7 Awesome Things to do with Kids in Alberta

Cowtown, as it’s often referred to, it’s absolutely jam-packed with things for kids and it’s no wonder so many families choose to visit the beautiful province of Alberta. From the epic mountains that offer exceptional glacier lakes and hiking to the incredible zoos and malls, this province offers something for every age. Discover the awesome dinosaur museum, the annual Calgary Stampede and more with these 7 awesome things to do with kids in Alberta.

7. Experience the Calgary Stampede

It is one giant party that takes place every summer and provides enough entertainment for kids to tire them out, both physically and mentally. The Calgary Stampede is for adults too but the big focus is on families here. There are endless rides, midway games, fried foods such as Oreo cookies and chocolate bars, livestock shows, a rodeo, pancake breakfasts and more.

The Stampede Parade is a favorite among little ones as the World Champion Calgary Stampede Showband leads the parade, followed by beautiful floats, marching bands, riders, celebrities and more. Visit the Indian Village, play a couple games of ring toss, get your picture taken under a giant cowboy hat and have fun until the cows come home.

6. Go Caving

Discover the secrets of underground caves when you head to Canmore to dive deep into the Rat’s Nest Cave; a wild undeveloped cave under Grotto Mountain. Discover a cave in its natural state where there are no handrails, no walkways, and no lighting installed. Discover breathtaking chambers of stalagmites and stalactites, lit by only the light on your helmet. There are a few different options depending on the age of your kids.

The Adventure Tour is one of the most popular, with a minimum age of 12 and runs a total of 6 hours long, with 4 hours spend underground. If your kids are younger than that you will want to book the Discovery Tour, a short 2-3 hour tour that includes a catch and release fossil hunting activity, wildlife tracking and a visit to the cave.

5. Travel to Drumheller

It is here where the famous Royal Tyrrell Museum is housed, a museum dedicated to the study of dinosaurs and where children can come face to race with real fossils. The museum features over 40 dinosaur skeletons, numerous kid’s programs and fun hands-on activities including fossil casting. This museum also happens to run a very cool 60-minute guided hike called “Seven Wonders of the Badlands” where the guide will take you through rocks that tell stories, ancient giants and those mysterious popcorn rocks that are seen everywhere.

After spending some time at the museum make sure to head to the Hoodoos- the unique rock formations that are over 70 million years old. They cannot be climbed but feel free to explore the surrounding areas and marvel at these crazy looking rock configurations.

4. Take a Jasper Raft Tour

A unique way to experience Jasper National Park is to take a scenic float trip down the Athabasca River, a designated Canadian Heritage River. Here all families need to do is sit back and enjoy the ride as a licensed guide provides commentary on the human and natural history of Jasper. Navigating the same route used by fur traders over two centuries ago, the guides will do all the rowing for you!

The trip is about 2.5 hours and covers 16km, passing through gentle rapids and calm stretches allowing you to take in the spectacular scenery around you. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as moose, wolves, mountain sheep and bears. This trip is truly designed for families, as anyone aged 2-99 years are welcome. Tours do operate rain or shine and a poncho will be provided if necessary. Enjoy Jasper from a different view and relax while someone else does the paddling and the talking.

3. Explore Lake Louise

Located within Banff National Park, Lake Louise is the perfect destination for families looking to get outdoors. This emerald green lake is absolutely breathtaking to look at and the region has a range of hikes for families. Whether you want an easy lakeside stroll or a steeper ascent, you can find it here. While you are here make sure to take a ride on the Lake Louise Gondola which takes visitors up Mt. Whitehorn offering spectacular panoramic views.

If you are lucky, the kids might just spot some grizzly bears or elk during the summer days. Ascend either on a ski lift, or a closed gondola, best for younger kids. If you have slightly older kids who are more interested in hitching a ride along the lake, make sure to book an awesome horseback tour that will give spectacular views of the colorful lake.

2. Visit the Calgary Zoo

The Calgary Zoo is a magical place, one where kids can come face to face with animals. A place that gets lit up with twinkling lights in the winter and that feature numerous outdoor exhibits in the summer. It is a zoo that took a huge hit during the flood and has rebuilt itself into a family-friendly attraction that is definitely worth checking out. What is nice about this zoo is there is a lot of things to see and do packed into a smaller space, meaning less walking for the little ones.

But don’t kid yourself, there are still plenty of animals to marvel out including lions, giraffes, gorillas, tigers, monkeys and more. And then there is the magnificent Penguin Plunge display. One of the best in Canada, this display gets you so close you could reach out and touch the playful penguins (No touching is allowed though). Watch them as they dive, splash and interact with visitors in this awesome exhibit. Trust us, the line up is worth the experience here.

1. Play at the West Edmonton Mall

The West Edmonton Mall is literally a kid’s paradise, absolutely loaded with attractions that cater to any age of kid (we can’t promise the parents you will ever get your kid to leave here). To start off with, let’s talk about World Waterpark that houses the largest indoor wave pool and more than 17 unique waterslides and play features. Did we mention the simulated surfing attraction as well?

Then there is Galaxyland, the world’s largest indoor amusement park that features more than 24 rides and play areas for all ages. A challenging 18-hole mini-golf course, a professional sized ice rink, an underground aquarium and a bowling alley are just a few more of the exciting things that happen at this mall.

10 Canadian Attractions Every Kid Should Experience

Canada is loaded with both adult and kid-friendly attractions from coast to coast and whether you live in this beautiful country or are just here for a visit, there are a few key ones not to miss. From the highest point in Toronto to the red sands in Prince Edward Island to the frozen city of Quebec, here are 10 Canadian attraction that every kid should experience in their lifetime.

10. The Carnaval, Quebec City, Quebec

If there is a winter experience that every kid should have in Canada it would be the Carnaval that takes place every year in Quebec City. Every year thousands of visitors flock to this cold weather event which plays host to a slew of activities including snow sculptures, human foosball, snow slides, night parades, outdoor dance parties, sleigh rides, skating and more.

Kids love to meet the mascot of the Carnaval, Bonhomme-the giant real-life snowman who loves to meet with the kids. Make sure to visit him in his epic Ice Palace that is created especially for him and serves as a focal point for several of the activities. Visit a traditional sugar shack, watch as brave men and women frolic in the snow in only their bathing suits at the snow bath and take in one of the family-friendly shows. Whatever you do, make sure you bundle up!

9. Green Gables, Cavendish, P.E.I

Every year hundreds of thousands of people come to the tiny island of Prince Edward Island to visit the site that inspired L.M. Montgomery’s famous Anne of Green Gables novel. This is the perfect place to take the kids and one of the most famed attractions across the country. Located in the popular town of Cavendish visitors to the site will have the opportunity to tour the house and take part in interpretation programs, as well as a stroll through the Haunted Woods and Balsam Hollow trails as found in the book.

Head down to Avonlea Village, a recreated rural community based on the village where Anne lived. Here you can enjoy a children’s music show, browse electric shops and join an authentic PEI kitchen dance party with the kids. Don’t miss the chance to let the kids dress up as Anne at Gateway Village where they can get a replica photo taken, memories that will certainly last a lifetime.

8. Santa’s Village, Bracebridge, Ontario

This 60-acre family entertainment park is nestled in a beautiful setting on the Muskoka River in Bracebridge, Ontario, just a couple short hours from Toronto. It was established in 1955 and this particular location was chosen, as it is exactly halfway between the equator and the north pole, a place where Santa chooses to spend his warm months. This park is only open in the summer and plan on getting there early in the morning to enjoy breakfast with Santa, every day between 9:30-10:30.

Younger ones will love the rides such as swan paddleboats, air bouncers, a miniature Santa roller coaster and more. The splash pad feature giant water buckets that tip and towering candy cane fountains. Come decorate your Christmas cookies at the bake shop, head to Santa’s cabin to grab a photo or visit the farm where there are plenty of deer, sheep, and goat. It is truly Christmas in July here at this unique Canadian attraction.

