Farms to visit in Springtime

They may have hooves or paws; and speak in “Bleat”, “Neigh” or “Tweet”, but these guys make fantastic new friends! Here is a list of all places you can hang out with some critters.

ARMSTRONG + NORTH

Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge

This farm is located in Chase which is about 1 hour from Vernon (it’s part of the Shuswap not the Okanagan, however it is a pretty neat place to visit if you’re up for the drive). Come visit with the donkeys on a working farm.

+ Details:

Noble Wellness Studio

A holistic studio featuring all sorts of events including… GOAT YOGA!

+ Details:


VERNON

Camelot Haven Alpacas

Meet and observe alpacas in their natural environment. Learn more about them and their amazing fiber through a guided educational tour. This is not a petting zoo, however you may touch them if they come to you.

+ Details:

  • 6841 Raven Road VERNON (see map below yellow duck)
  • SEASON: all year
  • OPEN: appointment only
  • -CONTACT-

O’Keefe Ranch

Historical ranch with with all the original buildings to tour and learn about. Restaurant onsite, corn maze in Fall, and a barnyard with all sort of farm animals to visit.

+ Details:

Our Review: Our favourite time of year to visit the O’keefe Ranch is in Fall for the corn maze! There is a mini-food truck village and pumpkin cannon. Overall this is a great place to visit with the kiddos and have a meal in the restaurant.

Davison Orchards Country Village

Family-run farm village and orchard featuring a bakery, cafe, country market, fresh produce, farm animals, playground and activities for kids, as well as seasonal events including apple picking, pumpkin patch and hay rides.

+ Details:

OUR REVIEW: We love Davidson’s! This funky and picturesque farm is perfect for all ages, and includes the use of several huge farm-themed playgrounds, as well as visits with animals. You may also want to purchase a ticket for their tractor train ride. It’s a fun place to have lunch, buy produce and baking, and spend the afternoon.

FYI:

  • Admission is free
  • Bring quarters if you want to feed the animals (pellets are in bubble gum machines)
  • Gets busy on weekends, but the staff is great at making sure you find parking, and keeping lines moving.

Planet Bee

Step into the amazing world of the honeybee, learn all about them and watch them live and in action. Check out the honey and mead tastings. And shop the onsite store featuring a variety of honey and wax products!

+ Details:

  • 5011 Bella Vista Road VERNON (see map below yellow bug)
  • SEASON: all year (daily presentations July & August)
  • OPEN: every day
  • -HOURS + MORE INFORMATION-

Our Review: Awesome place to purchase honey and learn how it’s made.


LAKE COUNTRY

Kangaroo Creek Farm

Want to hold a baby kangaroo? Me too! This family-friendly farm is home to kangaroos, wallaroos and wallabies, as well as emus, peacocks, fancy chickens, goats, parrots, potbellied pigs, and a capybara. And yes, you can snuggle the joeys!

+ Details:

OUR REVIEW: We love this place! You get to walk right into the pens and pet the animals. It’s a little jungle oasis that has a you feeling like you’ve landed in Austrailia.

FYI: They accept cash only. Parking is out on the street, so you may be walking a little ways to the entrance (the earlier you arrive, the better the parking). Also, there is a steep hill at the entrance so for those with mobility challenges, you may want to plan for some assistance.

Prairie Folk Farmery

An orchard-playground experience! Adventure-activities include a massive inflatable pillow to jump on, pedal gokart track, & mini zip line… all appropriate for kids walking to about 10ish years old. Plus there are chickens to visit, artisan shaved ice, produce for sale and picnic baskets full of lunchables!

+ Details

Our Review: Such a gem! The giant jump-pillow is super cool! It’s a great spot to spend 1-2 hours letting your kiddos burn off some energy. This ia family owned and run with the most lovely owners.

Okanagan Stables

Go ride a horse! These guys offer a variety of rides from an introduction to horseback, to a full-day cattle drive!

+ Details:

  • 12862 Talbolt Road LAKE COUNTRY (see map below blue horse)
  • SEASON: May – late Fall
  • OPEN: by appointment
  • -CONTACT-

KELOWNA

Arion Therapeutic Farm

Volunteer-run farm where the animals are friends not food. Featuring a vegan cafe and programs on organic farming, animal care, plant-based cooking and more! Come visit the sheep, goats, cows, pigs, alpacas and several other critters! Hours and pricing.

