It can be challenging to travel with young children, but I’ve discovered that there’s no need to put away your wanderlust when you become a parent. My toddler's enthusiasm for practically everything makes planning fun daytrips very easy. One of our favourite Canadian family travel destinations is central Alberta where we've ridden a steam train, held wriggling bugs and met lots of fuzzy farm animals. The best part is watching my little boy sleep on the way home. Here are some ways to amaze - and wear out - your kids in central Alberta.
Bugs, Birds and Other Creatures
My little guy loves all kinds of animals, so whenever we're in Red Deer we stop by the Kerry Wood Nature Centre to meet a local critter and learn all about how it lives. Then we go for a trot around the lakes looking for birds, bugs and other creatures.
At the Kraay Family Farm in Lacombe, we greet the goats, sheep and chickens and then have about 50 other things to do too. We walk through a corn maze, watch piggy races, climb the spider-web rope gym, ride the barrel train a bunch and slide down again and again on the giant barn slides.
Last summer, we visited the Devonian Botanic Garden (30 mins SW of Edmonton) on Butterfly Day and it was buzzing with kids dressed up like bees, butterflies and ladybugs. We ran around the gardens, made crafts and learned about bugs.
Things that Go
Toy trains are a big deal at our house, so a ride on a real steam train was at the top of our list. We still reminisce about our Alberta Prairie Railway Excursion across the countryside, the fudge store at Big Valley's boomtown-style boardwalk and climbing up a caboose at the railway museum.
At Sylvan Lake's Wild Rapids Waterslide Park, my little guy took a twisty turn on the river ride with Grandma and splashed it up in the kiddie’s water play area. At Red Deer's Discovery Canyon, we've splashed away many hot afternoons lazily navigating the shallow creek on our rented tubes.
Step Back in Time
After examining the Viking boat at the Danish Canadian National Museum and Gardens in Dickson, we ran around looking for all the fairy tale characters in the Children's Garden of Imagination. Hint: look for the little mermaid by the lake.
At Red Deer's oldest farm, the Sunnybrook Farm Museum, we learned all about pioneer life. We took a wagon ride, explored the old blacksmith shop and met the farm's bunnies and cute fuzzy pony.