Via Groupon

7. Algonquin Park, Ontario

If you are looking to get outdoors in the summer and hit the campgrounds there is no better place than Algonquin Park in Ontario. Let’s face it, as much work as it is for parents to take their kids camping, kids absolutely love being able to explore the outdoors. A canoe ride in this park should be on anyone’s bucket list, slicing over the still water with an expanse of water, rock and pine trees in the distance.

Although this park offers a ton of backcountry experiences, they have also made it extremely family friendly with kid-friendly camping areas, rentals on-site and recommended short canoe trips. There is no shortage of beaches to explore, hiking trails, wildlife and enough room for any kid to run around until they can run no more. Hey, maybe they might even sleep in past 7 am.

6. Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto, Ontario

With a name like that, it’s hard to write this list without recommending that this Canadian attraction is visited. The CNE, also known as The Ex is an annual event that takes place for 18 days leading up to an including Canadian Labour Day. Activities here range from an incredible air show, rides, and games, a farm, special kids world, talent shows, special demonstrations and foods that kids will go crazy for.

Every year there is one day during the event that has super discounted prices for kids with the purchase of adult admission. It is here where you will find sing-along with Dora, meet and greets with your kid’s favorite characters, art studios, toy workshops and enough activities to keep you busy for days. Bring a stroller for the wee ones though as it does require a lot of walking.

5. West Edmonton Mall, Edmonton, Alberta

It is the largest shopping mall in North America and absolutely littered with things to see and do, from amusement parks to theatres to an indoor water park. Galaxyland, the indoor amusement park features 24 rides and attractions including roller coasters and thrilling launch rides. World Waterpark is the second largest indoor waterpark and features the world’s largest indoor wave pool and towering twisting waterslides.

The Ice Palace invites skaters of all levels to skate on this scaled down version of an NHL ice rink in the center of the mall. Other exciting things to do here with the kids is indoor mini-golf, an arcade, bowling alley, indoor skate park and explore the theme areas throughout. We promise you could spend 5 days here and still not run out of things to do.

4. CN Tower, Toronto, Ontario

It is Toronto’s most famous landmark and going to the top as a kid is absolutely one of the most memorable moments. For a long time this city attraction was the tallest free-standing structure in the world, and although it lost that title in 2010 it still remains a popular tourist attraction. Kids will love riding in the glass-fronted and glass-floored elevator up to the SkyPod for fantastic views over the city, especially if the kids are a little older to appreciate just how high up they actually are.

The lookout level offers the chance for kids to step out onto the glass floor and really feel like they are floating. If you have kids under the age you will want to make your way to the KidZone, a recent addition to the CN tower which features over 1,500 square feet of space for kids to play. Kids also happen to love the short 14-minute film that features streetcars and propels the audience through the city. Fun for both kids and adults, visit this iconic landmark next time you are in Toronto.

3. Calgary Stampede, Calgary, Alberta

This annual rodeo, exhibition and festival is held every July in Calgary, Alberta and calls itself the greatest outdoor show on earth. Kids love the chance to get up close and personal with the animals at the Stampede including cows, horses, donkeys, sheep, dogs and more. Captivating shows such as superdogs, acrodunk, Thomas and friends, Dora the Explorer and more happen throughout the festival.

Fun interactive activities and rides are located throughout the park, along with enough deep-fried chocolate treats to keep them going all day long. With a midway, market, one epic parade, the rodeo and plenty of parties; the time is now to put on those cowboy boots and hit this epic Canadian attraction with the kids.

2. Canada’s Wonderland, Toronto, Ontario

It is one of the best theme parks in Canada and the largest, opened in 19981 and improving each year that passes. Located in the north of Toronto, it is the perfect day trip for families with kids of all ages. Open daily from May to September and then weekends only until November your best bet to avoid lines is to go during the week before school is out for the summer. Featuring 16 roller coasters, a waterpark, many thrill rides and a special kids-only zone; this park has something for everyone.

Planet Snoopy and Kidzville is perfect the wee ones in your life and features character meet and greets, miniature roller coasters, live entertainment, bumper cars, train rides, swings and more. If you have older kids you won’t want to miss the Halloween Haunt where the park transforms into one giant spooktacular experience complete with rides, mazes and scare zones with live actors throughout the park.

1. Niagara Falls, Niagara Falls, Ontario

It is well known that the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is far prettier than the American, but truth be told how many kids really care about that. Sure they love to see the gushing waterfalls but what makes this attraction really awesome in Canada is the amount of kid-friendly attractions near the falls.

The best-known attraction has to be the Maid of the Mist boat cruise which takes passengers into the rapids immediately below the falls, an exciting experience for all ages. Lundy’s Lane is where the kids will want to head in this town as it offers activities such as bowling, arcades, mini-putt, haunted houses, laser tag and an indoor waterpark. Watch the fireworks over the falls during the summer, grab a bite to eat and wander alongside the impressive thundering falls.

North America’s Coolest Indoor Waterparks

Indoor water parks promise endless summer, a perfect getaway as the winter months are quickly coming. These water parks are only getting bigger and better, featuring huge wave pools, wild water slides, ziplines, arcades and even spas inside. From Niagara Falls, Canada all the way to Galveston, Texas we have rounded up 15 incredible indoor water parks across North America.

15. Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park -Erie, PA

This park is loaded with a ton of water slides and rides, along with a tropical colorful atmosphere that sets the stage for the perfect getaway during the long cold winter months. At just over 100,000 square feet, Splash Lagoon is full of exciting thrill rides for the adventurer. Among the unique features here are two bowl rides, The Cyclone which accommodates one and two rider tubes and Hurricane Hole, which sends you flying down at over 40 mph. Watch out for the tipping bucket on top of Tiki Tree House which dumps on unsuspecting riders on the The Cyclone. If you are looking for something a little more relaxing head on over to the Frog Pond Whirlpool where giant lily pads, tall amphibians and splashing fountains set the stage. A large arcade, mini-free fall ride and onsite restaurant compliment this awesome water park.

Photo by: Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park Resort
Photo by: Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park Resort

14. Schlitterbahn Indoor Water Park -Galveston, TX

Although this water park is an outdoor park most of the year, it actually transforms into an indoor park during the colder months and with over 70,000 feet of indoor play, it is one of the best in North America. With four tube slides, three speed slides, a heated pool, a man-made wave and a tidal wave river, there is no shortage of things to do here. The Torrent River is a favorite among visitors as it sends inner tubers along a quarter mile long, 20 foot wide wave filled river, twisting and turning riders throughout. Kids will love their own beach section that is full of tipping buckets, a beached boat, smaller slides and spraying jets. Although this indoor water park is one of the smaller on the list, it deserves recognition for the ability to change from an outdoor park to indoor park, and still offer amazing fun.

Photo by: Schlitterbahn Galveston
Photo by: Schlitterbahn Galveston

13. Palmetto and Palm Water Parks at Dunes Village Resort -Myrtle Beach, SC

There are actually two water parks located at the Dunes Village Resort in Myrtle Beach and guests to this resort get access to both. Palmetto caters to the younger guests with a 250-foot lazy river, a Kiddie Adventure pool with tons of spray features and a lagoon pool with basketball nets. Adults will also enjoy this park with two water slides and two hot tubs. Over at Palm Water Park there is something for everyone to enjoy including a lap pool, teen pool, three hot tubs and more. The Wild Winding Slide and Speed Slide are there for the more adventurous riders. Little ones will love the Silly Submarine, a water play structure that is loaded with spraying water features. The parks are open from 9am-11pm and while there are no lifeguards on duty, there are attendants at the top of each slide to ensure each rider descends safely.

