Discover Canada: Alberta

Discover Canada: Alberta

Author: Canadian Living


Discover Canada: Alberta

With five of Canada's 13 World Heritage Sites, towering snow-capped mountains and otherworldly hoodoo formations, Alberta is a destination not to be missed.

What to do
TELUS World of Science
If the word museum conjures up dusty relics in a staid environment, Edmonton has a pleasant surprise for you. The Telus World of Science is split into four basic areas -- space, the human body, forensic science and the environment -- to give kids a hands-on approach to learning. Children aged two to eight will enjoy the Discoveryland Gallery, a great place to explore water, construction and more.

West Edmonton Mall
A trip to Edmonton wouldn't be complete without a stop at the mall, not just for the 800 stores and services, but for the family-friendly amusement area as well. The world's largest indoor amusement park is a favourite -- try the Mindbender roller coaster or the Swing of the Century. Finish the day at the West Ed's two-hectare water park, complete with beach, 20 different water activities and palm trees.

Where to eat
The Dish & The Runaway Spoon
A delicious dining experience, this family-friendly restaurant serves up such favourites as gourmet macaroni and cheese, beef stroganoff and other comfort foods.

Where to stay
West Edmonton Mall's Fantasyland Hotel
Consider a night's stop at the Fantasyland Hotel, where you can choose a family-friendly themed room that will delight the kids: Hollywood, Polynesian, African, Truck, Western, Igloo, Canadian Rail or Sports.

What to do
Canada Olympic Park
Canada Olympic Park stands as an icon of the 1988 Olympic Winter Games and remains a fully functional training and recreation area, used by athletes and the public alike. Experience a ride on a luge or try the soon-to-be-open Skyline, a zip-line that transports you to the top and sends you down a massive vertical drop from the 90-metre ski jump tower.

Where to eat
Buzzards Restaurant & Bar
For a sampling of cowboy cuisine, head to Buzzards, where menu choices include steak, burgers and bison and the decor enchants with Western memorabilia, from the oil paintings to the barbed wire art to the old boots and hats.

Where to stay
Homeplace Ranch
For an all-inclusive experience Prairie-style, consider a ranch vacation. Homeplace Ranch, about 50 kilometres southwest of the city and in the foothills of the Rockies, is a working and guest ranch where visitors can fish, ride horses, and catch sight of bears, deer and elk, among others.

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Banff and Lake Louise
What to do
GPS guided tours
Want a personal guide of the area? Take a city tour of Banff and Lake Louise with GyPSy, a GPS personal data assistant (PDA) that suctions to your windshield, plugs into the cigarette lighter and gives you highlights of the road trip in the form of history, current issues, where to stay, where to eat and more. Triggered by global positioning points, GyPSy provides a running commentary of the area as you drive through it. You can also take it out of the car for a portable travel guide.

Whyte Museum
Let the kids strap on one of Whyte Museum's Museo Packs, backpacks filled with learning activities related to the history and culture of Banff National Park. Perfect for the parent who wants to tour the museum and keep children interested at the same time.

Where to stay
Bow Valley Bedfinders
If you choose to stay in and around the Banff/Canmore area, Bow Valley Bedfinders can arrange accommodations at vacation rental houses, cabins, chalets and condominiums.

Ski Big 3
If you and your family are looking to hit the slopes, you can book vacation packages at Banff, Lake Louise and Sunshine that include accommodations and lift tickets.

Southern Alberta
What to do
Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park
Bring comfortable walking shoes -- this park, located outside of Milk River, about 45 minutes south of Lethbridge, offers some spectacular rock paintings and hoodoo formations accessible by hiking trails, as well as plenty of other recreational activities such as birding, swimming, fishing, canoeing and wildlife viewing.

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump
This UNESCO World Heritage Site, located about 160 kilometres south of Calgary, is worth a visit any day of the week, but if you drop by on a Sunday, you can participate in hands-on activities like making drums and moccasins, learning Blackfoot sign language and baking fry bread and pemmican. For a vacation treat, consider Head-Smashed-In's tepee camping program. Geared to families, participants spend the night in a tepee and learn about living off the land from a Blackfoot guide.

Where to eat
Lamp Post Dining Room
Located 130 kilometres southwest of the city of Lethbridge in the heart of Waterton Park, this award-winning restaurant combines Alberta's multiculturalism, Western-style cooking and locally produced ingredients for superb meals served in a comfortable and casual atmosphere.

Where to stay
Kilmorey Lodge
The town of Waterton Park is known as the location of the world's first peace park, where you can rent bikes or take a boat tour to explore the Alberta gem. After a full day at the park, head to the lodge -- set in one of the town's original log-style buildings -- to relax and take in the serene surroundings of the Rocky Mountains and Emerald Bay.

Further links:
Travel Alberta
Wood Buffalo National Park
Banff National Park
Jasper National Park
Dinosaur Provincial Park
Tourism Calgary
Banff & Lake Louise
Edmonton Tourism

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Discover Canada: Alberta