My kids are not allowed to utter the dreaded words “I am bored”, there is so much to do here. It doesn’t have to cost you a fortune to avoid the boredom plight. There are days my kids couldn’t be happier running around in the back garden or at a local park – costs me nothing and it fills their minds with happy memories of their childhood. Listed below are some of the things we have done to date or plan to do in August:
Have yourself an Aqua Afternoon (or day!)
Recently we did just this. It wasn’t the singing in the rain variety but the purchasing of a family pass for Millennium Place Recreation Centre in Sherwood Park in the morning and then off to Rundle Park for some Paddle boating in the afternoon.
Millennium Place Recreation has family change rooms, lockers, lifejackets and so many toys and floatables to take with you in the water. There is a cool wave pool and also a winding river which my kids love. The pass allows you to use the Edu-tainment centre which is also a great space and lets the kids run off that excess energy. There is a big food court so you can either bring your own supplies or purchase – whatever your pleasure is. Terwilliger Recreation centre is akin to Millennium so pick which is closest to you.
We are a family who don’t sit still so later that day we headed over to Rundle Park for some paddle boating. This was so much fun. You can hire the boats for intervals of either 20 or 40 minutes. It is a small lake so really 20 minutes is sufficient. I had not paddle-boated before so for the first 60 seconds I literally went around in circles, I then got the jist of this technical contraption and ahoy we were surging through the waters to the surprise of the dodging ducks. Five minutes into our experience, Jamie (4) says “I need to go pee”, I had asked him whether he needed to before hopping on the boat. Typical. Learn from my mistakes!
Picnic and Play at Elk Island National Park
Located about 20 minutes east of Sherwood Park, Elk Island National Park is a great way to spend a day, or if you like camping- a weekend. What will you find there? Trails, lakes and wildlife galore. As you enter the park there is a Bison Loop road, if it is empty, don’t fret the chances of you seeing Bison further into the park are high. Typically we go to Astotin Lake which is a further 20 minutes into the park. There is a golf course, amphitheatre, and playground and of course a Lake located here. There are picnic benches or you can throw a picnic blanket on the ground and eat your gastronomical delights off it. I recently went here with friends and after the kids were finishing eating they played with sand toys by the lake whilst Mom’s had a catch up. The playground and amphitheatre are close by and our kids probably spent another hour playing in the delights of this wooden structure. The amphitheatre runs shows, I saw one last year about the Bison but I couldn’t stay the entire time as my children couldn’t sit still for more than five minutes as is pretty common for this age group. If there is a decent breeze, throw a kite in your car. We did and had so much fun. My husband let go by accident and watching him chasing a kite in Elk Island – a memory I never want to lose. Priceless and extremely funny. Watching the sun set over Lake Astotin is another very beautiful memory I have. Get into your car and go…..! You will find admission prices on their website.
Why not spend the day at West Edmonton Mall? You could spend all day on the 24 plus rides in Galaxyland, the world’s largest indoor amusement park. I brought visiting family there two years ago and I was playing the part of hip cool Aunty and I failed. I lay ashen on the floor beside a ride – true story! Alternatively you could spend the day at World Waterpark. This place exudes fun, it boasts the world’s largest indoor wave pool and it has more than 17 unique waterslides and play features. We’ve been a couple of times and our kids LOVE it. If this doesn’t float your boat, you could head to the Sea Life caverns to get up close and personal with some cool marine life. It is an underground aquarium that is home to more than 100 species of fish, sharks, sea turtles, penguins and reptiles. You could take in a Sea Lion show. We have paid to see the show but we have also watched from the sidelines too. It’s a great experience for the kids. If this isn’t enough you could try out Professor WEM’s adventure golf, a challenging 18 hole miniature golf course which is fun for kids of all ages. I know I am going to visit this summer, why don’t you?
What kid doesn’t love a spray park? Happy heaven to these little people of ours. We are fortunate to have a new Spray Park in Sherwood Park located beside the Kinsmen Leisure Centre. It opened at the beginning of July and everyone is loving it. Broadmoor Lake lies right in front of it, a very picturesque sight. I have three small kids so I need my hubby with me as keeping track of this age group is too much for one individual in my opinion.
