Kelowna Tourist Activities
Kelowna International Airport receives thousands of tourists every year, as it is a gateway to one of the most beautiful regions of Canada. It is located approximately 11.5km, or 7.1 miles from the city centre of Kelowna, a city that is built around the famous and hugely popular Okanagan Lake. The lake attractions are a main draw card for the city’s tourism industry, but there are numerous other activities to be enjoyed in the area as well. Kelowna attractions also include scenic wineries nearby, and four of the best-loved ski resorts in Canada, including Silver Star, Apex Mountain, Crystal Mountain and Big White. Kelowna is the ideal location for a restful holiday, a fun-filled family experience or a sporting adventure.
In the heart of the Okanagan Valley, Kelowna is considered as one of the most peaceful, well-kept and charming of cities in the country. Although it is inland, it has no shortage of water, which makes it especially appealing. The large Okanagan Lake is said to be the home of the Ogopogo, a ‘monster’ that is almost as famous as the resident of Loch Ness. Although in the ‘new age’, most should realise that Ogopogo is simply a fictional creature, it is still amusing to locals and perhaps intriguing to visitors. A wonderful statue of Ogopogo can be seen at one of the children’s parks, and it is used on many postcards of the city.
The city of Kelowna has many wonderful places to shop, eat and sleep. The Orchard Park shopping centre is popular, as well as the shops along Bernard Avenue, which is between Richter and Water Street. The downtown area has many shopping opportunities as well. Depending on your budget, you can eat out at a wide variety of places in Kelowna. Some popular choices for a les-expensive meal include The Bohemian Cafe, the Siam Orchid Thai Restaurant, Sub City Donair, Ken’s Dim Sum, Lake Tai and The Marmalade Cat Cafe. Mid-range to upper-scale restaurants of the city include the Cabana Bar and Grill, The Yellow House, Bai Tong, The Chop Steakhouse and Bar, The Rotten Grape, the Waterfront Restaurant and Ric’s Grill. Visitors will also find an excellent selection of hotels and other types of accommodation within the city, that usually have rooms available, however, during times of large festivals it is recommended to book well in advance. Some of the fancier hotels include the Best Western Inn Kelowna, Days Inn Kelowna, The Hopeless Romantic Bed and Breakfast and the Grand Okanagan Lakefront Resort.
Water-based attractions and kid’s entertainment venues
Alongside the lake there are many lovely beaches to enjoy in the summer, when temperatures are typically around twenty-eight degrees Celsius. Gyro Beach is a favourite, and features a large half-submerged playground with three fully sprung water trampolines with slides, a ten foot waterslide and a giant teeter totter. Kayaks, canoes, pedal boats, windsurfers and many other types of water crafts can be hired here as well. At the end of Lakeshore Road, Bertram Park has more beautiful beaches, as well as grassy areas that are ideal for picnics, and in the Mission area, another lovely beach can be enjoyed. Even though Kelowna has the Okanagan Lake for a wide range of water activities, it is also home to the largest municipally owned water park in Canada, referred to as the H2O Adventure and Fitness Centre. This wonderful attraction can be found at 4075 Gordon Drive, and features an Olympic size swimming pool, three water slides, a wave pool, a children’s water play area and an ocean wave surf simulator. There is also a large fitness centre here, with all kinds of exercise equipment.
Kelowna is big on family fun and offers many venues where the children will be happy for hours. Energyplex is the city’s largest indoor play centre, where kids can work off their energy in a huge four-story construction filled with trampolines, slides, ropes and obstacle courses. There is also a special area for toddlers available. Children over the age of twelve will love the Safari Ridge Adventure Park, and all kinds of climbing activities are enjoyed at the WildPlay Element Park, featuring zip lines, wobbly bridges and the 110-foot Primal Swing. A number of interesting wild animals can be seen at parks in Kelowna as well. Visitors can touch a live crocodile at the CrocTalk Conservation and Rescue Centre, and the Kangaroo Creek Farm is home to some friendly kangaroos and wallabies. Another favourite kid’s attraction in Kelowna is the Okanagan Science Centre, with a wide variety of fun, hands-on exhibits.
Sporty attractions and Kelowna festivals
Kelowna’s range of popular sporting activities are diverse. Visitors can swim, windsurf, parasail or fly up high in a hot air balloon. There are golfing challenges around every corner, tennis courts, some of the prettiest and most scenic biking and hiking paths in Canada and even the Kelowna Grand Prix and Lazer Tag, where some high speed racing can be enjoyed by the whole family. Scandia Golf and Games is a particularly popular outing for families, with outdoor mini golf, indoor jungle golf, bumper cars and much more.
Prospera Place, originally Skyreach Place, is a large multi-purpose arena used for various sporting activities and concerts. It has room for almost 7,000 people, and is home to the Kelowna Rockets hockey club. The Apple Bowl is another stadium in the city, and is home to the Okanagan Sun of the Canadian Junior Football League and the Okanagan Challenge of the Pacific Coast Soccer League. It also features a running track and facilities for other track and field events. A number of large sports and entertainment festivals are held in Kelowna every year. The Kelowna Hydrofest, or Kelowna Regatta is held in August and is a hydroplane boat race on the Okanagan Lake. It is considered as the main attraction of the summer events in BC, and is also the largest professional boat racing series in Canada. The Centre of Gravity is another large festival held in August, with many types of sporting events and other aspects of entertainment.
Tourists of Kelowna can also enjoy historical attractions, such as the Father Pandosy Mission, the Guisachan Heritage Park and the Benvoulin Heritage Church, or visit museum such as the BC Orchard Industry Museum, BC Wine Museum & VQA Wine Shop, the Okanagan Heritage Museum, the Okanagan Military Museum and the Kelowna Museum. Further details relating to all Kelowna attractions can be found at the Tourism Kelowna Desk at Kelowna International Airport, or from tourism centres in the city.