February 5 – 11
The origins of the Sapporo Snow Festival date back to 1950, when a half-dozen local high school students got together and built a half-dozen snow statues in Odori Park.
Today, the staging of nearly 400 spectacular ice and snow sculptures is what draws visitors to the 12-block stretch of Odori Park. During the day, stroll and watch the artists at work, carving up everything from life-size renderings of animals and historical monuments, temples and buildings, to scenes of Japanese life, manga characters, internationally recognizable cartoon characters, religious icons and mazes you can walk through.
Splore, Tapapakanga Regional Park, New Zealand
February 14 – 16
Splore takes place every two years in a lovely regional park just south of Auckland on New Zealand’s North Island. It combines live musical performances, caravan and tent camping, a family friendly atmosphere, sunny days on the beach, and artist designed trails for revelers to explore. Costumes are encouraged, nay, they are practically required.
The word ‘splore’ (meaning carousing) first appeared in the mid-18th century in Scotland. It’s an apt name for a festival that celebrates the fine art of frolicking, and the setting in Tapapakanga Regional Park lends itself to gallivanting in nature. The park is home to important ancient Maori settlements first indicated by the carved totems at the reserve’s entrance and working farms raising cows and sheep. Tapapakanga is popular with birdwatchers looking to spot tui, heron, kingfishers and a variety of shags, and with hikers looking to traipse along its many easily walkable trails.