee with friends, some time at a club or spa, reading a book or simply taking a walk. Need some inspiration? We've pulled together some great ideas for a creative escape of your own.

A FEW STOLEN HOURS... Hang out at your favorite coffee shop or bookstore and visit with friends over your favorite brew or simply find a good book to lose yourself in. Some our favorites include Chapters (Starbucks), Indigo Books, The Calgary Public Library, Good Earth, Earth Harvest, Kaffa House, or Lazy Loaf and Kettle. Turn off the phone, and curl up with a great movie. Rogers Video offers two movies for a week for $5 (excluding new releases).

Light the candles, break out the good bubble bath and enjoy a good, long soak in the tub with no interruptions. Check out Candlundrums on 11 Avenue SW for some great ideas. Call 403-205-3601.

Did you miss the new movie release at the theatre? It's probably still playing at Northland or Southland Theatres for $2.50. The Movie Dome offers movies for $2.50, $2/matinees/ and $1/all day Tuesdays.

Here's a treat for your feet. The M.A.D. Program "Mother's Afternoon Delight" offers 60 minutes of heavenly "foot massage" in your home for you and two other moms (bring your friends!) A professional, certified reflexologist will treat each of you individually to a 60-minute "afternoon-delight" (foot massage). You choose the location, time & date. $75/group. Contact Rocky Mountain Rendezvous for further information and dates available at 403-284-0891.

How about a Sole Revival at Swizzlesticks Lifestyle Centre. For one hour pamper yourself. After your luxurious Aromatherapy soak, one's whole self can be relaxed and revived through reflex press-point massage combined with aromology. $60. For more information and this and other packages, phone 403-270-7357.

Or, escape to the Four Points Sheraton for a special spa package including massage, manicure and pedicure. Call 403-288-4441.

Take an afternoon break at Lunchbox Theatre. Plays run from 12:10 to 1P.M. Prebook a prepared lunchbox, sneak away for an hour and enjoy a great play in the middle of the day! Call 403-265-4292.
Discover Kensington, Inglewood and 17th Avenue. These areas are an adventure all their own-especially if you enjoy browsing, crafting, antiquing or great food. There's something there for everyone. Explore Chinatown for some wonderful sights, sounds and smells (don't miss the Chinese Cultural Centre and Museum). Leaving time for lunch during this excursion is a must! The Bridgeland area in the NE is one of the best places in Calgary to find fresh pasta and sauces and authentic Italian shopping.

Calgary has many galleries and museums just waiting to be discovered. Spend an afternoon in a cultural pursuit. Stop in at The Glenbow Museum or check out the Nickle Arts at the University of Calgary.

Volunteering is good for the soul, a great way to meet new friends, and make a difference in someone's life. Call Volunteer Calgary at the 265-5633 for suggestions.

TAKE A CLASS-JUST FOR FUN: Exercise is a great stress release, good for you and fun! Discover a new fitness class at your local gym, learn how to run, take a weight training class, or learn a martial art, whatever you choose, you'll be glad you did! How about a cooking class? Impress yourself, your friends, and the kids with a new twist on dinner. The Calgary Board of Education and Community and Continuing Education offers a variety of classes, from Soup to Szechwan, Chinese to Caribbean. Some classes include shopping tours. Bon Appetit!

For something completely different, check out Party with Clay for a unique getaway. Experience a Clay Retreat, two relaxing days of creating with clay including professional instruction and catering. Call 403-730-5145.

Calgary Parks and Recreation offers terrific art classes. Try pottery, ceramic tile painting, crafting, glass blowing, watercolors, or mosaics...the sky's the limit. Call 403-268-3800 for more information.

Kick up your heels and dance, from Ballroom, Swing and Flamenco to Country, Latin, International Ballroom, Cha Cha or Jive & Waltz. Whatever your pleasure, make this the year you put on your dancing shoes. Check out Dance Sport Calgary Inc. at 403-252-3003

How about a night on the town? Calgary Opera welcomes you with passionate, surprising and intriguing operas.

How about a classic from Theatre Calgary? Tennessee William's THE GLASS MENAGERIE plays till November 20, Charles Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL plays December 2 to 24 and Patrick Hamilton's GASLIGHT begins in January. Call 403-294-7447. Alberta Ballet's new season will be highlighted by the romance, the precision, and the physicality of neo-classic ballet. This year's performances include SWAN LAKE, SHAKESPEARE DANCES, and THE NUTCRACKER to name just a few. Call 403-245-4222.

