It’s been a year to remember. Now it’s time to look forward.

Normally at this time, I’d be posting family fun activities for New Year’s Eve, but this year . . . well, you know.

If you’re interested in virtual activities, there are some things going on. Evolutions Dance is offering a free (but you need to register) Noon Year’s Eve celebration with a variety of activities for all ages and interests, with dancing, a magic show, and a princess sing-along. If you’re staying up, you could check out the music-filled countdown on CBC. There were also lots of At Home ideas published over the spring and summer that you can still access or find inspiration for a Mini Staycation.

Looking ahead to 2021 is a double-edged sword. I love making plans and having something to look forward to, but if 2020 has taught me anything, it’s to live in the moment, enjoying what you have today. The world may be a dumpster fire, in general, but in my life today? Today the sun is shining and I can get outside for a walk (also known as Mom’s sanity break). Today we have a box of special chocolates for dessert and a new movie to watch. Today, everyone is healthy.

Skating (Family Fun Calgary)

Even so, I can’t help looking ahead to 2021. A couple of years ago, I wrote an article about why I love raising my kids in Calgary, and even though many things are closed right now, that still remains true. Your list might be completely different, but here’s what I’m looking forward to in 2021, trying to be cautiously optimistic.

Heritage Park: Except for 2020, I have gone to Heritage Park every year since I moved here ten years ago. I love the train and the rides, the costumes and the shops, and imagining what life might have been like then. With wonderful green space and loads of nostalgia, it’s a perfect place to hang out, play, and picnic with kids.

Calgary Zoo: The Calgary Zoo is another wonderful place to visit, meet up with friends, and discover something you never knew you needed to know. Visiting those hippos never gets old, even if my kids like to comment on “those stinky old animals.”

Calgary Zoo (Family Fun Calgary)

Credit: Charity Quick

TELUS Spark: Maybe I’m just a kid at heart, but there are some cool things at TELUS Spark and if you need an indoor place to play or learn, this is it. Of course, you can also head outside to play and burn some energy at the Brainasium. (Although once I ripped my jeans climbing the ropes there – my kids were embarrassed.)

Calaway Park: Calaway Park is a brilliant place to take young kids for a little excitement and a lot of fun. We have also found it great for tweens or young teens who want to meet with friends and not have Mom hanging around.

Spruce Meadows: The horse jumping is impressive at Spruce Meadows, but I also love all the affordable family fun at this beautiful venue. This is another favourite in our family that we missed in 2020.

Parks: I know we can go to parks now, and we often visit our favourite, Bowness Park, but I want to meet with friends and family for picnics. Maybe this is just a longing for summer during the darkest days of cold and snow. (Although, have you heard about the new Ice Bikes and skating trail at Bowness Park?)

Bowness Park (Family Fun Calgary)

Credit: Charity Quick

Rafting: I have never gone rafting on the river; it seems like great fun and a lot of work to set up. I would like some friends to plan this and invite me along.

Swimming: I am not a lane swimmer, but I sure love to play in the pool. And whenever I want happy kids, I just have to add water. Although, if a swimming pool doesn’t come with a hot tub, that can be a deal-breaker.

Calgary Public Library: We have always been big fans of the public library. They have terrific resources in print and online and their Early Learning Centres are just the place to go on a cold day. We can’t wait until they can reopen everything.

Movies: While not personally much of a movie watcher, my kids like movies and I like the cheap Family Favourites at Cineplex. Now that my kids are teens, dropping them off with friends makes a fun Saturday morning for all of us.

Even more than visiting all the places I love in Calgary, I miss the impromptu coffee visits with friends, dinner with my parents, and sleepovers with cousins. I want to check out the new toys my toddler niece got for Christmas and listen to her tell me it will all be, “Okay, okay.” We’ll certainly appreciate the richness of life going forward, and until then, I’ll just keep taking things one day at a time. Happy New Year!