+ Details:

  • 2457 Saucier Road KELOWNA (see map below orange horse)
  • SEASON: all year
  • OPEN: every day

Caldwell Heritage Farm

Commune with the cows and chickens, gather eggs, pick veggies, tour the antique farm-equipment collection and visit the farm distillery tasting room!

+ Details:

Carmelis Goat Cheese

Boutique goat-milk farm featuring a variety of cheeses and 24(ish) flavours of gelato! Come hang out with the the goats.

+ Details:

  • 170 Timberline Road KELOWNA (see map below green goat)
  • SEASON: March – October
  • OPEN: every day (March is weekends only)
  • -HOURS + MORE INFORMATION-

Don-O-Ray Farm Adventure

Hold the ducks, chickens, bunnies and baby chicks. Feed the ponies and goats. Run through the hedge maze, check out the farm market and ice cream parlour, and get a free airbrush tattoo in the farm tattoo shop!

+ Details:

Janzen Garlic Acres

Family-owned garlic farm where you can feed the barnyard animals and take tractor-wagon rides!

+ Details:

Kelowna Stables @ Myra Canyon Ranch

Horse back riding for any level (starting at age 3) plus frisbee golf and adventure park with arial treetop courses!

+ Details:

  • 4675 June Spring Road KELOWNA (see map below teal horse)
  • SEASON: all year
  • OPEN: by appointment
  • -CONTACT-

McMillan Farms

A Fall farm with a corn maze, hayrides and barnyard animals.

+ Details:

Okanagan Lavender and Herb Farm

Lavender products made onsite, gardens, and Pollinators! Alright, the critters have wings instead of legs but they are pretty amazing too.

+ Details:


WEST KELOWNA + PEACHLAND

Parrot Island

Sanctuary for abandoned and abused exotic birds.

+ Details:

Yana Crane, home-schooling Momma, shares fun activities to do at home.

Our friend and DTO photographer Yana Crane is a home-schooling mom! Staying home with kids, having fun and keeping them busy is not only her norm, it’s her expertise. So what inspiration and wisdom does she have during a time when the rest of us are a little out of our element?

Things you can do with kids (and be happy ever) at home.

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With spring break, school closures and C-virus self-quarantine I see so many parents struggling to keep their kids entertained. Nowadays it’s almost a basic need – to keep kids busy. Firstly, I want to reassure you that it is ok for children to be bored sometimes: it’s actually a good thing because it can spark creativity, build self-confidence (“Look what I can do mom!”) and inner motivation (they do things because they are bored not because they will get a candy or 1 hour of screen time).

Of course it could be hard at first – they will come to you with “I don’t know what to do. I’m bored. Mom..mooooom..mom-mom-mom-mom..” Sounds familiar? 🙂

As a homeschooling mom I spend 90% of my time with kids and we never have enough time to do all things we want or started to do. There are so many opportunities to learn and play! Most of the public school-parents don’t know about them and I would like to share some ideas.

Apart from regular reading and colouring, hiking and playing in the park here is what you can do.

1. Cook and bake with kids.

They love it! (most of them for sure). What can they learn: adding and subtracting carrots, potatoes, buns. Fractions while baking – 1/4 of the cup, 1/2 of the tea spoon. Or they can make veggies-fruit and meals out of play dough which develops fine motor skills!

If your kids are passionate about cooking and are old enough you can enroll them in online cooking academy like this one: www.kidscookrealfood.com

We also love Preppy Kitchen on YouTube. He is fun to bake with!

2. Science experiments!

You can do loads of them just with household items.

We really love Mystery Doug videos and different activities-lessons (lots are free), www.superchargedschool.com  (free science classes and now they have a new content daily)! For Pre-K and elementary school we love TheDadLab on Instagram – so easy fun!

3. Crafts.

So many choices here! And it doesn’t matter if you have boys or girls, some boys really love to learn how to finger knit or sew a button! You can level up that regular play dough mess creating arts, learning an alphabet or planets (we made cell-parts, planets, Earth structure, parts of the plants and more).

Sewing, making dolls out of fabric, wood, beads etc – so many ideas on Pinterest. You can make simple yarn dolls or Slavic Spring fabric dolls (you can ask me how, most of the instructions are in Russian).

