Coming up with entertaining options for the kids during summer holidays means accessing my creativity genes on a regular basis. Happily, there are plenty of day trips in the Edmonton area that are bound to please. Places like Sturgeon County, for instance, just north of the city.
It’s easy to spend a whole day at Jurassic Forest, just a half hour drive north of Edmonton. Your little dino fans will love the guided safari along a winding boardwalk where huge dinosaurs growl in the old growth forest. From the duck-billed Edmontosaurus to the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex, you’ll be surprised at just how realistic the 50 life sized animatronic residents are. You’ll find modern creatures here as well, including flying squirrels and a resident moose. My boys are eager to try the scavenger hunt where you search for clues to identify more than 20 species roaming the 40-acre park. The adventure play area keeps learning fun and experiential for aspiring dino hunters. It’s hungry work so bring a picnic lunch and then you’ll be reenergized to hunt for relics at the palaeontological dig site.
Prairie Gardens & Adventure Farm
We started taking the kids to Prairie Gardens when they were just five and seven years old. On the first trip, the petting zoo and the Pirate’s Cove Kids Zone were tops. Later, shooting pumpkins from a cannon at a pirate ship won the day. And since we’re all big fans of sweet Alberta corn, we make a point of coming to the annual corn fest over the Labour Day holiday weekend at the beginning of September, where we can get our fill of all things corn – from the giant corn mazes that cover several acres to mouth-watering hot fresh corn on the cob. And of course we have to pick some to take home. Just 40 minutes north of Edmonton near Bon Accord.
Sandhill Natural Area
East of Redwater, near the North Saskatchewan River, is one of our favourite places in Sturgeon County for the men in my family. Now that our boys are old enough, their dad brings along the ATVs and they have a blast in the Redwater Provincial Recreation Area, exploring the rolling sand hills in one of the largest dune fields in the area.
Ranch and Farm Tours
Sturgeon County is brimming with interesting and unusual farms and ranches to visit. Take a tour of McLeod Creek – a busy working farm that breeds and raises Shetland Ponies. Be sure to stop by the petting zoo for close encounters with ponies, donkeys, cows, sheep, goats, ducks, horses and llamas. Our kids love running, jumping and rolling around on the farm’s seven acre sand quarry as well. There are also Alpaca breeders like Alberta Rose Alpacas and miniature horse farms. In the food department, look for U-Pick berry farms as well as bison and elk ranches with gate sales – drive up and buy fresh from the source.