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.

7 Awesome Things to do with Kids in Oregon

Oregon is truly a visitor’s paradise, offering an abundance of things to see and do. But its not just grownups who have a great time in this state. There are a plethora of fun things for kids too, and we aren’t just talking your typical science centers and zoos. The state of Oregon encourages you to get outdoors with its towering ski hills, outdoor adventure centers, national parks and outdoor markets. You won’t find the kids telling you they are bored with any one of these 7 awesome things to do in Oregon.

7. Ski at Mt. Bachelor

Central Oregon’s most eligible ski gem Mt. Bachelor rises impressively over the high desert’s lava beds and pine forests. It hosts the highest-elevation ski runs in Oregon at just over 9,0000 feet and features 88 runs, seven high-speed quad lifts and a host of other activities that cater to the entire family. There are daily lessons to sign the kids up for, as well as adult lessons for the grownups.

If the kiddos don’t feel like strapping on the skies or snowboard, why not head over to the Snowblast Tubing Hill where kids and adults can slide down the 800ft hill. There are also free interpretive tours with a forest service naturalist on snowshoes. For something a little different why not head over to Oregon Trail of Dreams, a company offering winter sled dog rides. In the summertime Mt. Bachelor offers kids bike camps, disc golf, scenic chairlift rides and hiking.

6. Explore Crater Lake National Park

Traveling to Crater Lake National Park with kids is one serious volcano adventure that will thrill both the kids and the adults. The color of the water will surprise you, as it shines a brilliant blue, due to the fact that no streams flow into it and there is no sediment or other things to cloud the water. Head to the Rim Village Visitors Center where the kids can grab Junior Ranger booklets and check out the junior ranger activities that happen throughout the day.

Take the Rim Drive which offers many different outlooks as it loops around the lake, just make sure not to stop at every outlook as the kids will get bored. The two-hour boat trip around the lake is the perfect activity for kids, as they will learn about the different formations and history of the lake, or head to Cleetwood Cove which has access to the Lake, just beware the water is cold!

5. Play at Cannon Beach

This beautiful beach is known as the gem of the Oregon Coast, beckoning visitors from all over the world, along with a slew of locals who come to play here. The massive beach is a total of nine miles long and provides visitors with views of the Pacific Ocean and incredible sea stacks, including the iconic 235-ft. Haystack Rock. Cannon Beach is also full of tide pools featuring crabs, sea stars and other fascinating specimens.

Bonfires are popular amongst locals and visitors when the sun starts to fade and it’s an epic spot to watch a colorful sunset. In the sleepy town of Cannon Beach, visitors will find a handful of restaurants, galleries, cafes and a quaint small town feel.

4. Shop at the Portland Saturday Market

Head to the beautiful city of Portland where craft beer flows freely and the people are friendly. But there is more than that here in this wonderful city, including a plethora of awesome things to do with the kids. Besides the typical playgrounds and child-friendly activities, the Portland Saturday Market offers families the perfect outdoor outing. It is the largest continuously operated outdoor market in the United States.

This outdoor arts and craft markets are packed full of street entertainers, magicians and plenty of food trucks. Kids activities vary from week to week but include things like visitors from the Oregon Zoo, face painting, a puppet theatre and more. The main stage features a variety of local musicians and entertainers each week.

3. Explore Mt. Hood

There is endless fun for kids in the Mt. Hood area whether you are heading here in the winter or summer. Summertime brings free fishing clinics and guided hikes in the Mt. Hood National Forest, along with thousands of miles of hiking trails, with plenty of them family-friendly. Trillium and Frog Lake are the perfect canoe or kayak destinations and there are plenty of shops that offer rentals to visitors.

The Mt. Hood Adventure Park is open both summer and wintertime and provides endless hours of fun for all ages. In the wintertime plan on the kids sliding down the hills on tubes, riding kiddie sized snowmobiles, and an indoor heated play zone. In the summertime at this resort kids will have a blast mountain biking, bungee trampoline jumping, mini-golfing, rock climbing and more.

2. Visit Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

This 32,000-acre wonderland was created by ocean currents mixing with powerful winds, turning this landscape into more sandy hills and valleys then you can ever imagine. It is the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America and there is no place like it on earth. Wind-sculpted dunes tower over 500-feet above sea level and provide a playground like no other.

Thousands come to drive these sands, whether on a motorcycle, quad 4X4 or sand rail. There are numerous rental shops in the area in case you don’t happen to have your own off-road vehicle. Besides whipping across the dunes, there are a plethora of other activities here such as hiking, fishing, canoeing, horseback riding, and camping. With over 30 lakes, ponds and streams and some awesome coastal forest to explore, get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air.

1. Whitewater Raft on the Deschutes River

There are plenty of outdoor adventures to be had in Oregon, especially when it comes to the town of Bend. From this town, families can book an exciting whitewater rafting excursion on the Deschutes River. Sun Country Tours have been running whitewater rafting excursions since 1978 and offer a number of family-friendly rides.

The Big Eddy Thriller is a favorite amongst families as the little ones don’t even have to paddle! Splashing through rapids that range form class I to class III, there is plenty of float time in-between for little ones to catch their breath. You will get all the gear you need, experienced guides, life vests and one heck of a good time!