Photo by: Dunes Village Resort
Photo by: Dunes Village Resort

12. Fallsview Indoor Waterpark -Niagara Falls, Canada

It boasts itself as the largest indoor water park in Niagara Falls and visitors will delight in the sheer number of thrilling water slides here. A total of 16 water slides make up this water park, along with a massive wave pool, adult-only whirlpools and a massive beach house play area. From extreme racing slides where riders will shoot down on mats to four different tube slides and one gigantic super bowl; there are enough slides to keep any adrenaline junkie happy. Planet Hollywood Beach Club is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat and is located on the main floor of the water park. Little ones can head to the Tiny Tots Splash Park where they can swim, splash and slide down kid-sized water slides. Don’t forget about the year-round outdoor sun deck which is heated in the winter and operates an outdoor pool in the warm months.

Photo by: Fallsview Indoor Waterpark
Photo by: Fallsview Indoor Waterpark

11. Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark -Boyne Falls, MI

Michigan’s largest indoor water park resort offers plenty of thrills and excitement for the whole family. Always at 84 degrees and open all year around it is easy to make your way here any time of the year, especially in the cold winter months when you are looking to escape the cold. One of the latest additions to this park is The Big Couloir, a water slide which begins in a capsule and shoots riders down a narrow tunnel into a super loop, with powerful g-forces keeping them glued to the sides the entire time. The lazy river on the other hand will lead riders throughout the park, while flowing water features hide around corners. The amazing 800-gallon water avalanche though is perhaps the highlight of this park and when the horn blows you will want to look out below! This climbing structure with its bridges, buckets, slides and climbing wall provides hours of endless fun.

Photo by: Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark
Photo by: Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark

10. Klondike Kavern at Wilderness Resort -Wisconsin Dells, WI

This indoor waterpark offers over 65,000 square feet of water fun for all ages. Guests to this water park rave about the famous Hurricane, a ride that sees riders whip down a 45-degree angle in a four person raft, scoot across a funnel at 20 mph, experience weightlessness and then drop into a splash pool. This ride is made even better with sound effects, fog and strobe lights. For those wanting a little less excitement, head over to the lazy river or the indoor hot spa. Little ones will love Bonanza Bluff, a huge structure that features over 50 squirt features and smaller slides, all situated in a shallow pool. A new ride is currently under construction here and promises to combine exciting water sliding with video game technology.

Photo by: Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort
Photo by: Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort

9. Chula Vista Resort -Wisconsin Dells, WI

Wisconsin Dells is known as the water park capital of the world and Chula Vista is among one of the best indoor water parks in all of North America, and perhaps even the world. The most loved attraction at this park is the Fly’n Mayan; an uphill water coaster that is designed to take riders throughout the park on an exhilarating ride. It prides itself on being on the longest and fastest uphill water coasters in the world! The Jungle Adventure complete with lights and sounds is also one of the famous rides here, a bowl ride that will leave you breathless. The never-ending tropical lazy river is great for relaxing while the oversize wading pool is perfect for little ones to splash around in.

Photo by: Chula Vista Resort
Photo by: Chula Vista Resort

8. Kahuna Laguna at the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort -North Conway, NH

It is New Hampshire’s largest indoor water park and features over 40,000 square feet of fun and excitement. This water park has gone all out to bring the tropics indoor and comes off more like a large tiki hut with its colorful decorations and faux palm leaves. There are only four water slides here, two tube slides and two body slides, totaling 900 feet in length, which means you will want to try them all out. The 67,000 gallon wave pool is one of the highlights of this water park, with three patterns of powerful three foot waves, perfect for those who want to body surf. The pool also features two waterfalls and is no more than five feet in depth. The Adventure Tower teems with slides, sprayers, rope bridges and one huge tipping bucket, which anyone of any age can enjoy. At the end of the day make sure to head over to the adult and kid 25-person hot tub that overlooks the entire water park.

Photo by: Kahuna Laguna Water Park
Photo by: Kahuna Laguna Water Park

7. Big Splash Adventure Indoor Waterpark -French Lick, IN

A retractable roof covers this awesome 40,000 square foot indoor water park, which means whether it is hot or cold outdoors, visitors here can enjoy this space any time of the year. With an abundance of pools, tube slides, body slides and over 50 interactive features; there won’t be any time to be bored. Favorite activities here include the Treasure Lagoon Vortex, a round pool with fun whirling water, as well as the Jolly Roger Jetty, a tube ride that takes riders through seven curves and can accommodate both single and double inner tubes. The Splish Splash Pool has been designed for the youngest of visitors, and they can choose to sit in the swings and bounce until their feet hit the water, or slide down the mini slide.

Photo by: Big Splash Adventure
Photo by: Big Splash Adventure

6. Wings & Waves at Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum -McMinnville, OR

This ultra-cool water park is both a water park and an educational experience, but don’t fear, kids won’t even know that they are actually learning because they will be having so much fun. The water park includes 10 water slides, 91,000 gallon wave pool and a Boeing 747 plane on the roof. Kids are encouraged to learn about water by building tsunami-proof models in the classrooms and then test them in the wave pool. A favorite of visitors here is climbing the 111 stairs up to the plane and then sliding down one of the four water slides, one of which drops a total of six stories. Aquaplay is a favorite among young visitors as the structure is loaded with smaller slides, water guns, spouts, valves and a 300 gallon firefighter bucket that drops on you. Trained and certified lifeguards are on duty at all times at this incredible and educational water park.

Photo by: Hydro Logic
Photo by: Hydro Logic

5. Water Park of America -Bloomington, MN

It is one of the biggest and the best water parks in all of North America, hence the name and it certainly doesn’t disappoint in terms of activities. It houses the tallest indoor water slide in all of America, stretching 100 feet into the air, along with a scenic and relaxing lazy river, indoor arcade and the Lake Superior Wave Pool. The 7th Floor Body Slides are among the favorites here as riders can race each other as they travel down twin body slides that actually go outside the building before a final splash. Friends and families should check out the Family Raft Ride, at over a mile long and 10 stories high, this ride offers tight turns, big splashes and lot of laughs. Learn how to body board, shoot a game of hoops in the pool or take the little ones to the zero depth activity pool where they can safely splash and slide.

Photo by: Water Park of America
Photo by: Water Park of America

4. World Waterpark, -West Edmonton Mall, Alberta

It is home to the world’s largest indoor wave pool and more than 17 unique water slides and play features. World Water park is also home to two high water slides, both 83 feet high, and favorites of all visitors. The Cyclone is perhaps the most well known water slide here as it is one of the most extreme slides in all of Canada, where riders enter into a capsule and fall straight down, into a gravity defying loop and ending up in a splashdown chute. The world’s largest permanent indoor zipline is also found here and riders will zip across the water park, over the wave pool and end up near the children’s play area. Speaking of the little ones, World Water park is home to an awesome kid’s area with plenty of water cannons, buckets, rope bridges, slides and pipes to play with.

Photo by: Pinterest
Photo by: Pinterest

3. Great Wolf Lodge -Niagara Falls, Canada

The fun never stops at Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls, especially at the indoor water park that offers thousands of square feet of non-stop fun. From tube rides that can fit the whole family to body slides to an uphill water coaster; the whole family will enjoy this park. The Rapids Run tows tube riders up and sends you plunging down a 15.8 meter vertical drop, along with zipping you through enclosed tunnels and around thrilling curves. An indoor wave pool, lazy river, a multitude of slides and specially designed play areas for the little ones makes this one awesome indoor water park.

