fun to do kids southern alberta canada   Travel for Kids
  | Alberta

Southern Alberta

Dinosaur Provincial Park
Southern Alberta stretches from Calgary down to the border with Montana to the south, the great plains to the east, and the Rockies to the west. This is the heart of Canada's "old west" experience, spotted with only a few towns. Kids can camp in tipis, ride in horse carriages, stay at a working ranch and try buffalo burgers.
    Dinosaur Valley
    Waterton Lakes National Park
    Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump – Head-Smashed-In is a World Heritage Site, preserving a place used by the Plains Indians for six thousand years for hunting rituals. Blackfoot Indians would chase buffalo to a precipice, then collect the meat at the bottom. Today's there's an Interpretive Centre built into the sandstone cliffs. On different levels you can explore the lifestyle, myths, crafts, and archaeology of the Blackfoots, with both European and Blackfoot interpretations provided. At the Theater check out the 10 minute film showing a reenactment of a buffalo hunt (PG material). 
      At Head-Smashed-In during the summer? The Drumming and Dancing in July and August is spectacular, and probably the best show of tribal costumes in North America. Throughout the year there are special events and family days.
    Fort MacleodFort Macleod was the first Royal Canadian Mounted Police outpost in the west, founded in 1874 where the prairies meet the Rockies. Kids will like running around the museum, a re-creation of 19th century buildings with a great collection of regional Indian crafts. You can also tour the Mounties stables (yes, they still use horses and "red-coat" uniforms). 
      RCMP Musical Ride Check for special events, when you'll experience the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Musical Ride. Mounties dressed in 1874 North West Mounted Police uniforms perform precision moves on horseback to music.
      "Fort Whoop-Up" Interpretive Centre With a name like that, it won't be surprise that this was once the largest whisky trading spot in the province. American traders would barter for furs with the local Indians, illegally including "fire water" in the deals. Today you can tour displays of period artifacts, crafts, clothing, etc. and go for wagon rides.
    Alberta Birds of Prey Centre (Coaldale) – At the Alberta Birds of Prey Centre injured wild birds are healed and released back into nature. Take in the live shows with falcons, owls, and hawks. 
    Pincher CreekPincher Creek is a small town that has a lot going on: rodeos, pow-wows and everything from huckleberry to kite festivals. But it's also a great place to discover Alberta's great outdoors.
      Kite festival – Pincher Creek claims to be one of the windiest places in North America. Besides holding your own private family kite flying contest, you can also try your hand at gliding – there are several options for lessons.
      Oldman River Dam Provincial ParkJust outside of town, you can hike, and use either day or overnight camp grounds. On the dam you can rent equipment to go kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing or boating. There are hikes for all levels here, and in nearby Castle Wilderness, Beauvais Lake Provincial Park and the Crowsnest Pass.
      Go fishingWhether you like to pull up waders or lie on a  bank, there are lots of choices here. Get a fishing license at the local license office, then ask directions for any of the nearby lakes or river fishing favorites, like the Crowsnest River.
      Castle Mountain ski area In the winter, the Castle Mountain Ski Area is great for skiing and snowboarding, or rent a snowmobile to tour the area. Head over to the Pincher Creek Memorial Arena for ice-skating in the winter and in-line skating in the summer.
      Swimming If you're not ready for glacier lakes and mountain streams, there's always the Pincher Creek Swim Pool with both a lap pool and hot tub.
      Back at the ranch...Really make the old west come to life by staying at a working ranch for a few days. Not enough time? You can still go for a trail ride with enough variety to suit everyone, from an' ol' ranch hand to the youngest buckaroo. Just want to tour a ranch? Ask in town there are lots of choices:  horse, cattle, buffalo, and llama.
    Underground ghost towns  At the Leitch Collieries near Crowsnest Pass, you can see the ruins of a 19th century mine, including the coke ovens, manager's house, powerhouse, washery and tipple. In 1903 there was a tragic rockslide that devastated the area, now called "The Frank Slide." The Frank Slide Interpretive Centre has exhibits about underground coal mining, the railroads and community life. See the video which tells the story of the slide, then hike the trail to the site of the slide on your own, or join one of the interpretive hikes led by rangers.
      If you're fascinated by "the underground," don't miss the nearby Bellevue Mine tour as well where kids (and adults) strap on miner's helmets complete with attached lanterns for a half-hour hike underground.
      The Remington-Alberta Carriage Centre, on a 20 acre park just outside Cardston, contains a fantastic collection of over 210 carriages. For a little orientation, take in the multi-media presentation "The Wheels of Change"  in the Centre's theatre. In the exhibit gallery there are 16 displays of carriages, each presenting a different historical theme. You can also tour a workshop, tack room, and stables where they house the Clydesdales, Canadians, Quarter Horses, and Percerhons that draw the carriages.
      Ride in styleAt the Centre, you can rent a Landau, Bronson Wagon, or something called a "Mountain Democrat", complete with driver and groom in full livery. There's a whole range of options, from something elegant enough for your "princess" to more rough-and-ready rides around the grounds.
    Writing on Stone Provincial Park – One of the most sacred spots to the Plains Indians, the park has the largest known collection of pictographs in North America. Stretching along the Milk River, the carvings can be found in soft sandstone walls. From May to September, join a park guide-led tour into "protected" areas with truly amazing art.
    Fun food

This is cattleman country so beef and BBQ are big. For a little variety, try buffalo and other "game" meats such as elk.

kids books alberta canada
The RCMP Musical Ride - kids books Canada  
The RCMP Musical Ride
Maxwell Newhouse

The Musical Ride by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is a stunning spectacle, a precision horse ballet set to music. Go behind the scenes – the history of the Ride, training the riders and horses, equipment, steps and movements. Pageantry-filled paintings by Canadian artist Maxwell Newhouse. (Picture book)


(More children's books on other Alberta pages)
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