They say great things come in small packages. Prince Edward Island, Canada's smallest province, proves this to be true. Surrounded by red sandstone cliffs and beaches, and home to children's favourites Anne of Green Gables, Emily of New Moon and Road to Avonlea (not to mention all the friendly Islander hospitality the province is known for), P.E.I. is an ideal family destination. To help you plan your next vacation, we've highlighted some fun and educational (shh, don't tell the kids) attractions from across the Island.
Prince Edward Island Potato Museum, O'Leary
Gain some perspective on the thriving potato industry in P.E.I. The Potato Museum, surrounded by potato fields, has the largest exhibit of potato artifacts in the world and houses a significant collection of farm implements and machinery related to the growing and harvesting of the popular root vegetable. One you've had your fill of spuds, check out other attractions around the complex such as the Heritage Chapel, the Log Barn and the Little Red Schoolhouse. Don't those French fries taste better now that you know where they came from?
Where to stay: Learn about local folklore from the proprietors of Stewart Memorial House Bed & Breakfast.
Founders' Hall, Charlottetown
In 1864, delegates to the Charlottetown Conference arrived at the Charlottetown waterfront onboard the HMCS Queen Victoria. The same sight is now Founders' Hall -- Canada's Birthplace Pavilion, a heritage attraction that offers a fun, interactive way to learn about Canada. Check out innovative displays about the country's history, along with on-screen games, special headsets, a theatre and holo-visuals to make the day so entertaining, the kids will barely realize how much they're learning.
Where to stay: Keep the historic theme going by staying at Dawson House, former home of the late Premier Joseph Ghiz, or situate yourselves in the middle of the action at the historic Rodd Charlottetown.
The Confederation Trail, Tignish
P.E.I.'s tip-to-tip trail, which was developed on abandoned railway lines, meanders through wetlands and hardwood groves and along sparkling rivers. Start at the beginning, in Tignish, where the flat trail is easy to negotiate on foot or by bicycle. The brightly coloured gates guide your way and mark stopping points where you can eat, rest and shop. Take a longer trek or just pack a picnic and spend a day exploring -- there's plenty to see along the way that will keep you busy for as long as you'd like.
Where to stay: Take a break at the Heritage Inn, where you also have full access to the kitchen facilities to prepare your own meals.
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The Fantazmagoric Museum of the Strange and Unusual
This museum is just as it sounds -- a place to celebrate strange and unusual facts and oddities about science and nature. The whole family will enjoy the interesting displays about alternative medicine, world records, dinosaurs and island folklore. The highlight of the museum? A full-size walk-through reconstruction of King Tut's tomb and the treasures within.
Where to stay: Nearby Shaw's Hotel, which has a kids' menu for fussy eaters.
Green Gables Heritage Place, Prince Edward Island National Park
A trip to the Island wouldn't be complete without Anne of Green Gables. The farm that was the inspiration for the setting of the famous book should do the trick. The Heritage Place, located in Prince Edward Island National Park, boasts an audio-visual presentation on the history of the site and exhibits on the life and works of Lucy Maud Montgomery as well as on Green Gables and Prince Edward Island National Park. Find your way to the barn, where you can watch "A Celebration of Imagination -- the Life of L. M. Montgomery."
Where to stay: Free bike rentals are part of the deal at Wessex House, a modern, cosy home for rent that's just four minutes from the beach.
Lennox Island Mi'kmaq Cultural Centre, Lennox Island
Travel to Lennox Island, a Mi'kmaq community of about 400 residents located off Malpeque Bay. The Lennox Island Mi'kmaq Cultural Centre is a community museum where you can learn about traditional Mi'kmaq territory and government, medicines, local archeology, spirituality and the history of the Mi'kmaq-Acadian relationship. There's plenty to do on Lennox Island, from hiking nature trails to taking workshops in basket-weaving and the Mi'kmaq language.
Where to stay: The Lennox Island hostel offers affordable accommodations for up to 14 people. Located on the upper floor of the Ecotourism Complex, the hostel features spectacular views of Malpeque Bay and rates start at $20.
Eptek Art and Culture Centre, Summerside
Take your little Picassos on a tour of the art world to encourage them to hone their talents -- and someday sell those masterpieces! Located on the Summerside waterfront, Eptek Centre offers an array of exhibits and programs featuring themes dedicated to history, science and the fine arts. There's always something to see and do at Eptek, which hosts national, local and in-house displays and promotes cultural heritage.
Where to stay: Try one of the cosy rooms for up to four people at the Cairns Motel or enjoy the heated pool at the Country Pines Inn.
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