Simple felting (we have a great yarn store in Vernon with wool supplies and I’m sure every city has one too).

Origami! My youngest found a great youTube channel with easy to follow instructions. She is 6 years old and sometimes needs me to show her the details but mostly she would just pause and fold. And you don’t need special paper, use old magazines, wrapping paper or old drawings you wanted to recycle!

Hello Origami

Toilet paper rolls! I’m sure you will have tons of them left *wink wink*!

Endless opportunities. I didn’t even want to dig into my photos for that. Just save it, give it to your kids and let their imagination flow!

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Random crafts like building structures and bridges, DNA cells or space ships. Making kid’s favourite book heroes out of paper and playing with it while reading another story or creating your own – a new turn, a new ending or beginning and the character gets another life while your kids develop creativity and language skills.

 4. If your flights were cancelled or vacations postponed go on an adventure from you home!

Learn about new countries and cities, cultures and traditions, cook Indian food or sushi, listen to Italian music and The Beatles! If you have Wi-Fi and a computer it is so easy to do. If you also have books – even better! (Or use your local library, you can also place books on hold from your home and just quickly go and pick it up when you get e-mail notification).

You can make your own lap-books with kids and if you own a printer you have lots of free resources out there:

Canada Lapbook

Flags – print them, glue to a toothpick and play with a map using little piece of play dough to attach flag to the country!

Travel with two little dogs – Bella and Harry adventures. They have free colouring sheets and lesson plans of this website. We love the books as well (you can buy them on Amazon).

Treasures of the World museums. As a photographer I love to learn about artists and masterpieces. We have lots of books to go through but unfortunately no access to the real museums with art here. So we use online resources to look at the paintings and sculptures all around the world.

Youtube channel we love to watch: Geography Now.

5. Play board games!

If you don’t have many – print your own games! (Or draw them if you don’t have a printer). And I don’t even know where to start – there are lots of websites with printable educational and fun games (please don’t hesitate to PM if you are stuck with it, I will send you some games on e-mail or show the links). Many amazing moms and dads made them for us to use! Some are free, some cost just a little but so worth the $.

6. Play!

Do a treasure hunt (or a scavenger hut) in your backyard. Invite toy-guests for Sloth’s Bday party! Do a Fashion Week show (boys love dressing up too!). Play a cave-man (stick-stone tools, cave art, dances, mamoth-papa hunt). Cardboard boxes are amazing toys – make a ship, a car, a plane and learn about Marco Polo, Amelia Earhart, Michael Schumacher, Columbus or other great explorers!

There are so many more things you can learn and do with kids! They are naturally curious and daring, creative and can absorb information better than we think. Take this opportunity to really know them, bond with them and explore together – it is so rewarding in a long term. Just follow their interest, then you’ll get the best results and the most fun!

And if you happened to be a photographer pick up your camera to document this days!

If you are not a photographer but want to have this memories to cherish, I would love to help – I do in-home sessions and this is my jam!

Some other helpful links see below.

Head over to my website (click-able link below) and add your favourite ideas or resources in comments. There are many many more of them and I actually sometimes think how great it would be to have 48 hours a day 🙂

I hope that helps and you can use some ideas at your home! I would love to share my experience and help to anyone who needs it!

yanacranephotography.com Blog  To book your session call (250) 938-2734

Fine Dining: The Formal and Foodie Spots

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Intermezzo

Intermezzo is an intimate family-run restaurant specializing in Canadian prime steaks, seafood, pasta and Mediterranean cuisine.

+ LEARN MORE

+ MENU + RESERVATIONS

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Italian Kitchen

Nom Nom, the Italian Kitchen offers Mediterranean fare with a big list of pasta dishes!

+ LEARN MORE

+ MENU + RESERVATIONS

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 Midtown Bistro

Classy yet quaint, Midtown Bistro delivers a higher value with their food, service and entertainment.

+ LEARN MORE

+ MENU + RESERVATIONS

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 PeakFine

Head up to Sparkling Hill Resort for fresh farm-to-table dining, surrounded in Swarovski crystal decor and overlooking Okanagan Lake.

+ LEARN MORE

+ MENU + RESERVATIONS

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 Phoenix

Dining room down, lounge and patio up… the Pheonix offers a wide selection of steak-house deliciousness.