7 Small Alberta Towns with Big Appeal

Alberta; a province teeming with mountains, valleys, prairies, and lakes is bursting with incredible small towns with big appeal. Escape the hustle and bustle of the capital city and get out and explore some of the smaller surrounding towns which offer friendly people, amazing recreation opportunities, and fascinating history. From a UNESCO Heritage Site to a bilingual community, there is something special and unique about all these towns. Whether you are there to visit or to live; these 7 Small Alberta towns have big appeal.

7. Canmore, AB

Boasting a population of just over 13,000 this small mountain town in Alberta features young, energetic, diverse and well-educated people. If you are looking for outdoor enjoyment this town is certainly for you as activities range from hiking to mountain biking to kayaking to skiing in the winter months. All in all the city is home to five different ski resorts and over 71km’s of hiking trails within the city limits.

Artists and photographers flock to this town for inspiration and recreation and tourism are the major economic drivers. Many residents who live here actually work in the neighboring community of Banff, which is a tourism hot spot all year round. Canmore, although popular with tourists offers a more laid-back lifestyle, with a strong sense of community, incredible mountain views and plenty of work available.

6. Legal, AB

This satellite community is located just 50km north of Edmonton and offers a clean and peaceful living environment for all of its residents, especially if you happen to speak French. Originally settled as a francophone settlement the town is still bilingual and the surrounding farms and landscape make this a beautiful place to live. It is known as the French Mural Capital of Canada, featuring 28 colorful murals around town and combined with extremely low crime and clean streets, it is easy to see the appeal here.

The center of town is where the community really gets together, Citadel Park, a 12-acre area features an indoor arena, curling rink, baseball diamonds, and playgrounds. Everywhere the community holds a festival called Fete Au Village, which brings the community together and celebrates its French culture.

Via ReadersDigest

5. Camrose, AB

This town began when one man brought a wagon load of lumber to the area and built the first store, in what is now downtown Camrose. From there more buildings and houses were erected, 40 of them which still stand in the historic downtown. With a population nearing 20,000 there is plenty of unique dining and shopping areas in this town. Residents here range from history buffs to artists to everything in between and although this city is home to almost 20,000 people it still retains its small-town feel.

That may be due largely in part to extensive park and trail system that the community has developed. One would be hard-pressed to find another small town that boasts as many parks as this one including a wonderful trail that leads you to the beautiful Mirror Lake. Playgrounds, arenas, skate parks, great schools and great people make this town appealing to everyone.

Via TheWeatherNetwork

4. Lacombe, AB

With a population of just under 12,000 residents, Lacombe is a town located just 25km’s from Red Deer. The town is set in the rolling parklands of Alberta, with the Rocky Mountain foothills to the west and the prairies to the east. It also happens to be one of the most fertile valleys in the area which both locals and visitors can take advantage of. Expect to see an abundance of “pick your own” farms here that feature local fresh produce including berries, tomatoes, cucumbers and more.

Perhaps even more popular are the excellent farmer’s markets located throughout. This sleepy little town offers its share of modern amenities as well including a recreation center, aquatic center, and arena. If campgrounds, hiking trails, and parks are what you are after, Lacombe offers that too. A strong community, a beautiful landscape and a slow down pace of life are what you will find in the small Alberta town.

Via Century21

3. Slave Lake, AB

At the southeastern tip of Lesser Slave Lake lies a town of just under 8,000 residents. The Town of Slave Lake runs at a much slower pace than most towns in this province but offers lots of appeal for both residents and visitors. It is here where just steps away are the white sand beaches of Devonshire Beach, the lush boreal forests and Marten Mountain Viewpoint.

The region offers numerous outdoor activities all year round including hiking, camping, fishing, boating, ice fishing and off-roading. This town is slowly growing in tourism, creating jobs for residents and superior dining and accommodation choices. With breathtaking scenery, plenty of job opportunities and just 2.5 hours away from Edmonton, this small town truly offers it all. The small town also happens to be a great place to view the aurora borealis (Northen Lights).

2. Pincher Creek, AB

Welcome to the town of Picher Creek, population just under 4,000 and full of incredible scenery including mountains, water, and valleys. This electric small town begs you to swap out your pumps for a pair of cowboy boots, trade in your small fuel efficient car for a pickup truck and makes you forget something called Starbucks even exists.

What it offers instead is a charming small town lifestyle, full of friendly people, great dining options, flower baskets scattered throughout town and endless fresh air. There is no shortage of recreational opportunities and taking advantage of the gusty winds you can find pleasure in kite flying, boating, hunting, water skiing and more. This is a town where everyone will soon know your name, wildlife will stroll down the streets, barn dances happen weekly and the community is strong and like-minded.

1. Fort Macleod

This town is certainly not your average small prairie town, although with a population under 4,000; it at first seems just like one. History is at the forefront of this town and walking down the main street you will find yourself surrounded by significant Western Canadian history that dates back to the 1880’s. It has actually been designated as one of Alberta’s historic sites and just nearby a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is one of the oldest and largest preserved buffalo jumps in North America.

Alberta’s oldest theatre is housed in the town, the River Valley Wilderness Park offers trails and playgrounds and the town is home to an awesome recreation center. Only an hour east of the Canadian Rockies, this small town hosts visitors from all over the province year round, yet still remains true to its small-town roots.