Recently we took the kids to Jackie Parker Spray-Park just off 50TH street which was really enjoyable. Pack an umbrella for shade and some foldable chairs for here. It is a very open space. There are a number of different play sections beside each other, if you have a group of kids, I would suggest they are all told to stay in one section together and then move on together. It is busy and large and you don’t want to lose anybody!!!
It’s free and they love them and this city is full of them. I come from Dublin Ireland where we have the opposite scenario, there are not enough of them. There are playgrounds everywhere here and all you have to do to spice things up is try out a new one. Often we walk to a local playground, my daughter cycles and the boys hop in the wagon whereby I pull about 100lbs in weight. I never bothered with a gym membership, my kids give me enough of a work out. Sometimes we will take a different trail to keep it interesting. Really all they care about is playing and making new friends. My daughter Laura-Leigh (5) is not in the park three minutes before she has identified a “New BFF” and she asks “Can I play with you?” Too sweet.
Jurassic Forest & Learning Centre
We brought our kids last summer and they loved it. Meander down the discovery trails and meet an impressive selection of massive and majestic dinosaurs. The kids will enjoy digging for dinosaur bones, playing in the playground and even taking a ride on a dinosaur. It will be a fun and educational day for all.
Telus World of Science
This is a great way to spend a day. It is a very impressive place. Their ethos is to inspire life-long learning through the creation of a positive science and technology culture. Sticking with the dinosaur theme, the science centre is currently running a “Dinosaurs unearthed” exhibit which we will definitely be taking our kids to. Additionally it is home to a planetarium but also an IMAX Theatre. We went to see a feature on Polar Bears a couple of years back and managed to maintain the attention of three little ones. There is a fabulous play area, my kids love it there. They can hop on board a plane, built a skyscraper or get wet!!! Endless options.
On a Sunny day why not get yourselves to Whyte Ave. and then take the High Level bridge streetcar to the legislature grounds where you can cool down in the fountains in front of the building. Perfect trip for a summer’s day. Don’t forget your sunscreen and towels!
Edmonton Valley Zoo
Honestly when we moved here in 2011 and we brought our kids to the Zoo I was very disappointed. I was going to ask for my money back. Credit where credit is due it has greatly improved and we really enjoy going there now and it is only getting better. You can buy a single visit or annual pass. We bought an annual pass this year. Not only do you get to see an array of interesting animals, you can take a train ride, paddle boat or my kids favourite the merry-go-round. It’s a great way to spend the day and they get to learn something too. My youngest Ryan (2) is the Dr. Doolittle of the family so he loves the farm section. It is hilarious watching him chatting to the animals.
Fort Edmonton Park
Do you feel everything nowadays is too fast paced? Take a step back in time so and spend a day at Fort Edmonton. We go once a year and we all LOVE it. It is a great day out. It is pricey but it is worth the cost. You have options galore - Hop on a train which takes you around the park itself, hop on a street car, take a wagon or pony ride. You must not leave without paying a visit to the Capitol Theatre where you can watch their 4D short film “Northern Light”, a very emotional piece. Speak to the many costume characters who are only too happy to tell you about their lives way back when. The park is divided into four distinctive era’s so allocate a day to really get a flavour for this gem of an attraction. Drop in to Kelly’s Saloon or Hotel Selkirk, the list of things to do continues. Put this on your list. It is a must see and everyone will have a blast, guaranteed.
Jan Janzen Nature Centre
Located beside Fort Edmonton you will find the John Janzen Nature Centre. There are programs, events and exhibits designed to promote awareness and engagement with nature in an urban setting. There is a cool little indoor play area for the kids too.
Edmonton City and its surrounds has ample attractions for you to pass a summers day. You can purchase an Edmonton Attractions Pass online at edmontonattractions.com, this pass allows you to enjoy many of Edmonton’s best attractions for one low price. You have the choice to purchase the ultimate pass (covers all listed attractions) or the U-pick pass (you select four attractions you would like to visit).
As I always say never a dull moment and keep sane and if you keep the little ones busy you will be sure to have memorable moments with your sanity intact.
Enjoy your summer.