Photo by: Great Wolf Lodge
Photo by: Great Wolf Lodge

2. Wild West at Wilderness Resort -Wisconsin Dells, WI

It is the largest indoor water park of four that is located at Wilderness Resort, spanning over 70,000 square feet. Thrill rides are the highlight of this water park, with The Black Hole being at the forefront. This thrilling slide has a huge descent followed by spins and turns, before dumping riders into the unknown. A 4-person raging raft ride provides plenty of laughs and thrills. The four-storey interactive play feature is loaded with body slides, water blasters, cannons and one gigantic tipping bucket! The indoor bumper boats are fun for the whole family where you can battle it out against both family members and other visitors. For a more relaxing activity, make sure to visit the indoor and outdoor hot springs.

Photo by: Wilderness Resort
Photo by: Wilderness Resort

1. Kalahari Water Park at Kalahari Resort -Sandusky, OH

It hails itself as being the largest indoor water park in all of America and at 173,000 square feet, we don’t doubt it is. Kalahari Resort is an African themed resort and throughout the water park this theme stays true with ride names such as Zig Zag Zebra, Cheetah Race and Crocodile Cove. A 920 feet lazy river runs throughout the park crossing through waterfalls and rapids while thrill seekers can head over to Zimbabwe Zipper where they can reach 40mph. A 12,000 square foot wave pool, kids only play area, tons of exhilarating water slides and indoor whirlpools all make up this awesome water park. An uphill water coaster ride and the two FlowRiders are among the most loved activities here. No matter what the weather outside is like; you can certainly play all day here.

Photo by: Kalahari Resorts
Photo by: Kalahari Resorts

10 Reasons To Road Trip Across Western Canada This Summer

Few things are more essential in the summer than rolled down windows, wind blown hair, long hot days, and the radio blasting in a car filled with friends. All the key ingredients for a summer roadtrip. Western Canada is a land of plenty; from jagged mountain tops and glacier fed waters, to gastronomic hubs and music festivals, time spent here eating, partying, hiking, and sightseeing will be a highlight.  So gather up your best buds, load up the car and hit the road for places that will ensure you have the time of your lives!

10. Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Calgary

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump: a historical site south of Calgary that offers you a glimpse into the lives of the indigenous people who helped shape Alberta’s heritage. This World Heritage Site gives you the chance to experience aboriginal culture at what is one of the best preserved buffalo jumps in the world; camp in a tipi, learn how to make drums and moccasins and explore the rich history and heritage on display at the interpretive museum.  Walk in their footsteps through the wind-blown prairie landscape and along the perilous cliff edges; here you can begin to understand an important part of Canada’s history.

Jeff Whyte / Shutterstock.com
Jeff Whyte / Shutterstock.com

9. Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

Moose Jaw is a city that will throw you for a loop in the most wonderful of ways. People who visit always leave surprised,  in awe of this small, unassuming, prairie town. Those who grew up near here will know Moose Jaw is famous for its tunnels and an underground maze rich in history with interactive adventure. Yet Moose Jaw has much more to offer its guests. The Temple Gardens Mineral Spa Resort is a world famous resort built over geothermal springs; come with your family, friends, yourself or significant other and enjoy a weekend filled with pampering and relaxation. Or, spend time wandering around the many shops and cafés on Moose Jaw’s historic Main Street!  Moose Jaw is much more than a drive-through town; come explore, wander and enjoy this humble and intriguing town in central Saskatchewan.

Moose Jaw

8. Drumheller, Alberta

When you are in Western Canada, you don’t have to go to the movies to walk among the dinosaurs; the Dinosaur National Park in Drumheller is home to some of the world’s oldest, most important, dinosaur excavations. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site because of its fossil discoveries, it’s hard not to be taken back 75 million years ago to when dinosaurs roamed the earth. And if you tire of the museum and the dinosaurs, the Red Deer River cuts right through the city of Drumheller and the badlands, lending to some amazing scenery and outdoor exploration possibilities. After that, be sure to follow the well-marked trail to discover the rich coal-mining history found here; climb the last wooden tipple in Canada, cross the suspension bridge in Rosedale and see the odd-yet-fascinating hoodoos that are said to watch over the people and protect the land.

Ronnie Chua / Shutterstock.com
Ronnie Chua / Shutterstock.com

7. Wood Buffalo National Park, Alberta & Northwest Territories

Places like Banff and Jasper are national landmarks, and for good reason; the beauty and sheer magnitude of the Rocky Mountains are bound to knock your breath away. But, straddling the border with the Northwest Territories, Wood Buffalo National Park is the largest national park in Canada, the second largest in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Incredibly, this park is the world’s largest dark-sky preserve, meaning there will never be a better spot to stargaze and witness the amazing Northern lights. This park isn’t completely isolated from civilization either; Fort Smith is a heritage town that plays host to many tourists who come for music festivals, history and world-class rapids. Wood Buffalo National Park is a wilderness and heritage experience found nowhere else in the world- come for the week and stay for the summer.

Wood Buffalo National Park

6. Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, Alberta & Saskatchewan

Straddling the border between Alberta and Saskatchewan, this unique and adventure-filled park truly is home to the land of the living skies. Spend the night camping under the stars, hike or bike the over 50km of trails, or just kick back and relax at the beach on Elkwater Lake. Ideal for birdwatchers and animal enthusiasts, this park has more than 220 species of birds and a plethora of other flora and fauna that call this vast ecosystem home. And since this park is the highest spot in the country next to the Canadian Rocky Mountains, it is sure to offer stunning views and unparalleled photo opportunities. Whatever’s on your summer must-do list –adventure, relaxation, introspection- this park, high in the prairies, has it all.

Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park

5. Salt Spring Island, British Columbia

Named one of the top 10 islands to visit in 2014 by Travel & Leisure, Vancouver Island is a Canadian icon. But Salt Spring Island, the best known of British Columbia’s Gulf Islands, is itself a paradise, and deserves not to be missed. People here have opted to slow down and really enjoy all of life’s pleasures. A mild climate means that the rich nature and outdoor activities can be enjoyed year round; hiking and golfing are popular here. This community is also invested in the culinary and arts scene; local produce, world-class accommodations and a variety of music and artisan craft stores have people invested in this easygoing island life.   

Salt Spring Island, BC

4. Penticton, British Columbia

Wine and festivals, outdoor adventure, arts and entertainment, romance, Penticton has it all. It is a place for couples, families, thrill-seekers and even food-enthusiasts. It sits in the Okanagan Valley, south of British Columbia on the shores of beautiful Skaha Lake. Due to its location, surrounded by lakes and highlands, Penticton has always been a draw for adventurists; with boating, rock climbing, and wind-surfing as some of the popular summer activities. But this city is also known for its arts scene, and with a focus on increasing its urban appeal with high class restaurants and events, more and more tourists will be flocking to the many symphonies, concerts, galleries and museums that make Penticton a city for everyone.

steve estvanik / Shutterstock.com
steve estvanik / Shutterstock.com

3. Edmonton, Alberta

Edmonton is often overshadowed by its neighbor to the south, Calgary. But it is emerging and becoming an international destination in its own right; in fact, National Geographic just listed it as one of 10 destinations to visit this summer. A gastronomic food scene, concentrating on local, farm-to-table cuisine, has Edmontonian foodies raving. Restaurants like the Three Boars Eatery and Meat offer locally inspired menus and craft beers, and places like DaDeO and Langano Skies take it’s guests on a culinary adventure from New Orleans to Ethiopia and everywhere in between. Also, Edmonton is world renowned for it’s many festivals and events held during the summer months; events like Folk Fest and K-Days bring in international tourists. Edmonton is buzzing right now, and you cannot help but be swept up in all of the excitement.