For a special treat, check out Pleides Theatre in the Science Centre for some murderous theatre. Call for play information at 403-237-3707. The Calgary Bach Festival Society's Concert Season includes Bach Choral Marathon, Bach Advent Concert, and Bach's Birthday Celebration, for more information call 403-232-8525. Escape with a night of incredible music with The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. For more information call 403-571-0849.

A NIGHT AWAY: Experience a luxurious night away at The Sheraton Suites Calgary Eau Claire. This upscale hotel is located in the heart of downtown, in the midst of Calgary's most exciting business, shopping and recreation areas. Call 403-266-7200 for details. Try an escape to the Four Points Sheraton (by Canada Olympic Park), for a pampering weekend and indulge yourself at their spa. Call 403-288-4441.

Rediscover Romance with Rocky Mountain Rendezvou,s featuring a king-size bed accommodations (2 adults children) gas fireplace, Jacuzzi tub, spectacular mountain views, picnic wine & cheese or Bubbles & Things Basket (made for adults only), Continental buffet breakfast (at your leisure). All the amenities of a hotel (pool, steam room, hot tub etc.) with the charm & decor of a small inn. Located within 90 minutes of Calgary (not too far from the kids). Package Price: Starting at $165.00CA per couple per night plus applicable taxes, off season only. Contact Rocky Mountain Rendezvous for further information and available dates at 403-284-0891.

Or head to the Mountains and stay at the Howard Johnson in Canmore. Spacious rooms with mountain views, pool and hot tubs, waterslides and more. A weekend getaway, not to be missed. Call 403-609-4656.

OUT AND ABOUT: Explore the great outdoors. Southern Alberta is famous for its beauty, and within an hour's drive you will find some of the best hiking in the world, and beautiful scenery to rejuvenate even the most weary spirit. Author and reporter, Bruce Masterman suggests that "heading out to the world of forests, prairie, rivers and wildlife help soothe the soul." Pick up a copy of his book, THE BEST PLACES FOR HEADING OUT, A CELEBRATION OF THE GREAT OUTDOORS in Calgary and Southern Alberta, and begin an adventure.

Drive to Bragg Creek, Okotoks or Canmore for lunch and some great shopping. You will find antique shops, crafts, garden specialty stores, kitchen stores, charming tea houses and much more. Visit the Antique and Art Walk in Nanton. Located just 45 minutes south of Calgary on Highway 2, and enjoy browsing in 12 delightfully restored historic shops.

Spend an amazing day in Banff/Lake Louise. Visit the shops, and stay for lunch or dinner at one of the hundreds of wonderful restaurants. Rediscover why Banff and Lake Louise are the top tourist destinations in Canada. Indulge yourself with a Ladies Only Getaway or a Fitness, Health & Wellness Getaway.

Spend a weekend in Canmore with a fitness consultant learning about cross training (weights, walking, cardio & water fitness). Package includes accommodation, breakfast daily (3 nights/2 days), massage, reflexology and aromatherapy and they treat all of their ladies to one of our polar fleece vests. Contact Rocky Mountain Rendezvous for further information and dates available at 403-284-0891.

Creative Escapes - For Families When the house is in chaos, the kids are Bored, with a capital B, and you just can't watch that new kids' video one more time, it's time to escape with the kids in tow. Here's some great ideas to reunite for fun as a family. PLAN AN ADVENTURE Take everyone for a walk. Edworthy, Prince's Island and Fish Creek are awesome places to get some fresh air. Walk by the river, enjoy the serenity and escape the onslaught of the city for a few moments or a few hours. Inglewood Bird Sanctuary is an nature oasis in the heart of the city. This piece of paradise offers some of the most amazing family adventures around.

Take a Family Nature Walk or register for one of the customized courses including Bugs for Families and Bats, Birds and Bugs, Hoot Goes There or the Wonder of Winter. Call 403-269-8289 for details. Leave the car and hop on the C-Train, head downtown and take an excursion through the Plus 15s. The kids will love being above the cars. Stop at Devonian Gardens, a 2 ½ acre indoor garden in the heart of downtown, feed the fish and play in the indoor playground.

BE A TOURIST IN YOUR OWN CITY: Reach for the sky at the Calgary Tower and catch a breathtaking view of the city. Call 403-266-7171.

Head to the Calgary Science Centre for interactive science displays and exhibits that are out of this world. Don't miss the multi-media discovery dome giant screen theatre. Call 403-221-3700 for admission prices and schedules.

