With the holiday season fast approaching, it is now time to focus your energy on finding fun outdoor winter activities in Alberta — and there are plenty of amazing options to consider. From taking a ride on the iconic Polar Express to making igloos in your own backyard, you will find no shortage of fun on tap for the winter.
As you build out your itinerary, you can set out to create many lasting family memories while ensuring all the adults and kids have the time of their lives. So, take a peek at this list to start finding your family’s preferred wintertime activities.
Take a Ride on the Polar Express
To jumpstart your outdoor winter activities in Alberta, you can head to Stettler to hop aboard the Polar Express. In just one hour, this train takes a ride to the North Pole and back again, treating families to all the wonder of this magical season.
Cookies and hot chocolate sweeten the deal considerably, as do the Christmas carols that are sung by all with gusto. Santa makes an appearance halfway through the ride, giving everyone silver sleigh balls to go with their ceramic souvenir mug received at the end of the trip.
Spend the Afternoon Ice Skating
With just a pair of ice skates for everyone in the family, you can spend your days zipping across the frozen waterways to your hearts’ content.
Places to go ice skating in Alberta, include:
- Pyramid Lake
- Lake Louise
- Canmore Skating Pond
- Lake Minnewanka
- Bow River
- Two Jack Lake
- Johnson Lake
After practicing for months, you can end the season in style at the 10 day Silver Skate Festival, which runs from February 7th through the 17th in 2020. In addition to public skating each day, they will have ice sculptures, snow sculptures, and even a triathlon to delight their festivalgoers.
Enjoy the Snowshoe Tour at Elk Island National Park
For a lower impact activity, you can take your family on an enchanted tour of Elk Island National Park by joining their snowshoe tour. You can either bring along your own snowshoes or rent them from the Visitor Information Center, which is open from 9am to 4pm each day. You can choose any of the trails in the park for your adventure. Just remember to avoid the ski tracks as you walk.
Peek at the Ice Castles at Hawrelak Park
In late December, Hawrelak Park dedicates their space to building and showing an awe-inspiring ice castle to the public. The ice castle displayed each year is always unique since it is made using dripping water from sprinklers. The result is a towering 12-meter high creation made up of thousands of gorgeous icicles that continuously evolve throughout the season. The ice castle also features a fun fountain and slides made completely out of ice.
This exhibit stays open through March most years, allowing you to take your family through several times each season. Each time you go, the castle will look a bit different as the formations go through the freeze-thaw cycle daily.
Make Igloos in Your Own Backyard
Between all the trips across town, you can keep the excitement going by making igloos in your own backyard. With just a bucket and plenty of snow, your family can set about creating these structures using your own imaginative designs. Once you have the hardpacked blocks set in place, smooth everything over with a bit of extra snow, then climb inside to try out your creation. You can even have igloo battles to see who can build the biggest structure or create theirs the fastest.
With all these options for outdoor activities for kids and adults, you can keep the magic of winter alive and well in your family. The memories you create will be priceless and may inspire your kids to pass down the experiences through the generations.