Edmonton

2. Kananaskis Country, Alberta

A horseback ride at sunrise followed by a canoe ride down the river and a campfire in the valley is a quintessentially perfect day in Kananaskis Country. This is cowboy country; where wild horses roam free and the stars shine bright.  A vast country spanning over 4000 square kilometers, this wonderland is only 45 minutes west of Calgary. Home to some of the country’s most prestigious golf courses, towering mountains, winding canyons and sprawling lakes, Kananaskis Country is a mecca for outdoor lovers and the perfect escape from city life. And if you can tear yourself away from the countryside, Canmore has plenty of local restaurants and craft shops; a perfect end to a satisfying day out on the trails.

Kananaskis Country, Alberta

1. Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta

Waterton Lakes National Park is the unspoilt, dramatic park located in the southwest corner of Alberta that is all at once a UNESCO World Heritage Site, an International Peace Park, a Biosphere Reserve and a place that is magically free of crowds.  As the smallest of the Canadian Rocky Mountain parks, this is a place where the prairies reach up to touch the mountains and the animals and humans roam together as one. If golfing is your thing, be sure to take a swing at the Waterton Lakes Golf Course; if you would rather, grab a kayak and swim in the crystal clear (but cold!) Cameron Lake. This is a place where the landscape is inspiring, the people are welcoming, and the adventure is plentiful – just be prepared to have this National Park steal your heart and keep you coming back year after year.

Waterton National Lakes Park, Alberta

Canada’s Top 15 Best Value Cities to Visit in 2015

A recent study by the popular hotel booking site Trivago, released the top 15 best value cities in all of Canada to visit in 2015. The study took the average price of a hotel room, combined it with the satisfaction of hotel guests and looked at everything there was to do in that city. What they found was 15 cities that boasted incredible value, amazing hotels and plenty of things to do whether you are looking for romance, family vacation or just an escape to a new city.

15. Toronto, ON

With the Pam Am games making its way to Toronto this summer, we were actually surprised to see this city still end up on the list as hotel prices in the city jumped. Luckily it seems that Toronto is home to enough hotels, rentals and other accommodations that the prices don’t seem as astronomical as one might think. With access to professional sports fields, the CN Tower, the new Ripley’s Aquarium, the five-star restaurants and festivals throughout the city; there is certainly no shortage of things to do. Public transportation got a facelift for the Pan Am games and getting around the city is cheap and easy. The average accommodation price per night in the city is $179 with lots of deals to be found online, making Toronto a perfect place to visit this year.

Toronto

14. Vancouver, BC

Vancouver is one of the most expensive places to live in Canada, but quite affordable if you just want to visit for a few days. With an average hotel price of $179, this city is a prime spot for tourists from all over the world. Summertime brings visitors who walk along the seawall, dine on delicious seafood and explore the nearby towns. One of the best times to head here is in the fall, when the hotel prices drop significantly, the leaves start changing color and the weather is still nice enough to enjoy the outdoors. Vancouver transit makes it easy to get around the city at a reasonable price and there are plenty of free activities for everyone to enjoy, including Stanley Park, walking the beaches, visiting the many art galleries and visiting Granville Island.

Vancouver from the Water

13. Ottawa, ON

The capital of Canada makes this list with an average price of accommodation being just $155 a night, a bargain considering more than 80% of travelers are happy with their hotel stays. Visiting Canada’s capital is something everyone should do as the city of Ottawa is full of history, excitement and spectacular architecture. The summer is the absolute best time to head here as the warm weather and festivities make the city feel alive and buzzing with excitement. It also happens to be when hotel prices are at its highest though. It is a good thing then that the city offers incredible value. Tour the parliament buildings for free, head over to the RCMP stables for a chance to look around and perhaps a musical performance if you are lucky or spend an afternoon at one of the city’s beaches. Ottawa is teeming with markets, bike paths, picturesque picnic areas and outdoor art throughout the city for you to enjoy.

Ottawa, Ontario

12. Calgary, AB

It is one of the most expensive places to live on this list but visiting here gets you good bang for your buck and promises an unforgettable vacation, minutes from the beautiful mountains. A hotel room in this city goes for an average of $172 a night and many travelers choose to make Calgary their home base while they explore the city and the surrounding mountains. Plan your vacation around one of the many free summer festivals and you won’t have to reach deep into your pockets to explore all this city has to offer. Besides festivals, visiting the numerous attractions here cost little to nothing, including one of the world’s largest indoor botanical gardens, the plethora of art galleries, shops and the free entertainment during the stampede. Ride a portion of the CTrain for free, grab an inflatable tube and float down the Bow River or simply explore the downtown area and all its charm.

Calgary, AB

11. Niagara Falls, ON

Niagara Falls is home to the most inexpensive average hotel room on this list, coming in at $112 a night. If you have never been to the Canadian side of the falls, there is no better time to visit than 2015. Besides getting an incredible deal on hotels, Niagara Falls is packed full of activities, many of which can be done at little cost. Cruise the streets down by the falls which are packed with wacky fun houses, arcades and rides that are lit up with flashing lights and sounds. Visit one of the casinos and try your luck at one of the many games or slots. Walking along the falls and watching the spectacular firework show that happens in the summer won’t cost you anything either. Surrounding this area also happens to be a large number of wineries that you can tour for free, with tastings only costing a few dollars.

Niagara Falls 1

10. Montréal, QC

The city of Montreal is a perfect getaway, whether you are looking for a romantic escape or heading there for the slew of incredible music festivals and culture. With an average nightly price for accommodation being $172, one can enjoy this city while not breaking the bank. Exploring the city is best done on foot, whether you are traversing the streets of Old Montreal, taking the Golden Square Mile tour or curbing your hunger in many of the city’s most appetizing attractions. Montreal is also loaded with opportunities to try something new for free, including outdoor yoga classes and ballroom dancing. The city teems with rooftop patios and sidewalk cafes; perfect for people watching and relaxing. Take in one of the many free concerts and performances that happen throughout the city year round and enjoy one of the finest cities in all of Canada.

Montreal Canada

9. Edmonton, AB

It may not be the first place you think of when you think vacation in Canada, but Edmonton has a lot to offer and at the average price of just $151 a night, you can’t go wrong heading to this city. If you are looking to explore the outdoors, Edmonton might be just right for you. The city is famous for its North Saskatchewan River Valley, which offers over 100 kilometers of recreational trails, wildlife viewing, city views and Canada’s largest historical park, Fort Edmonton Park. One thing to splurge on when visiting here is the West Edmonton Mall. It is the largest shopping and entertainment complex in North America complete with amusement park, artificial beach, indoor wave pool, casino, movie theatres and an indoor lake. If you happen to visit here in the winter, head outside the city away from the lights and look for the Northern Lights. They are often visible from December to March.

Ronnie Chua / Shutterstock.com
Ronnie Chua / Shutterstock.com

8. Québec-City, QC

It is one of the most romantic cities to visit in all of Canada and with an average room price of $161 a night; many couples choose to visit Quebec City anytime of the year. In the winter the city comes alive with Christmas lights, turning the historic part of the city into a true winter wonderland. In the summer, the cobblestone streets are full of tourists, outdoor cafes and festivals. There are many historic churches that boast incredible architecture, an impressive number of parks and green space and a plethora of boutiques and shops to discover. The cuisine in the city is incredible, the people are friendly and strolling through the walled city of Old Quebec anytime of the year promises to be absolutely charming. For free entertainment, one should head down to the boardwalk along the St. Lawrence that is always full of buskers and entertainers during the summers.

Quebec City

7. Victoria, BC

It is one of the most beautiful cities on this list if you are into stunning mountain views, ocean harbors, colorful houses and natural beauty. It also happens to be a bargain when you look at the average nightly price of accommodations only being $143. The city is full of things to do and see, whether you want to splurge and visit the famous Butchart Garden or the Royal BC Museum, or whether you are looking to stick within a budget. Strolling the causeway, home to breathtaking views of the water, parliament and skyline is a popular activity for both locals and tourists. It is here when you can snag a seat on the Harbour Ferry and discover floating restaurants, historic homes, classic yachts and shipyards during the 45-minute narrated tour. Between the parks, mountains, beaches and art; there is no shortage of things to discover in this city.

