My toddler's enthusiasm for practically everything makes planning fun activities very easy. We've ridden a steam train, held wriggling bugs and met lots of fuzzy farm animals. I also like watching him 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 watch piggy races, climb the spider-web rope gym, ride the barrel train a bunch (trains are a very big deal at our house) and slide down again and again on the giant barn slides.
Last summer, we visited the Devonian Botanical 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. Tip: the best place for a game of tag is the Primula Dell, a tree-lined hollow off the main path.
Things that Go
Some of my son's first words were buffer, funnel and coupling rod, so a ride on a real steamie was at the top of our list. We still reminisce about our Alberta Prairie Railway Excursion - chuffing cheerfully 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, we were the things that went fast! While the grown-ups flew down the Kamikaze, the little ones took a twisty turn on the river ride with Grandma. And at Red Deer's Discovery Canyon, we've splashed away many hot afternoons lazily navigating the shallow creek on our rented tubes.
In the Olden Days
After examining the Viking boat at the Danish Canadian Museum 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.