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By Jane Cassie
(For Travel Writers’ Tales)

Our province offers a wealth of activities when the stars come out. Here are half a dozen that you'll never snooze through.
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Vancouver H.R. MacMillan Space Centre
Celestial landmarks dazzle the pitch-black heavens and while reclined and relaxed you'll soak in the wonders of our universe and neighboring planets. Throughout the forty minute show, the astrophysical display embraces your three hundred and sixty degree vista and in refined comfort you'll feel mesmerized and spellbound. Surfing the Solar System is just one of the realistic multimedia presentations that provides close encounters of the cosmic kind. And with the help from the sophisticated technology and projectors, this re-creation can be viewed either day or night.

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Dominion Astrophysical Observatory
Galaxy gurus also flock to this attraction at Victoria Centre, where the forty-plus ton Plaskett telescope performs optical imaging and spectroscopy (study of the rainbows). Here, you can solar travel via Starlab, take a multimedia flight through asteroids, or attend a family-friendly Star Party where meteors and the moon play leading roles.

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Theatre Under The Stars
BC hosts a gamut of evening activities that entice lots of other night owls. Performing arts that are spread province-wide offer star-studded line-ups of the creative kind, and whether executed indoors or by twilight dim, the choices are many, ranging from Bach to ballet. One of the more traditional outdoor venues is Stanley Park’s Theatre Under The Stars, where quality productions have entertained beneath the nighttime sky since 1940. You'll surely earn brownie points with the kids if you take them to this year's production of Disney's NEWSIES!

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Dinner Shows
Other evening class acts mellifluously meld with sumptuous cuisine at various dinner theatre venues throughout BC. Giggle Dam in Port Coquitlam have been marrying the two for over ten years. Think of Saturday Night Live, with dinner, a rock concert, with dinner, or a politically incorrect, interactive musical comedy, with dinner, and you have Giggle Dam. Langley's Theatre in the Country Dinner Theatre is another all-inclusive food and fun stop. Their motto is Great Meal, Great Show, Great Night Out. Or head over to the charming town of Chemainus on Vancouver Island where the Chemainus Theatre entertains and their culinary creations in their Playbill Dining Room satisfy the most discerning palate.

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Harbour Cruises
Every December, this attraction bedazzles with an alternate kind of night-light, when their fleet of carol ships are decked out in festive flare. Song sheets are circulated and Christmas carolers lead everyone in all the yuletide favourites. In summer, these ships transform into sunset cruisers and double as viewing platforms. And while you're being wowed by the city skyline, viewpoints and maybe even some annual fireworks, you'll fuel up on a delicious West Coast-themed buffet.

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Head For The Hills
Star-filled heavens also glisten above marvelous mounds of white fluff, as adrenaline-pumped night skiers head for the hills. In BC’s four mountain regions, there are a host of top-notch resorts that lure the adventuresome with their loyal wintertime cloak, gloriously groomed trails and unique sundown attractions. Although most have designated ski runs that become ablaze with overhead brights, soft illumination spills over chosen ones at Sun Peaks and Kimberley during their torchlight events. And whether followed by fireworks, or a cup of steamy hot chocolate, this dynamic descent always receives glowing reviews. For a more daring downhill jaunt, speed lovers hop aboard tubes that fly over hard pack and bounce off bumps. Blackcomb’s Magic Chair, Mount Washington’s Ozone Park and Big White's Upper Happy Valley all have slippery slopes that are especially designed for this energized activity. And on the flip side, at a slower pace, snowshoers buckle up to meld with Mother Nature as they search the wilderness wonders of Panorama, Cypress and Seymour by moonlight. These guided treks are also available on a number of the other peaks, and many precede a fabulous fondue. When summer arrives many of these powder pathways transform into havens for night hikers, mountain bikers, and patrons of the arts. While alluring with their unique qualities, each provides a taste of evening enjoyment. And from their pristine perches, far above the city lights, they all unite with a three hundred and sixty degree starlit vista that puts on a show for free.



H.R. MacMillan Space Centre:
Dominion Astrophysical Observatory:
Theatre Under The Stars:
Chemainus theatre:
Giggle Dam Dinner Theatre:
Theatre in the Country Dinner Theatre:
Chemainus Theatre:
Harbour Cruises:
Sun Peaks
Big White
Mount Washington:
Whistler Blackcomb:


#1H.R_MacMillan_Space_Centre -photo Credit : Destination BC/Tanya Goehring

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