Victoria coast line

6. Mississauga, ON

If you want to be close to the city of Toronto but don’t want to shell out the money, Mississauga is the absolute perfect place to stay. With an average room price of just $123 a night, spending less on a hotel means more spending money in your pockets. Many vacationers choose to make Mississauga their home base and travel into the city to explore the many activities and sights that Toronto offers. If you are looking for things to do in Mississauga though; why not head to the parks in Port Credit or feel like a kid again at Playdium Arcade. Mississauga is also home to a wealth of restaurants featuring cuisine from all over the world and it pays to check them out heading into Toronto for a great meal. Whether you are staying here for the city itself or looking to spread your budget by staying outside of Toronto, Mississauga is a great value city.

Atomazul / Shutterstock.com
Atomazul / Shutterstock.com

5. Kelowna, BC

Kelowna’s location along the eastern shoreline of Okanagan Lake creates a diverse landscape where outdoor recreation thrives and people from all over the world flock to this incredibly beautiful city. The lake itself draws many tourists interested in boating, kayaking and swimming while the rolling terrain is great for hikers, golfers and bikers. In the wintertime skiers and snowboarders head to Big White Mountain. The plethora of outdoor sports is what makes this city so affordable to visit. Pack a picnic, grab your kayak rental and head out for the day. Perhaps strap on a pair of snowshoes and explore the region. Head out and visit the wineries where they offer free tours and cheap tastings. With an average nightly room price of just $140, Kelowna is the perfect natural outdoor getaway.

Kelowna BC

4. Winnipeg, MB

Winnipeg is a diverse city that combines breathtaking architecture with ample green space to create this unique backdrop for a vibrant city. Visitors here will find warehouses that have been converted to restaurants and shops, outdoor festivals and concerts and an abundance of art and culture. The city is home to over 1,100 restaurants and is known for its top notch food scene that is well-priced. One of the most popular things to do in this city is head to The Forks, a downtown area where the two rivers meet that is home to the market, artisan shops and interactive fun. With an average room price of $141 a night, this cultural melting pot beckons visitors from all over the globe. It is recommended you head here in the summertime because the winter here can be downright freezing cold!

Winnipeg, MB

3. Mont-Tremblant, QC

This city located in the Laurentian Mountains is most famously known for its ski resort located at the foot of Mont Tremblant Mountains. Winter sports enthusiasts flock here to downhill ski, snowboard, snowshoe, dog-sled and cross-country ski in some of the best snow in the country. But winter isn’t the only season that flourishes here. Summertime brings eco-adventures, hiking, canoeing, cycling and fishing with Lac Tremblant at the centre of most of these. An average room price in this city will run you $189 a night, keeping in mind that winters are the most expensive. Many of the hotels offer discounts if you book early in the season and work with the ski resort to combine lift tickets with hotel prices. Book early, pay once and enjoy this awesome destination, summer or winter.

Mount Tremblant

2. Kamloops, BC

Kamloops is a hidden treasure amongst the West coast of Canada and with a highly affordable average nightly room rate of just $119; it won’t stay hidden for long. Home to the 5th best golf course in Canada, one of BC’s biggest ski hills and an abundance of outdoors to explore; visiting Kamloops and sticking on budget is easy. Many of the activities and restaurants are lower priced than the surrounding areas such as Vancouver or Kelowna, making this city incredibly budget friendly. Popular activities include a visit to the BC Wildlife Park, a hike to the waterfall, a visit to the farmers market and taking in the largest cowboy festival in Canada. There are endless possibilities for winter or summer, making this the number two valued city in all of Canada.

Kamloops
Philip Bird LRPS CPAGB / Shutterstock.com

1. Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

It is the city with the most expensive average accommodation on this list at $203 a night, but seeing as Niagara-on-the-Lake is known as one of the prettiest towns in all of Canada; it comes as no surprise that it can be pricey. You won’t find high rise hotels here either; instead you will find historic homes, charming B&B’s and beautiful cottages that offer luxury amenities. This 19th-century village is home to award-winning restaurants and wineries and world-class theatre. Strolling the charming streets, touring the wineries and walking along the river won’t set you back anything. This romantic getaway is often visited by those looking for an intimate experience, complete with fine dining, great wines and cozy accommodations; which are exactly what they will find in the charming town.

Niagara On The Lake

Things to See and Do in Edmonton

Known as the “Gateway to the North”, and located on the North Saskatchewan River, Edmonton is the capital city of Alberta. The city has a population of more than 870,000 people making it Alberta’s second largest city. The city serves as a staging point for large-scale oil sands projects occurring in North Alberta and large-scale diamond mining in the Northwest Territories. It is home to North America’s largest mall, the West Edmonton Mall and plays host to a year-round slate of festivals such as The Works Art & Design Festival, the Edmonton International Street Performer’s Festival and K-Days, earning it the nickname “Canada’s Festival City”. It is also home to Canada’s largest living history museum called Fort Edmonton Park.

10. Edmonton International Fringe Festival

Held every August in Edmonton, the Edmonton International Fringe Festival is the oldest and largest fringe (arts) festival in North America. There are over 200 shows with more than 800 performers taking part in the festival each year. In 2014, there were over 210 shows with 1,600 performers and had more than 665,000 people in attendance. Old Strathcona which has a number of theaters and a number of other venues play host to the festival. The streets and alleys become filled with street performers and masked or costumed actors promoting their plays. The actors are not responsible for finding or running their own venues unlike the Edinburgh Festival. The Edmonton Fringe provides a venue, a set number of performances, two technicians, front-of-house and ticketing services, and general festival marketing for a nominal fee. The performers are chosen by a lottery each year and the entertainment is second-to-none. Some of the regular previous performers include Ken Brown, Rapid Fire Theatre, Die-Nasty, Panties Production and Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie to name but a few.

Street Performers

9. Edmonton Corn Maze

Now in its 15th year, the Edmonton Corn Maze is a popular attraction for all ages. Creating one of these mazes is no easy task either; the corn is planted in the middle of May, then in mid-June, the maze is cut into the field. If all goes well, the maze is open to the public by the end of July. By the middle of August, the corn has reached its maximum height. When the first frost comes (usually in September sometime), the corn turns brown. Then the corn is harvested in early November. The weekend after Thanksgiving weekend is the last weekend to visit the maze. Each year, a new mind-bending, challenging maze is unveiled. Those who venture into the maze should allow themselves at least an hour to find their way through since the maze is 5km of twists and turns and contains around 85 decision-making points. The correct path through, only takes about 30 minutes, but most people are not that directionally-gifted. If you decide to take the challenge, it may be a good idea to take the children with you. They are usually a little more energetic and can cover more of the wrong paths faster.

Corn Maze

8. Alberta Aviation Museum

Located at the former Edmonton City Centre Airport on the southwest side of the field, the Alberta Aviation Museum is open all year-round except for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. The museum’s hangar is the last remaining ‘double-double’ Second World War British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) hangar built of pre-cut timber from British Columbia Fir. They were originally built as single units, double units or double-double (containing 4 units). It is known in Edmonton as “The Hangar on Kingsway” and has been declared a municipal and provincial historic site. Living up to their nickname as “The Gateway to the North”, Edmonton’s Alberta Aviation Museum follows the history of the technological progress of aviation in the city as well as its importance to life and the economy there. You can tour on your own or take a guided tour through the museum and hear about as well as see the important historical exhibits. There are over 40 aircraft on display, over 50 display cabinets and exhibits, an aircraft restoration area, multi-screen flight simulators, and displays with personal artifacts of famous Canadian aviators. It’s a fascinating journey through aeronautic history.

