In light of the 2015 B.C. Winter Games being held in Prince George, British Columbia I decided to be a tourist for a day and see what it has to offer a visitor before I pull out for a seven month trip to the Shuswap, Kootenays and Okanagan. Seems there is no shortage of things to do in every recreation facility, park or sport field around the city.
If you’re headed through with the family this summer give yourself a well-deserved break from the road, stop for an over-night or two and check out what P. G. has to offer. If you’re entertaining the idea for 2015, plan for some of these activities in advance.
My day as a tourist in my own city had me saving people from the mouth of a T-Rex and cozying up to a tarantula named Cuddles in the Biome at Exploration Place near Fort George Park, the birthplace of the city. I was locked in a prison cell, released, and then transported (a reward for being such a good inmate) around beautiful property that gracefully shoulders the lazy Fraser River on a fabulous little steam engine which consumes over 500 gallons of water per four-hour workday.
Exploration Place has some fabulous displays that range from fully reconstructed dinosaurs, fossils, lithics, First Nations clothing made of such things a snake-skin, birch bark baskets, even live critters to handle if you are brave enough.
Here you will learn of the history of hockey in P.G. and the story of Six Mile Mary. There is a play area for children, a gift shop, theater, and a place to rest if your children have more stamina than yourself.
If you don’t have children, no worries, you will find yourself just as inquisitive as you progress through the facility. Exploration Place even has a marvelous selection of local predators. You’ll be surprised to see how large a grizzly bear can grow!
In fact, as you explore the city please keep in mind we cohesively share our life with many wild animals. You will notice signs that remind you to watch for bears and moose (so be sure to have your camera in hand) in such places as Cottonwood Island Park, where you can search for an artist’s carvings in the trees and visit an old railway museum, on the walking trails of Forest For The World on Cranbrook Hill and even at our University (UNBC).
The park signs amuse me and remind me how thankful I am to have been raised in a place that favors wildlife, a place where we interact with them on a regular basis, even in the city. Where the elusive big footed cats, such as cougar, bobcat and lynx spark our imagination, half tonne sturgeon have been pulled from our rivers and 32 lb trout from our lakes. This lifestyle leaves no room for fear when I travel elsewhere, much to the dismay of my new found friends.
The Aquatic Center,a building shaped like a wave is fit with Olympic sized pools, diving boards and gym. It also houses a lazy river and a wave pool to chillax.
The Exhibition Grounds is home to the CN Center which hosts big name musical acts, regular hockey and other venues such as monster trucks, forest expos and trade shows. The grounds are large, another building houses the gymnastics clubs and there is a nice arena if you are into equine activities.
These activities are all within city limits, there is too much to mention if I send you outside in this story, these things alone will fill many an exciting hour.
In this one day I crammed in so many activities I have a new understanding for the appreciation travelers have for Prince George.
So come hangout. Play with the locals, you may decide to come back and check out the outer limits one day.