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+ MENU + RESERVATIONS

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 Range Lounge

Head up to Predator Ridge for globally inspired “upscale casual” eats.

+ LEARN MORE/ MAKE A RESO

+ MENU + RESERVATIONS

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 The Med

The Med is an eclectic collection of the best cuisine the Mediterranean region has to offer including lots of meat, seafood and pasta dishes.

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+ MENU + RESERVATIONS


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 Block One

Hang out at 50th Parallel Estate Winery for a series of small-bites and some scrumptious mains.

+ LEARN MORE

+ MENU + RESERVATIONS

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 Italian Kitchen

The Lake Country Italian Kitchen is such a great spot! Off the beaten path, the space is intimate and a bit bohemian.

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+ MENU + RESERVATIONS

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 O’Rourke’s Peak Cellar

Overlooking the vineyard, O’Rourke’s bistro items are designed to compliment their wines.

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 Pane Vino

A sweet authentic Neapolitan Woodfire pizzeria in Oyama.

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+ MENU + RESERVATIONS

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 The Lookout

Located on Grey Monk’s Estate Winery, The Lookout is just that… perched over the lake with beautiful views.

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+ MENU + RESERVATIONS


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 Hotel Eldorado

Lake-side dining with a bounty of seasonal, organic and local ingredients.

+ LEARN MORE

+ MENU + RESERVATIONS

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 Krafty

Mmmmm, all sorts of chef-curations here in the open-concept kitchen + bar.

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 La Bussola

A family-operated Italian fine-dining experience.

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+ MENU + RESERVATIONS

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 Oak + Cru

Head over to The Delta Grand Hotel for a fresh farm-to-table dinner.

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+ MENU + RESERVATIONS

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 Raudz

Raudz boasts a locally-sourced, farm-to-table menu where they take simple dishes and make them oh-so amazing.

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+ MENU + RESERVATIONS

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 Summerhill

Organic Bistro at Summerhill winery

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+ MENU + RESERVATIONS

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 The Fixx

The Fixx Cafe is all about Mediterranean starters and fabulous pastas.

+ MENU + MAKE A RESERVATION

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 Waterfront Wines

Fresh seasonal Okanagan flavours!

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+ MENU + RESERVATIONS

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 West Coast Grill & Oyster Bar

A fun-elegant environment offering delectable and fresh culinary creations.

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+ MENU + RESERVATIONS


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 Blu Saffron

Head over to Valcanic Hills Winery for dinner overlooking Okanagan Lake.

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+ MENU + RESERVATIONS

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 Terrace

Spend some time at Mission Hill winery and enjoy a bite at the Terrace Restaurant.

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+ MENU + RESERVATIONS

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 Old Vines

An elegant and cozy find dining experience at Quails’ Gate Winery.

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+ MENU + RESERVATIONS

10th Annual Easter Egg Scramble

  • Saturday, April 11, 2020
  • 12:00 PM  2:00 PM
  • Memorial Park3737 Old Okanagan HighwayWest Kelowna, BC, V4T 2H6 Canada

Bring your Easter basket! For ages 10 and under with a separate area for toddlers.

Bring an item for the food bank.

On site raffle with great prizes, face painting and more. Hot dogs and refreshments.

Find a golden egg and win 1 of 25 special prize baskets.

Egg hunt starts at 1PM

Cost: FREE

Location: Memorial Park, West Kelowna -MAP-

* Please double check date, time and location with the host, as this information is subject to change *

International Women’s Day Celebration @ Vernon ORL

Celebrate International Women’s Day with the Intertwining Women at the Vernon Library! Everyone Welcome!

  • Saturday, March 7, 2020
  • 10:30 AM  4:00 PM
  • ORL Vernon2800 30th AvenueVernon, BC, V1T 2L8 Canada

10:30am – Morning Workshops
 Twining Dolls in recognition of MMIWG
 Braiding/Twining Yarn to bring us together
 Furoshiki for wrapping food and gifts with fabric
 Origami for healing and hope
 Bring yarn, pony beads and fabric

12:00 – Soup and Breaking Bread – “Bread and Roses”
 Soup provided for workshop participants
 Bring bread to share that honours your ancestors

1:00pm – Ceremony with Smudge in Justice Park

1:30pm – Intertwining and Sacred Circle
 Background on morning workshops
 Origins of International Women’s Day
 Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG)
 Storytelling – Mourning Dove and other historians
 Music and more…
 Bring your voice, stories and instruments

2:40pm – Sharing Food
 Bring your favorite finger foods and snacks to share

3:10pm – Closing Ceremony

Everyone is welcome!