Photo by: Alberta Aviation Museum
Photo by: Alberta Aviation Museum

7. Citadel Theatre

The Citadel Theatre is one of the largest non-profit performance theatres in North America and operates a year-round theatre school called the Robbins Academy. It contains five performance spaces: the Shoctor Theatre (proscenium stage), the MacLab Theatre (thrust stage), The Club (a cabaret-style venue known as the Rice Theatre), Zeidler Hall, the Lee Pavilion and the Tucker Amphitheater. An outreach performance series called “Beyond the Stage” is designed to attract people who have not had much exposure to theatre to the Citadel to experience a variety of forms of entertainment beyond conventional theatre offerings. This year marks their 50th anniversary so it promises to be a banner year for performances. Currently playing is “Avenue Q” starring both humans and their puppet counterparts in this hilarious parable about entering adulthood and all the issues that come with it. Perhaps an original musical would be more to your taste? “Measures” is based on the Shakespearean play “Measure for Measure” but is set in a modern international news network. Staged readings are also being offered by the Young Playwriting Company featuring professional and semi-professional actors reading the works of the members. Whatever your entertainment preference, the Citadel Theatre will have something to offer.

alarico / Shutterstock.com
alarico / Shutterstock.com

6. Edmonton Valley Zoo

The Edmonton Valley Zoo is a small zoo located in the heart of Edmonton and is open to the public 364 days a year closing only on Christmas Day. It is home to over 350 exotic and native animals and over 100 different species. The Inner Zoo, originally Storyland Valley Zoo contains a variety of animals in the summer like American white pelicans, capybara, emus, spider and squirrel monkeys, alpaca and North American river otters while in the winter the number is dramatically reduced (due to Edmonton’s frigid temperatures). Makira Outpost is home to the lemurs and features a large outdoor island they can access, outdoor and indoor enclosures and trees for them to climb. Carnivore Alley houses swift foxes, coatimundi, snow leopards and Amur tigers. Elephant House and Exhibit houses Lucy, an Asian elephant. Saito Center houses all the zoo’s primates as well as reptiles and other small animals. African Veldt houses addax, pygmy zebu cattle and Grevy’s zebras. Back Paddocks houses large hoofed animals like Bactrian camel, West Caucasian turs, guanacos, bighorn sheep and pony rides. Birds of Prey houses “non-releasable” raptors like the bald eagle, peregrine falcon and snowy owls. This zoo may be small but it offers lots to see and do.

Edmonton Valley Zoo

5. Art Gallery of Alberta

Located in downtown Edmonton, the Art Gallery of Alberta is a public art gallery with well over 6,000 pieces of art. You can find historical and contemporary paintings, sculptures, installation works, and photographs by both Canadian and international artists. The gallery contains permanent exhibitions as well as traveling exhibitions so you can visit several times and never see the same collection twice. Though there is a nominal fee to enter the gallery, you can participate in one of the public tours where you will be educated on the collections while someone guides you through the various collections. The gallery also offers talks and lectures, films, studio classes, yoga and more. If you have young ones and would like them to experience a little culture, the Art Gallery of Alberta offers “Tours for Tots” which includes gallery explorations, art-making, and story-telling which are designed to promote early childhood learning skills. With so much to offer, you won’t want to miss out on an afternoon of culture here.

alarico / Shutterstock.com
alarico / Shutterstock.com

4. Fort Edmonton Park

Fort Edmonton Park is the largest living history museum by area in Canada and includes original and rebuilt historical structures representing the history of Edmonton. Staffed by costumed historical interpreters, the park is made up of four sections each representing an era in history; 1846 is represented by the fort itself, followed by 1885 Street, 1905 Street and 1920 Street. Visitors to the fort can board a functional steam train which takes them through the park to the fort where they can then proceed on foot to see the sights and enjoy the park, or they can ride horse-drawn carriages, streetcars and automobiles from the appropriate eras. The 1846 Fort section features the York Boat, Rowand House, Men’s Quarters, Clerk’s Quarters, Indian House/Trade Store and Aboriginal Camp. 1885 Street which is the Settlement Era features a Covered Wagon, Jasper House Hotel, McDougall Methodist Church, North-West Mounted Police Outpost and the Ottewell Homestead. 1905 Street which is The Municipal Era features Tent City, Rutherford House and a Streetcar. 1920 Street, The Metropolitan Era features Blatchford Field Air Hangar, Hotel Selkirk, Mellon Farm, Al-Rashid Mosque and the 1920 Midway and Exhibition. Spend a day exploring Edmonton’s history while having fun.

Fort Edmonton Park

3. K-Days

Usually held near the end of July, K-Days formerly known as Klondike Days and Edmonton’s Capital Ex is an annual 10-day exhibition held in Edmonton. The festival attracts between 700,000 and 800,000 visitors and runs in conjunction with “A Taste of Edmonton”. It offers live music and entertainment, amusement rides, all kinds of food, shopping and fun for the entire family. This is an incredible event for the entire family and well worth planning your vacation around. You’ll see big stars perform live at the north or south stage (the musical entertainment promises to never disappoint), then you can check out the midway…which is just as it sounds. It’s a bundle of fun for everyone but only lasts a few days a year. The firework display will amaze you as the sky comes alive with colorful explosions in the evening. You can even pan for gold at Klondike Park where the Chilkoot Gold Mine recreates the gold panning experience and you get to take home anything you find. Enjoy the parade, the ribfest, the beer gardens or any of the other events just waiting for you to enjoy. It’s a great way to spend a few summer vacation days.

Tyler McKay / Shutterstock.com
Tyler McKay / Shutterstock.com

2. Castrol Raceway

Formerly known as “Capital City Raceway Park”, “Capital Raceway”, “Labatt Raceway”, and “Budweiser Motorsports Park”, Castrol Raceway is a multi-track auto racing facility in Edmonton. The clay oval was built in 1991 and the dragstrip opened in 1992. It features an IHRA-sanctioned 1/4 mile dragstrip with seating for 8,500 fans and a 3/8 mile clay oval track with seating for 4,500. There is also a pro motocross course track, a mini-sprint car track, and a 2.7 km road course still currently being developed. The MOPAR Rocky Mountain Nitro Jam Nationals, held at Castrol, is the largest and most attended IHRA event in North America. Other racing events hosted here include the Race of Champions, World of Outlaws Oil City Cup, Sprint Car Series, and the CSBK Superbike Championship resulting in the raceway becoming a nationally televised motorsport complex. The concessions offer a full menu for the entire family and there is a playground to keep children entertained between racing events. You can also visit a Merchandise Zone to buy some fantastic souvenirs before leaving the raceway. It offers great, adrenaline pumping action for the whole family.

Photo by: Castrol Raceway
Photo by: Castrol Raceway

1. West Edmonton Mall

The West Edmonton Mall, the largest mall in North America, covers 490,000 m2 (5,300,000 sq ft) and contains over 800 stores and services with parking for more than 20,000 vehicles. There are more than 24,000 people employed there and the mall attracts approximately 32.2 million visitors per year. Some of the major attractions in the mall are: Galaxyland, World Waterpark, Sea Life Caverns/Sea Lions Rock, Ice Palace, Professor WEM’s Adventure Golf, and Ed’s Recreation Centre. Galaxyland, formerly called “Fantasyland”, is the second-largest indoor amusement park in the world featuring 24 rides and attractions. World Waterpark is the world’s second-largest indoor waterpark and features the world’s largest indoor wave pool. Sea Life Caverns/Sea Lions Rock is an indoor lagoon containing a salt-water habitat for a sea lion and a replica of the Santa Maria. Ice Palace is a scaled down version of an NHL regulation sized ice rink where the Edmonton Oilers occasionally practiced. Professor WEM’s Adventure Golf is an 18-hole miniature golf course and Ed’s Recreation Centre is an entertainment complex with a bowling alley, arcade, music hall and restaurant. You haven’t had a real shopping experience until you’ve visited this mall.

