________________ CM . . . . Volume VII Number 18 . . . . May 11, 2001

cover The Lobster Kids' Guide to Exploring Calgary. (The Lobster Kids' City Explorers Series).

Kate Zimmerman and Diane Thuna.
Montreal, PQ: Lobster Press (Distributed by Raincoast Books), 2000.
254 p., pbk., $17.95.
ISBN 1-894222-08-3.

Subject Headings:
Family recreation-Alberta-Calgary-Guidebooks.
Calgray (Alta.)-Guidebooks.

Preschool - grade 7 / Ages 4 - 12 and Parents.

Review by Carole Marion.

**** /4

At last, a guide has hit the market that will ease the life of every parent living around or traveling through Calgary with children! The Lobster Kids' Guide to Exploring Calgary is the fifth installment in "The Lobster Kids' City Explorers Series." Like the companions to Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa-Hull, The Lobster Kids' Guide to Exploring Calgary lives up to its promise of "being small enough to fit in a back pack but huge on ideas for all seasons, birthday parties and school field trips".

      Are you wondering which restaurants welcome children with smiles, playrooms, special treats and menus aimed at their conservative tastes? Check the Kid-Friendly Restaurants section for lists of moderately priced eateries, buffet and fast-food establishments. Are you looking to immerse your children in a local history lesson? Find out which attractions have interactive displays, videos and activity centres in the Museums section of the Guide. You'll be surprised at the wide variety of attractions available, from the Calgary Police Service Interpretive Centre, Glenbow Museum and Olympic Hall of Fame to the Western Heritage Centre and Museum of the Regiments.

      Calgary may be a large, metropolitan city, but at its heart and roots are the horse, cattle and farming industries. Children can experience hands-on fun at Butterfield Acres Children's Farm, saddle up at the Bar U Ranch Natural Historic Site, stay at a guest ranch or watch world-class show jumping at Spruce Meadows. Whether whooping it up at the Calgary Stampede, going for gold at Calgary Olympic Park, ogling creatures at the Calgary Zoo, getting wet on the Calaway Park rides or reaching for the clouds in the Calgary Tower, you will find the unique Lobster Rating System invaluable.

      Particularly useful for residents of Calgary and the surrounding area are the sections of the Guide which explore the city's neighbourhoods and the multitude of free or inexpensive activities found there life craft and athletic venues, libraries, markets and green spaces. There is a list of places where you can sneak a bit of education without interrupting the fun, like helping the staff at the Calgary Sun bring home the news, or touring a former prisoner of war camp for German officers at the Barrier Lake Field Station.

      Children love the performing arts, and Calgary has a rich assortment of artistic venues of particular appeal to kids. From Storybook Theatre, Loose Moose Theatre Company, Decidedly Jazz Danceworks and Alberta Ballet, to the Imax Theatre and the numerous multiplexes, kids can be entertained in style.

      The nearby Rockies, foothills and prairies offer a wealth of attractions for day trips. Included in the Guide are several destinations like Head-Smashed-In-Buffalo-Jump Interpretive Centre, The Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology, Sulphur Mountain Gondola and Wild Rapids Water Slide.

      Complete street, web site addresses and telephone numbers are listed for each attraction. Frequent sidebars highlight the seasons and times open, the cost and travel instructions. Verification of some of these attests to the accuracy of the information provided. And a 12- month directory of events gives an added approach to planning outings for the whole family. A detailed, alphabetical index with added entries like Birthday Parties, Free/Family Deals and Workshops/Camps/Programs can only increase its usefulness.

      Punctuated with small whimsical, black and white drawings, the wealth and variety of information contained in The Lobster Kids' Guide to Exploring Calgary renders it an invaluable resource that local parents, educators and libraries cannot pass up.

Highly Recommended.

Carole Marion is the Youth Services Librarian at Calgary Public Library where her responsibilities include coordinating the two annual reading games and author readings for children and teens. She has been working with youth and their caregivers for over fifteen years.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364