Cost: FREE

Location: Okanagan Regional Library, Vernon -MAP-

Central and North Okanagan’s Amazing Museums and Galleries.


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KELOWNA ART GALLERY

About: Explore changing exhibitions of both historical and contemporary Canadian art in four gallery spaces, including an outdoor courtyard area. Attend art classes and workshops, and art camps, and the popular Family Sundays. READ MORE

+ Ongoing Events + Programs

Where: 1315 Water St, downtown KELOWNA (see map)

Hours: Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat: 10 AM – 5 PM | Thur: 10 AM – 9 PM | Sun: 12 – 4 PM | Mon: Closed (Subject to change. Double check with business)

Admission: Individual: $5 | Students/Seniors: $4 | Family: $10 | Ten or more: $40 | FREE: Children under 12, Members, and all day Thursdays


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OKANAGAN HERITAGE MUSEUM

About: Discover the natural and human history of Kelowna. Learn how the Okanagan valley was formed, step into the world of the syilx/Okanagan people, learn about the arrival of traders and settlers, and peer into the windows of an original Chinatown shop. READ MORE

FYI: This venue is also home to the Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame. Read more

Where: 470 Queensway, downtown KELOWNA (see map)

Hours: Mon – Sat 10 AM – 5 PM | Sun Closed

Admission: By donation. Suggested $5 per person/$15 per family.


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OKANAGAN WINE AND ORCHARD MUSEUM

About: Unearth the agricultural treasures that make the Okanagan unique. Vibrantly painted fruit crates, live bee hives and cherry pitting equipment are yours to explore. Discover how the booming Okanagan wine industry has diversified our landscape with stories of wine makers, entrepreneurs and local wineries. READ MORE

Where: 1304 Ellis St, inside the Laurel Packinghouse downtown KELOWNA (see map)

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10 AM – 5 PM | Sunday – Monday Closed (except when public event running)

Admission: By donation. Suggested Donation $5 per person/$15 per family.


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OKANAGAN MILITARY MUSEUM

About: Packed with uniforms, insignia, badges, and firearms. Investigate artifacts from the Boer War, World Wars, the Korean War, and other military operations. The Okanagan Military Museum is devoted to the preservation and awareness of Okanagan military heritage. READ MORE

Where: 1424 Ellis St, downtown KELOWNA (see map)

Hours: Tues – Sat: 10 AM – 5 PM | Sun – Mon: Closed (except when public event running)

Admission: By donation. Suggested $5 per person/$15 per family.


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OKANAGAN SCIENCE CENTRE

About: OSC offers a unique collection of hands-on exhibits that are based on scientific principles. In addition to general tours, the museum offers special programs including school camps, parties, and field trips. READ MORE

Upcoming events: Click here

Where: 2704 Hwy 6, VERNON (see map)

Hours: Tues – Fri: 10 AM – 5 PM | Sat: 11 AM – 5 PM | Sun – Mon Closed

Admission: Adults: $8 | Youth (3-18): $5 | Families (up to 6 people): $20 | Seniors 55+: $5 | Free: Members, Children under 2

Get your heart racing with an indoor adventure!

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Impulse Escape Room

KELOWNA

Uniquely designed escape rooms, with varying degrees of difficulty. From to small to large groups, and new to expert players. You’re guaranteed to have a blast!

 WEBSITE  INSTAGRAM  FACEBOOK

Read about our experience at Impulse on the Blog:


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KELOWNA

Trampoline, parkour and skate gym. Huge space featuring multiple in-floor trampolines, parkour area, rock climbing, halfpipe and more.

 WEBSITE  INSTAGRAM  FACEBOOK

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Arcadia Virtual Lounge

KELOWNA

Virtual reality games, fun for ages 7 and up

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KELOWNA

Axe throwing isn’t just for lumberjacks!

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Beyond the Crux

KELOWNA

Indoor Climbing Centre

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KELOWNA

Indoor Climbing, Laser Tag, Trampolines, Arcade, Ball Shooting, Skytrax and Bungy-extreme trampolines.

