If you thought last weekend was eventful, this coming weekend is going to be mammoth! Whether you’re looking for something to do outdoors or spending time indoors to take in a little history and nostalgia, get out there to take it in before the rest of 2015 flashes by.
Goodbye, Hello (Dec 4-6, open 48 hours) Free
While The Beatles won’t be there, the beetles certainly will. The Royal Alberta Museum will have a final farewell party in their current Glenora building as they move to the downtown location. The free event will kick off at 5pm Friday, keeping the museum open for 48 hours straight until its final closing on Sunday at 5pm.
Scheduled for Friday evening is a Happy Harbour Comics 48-hour marathon, create your own bird with Alison Service, live swing dancing and big band performances, a midnight market, and a Horror night.
Saturday includes Saturday morning cartoons, movies, a fun run, mini-film fest, make your own art, and a Night at the Museum movie marathon. On Sunday local musicians Carrie Day and Kyler Schogen will perform.
Moe the Mammoth will make appearances on Friday and Saturday. The snack shop, L’Espesso Cafe, social media lounge, and the galleries will be open 48 hours. Galleries include the Natural History wing with paleontology, bug room, rocks and minerals; Syncrude Gallery of Aboriginal Culture spanning 11,000 years; and the Wild Alberta gallery featuring dioramas of Alberta species. Oh yes, there is also an actual exhibit at the museum about the museum, showcasing its past, present, and future. Link here.
Festival of Light (Dec 4-13, 5-10pm) $
The Festival of Light can be a bit of a zoo at times. The third annual festival returns to the Valley Zoo with all new light installations for visitors to enjoy. It’s a rare opportunity in the year to see the nocturnal animals come out of their burrows and into the cold. See the video on last year’s Festival of Light with Lucy the elephant below. A video of the 2013 Festival of Light is also available here.
Admission is $7.50 for adults and $5 for children. This is a special event, so annual passes are not applicable for it. It is open the same hours daily between Dec 4-13, but special programming is scheduled on the weekends. Remember to hashtag your Instagram photos with #yegfun to enter the City of Edmonton Attractions contest.
During the fall and winter, public transit is not available to get to the zoo. If transit is your only choice, the closest option is via the traffic circle at the top of Buena Vista Drive and walk down. An alternative option with less climbing effort is from South Campus station: take a bus and alight before the Talus Dome on Fox Drive, then cross Quesnell Bridge and follow the trail east.
Celebrate the Season (Dec 3-23) Free
Don’t miss the light up of the most extensive Christmas light display in the city. It will be the first time Premier Rachel Notley will take the honour of launching this Edmonton holiday tradition. The December 3rd event will begin Celebrate The Season, a 3 week long festivity (Dec 3-23) at the Alberta Legislature featuring daily performances by choirs across the province, complimentary hot chocolate and treats, all through the reopened front entrance of the 1912 building. The lights will turn off January 3rd.
The light up celebration on Dec 3 will begin at 4pm with Premier Notley lighting up the grounds at 5pm.
To get here, take exit A at Grandin station and follow the sounds and sights.
Hymns & Readings for Advent (Dec 6) Donation
If you missed the Carols Service last week, there’s another opportunity to participate in a traditional Advent hymn and readings at St Joseph’s Basilica this Sunday. Admission is by donation and there is a reception downstairs afterwards. The Basilica is about a 10 minute walk west of Corona LRT Station.
Sleigh Ride Shuttle In Old Strathcona (Saturdays Dec 5, 12, 19) Free
To support the Rotary Club’s Christmas drive, Old Strathcona will be rolling in ride-by-donation sleigh rides on Saturdays in December. From 1-5pm on December 5, 12, and 19, the sleigh ride route will have 4 stops in the Old Strathcona business district.
Remember to take a picture of merchandise or places and Tweet or Instagram #WhyteWishes while you shop. You may win the item you’re posting until December 15.
Great Things (Dec 5) Free
The University of Alberta Alumni Association has been celebrating several alumni events this week. The University of Alberta Museums Galleries at Enterprise Square is hosting two events as part of the Great Things initiative. One is A Celebration of Alumni Art & Innovation showcasing art by UofA Alumni. They’re also featuring from 6:30-9:30pm, 4 artist talks by Lynn Malin, Jim Corrigan, Kevin Zak, and Tanya Harnett. Free appetizers are included.
For those with children, there is a Kids Create event from 1-4pm where you can explore the A Celebration of Alumni Art & Innovation exhibit while creating some art and complete a scavenger hunt.
Winterfest 2015 (Dec 4-6) $
Snow Valley, located in Rainbow Valley, aka the bridge by the Terwillegar exit on Whitemud, is having their annual Winterfest this weekend as well. They start Friday (open from 3-9pm) with a $10 lift tickets (with a food bank donation), $10 ski rentals, and $18 snowboard rentals. A marshmallow roast begins at 6pm.
On Saturday and Sunday, there is breakfast until 10:30, serving $5 breakfast pizza, beans, and eggs with the first 150 cups of hot chocolate free. They’re also doing a Snow Rider scavenger hunt. If you’re going, bring a clothing donation for their E4C clothing drive supporting inner city neighbourhoods.
Luminaria (Dec 5-6) $$ SOLD OUT
This annual event at the Devonian Botanic Garden certainly sparks interest to some who’d rather like to enjoy our dark winters in the great outdoors away from city lights. The Kurimoto Japanese Garden is lit during Luminaria with thousands of candles. Along the way to sit by the bonfires, see ice scultures and other surprises on display.
Note that if you’re one of the people attending, parking is $25 at the Devonian Botanic Garden. They have a free shuttle service from Devon shopping centre or from UofA’s Corbett Hall (exit E1 at Health Sciences Station beside Canadian Blood Services) Rather than taking QE2, it is faster to get there via the Cameron Heights westbound exit on Anthony Henday Drive, and head south on Highway 60 (Devonian Way).