August 1, 2014 5:10 pm
Updated: August 2, 2014 5:07 pm

14 ideas for day trips around Edmonton

Canoeing down the North Saskatchewan River.

Credit: Canoeheads

EDMONTON – There is no shortage of fun events and activities in Edmonton during the summer, but if you want to escape the city for an afternoon — or even make a day of it — there are plenty of options as well.

Here are some ideas for day trips that are, for the most part, within an hour of the Capital Region.

1. Get lost at the corn maze

The corn maze has operated west of Edmonton for 14 years. Each year the design of the maze reflects an aspect of the local community.  “Though the correct pathways can be walked in under 30 minutes,” it says on the site, “most directionally-challenged visitors – adults and children alike – will require about one hour to travel through the maze of more than five kilometres of twists and turns and 85 decision points.”

You can view the Edmonton Corn Maze on Google Street View below:

Open from July 28 until Halloween, the maze can be a fun activity at any age.  During the last two weeks of October, the maze runs a special Halloween-themed event called Farm of Fear. Since it’s quite scary, you must be 13+ to enter.

Hours: Different hours for summer and fall, see here for more info. 

Admission: General: $11, Child (Aged 5-11): $9, Under 5 free. Group rates for 15+ people. 

2. Tour a grain elevator in Leduc

The grain elevator in Leduc, Alberta.

Credit: Alberta Legacy Development Society

Grain elevators played a large role in the development of western Canada, where they were built along rail tracks in nearly every farming community in the prairies. But as technology changed, many of the iconic green towers were torn down. However the elevator in Leduc was saved, and is open for tours until the end of August.

Hours: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday to Saturday

Admission: Free

3. Take a canoe trip down the North Saskatchewan (launching from Genesee or Devon)

Canoeing down the North Saskatchewan River.

Credit: Canoeheads

 

Gather up some friends, a canoe, some sunscreen and a life jacket, and head out for a day on the river. Don’t own a canoe? Or not interested in dealing with the drop-off and pick-up logistics? There are several companies that will take care of that for you. Some do day trips, others include overnight camping along the river. Here’s are a few options:

4. Tube down the Pembina River 


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If you’re willing to drive a little further, head west to Evansburg  and tube down the Pembina River. On hot summer days the area can be found overflowing with those wanting to escape the heat.  Make sure to show up prepared, wear a lifejacket and know where to exit the river so you don’t get lost. In recent weeks emergency officials have carried out rescue operations three times. Some people use their own gear, others rent from the Pembina River Tubing company.

5. Self-guided “giants” tour

The Vegreville Egg, a giant pysanka (Ukrainian-style Easter egg) in Vegreville, Alberta.

Credit: Wikipedia

Alberta is home to several of the “world’s biggest” roadside attractions. Travel Alberta even has a list of them.

You can find many of the unique spots east of Edmonton. There’s the infamous pysanka in Vegreville, the sausage in Mundare and a giant Mallard duck in Andrew, to name a few.

6. Visit the Devonian Botanic Garden

Located just 15 minutes from west Edmonton, the 240-acre garden features a Japanese garden, tropical greenhouse full of butterflies and several themed gardens. It is a popular venue for weddings and photos. The garden hosts date nights every Thursday throughout the summer, and  was recently was named Botanical Garden of the Year.

Hours: Varies between 10 a.m.  – 5 p.m. and 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Admission: Varies depending on age. More admission details here

7. Explore Clifford E. Lee nature sanctuary 

Just a few kilometers west of the Devonian Botanic Garden, the Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary is full of trails and boardwalks through wilderness and wetlands. It is a popular spot for birdwatchers and field trips, and has benches for picnics.

Hours: one hour before sunrise to sunset

Admission: Free (although donations toward sanctuary upkeep are appreciated.)

8. Discover Jurassic Forest dinosaur park

Jurassic-forest-t-rex

Fun for the kids and kid-at-heart, take a trip back in time to the world of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals. Jurassic Forest features over 50 realistic animatronic exhibits, an interpretive centre, picnic area and playground.

Hours: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily, open till the end of October

Admission: Varies depending on age. More admission details here.

9. Check out the Ukrainian Cultural Village

Watch Alberta history comes to life as costumed role-players recreate the life of early Ukrainian pioneers who settled in Alberta in the late 1800’s.

Hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily till Labour Day.

Admission: Varies depending on age. More admission details here. Bonus: Free admission for military personnel and their families

10. Learn about Alberta’s history at the Leduc #1 Energy Discovery Centre

An aerial view of the Leduc #1 Discovery Centre.

The discovery of oil in 1947 at Leduc #1 changed Alberta forever. It transformed our economy by kickstarting the oil and gas industry that drives the province today.  A visit to the Leduc #1 Energy Discovery Centre museum, which was designated a National Historic Site in 1990, will take you through the history and technology behind that. Tours are offered daily, and day camps for kids run throughout the summer.

Summer Hours: M-F 9 a.m. –  6 p.m., Weekends Noon – 5 P.M.

Admission: Adults: $10, Seniors: $8, Youth: $6

11. Visit the St. Albert farmer’s market

Touted as the largest outdoor farmer’s market in western Canada.

Hours:  10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday until October 11.

12. Pick your own fruits and veggies at a “U-Pick”

A child picking peas at Happy Acres U-pick near Spruce Grove, Alberta.

Credit: Happy Acres U-pick

 

If you’d prefer to pick your own fruits and veggies, there’s no shortage of Edmonton-area farms to do it at.

Click here for a list of farms both in the Edmonton region, and across Alberta. 

13. Explore Elk Island National Park

A group of Plains Bison stand on the parkway in Elk Island National Park.

Credit: Parks Canada

Less than an hour east of Edmonton, the national park is home to herds of free-roaming plains bison, wood bison, moose, deer, and elk. Many visitors enjoy hiking or bringing a canoe to paddle across Astotin Lake.  The park also has campsites, picnic spots, a golf course, and even geocaches for you to discover!

Hours: see here

Admission: Varies depending on age. More admission details here.

14. Check out Discovery Wildlife Park in Innisfail

WATCH ABOVE: Gord Steinke features the Discovery Wildlife Park and other Innisfail attractions in this Your Town feature. 

For over 25 years, the  Discovery Wildlife Park has provided a wildlife sanctuary for over 40 species of orphaned animals, including bears, wolves and tigers.  The park is home to several animals that previously appeared in movies and television. Visitors can get up close and meet the animals, as well as chat with their trainers.

Hours: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily

Admission: Varies depending on age. More admission details here


Have a suggestion you think should be on this list? Send me an email at karen.bartko@globalnews.ca or a tweet.

Now get out there and enjoy summer while it lasts!

© Shaw Media, 2014

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