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Exit Escape Rooms

KELOWNA

The ultimate room escape experience!

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KELOWNA

Bright, open climbing centre, with programs available for beginner to advanced climbers.

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Planet Lazer

KELOWNA

Extreme Lazer Tag

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The Flip Club

KELOWNA

Trampoline, tumbling, and parkour gym.

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The Rock Garden

VERNON

Indoor climbing centre.

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Xperience Kelowna

KELOWNA

Escape room adventure and virtual realty arcade.

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KELOWNA

Gokarts, batting cages, mini golf & arcade.

Ladies Day at Summerhill Winery with Your Life Sparkles

  • Saturday, March 14, 2020
  • 10:00 AM  4:00 PM
  • Summerhill Pyramid Winery4870 Chute Lake RoadKelowna, BC, V1W 4M3 Canada

* Please double check date, time and location with the host, as this information is subject to change *

Ladies Day at Summerhill Winery- presented by Your Life Sparkles.! You will be inspired, entertained with humour, heart felt stories and an incredible presentation from the Sparkles Sisters. #realsisters #inspiration

2020 is all about you ~ what do you need to hear and believe more? How are you going to Level Up? You can do it- you are worth it!

Featuring Kris Fuller, Lisa Wright and more. We want to make sure you KNOW how amazing you are, help clarify your goals (and remind you that your butt looks great.)

Spend the day with us, enjoying connections, laughter (Kris is really funny!), delicious food, wine*, and time for YOU. This event is for ALL women seeking inspiration, focus and tools to live their lives.

Cost: $159

Location: Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Kelowna -MAP-

Brewchella Beer + Beverage Festival

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Thursday, March 5, 2020
  • 6:00 PM  9:00 PM
  • Cost: $15
  • CRAFT Beer Market Kelowna257 Bernard AvenueKelowna, BC, V1Y 6N2Canada

* Please double check date, time and location with the host, as this information is subject to change *

CRAFT Beer Market presents: Brewchella Beer and Beverage Festival. A sampling of beers and bites.

Featuring local breweries & brews, menu favourites, spirits, wine, cocktails, live entertainment, and over 20 new beers to our line-up over over 100 beers on tap!

Tickets $15 each / Includes 5 Sampling Tokens / Additional Tokens $2 each / All new beers $6

A portion of all ticket & token proceeds will go to our Community Brew Charity Partner.

Location: CRAFT Beer Market Kelowna -MAP-

Monsters of the OKV: The biggest and baddest wines!

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Welcome to Monsters of the Okanagan: A comparison of some of the biggest and baddest wines in the valley.

I guarantee you’ve heard of one of these, if not all, and you may think some are missing, which they are, but hey, we scrounged up what we could from our cellars and liquor stores and ended up with a pretty insane line up of 2015’s.

Before we got too far ahead of ourselves, it’s important to know this is an opinion piece, and NOT another Battle of the Okanagan article, so there’s no holding back.

2015 was one of the hottest and longest summers we’ve had in a very long time – perfect for growing monster black grapes. I read an article that said 2015 was the best growing season the Okanagan has seen in a century (Google it) and that’s a pretty bold statement. That was four years ago and with wines like these, four years of age, almost makes them ideal for drinking RIGHT NOW!!  Mind you, a few more years in the cellar probably wouldn’t hurt since they could easily handle 7 – 10 years….or more. These wines are complex, bold, voluptuous, savoury, face ripping, long, outright delicious and any of them could’ve taken the prize as our….scariest monster?

The price range was roughly between $45-$60, other than one, who was our winner of Battle of the Okanagan red blends – 2015 Young & Wyse Black Sheep Blend which sells for $28.  As the winner of the red blends category I was really curious to see how well it would hold up against these bad boys.  As a benchmark, we’ve included the Prisoner from California.  We all know the reputation California has for its big reds and the Prisoner is a favourite of many, plus it’s within the same price point, so it’s a great measuring stick. Okanagan wines also have a bit of a reputation of being overpriced, so why not compare our “expensive” wines to a wine from California in the same range and see where we stand.

There were eight of us sitting around the table sampling the wines blind, what else is new, our scoring was to rate the wine out of 10 and It didn’t matter how we came up with our number, because in the end, we totaled all the scores and divided by eight to get an average.   We also had a lot of appetizers to help soak up the wines and part of the judgment was to see how they paired with the food and if the pairing was good, then most of us gave an extra half point, sometimes even a full point.

