The South Okanagan is an outdoor adventure and leisure paradise — but even in paradise, a little trouble occasionally arrives.
Right now, that “trouble” is varying levels of wildfire smoke drifting in from hundreds of miles away.
But while that smoke may temper outdoor activities — especially strenuous exercise or other activities requiring an extended period of time — there’s plenty to see and do indoors.
Here are three family-friendly adventures to fill up afternoons when being outdoors isn’t quite right for the family. Each is a good half afternoon of activity.
Osoyoos Desert Model Railroad
Unless you see it yourself, it’s hard to fathom the scope of this miniature wonderland located just east of Osoyoos in the Buena Vista Industrial Park.
The Desert Model Railroad is 4,000 sq. ft. of computer-controlled trains running simultaneously on more than two kilometres of HO Scale track.
Up to 45 trains run through and past the detailed European-style towns and houses. There’s also a system of cars on roads — believed to be the only public display in North America with that feature.
The displays includes more than 1,900 buildings and 19,000 hand-painted little people.
Keep an eye out for hidden gems. Interactive sensors — place your hand in front of a sensor to activate it — open up new miniature worlds. Try to find the bungee jumper or “a very naughty little boy who is running away with his mommy’s bikini top!”
At the Circus look for the the girl balancing on the high wire.
The Railroad is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday. Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children two to 12.
For a more in-depth look, visit osoyoosrailroad.com.
Located on the Nk’Mip Spirit Ridge property, the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre is a state-of-the-art interpretive facility that tells the fascinating story of Canada’s pocket desert and the Okanagan people who prospered on the land.
Extensive indoor and outdoor exhibit galleries — featuring hands-on displays, education stations and multi-media — deliver a fun, interactive learning environment.
Guided tours — including a 45-minute guided interpretive trail walk — are offered daily. You’ll also want to see the Ssssssnakes Alive rattlesnake presentation.
After your visit, stop in at Coyote’s Gift Shop to choose from among a selection of authentic First Nations gift items to take home.
The Desert Cultural Centre is open seven days a week from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $14 for adults, $13 for seniors and students and $10 for children five to 17.
A family can also buy a pass for two adults and two children for $38.
To learn more, visit nkmipdesert.com.
Considered one of the best small-town collections in British Columbia, the Osoyoos & District Museum is worth every penny of its modest admission fee. Exhibits range from natural history to First Nations to Okanagan pioneer life.
You’ll want to check out the log-hewn provincial government building that forms the centrepiece of the museum’s display space. You’ll also find a Victorian parlour — dedicated to the founding pioneer families of Osoyoos — and a military collection that serves as reminder of the major wars of the 20th century
The Inkaneep Day School Art Collection provides a fascinating glimpse into 1930s and 40s education at a local Aboriginal school. The collection includes drawings, paintings and stories and offer a better understanding of the Okanagan peoples, their language and culture.
The Osoyoos & District Museum and Archives is located at 19 Park Place, at the foot of Main Street, near Gyro Park. There is lots of free parking and the museum is wheelchair accessible.
Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for children and students. Children under six are admitted free.
Over the summer months, the museum is open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
If you’re keen on a bike or car tour of the community, why not explore the six heritage signs located throughout Osoyoos? The signs include information and pictures relating to the heritage significance of their location. They are located at the Osoyoos Sailing Club, Osoyoos Art Gallery, Osoyoos Town Hall, Sonora Centre, near the Main Street bridge, and at the Haynes property on Lakeshore Drive.
Learn more at osoyoosmuseum.ca.