Ever wonder why Calgary is such a great place to fish? Take a free field trip to the Sam Livingston Fish Hatchery and see where it all begins. Take a self-guided tour or book at guided tour group. Call 403-297-6561 for details.

Take flight at the Aerospace Museum of Calgary which showcases aircraft, aeronautical engines and artifacts to trace the history of the aviation industry. Call 403-250-3752.

Visit the Calgary Police Service Interpretive Centre, an educational centre designed to educate our children about crime. Call 403-268-4566.

Why not explore the arts as a family? Develop basic clay-working skills with projects designed to engage and challenge young and old alike. These may include wacky mugs, a family mural, portrait plates, and seasonal projects. Children must be accompanied by an adult. No charge for adult participation. Classes are held at North Mount Pleasant and Wildflower Arts Centres. Call 403-268-8888.

Looking for a creative and fun way to spend time together? Discover the exciting variety that has made Calgary Parks & Recreation's Arts Combo a hit with every age group! Activities may include clay, mixed media, painting and T-shirt design. Classes are held at North Mount Pleasant and Wildflower Arts Centres. Call 403-268-8888 to register.

If you're looking for something different how about a Woodworking for Parent and Child course from Continuing Education? Call 403-777-7200 for details. How about the Family Clay Program with Party with Clay? You'll create more than memories in the 2 ½ hour experience. Call 403-730-5145.

How about a play? Storybook Theatre, Loose Moose Theatre, Quest Theatre, ATP Theatre Calgary and Gas & Light Productions all offer great plays for families.

Take a class together. From Karate and Kick Boxing at Southland and Village Square Leisure Centres to Snorkeling and Scuba at the Beltline Pool. Get in the Game: At the YMCA, get into a fast-paced game of Badminton at Open Family Badminton times at the Eau Claire and Crowfoot YMCAs.

Or how about a game of basketball at open gym time or some free time in the pool? Make a splash. Family Swim times are offered year round at city pools, Southland and Village Square Leisure centres. To confirm times and fees, call the 24-hour automated Playline at 403-268-2300 or the Information Line at 403-268-3888.

You can also get in the swim at the Family Leisure Centre and the YMCAs and YWCAs. Also check out the Four Points Sheraton (by COP) for drop in passes ($5) for their pool and waterslide 403-288-4441.

At the Family Leisure Centre, you and your little ones can participate in a variety of programs including Mom & Me Afternoon Delights. Each month they feature a fun and unique special afternoon for you and your 2- to 5-year old. From Abracadabra to Puppet Making & Storytelling, this afternoon is a special treat for both of you. Call 278-7542.

REDISCOVER PLAY: Have a hot chocolate in Edworthy or Bowness Park, take a walk along the river, kick the leaves (or snow), and enjoy the beauty of the season. Bundle up and lace up those skates. Bowness Park Lagoon is a flashback to the golden age. Skate along the winding river and snuggle up around the open fires with hot chocolate. Or head downtown to the Olympic Plaza and skate under the city lights. Calgary Parks & Recreation offers Ice Friends, who are on-site for the winter season to help tie laces, lead ice games, and ensure skaters have a safe, enjoyable time. For information call 403-268-3888.

Hit the slopes. Skiing is a great family activity. Brush up on your skills at Wintergreen (call 403-949-5100 for lesson information).

TAKE A MINI-VACATION: When time and money are at a premium, but your family needs a break, take a mini-vacation. The Howard Johnson in Canmore (phone: 403-609-4656), The Four Points Sheraton in Calgary (by COP - phone: 1-877-288-4441) and the Sheraton Suites Calgary Eau Claire (phone: 403-266-7200), all offer wonderful escapes for your family. Call for details.

RECAPTURE THE KID IN YOU: Make snow angels, have a snowball fight, or simply grab the toboggan, and hit the hills (don't forget your helmet). Have a jammie day, spend all day in bed reading, or break out the cookbooks, and make that recipe you've be meaning to try.

Set aside a special family night. Popcorn and movies nights or board game nights are a huge hit. Unplug the phone, turn off the computer and laugh together. Ever wonder what it's like to sleep in a tipi? Find out.

Rent a tipi (big enough for the whole family) at the Sundance Lodges in Kananaskis. Call 403-591-7122. Head to Butterfield Acres for Hot Chocolate Hay Rides. Snuggle into the straw . . . and off we go! You'll have to sing or the horses don't pull! And yes, ring those bells! A great 20 minute ride over the hills and thru the woods! Top it off with hot chocolate around the fire afterwards and enjoy your wonderful new Christmas memories. Call 403-239-0638 for details.

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