Before we start, you’ll notice there was a Culima – Hypothesis in the initial group photo and that was a 2011, so it wasn’t part of this comparison. It was a wine to get our palate started and for those who have a bottle of the 2011, I’d suggest drinking it now, just an FYI.

Now, let’s get into the wines and find out who’s who…

THE WINES

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Lariana Cellars, Fifteen

  • $44.90

  • 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah and 17% Carménère

  • Osoyoos, B.C.

My favourite winery that I haven’t been to. I had their 13 at the Black Hills winemakers dinner two years ago and was seriously impressed, I told everyone I could, and now everyone I know has been to Lariana, yet I still haven’t been. It’s sad. They are an Okanagan secret and at the top my list of wineries to visit.

Our comments:


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Cassini Cellars, Maximus

  • $48.95

  • 60% Cabernet Franc, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot, 8% Malbec

  • Oliver, B.C. – South Okanagan

There are a couple wines I can speak to from Cassini, but in this article it’s all about the Maximus. Remember what I said about being face ripping, well, that’s the Maximus, by far the most aggressive wine of the bunch.

Our comments:


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The Prisoner, California Blend

  • $54.99

  • California blend

  • St. Helena, California – Napa Valley

Like I said earlier, this is a bottle that most wine drinkers know about. It was my wife’s favourite when we first met and lots of people I know love this wine. It was a great wine to have for us to compare against.

Comments:


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Osoyoos Larose, Le Grand Vin

  • $47.99

  • 71% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon 5% Petit Verdot and 4% Malbec

  • Osoyoos, B.C. – South Okanagan

Another winery I’ve yet to visit.  I’ve had the Le Grand Vin a number of times and never been disappointed.  It was the first monster I had from the Okanagan, oh so many years ago, and was my benchmark big red for years.

Comments:


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Young & Wyse, Black Sheep Blend

  • $28.60 (60% Cabernet Sauvignon

  • 20% Zinfandel, 10% Merlot, and 10% Malbec

  • Osoyoos, B.C. – South Okanagan

Please read Battle of the Okanagan – Red Blends for more on the Black Sheep Blend.  I’m not sure how happy Young & Wyse is with me for putting this wine up against wines twice its price, but I really do think our readers are just as curious on how it’ll do as I am.

Comments:


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Laughing Stock, Portfolio

  • $44.99

  • 45% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec, 1% Petit Verdot

  • Penticton, B.C. – South Okanagan

I may as well be honest, this is my favourite wine from the Okanagan, it’s the wine I’ve been buying every year since I tried the 2010 vintage.  Laughing Stock is another small winery doing big things.  It’s located in Naramata and tastings are only by appointment, so it’s not meant for one of your impromptu wine tours.

Comments:


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Black Hills, Nota Bene

  • $59.90

  • 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38%, Merlot, 16% Cabernet Franc

  • Oliver, B.C. – South Okanagan

If you haven’t heard of the Note Bene, then you’ve probably been living under a rock over the last several years.  This could be, if not, the most popular monster from the Okanagan, it’s the one everyone seems to know of and name drops when asked about the big wines from the Okanagan.

Comments:


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Fairview Cellars, The Bear

  • $49.50

  • Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot) with Cabernet Sauvignon being at least 50% of the blend, sometimes reaching as high as 75%.

  • Oliver, B.C. – South Okanagan

Another winery that I haven’t been to…yet.  I had a different of the vintage of the Bear a while ago and was impressed on the quality and structure, it certainly was a monster. The owner says they won’t submit bottles for competitions, but this article isn’t a competition and an opinion piece, so fingers crossed I’m not crossing any lines here.

Comments:


THE RESULTS

As expected, every wine was amazing, however with eight bottles that are all so close in quality, you’d be surprised to hear there was one that really did stand out.

Out of the eight judges six gave it a perfect score and the other two, they were close to perfect. No other bottle throughout the night received a perfect score, so that says a lot!  Maybe the bottle was in that perfect spot to drink whereas the rest weren’t, or maybe it’s just that much better, who knows.

The Laughing Stock Portfolio was the wine that took it and that makes me happy. Not only because it’s the bottle I buy year after year, but it also beat out the Prisoner.

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