“What you’re holding in your hand belonged to an animal that lived 70 million years ago,” says Tony Scott, a Science Educator at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, located 135 kilometres northeast of Calgary in Midland Provincial Park.
Five-year-old Madison smiles widely as she discovers the importance of her find while participating in a fossil dig. The porous, hard material she picked up from the sun-baked ground of the Canadian Badlands is indeed the fossilized bone of a dinosaur. It’s a dream come true for any amateur paleontologist.
The magic enveloped us the moment I opened the blinds in our room. Madison, my 6-year-old daughter, joined me at the window and silently we watched bright strings of lights twinkling everywhere.
Smoke was curling up lazily from the outdoor firepit in the village square and children were zipping down a slide made entirely of ice. People were walking without hurry, bundled up, with skis on their shoulders or snowboards at their sides, all under the watchful eye of a massive mountain known as Tremblant.
Located in the scenic Laurentian mountains of Quebec, Mont Tremblant Ski Resort takes snow activities to a different level. Whether you’ve strapped on skis for the first time or you’re a fierce snowboarder, there’s a perfect trail for your level of expertise.
Little ones aren’t forgotten, either. There are three magic carpet lifts up the bunny hills and kid-friendly lessons with instructors. As Madison was learning to ski with her dad, I saw an instructor transform a crying boy who didn’t want to move on his skis into a giggling snow bunny in less than 15 minutes with expert ease.
In the Village
Don’t ski? No problem. The Village is a place to see and be seen. You’ll feel like you’ve stumbled into a town in the Swiss Alps. You can park your car and forget it -you won’t need it in the pedestrian-friendly village.
There are many restaurants to experience, but we recommend Creperie Catherine, where authentic French crepes of all kinds can be savoured slowly with a good cup of coffee.
The village also has an excellent place for the family to hang out while having fun. Features include two kids’ pools, a swinging rope a la Tarzan and swimming lanes for the older crowd. Eucalyptus steam baths are available on site to soothe aching muscles after a day of skiing.
Where to Stay
The village has lodgings for every budget. There are tons of packages, many that include accommodations, breakfast and lift tickets. See tremblant.ca for last-minute deals and online deals.
Story: Anna Rodrigues
Images: Phil Raby
© 2007-2010 Trips with Kids - Unauthorized reproduction of this article, video and images is prohibited.
My heart is pounding. A high-pitched scream wants to escape from my mouth but I don’t bother. It wouldn’t be heard over the powerful din of the rotors circling above my head. An attendant extends his hand with a smile, letting me know where I should sit. He locks me in securely with the seat belt, hands me a headset and then the cabin door slams shut.
There’s no going back now. I am afraid of heights. Add speed to that fear and you will understand why I haven’t been on an amusement park ride since I was a young child. In mere seconds though I will be experiencing anything beyond the fastest ride I could ever imagine. I will be flying high on a Bell 407 helicopter. The pilot, Rene Huessy, introduces himself and with a whoosh, I find myself up in the air.
Check out this video on the trip:
In 1985, a young Swiss pilot named Ruedi Hafen found himself the new president of Niagara Helicopters Limited, a business that had been around for more than twenty years under a variety of owners. The company’s main purpose was training, but Hafen decided to focus more on sightseeing and charter flights. To do this, he began adding more helicopters to his fleet of two and expanding his base of operation. Over the years, Niagara Helicopters has grown to five Bell 407 helicopters, paved helipads, and several hangars all housed in a beautiful, park-like setting that includes an indoor-outdoor snack bar and gift shop. Last year, more than 100,000 passengers from all over the globe flew in the comfortable helicopters and enjoyed discovering the Falls in a completely new way.
The beautiful Niagara landscape stretches out before me as the helicopter soars upwards. My fear of heights evaporates as I listen to the taped commentary through the headset. Below me, a variety of Niagara Falls landmarks, such as the Whirlpool Rapids and the Rainbow Bridge, are recognizable and look extraordinary from this point of view. The nine-minute aerial tour ends too quickly as the helicopter lands expertly where it all began. The attendant opens the cabin door with a smile and I hope he sees how the fear in my eyes, from a few minutes earlier, has been replaced by exhilaration.
-Call for tour group rates and reservations. Parking is free.
-The tours run year-round (except for Christmas Day) from 9:00 a.m. until sunset, weather permitting.
-A certificate of flight is provided to all passengers.
-For less mobile passengers, a wheelchair ramp provides access to the helicopters.
For more information: niagarahelicopters.com
Story and video: Anna Rodrigues
Image: Phil Raby
© Trips with Kids - Unauthorized reproduction of this article, video and images is prohibited.