[twitter]I had toyed with the idea of camping for the weekend. There’s a wonderful place north of Calgary, the Discovery Wildlife Park, where you can camp alongside a collection of animals ranging from bears to camels to wolves.

With Wild Kratts obsessed kids, this kind of camping would be right up their alley. But, to be honest, I was over it. Right from our first camping trip on the Father’s Day weekend, every single Friday has been packed with packing. We’ve raced out to Waterton, Radium, Writing-On-Stone, and Idaho.

Mix in a weather forecast that would barely get to double digits with rain and, well, there was no way we were going camping. I was done.

Toyota Camry SE Hybrid

But I still wanted to get out. I’m a “not at home dad.” I cannot be cooped up with kids inside, I need to escape. For many people in Calgary, being ‘not at home’ means going to the mall. Ask my wife what we should do on a Saturday morning, and she will offer up shopping or Costco. Everytime.

No thank you.

In my world, weekends are built for adventures and exploring. With Toyota Canada offering up a Camry SE Hybrid for us to use for the weekend, I figured we could still go for that long drive north to Innisfail and see the animals, we just wouldn’t camp there. It was time to get my uncamping on.


The boys worked their way through National Geographic Kids books in the back seat to get ready for the adventure.

National Geographic Kids

And then asked me to turn it up loud when The Chemical Brothers came on the radio. Smart kids!

chemical brothers

When we got to the Wildlife Discovery Park, my decision to go daytripping over camping trip was genius. It was wet, muddy, and raincoats were mandatory equipment.

After a few hours chasing lions, scaring bears, and petting bearded dragons, we packed up and headed for home.




This is why uncamping, daytripping, and exploring is awesome. Sure, it takes 90 minutes (or more) to get there, but when you’re planning to make a day of it, you get all the awesomeness of the destination without any of the pain of sleeping in a tent.

On the way home my mind drifted, and while I have one more camping trip planned for this year, I’m really looking to do more daytrip exploration. My wife is not a fan of camping, maybe she’d take along if I promised her a more comfortable car ride, all the wild adventures of a daytrip destination, with none of the camping? 

We got home, had a bbq, and then surprised the boys with a big night out. Zacharie loves Trevor Guthrie. His songs were the first pop songs Z learned the words to, and it just so happens that Jen and I know Trevor. With him in town for a show, we snuck in the back door for sound check and Zacharie met his favorite artist.

Trevor Guthrie soundcheck

After that, a quick run to Calgary’s best ice cream shop and, wouldn’t you know it, a perfect uncamping, daytripping, adventure was had without a visit to the mall!!

village ice cream

We went for a long drive in the Toyota Camry SE Hybrid (which barely nudged the gas gauge), got out of the house, and made the most of a cold, wet, weekend filling it with lifelong memories.

The next time it rains on your plans, pile in and go for a drive. Point your nose somewhere you’ve never been and discover the community around you. Bring your raincoats, mittens, and boots, and get out of the house!

Driving With DadCAMP

Zacharie has got the YouTubing bug, so we worked together on what I hope will be a series of thumbnail reviews of cars that families might choose. Our first Driving with DadCAMP video looks at the Toyota Camry Hybrid SE from the perspective of parent, and child. When getting a family car, everyone’s input matters!

Disclosure: This branded content appears in exchange for a donation to Team Diabetes Canada.

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