Touring a new micro-brewery, and Calgary Zoolights

We didn’t have any plans for my 4 days with my kids – we’d just see what came up. The Johnston Canyon hike the first day was a wonderful way to start it off. On the second day, Steve and I went to a new micro-brewery in Airdrie, then the whole family went to the Calgary Zoo for an amazing Christmas light show that they call Zoolights.

I’d never paid much attention to the Elf on a Shelf, though I understood the concept. When I saw that Steve and Rachel had one for Brock, I set him up for Brock to find the next morning 🙂

Elf on a Shelf
This quickly became a very special visit. My grandson is no longer a baby, and I took advantage of being able to really play with him, building slides and caves and playing with trains and just goofing around. The view from his bedroom struck me as being a good example of what’s happening around Calgary, with homes rapidly pushing into ranchlands. Brock says that he sees cows out there sometimes.

The advance of homes into ranchland at Airdie, Alberta

Fitzsimmons Brewing

The 1:00 pm tour of the new Fitzsimmons Brewing Company was organized by one of Steve’s neighbours as a way to meet other people in the new subdivision, and 8 people showed up. What a great idea. The taproom had just opened, and tours started, a couple of weeks before.

Touring Fitzsimmons Brewing in Airdie, Alberta
Watching the process of manually putting labels on the cans was rather painful to watch, and the staff hates doing it. Painted cans will be coming as soon as possible.

Touring Fitzsimmons Brewing in Airdie, Alberta
The tour was both fun and interesting, but with a brewery tour, the taproom is where the thumbs go up or down in important ways. They got thumbs up from both Steve and I – they’re making really nice beers. Big Hill Blonde and East Lake Amber are their standards, and they had a couple of seasonal beers as well, Rye Off the Hop IPA, and Frosty the Brewman.

Touring Fitzsimmons Brewing in Airdie, Alberta

Calgary Zoolights

Our evening activity for the whole family was a visit to Calgary Zoolights. This is the 20th year that the Calgary Zoo has been lit up for Christmas. Every night from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m for 7 weeks – November 24th until January 6th – visitors can wander around among 1.5 million coloured lights.

The first photo shows the impressive entrance tunnel to the zoo.

Calgary Zoolights 2017
The fairly small number of people surprised me – far less than on a normal summer day at the zoo (when I’ve been there, at least). I suppose when you spread the event out over 7 weeks that makes sense, though.

Calgary Zoolights 2017
The further you walk into the zoo, the more impressive the lights get. Some of the large trees that have been decorated are quite incredible.

Calgary Zoolights 2017

Calgary Zoolights 2017
There is wonderful variety in the lights, including lots of animals. The baboon in the next photo even has a red bum 🙂

Calgary Zoolights 2017
This is a particularly kid-friendly event, and there are lots of fun and educational activities. Everything except food and drinks is free – even borrowing skates for the ice skating (I didn’t check to see how that was working out at +6°C).

Calgary Zoolights 2017
There were several bonfires around the zoo, and they were popular places to take a break and chat.

Calgary Zoolights 2017
Brock thought that this frog was pretty neat 🙂

Calgary Zoolights 2017
It was a bit of a challenge to keep the 7 of us together with all of these distractions – it probably would have been better to just meet back at the entrance in 90 minutes.

Calgary Zoolights 2017
This tunnel was a psychedelic wonder, rapidly changing colours and shapes, and attracted lots of attention.

Calgary Zoolights 2017
More amazing trees. I’ve looked for some information about how many people it took to install Zoolights, how many hours, costs, that sort of thing, but haven’t found anything.

Calgary Zoolights 2017
Howling huskies (or wolves, if you prefer), with what was originally called the Husky Tower in downtown Calgary in the background.

Calgary Zoolights 2017
One final shot as we started back to the cars. Zoolights is quite overwhelming, and like the Calgary Zoo itself, would be worth multiple trips to enjoy it to its fullest.

Calgary Zoolights 2017



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