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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Stargazers showered with meteor shows at Ontario Parks; Are we wet yet on Niagara Whirlpool boats?

   One-Tank Trip for Aug. 12/17

(c) Postmedia Network/Sun Media newspapers/websites

   (c) By Jim Fox

   There’s plenty of summer left, so get out and enjoy it.
   Watch the Perseid meteor shower shows at Ontario Parks where admission is free next Wednesday (Aug. 16).
   Camper families love stargazing especially from mid-July to late August during the shower period.
   Peak time is this weekend and if the skies are clear, you can see up to 50 to 100 meteors an hour.
   There will also be a solar eclipse on Aug. 21 starting at 1:08 p.m. when the moon begins moving in front of the sun and continues to 3:48 p.m.
Watching meteor showers is a popular summertime adventure at Ontario Parks.
   Star parties are held in the parks every summer, especially in Northern Ontario where there’s less light pollution.
   Killarney Provincial Park on Georgian Bay invites visitors to “come out to learn and look at the night sky through our telescope.”
   Guest astronomer Bill Gardner will be there on August 15, 22 and 29 at 9:30 p.m. while this weekend has astronomers-in-residence Bill and Vicki Sherwood.

   Not to worry if those dates don’t work as visitors are invited at other times to book the observatory for self-guided stargazing.
“Now, I can see it!” Viewing the night sky at a provincial park.
   Emily Provincial Park in Omemee on Aug. 25 has the Peterborough Astronomical Association setting up telescopes to explore the stars.
   Rushing River Provincial Park in Kenora on Sept. 2 hosts Peter Toth of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada for a day-time solar viewing program.
   At 8 p.m., he will lead a “laser show” of the night sky to point out constellations while visitors can look through a telescope at stars and planets.
   Ontario has an incredible 330 provincial parks along with 295 conservation reserves.
   There are also nine protected areas and 28 wilderness areas, all of which cover 10.6-million hectares (23.6-million acres).
   Enjoying a game of volleyball at McRae Point Provincial Park on Lake Simcoe. (Jim Fox photo)
   Free admission on Aug. 16 is for visitors join park staff marking Healthy Parks Healthy People day.
   “This is a global initiative that encourages people to reconnect with nature,” said Jeff Brown of Ontario Parks.
   “Pack a picnic and visit an Ontario Park to sample some of the wonderful activities they offer visitors,” he added.
   Some opportunities are learning how to fish, trying stand-up paddle boarding, renting a kayak, taking a guided hike or enjoying a beautiful park beach.
Fun, wow! At Ontario Provincial Parks
    More than 40 parks offer daily guided activities all summer. Check the calendar of events at: ontarioparks.com/events 

   Wet and wild
   There’s a new adventure package offered by Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours this season in Niagara that isn’t for the faint of heart.
   The Wet and Wild Adventure is just that on three of Niagara’s top attractions starting with an “hour-long joy ride” with Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours.
Wet-and-wild adventures on Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours in Niagara.
   It splashes down at just below the powerful Niagara Whirlpool from the mouth of the Niagara River through the Class 5 Devil’s Hole Rapids.
   From there, adventurers get a birds-eye view of the incredible scenery on a “breathtaking” ride to the base of Niagara Falls with Wildplay MistRider Zipline.
   Then, there’s a “spectacular” obstacle course suspended over the Niagara Gorge with Wildplay Whirlpool Adventure Course. Details: whirlpooljet.com

   Happening now
   The Harrington & Area Community Association is presenting “Stories to be Told” this afternoon and tonight (Aug. 12).
   “Stories will abound throughout Harrington (near St. Marys) – in person, on signs, on display and even in a scavenger hunt,” Philip Kerr, association chair.
   This 150 Heritage Festival includes a “Reminiscing Tent” to help tell the tales and 10-cent ice cream cones at Knox Presbyterian Church.
   At the “big tent” at the Harrington Conservation Area, stories will come alive with music from buskers, storytellers, sing-a-longs and demonstrations of Highland and square dancing.
   Harrington Library will be the starting point for a family scavenger hunt and there’ll be self-guided walking tours of local cemeteries highlighting tombstones with stories of interest.
   The day winds up with a 7 p.m. concert by Trent Severn with songs to “match the stories.” facebook.com/HarringtonCommunityAssociation


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

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