Ronnie Chua / Shutterstock.com
Ronnie Chua / Shutterstock.com

10 Most Amazing Shopping Malls in the World

The average mall may simply be a place to do some shopping, grab a snack and catch a movie, but the malls on this list are anything but average. Each one offers a spectacular selection of shopping, entertainment and dining options. Containing indoor theme parks, zoos, science centers, ski trails, skating rinks, wave pools and more, these truly are the most amazing malls in the world.

1. West Edmonton Mall

This amazing mall has 800 stores, a variety of restaurants and food stands, themed areas, a haunted house, a 3-D fun house, the world’s largest indoor triple-loop roller coaster, an amusement park, a miniature golf course, the largest indoor water park in the world, night clubs, an indoor lake containing live sea lions, a petting zoo, a shooting range, a full-size replica of the Santa Maria, a hotel, cinemas, radio stations and more.

West Edmonton Mall

2. The Mall of America

This Minnesota shopping destination has 4.2 million square feet of retail space and contains more than 400 stores, a theme park, a wedding chapel, a comedy club, a cinema, an aquarium, a miniature golf course, a wedding chapel and flight simulators. It gets more visitors per year than any other mall in the world.

Mall of America
Tianxi Wang / Shutterstock.com

3. The Dubai Mall

This giant mall contains 1,200 retail stores and over a hundred restaurants in addition to a large selection of entertainment options. Some notable attractions include an indoor theme park, a children’s entertainment center, a large movie theater and the Dubai Aquarium and Discovery Centre.

The Dubai Mall
Sanchai Kumar / Shutterstock.com

4. SM Mall of Asia

Located in the Philippines, this mall has 4.2 million square feet of space. It has a great selection of stores and restaurants and a dizzying array of entertainment options. Some popular attractions include a multi-story IMAX screen, a skating rink and the Nido Fortified Science Discovery Center.

SM Mall of Asia
saiko3p / Shutterstock.com

5. The Mall of the Emirates

This Dubai attraction is an entertainment destination as well as a shopping center. With 6.5 million square feet of total space and 2.4 million square feet of retail space, it contains more than 450 stores, an indoor ski park, rides, games, a cinema, a large community theater, an art gallery and more.

The Mall of the Emirates
Sanchai Kumar / Shutterstock.com

6. The Galleria

One of Houston’s biggest tourist attractions, this shopping center attracts over 24 million visitors per year. In addition to a mix of upscale and moderately priced retail stores, the mall contains several restaurants, two large hotels, an indoor ice rink and a jogging track.

The Galleria
Pavel L Photo and Video / Shutterstock.com

7. Wafi Mall

Designed to look like an Egyptian pyramid, this Dubai mall has hieroglyphic-covered columns, a pyramid and a large statue of Ramses in its lavish courtyard. The mall contains several themed areas, a variety of retail shops, restaurants, a theme park, a luxury hotel, a petting zoo and other entertainment options.

Wafi Mall

8. Siam Paragon

Containing an opera hall, a movie theater, a luxury hotel, a bowling alley, an art gallery and the Siam Ocean World Aquarium in addition to a wide array of restaurants and stores, this Bangkok mall is one of the largest in Asia. Since its opening in 2005, the Siam Paragon has become a popular destination for tourists from around the world.

Siam Paragon
1000 Words / Shutterstock.com

9. The Ala Moana Shopping Center

This Honolulu landmark is the world’s largest open-air shopping mall. It has over 290 retail outlets and boasts one of the world’s largest food courts. It is also an entertainment destination since it contains one of the most popular public amphitheaters in Hawaii.

Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com
Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

10. Istanbul Cevahir

This large Istanbul mall boasts a huge glass roof and one of the largest clocks in the world. In addition to a variety of retail stores and restaurants, it has 12 cinemas, a roller coaster and other entertainment options to please guests who want a break from shopping and eating.

Istanbul Cevahir
1000 Words / Shutterstock.com

 

Canada’s 10 Most Scenic Road Trips

Canada has some of the most beautiful roadways in the world. Grab your car keys, rent an RV or hop on a motorcycle to explore the beautiful scenery of the Canadian wilderness, the cities, and the coastline. Here are the top ten scenic road trips in Canada.

1. Pelee Island, Ontario

A road trip that will have you mesmerized is a visit to Pelee Island, Ontario. Located on the southern tip of Canada, it’s the perfect place for nature lovers to congregate and enjoy the beauty of the wildlife of the area. As the seasons change, the wildlife fluctuates and the island plays host to different types of birds and butterflies.

Canada Road Trips - Pelee Island

2. Chatham-Kent Corridor

You may have never heard of the Chatham-Kent Corridor, but you’ll soon fall in love with this scenic region. Comprised of more than twenty-three small towns along the coastlines of the Thames River, Lake St. Clair and Lake Eerie, it’s quickly becoming one of the most popular places for cruisers and motorcyclists alike to visit. Highway 3 extends all the way down the multiple lake shorelines, weaving through the many historical sights in the area, such as the route for the famous historical Underground Railroad and the pathways used by British loyalists during the War of 1812.

Canada Road Trips 2

3. Edmonton

Edmonton is probably one of the better-known scenic spots in Canada, but that doesn’t mean it’s overrated. Far from it! Edmonton offers some of the most stunning natural beauty in the country. There are two UNESCO World Heritage Parks to visit in Edmonton, as well as Jasper National Park and the National Park from Calgary. You can glimpse special sneak peeks of glaciers, lakes, waterfalls, mountains, forests, wildlife and so much more. Just a few hours away, you can visit the urban landscaping of the city, reached after a drive across a wide, open highway through golden prairie lands.

Canada Road Trips 3

4. Sea to Sky Highway (Squamish to Whistler, British Columbia)

Take a drive from Vancouver to Whistler and experience the beauty of the mountainous coastline of British Columbia. Make sure you stop by the many rest stops and turnouts along the road. Many of them hide true tourist treasures, such as the Tantalus Range Lookout, Shannon Falls and Watershed Grill.

Canada Road Trips 4

5. Kelowna, British Columbia

Looking for something outside the norm? Kelowna is known for its many wineries and upscale cuisines. A road trip through this flavorful countryside might be just what you’ve been waiting for. Visit Arlo’s Honey Farm, the Tantalus Vineyards, the famed Wild Apple Restaurant, the Okanagen Lavender and Herb Farm, and so much more!

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6. Stratford, Ontario

Entertainment is the name of the game in Stratford, Ontario. If you’re looking for a road trip with a little pizazz, check out the Stratford Summer Music Festival and the local theatre festival held in the city every year.

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7. Eastern Townships, Quebec

Seclusion, nature, and quaint French-style bed and breakfasts await travelers of the Easter Townships route. Gourmet restaurants, isolated wineries, even a Benedictine monastery can be found in this peaceful community.

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8. Calgary to Lake Louise

It will take you a few hours to travel the highway that winds from Calgary to Lake Louise, but there are plenty of places to stop and rest. The stunning views of the Columbia Ice fields and Sulphur Mountain make it all worth it.

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9. The Cabot Trail

If golfing, hiking, kayaking, swimming, scuba diving, camping or horseback riding sound appealing to you, check out the Cabot Trail. It winds along Cape Breton Island, giving visitors access to some of Canada’s most diverse coastline.

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10. Vancouver to Tofino

This is where you’ll find the famous Pacific Rim Highway. Everything from cold mountains to temperate rainforests can be found here. A surfing hotspot along the highway is Ucluelet, and don’t forget to visit the Coombs Country Market or Cathedral Grove.

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