A road trip is one of the simplest and most economical family vacations. Whether your children are teenagers or infants, there are many amazing sites to see and explore in Alberta. The province is filled with natural and human made attractions that are unique in the world. Unusual sites can be a stop on the way to visit extended family and friends or they might be a destination in themselves.
As a parent of four children, I’ve spent years exploring the unusual side of Alberta with my family – making unforgettable memories. Here are a few recommendations of unusual things to see with your children. (You’ll find many more in my new book, Top 150 Unusual Things to See in Alberta!)
Take a Selfie with a Big Roadside Attraction
It’s hard not to pull over and take a selfie with the world’s largest beaver, the world’s largest perogy, the world’s largest pysanka (Easter egg) or the world’s largest sausage. There are giant roadside attractions right across the province. An entire book could be dedicated to Alberta’s roadside attractions. If you’re hitting the road with your kids, it’s a good idea to see if there’s a roadside attraction along the way. When you find one, hop out of the car and take a picture. If you’re at the world’s largest sausage, consider stopping in town to buy some sausage. It’s really good sausage and it would be even better heated over a campfire.
Take a Free Tour of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta
Touring the Alberta Legislature is free and it’s fun. There’s a fascinating free 3D film about the history of Alberta and guided tours of the interior of the building allow visitors to learn about art and architecture as well as the political history of the province. In winter, families can skate on outdoor rinks and in summer, kids can wade in the fountains.
Learn About the Fur Trade at Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site
Operated by Parks Canada, Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site has fascinating displays and programs that tell the story of the fur trade. There’s a play fort for kids to explore, a bison herd, a puppet show, great walking trails and a campground with comfort camping in trapper’s tents, tipis and wooden cottages.
Alberta’s Only Playhouse Resort
What child, or adult for that matter, doesn’t dream about staying in an elf’s cottage in the woods?
Charmed Resorts in the Crowsnest Pass is owned by Tyson Leavitt who has been building luxury playhouses since 2015. He and his wife Audrey had a reality TV show called Playhouse Masters that ran on TLC for a season. Some of the playhouses they built for rich and famous clients cost up to half a million dollars! In 2020, they have used their skills to build a unique resort of luxury-style playhouses in the Crowsnest Pass.
See a Rare White Bison
Alberta’s first Métis cultural destination sits on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River near Smoky Lake about 90 minutes northeast of Edmonton. Métis Crossing is a year-round destination with a campground, a day lodge, a new guest lodge, a restaurant and many different onsite activities that can help you understand Métis culture. There’s also a wildlife park that contains small herds of plains bison, woods bison, white bison, elk, white elk, and Percheron horses. White bison are extremely rare and are considered very sacred creatures by many Indigenous peoples. Métis Crossing is one of the few places in the world where you can see them.
Debbie is an award-winning Métis writer and a national bestselling author. Follow her at wanderwoman.ca. Exploring the unusual side of Alberta is a fun family adventure and Debbie’s new book Top 150 Unusual Things to See in Alberta can help!
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