The weather outside might be frightful but exploring Alberta is so delightful—even during a pandemic. There’s still so much to do in February—from ice fishing to snowshoeing.
GET WILD WITH YOUR VALENTINE
Take your significant other out for a wild dating experience during the Valentine’s Day weekend (Feb. 12 to Feb. 14). That’s when you can learn something new at the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo during In the Heat of the Night event. It includes a four-course dining experience in the zoo’s ENMAX conservatory gardens, complete with live music, a cash bar, and an “adults only” presentation about how animals show their love in the wild. Tickets are sold separately from admission, but during the day, hours before the event, be sure to spend some time visiting the zoo.
Melt those chills away in Okotoks over a warm mug of hot chocolate. From Feb. 10 to Feb. 21, businesses in the town south of Calgary will celebrate all things cocoa for the annual Okotoks Hot Chocolate Festival. The shops taking part will compete to make the best chocolaty concoction in a mug. Each business will offer is own unique recipe and twist to the delicious, wintertime treat. Visitors can also rate their favourite cups through the event’s interactive map. Money raised from the warm beverage sales will support local charities.
While Albertans can slip on a pair of snowshoes almost anywhere outdoors, there’s something magical about doing it in Jasper National Park. You’ll find solitude on the many loops around Maligne Lake and Pyramid Lake. Be sure to choose the best route that match your abilities and breathe in that fresh mountain air. Get your Parks Canada Discovery Passes at your nearby AMA centre. Members save $10 on family passes. You can also save $4 on annual adult passes or save $2 on senior yearly passes.
GO (ICE) FISH
There’s more to ice fishing than sitting around a hole in the cold hoping you’ll lure in a big catch. You can bring some extra stuff to make it more fun, like heated tents and warm cocoa. And only during the Family Day long weekend can Albertans give ice fishing a try without purchasing a fishing licence. Some excellent places to ice fish include Sylvan Lake, where you can rent what you need in town; Cold Lake in northern Alberta; and Cypress Hills Provincial Park’s Reesor Lake in southern Alberta. Check ice conditions before venturing out on the lake—never walk on ice that’s less that 10 cm thick and don’t drive on it. Looking for more advice on how to ice fish? We have you covered with beginner’s guide to ice fishing in Alberta.
HAVE AN ICE DAY
Embrace winter at the Silver Skate Festival Feb. 11 to Feb. 21 at Edmonton’s scenic Hawrelak Park. This free 10-day celebration offers an entertaining mix of sport, art, culture, and food. Check out stunning snow sculptures and other works of art that will be on display at the park during the festival.
GET YOUR WINTER GLOW ON
Life provides precious few opportunities to throw an axe then launch yourself down an illuminated ice slide. Thankfully, Calgary’s Glow Winter Light Festival Feb. 10 to Feb 12 and Feb. 17 to Feb. 19 rectifies that situation. This six-day event will offer one-of-a-kind experiences, including light displays, art, entertainment and food trucks—all within Calgary’s downtown core.
EXPLORE THE NIGHT
Make memories at night in Lethbridge’s Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden. The annual Winter Light Festival continues through the entire month of February. Bundle up and walk around the garden, where there will be massive light displays, ice sculptures and other fun activities. Don’t forget to grab a maple spice or peppermint hot chocolate from the Bunka Centre.
CATCH A FLICK
This month’s blockbuster lineup at an Alberta movie theatre near you includes sci-fi disaster flick Moonfall on Feb. 4 and white-knuckle action movie Uncharted on Feb. 18. If action movies aren’t your thing, Dog (in theatres Feb. 18) should tug at your heartstrings; starring Channing Tatum, Dog tells the story of a soldier’s relationship with a military service dog. AMA members can save on Cineplex and Landmark movie passes for kids, adults, and seniors when you pick them up from your local AMA centre. You can also purchase a Cineplex gift card at your local AMA Centre.