Twirls and Travels » a blog about exploring with kids

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In January I wrote all about our favourite places to explore in Jasper during the winter, and now I’m back with our top activities in Jasper National Park when the weather is warmer. We love Jasper and camp at Whistlers for about a week every summer. We choose Whistlers because of the perfect location- close to the townsite and all our favourite places around the park. There’s also many things the campground offers for the kids- interactive bike paths, 3 unique play spaces along the trail, the nightly childrens’ programming, the multiple encounters with elk around our campsite every year,  and free hot showers.   With my girls getting older our favourite things  are always changing, but here is our current list of “Must-Do’s” for families visiting Jasper in summertime.

First off, grab a map from Tourist Information and finding each of these locations will be easy. The staff there can help with any questions and can let you know if a trail is closed or if there’s been bear sightings. 

Hike Old Fort Point- A great starting point for newcomers to Jasper, this short hike gives you a great overview of the area. It’s not too strenuous but has a great payoff with the stunning views at the top. It is a bit steep, and there are several flights of stairs, but both my girls and their 76 year old grandfather did it with no complaining. We didn’t do the entire loop (4km)  and instead we started at the wooden stairs and came back the same way we went up (under 2km round trip) but it had a pretty good incline. With lots of rocks to climb on and a view of the townsite, it’s a perfect hike for even non-hiking families. More details HERE.  Cost- Free, bring hats and water in summer months.

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Miette Hotsprings and The Source trail– The Miette Hot Springs are my favourite Canadian hot springs. While the drive up the mountainside is a little bit long (17km of winding roads off of highway 16) it’s perfectly located in the middle of the mountains and is a gorgeous place for a soak. The family admission is reasonable and they even allow outside food in for picnics. The little restaurant onsite is delicious if you don’t want to pack a lunch, or if you want to treat the kids to an ice cream and take a short break from swimming. There’s one gradual entry pool that’s perfect for younger children, one large hot pool and 2 cold plunge pools.  After your visit you can walk to the source of the hot springs, see the building built in 1938  and play in a warm stream. This “hike” is stroller and flip flop friendly, and only takes 20 minutes.  Tip- Hit up the Hotsprings on your way back to the city or on your way into Jasper on Highway 16, so you aren’t making a extra 45 minute drive from the townsite.  There’s also free interpretive  walks to the source on Saturday and Sunday afternoons as well. Cost- $18.35 for a family

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Lake Annette- The perfect place to relax on a hot summer day in Jasper. The lake is clean, warmish, and welcoming. The beach is sandy and long, plus the views are spectacular. My kids can play for hours lakeside while we relax. We always bring along sand toys, floaties and a picnic lunch for a perfect, hot summer day. You can also walk the easy loop around Lake Annette, taking about 35 minutes on flat terrain, and stroller friendly. Cost-Free

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(also baby Maeve in these pictures is giving me all the heart eyes!!)

 

Heritage Firehall Hands-on Museum – From Wednesday to Sunday the old firehouse in town is a hands-on museum for families. Touch a stuffed wolf, learn about animal tracks, play “identify the smell” games and pick up rubber animal poop (strangely my girls loved this feature most and were very excited to identify different types of scat).  The park staff working the interactive museum were extremely knowledgable and great with kids, engaging them in the different activities around the hall. And don’t forget to grab a free activity book for the kids too. Cost- free 

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Jasper Lake- You’ve probably seen people out walking across Jasper Lake as you drive through the park on your way to the site townsite.  This roadside stop offers are great afternoon of playing. The sand is powdery soft and the beach goes all along the east side of the lake, so perfect it’s for walking together and finding driftwood sticks.  The best part about Jasper Lake is it’s only up to my knees….for the nearly the entire lake. We’ve walked out half-way across the lake and it never got  deeper then 2 feet. It’s pretty incredible to be in the middle of a lake, surrounded by mountains and only have water up to your ankles. The kids love the freedom of being able to wade out into the lake and building sandcastles on the waters edge. It’s the perfect place to start or end your Jasper vacation on your way from Edmonton. Cost- Free

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Jasper Sky Tram – The most expensive thing on this list is definitely worth a visit during your trip.  The views are incredible and the ride up is an experience in itself. If you have a lot of energy, consider making the 3+ hour hike to the top of Whistlers mountian instead of taking the Gondola…. I haven’t done it, but my 10 year niece did it last week and said it wasn’t too hard- just a bit long. Then you can take the gondola down for 1/2 price, make the hike a bit easier.  Bring along a jacket, even on a warm day since it can be windy and cooler on top of the mountain. Website HERE Cost- $40 per adult, $20 per kid with 5 and under free. 

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Horseshoe Lake–  Just 3o km south of Jasper there’s a small parking lot on the side of the road- blink and you might miss a beautiful gem in Jasper Park. A short walk through the trees brings you to Horseshoe lake, a spot that’s perfect for cliff jumping and swimming. Bring along life jackets (the water is very deep but crystal clear), towels and enjoy some swimming. But be warned, the water is extremely cold and can take your breath away. While some of the kids we were camping with jumped in multiple times and were still smiling, Violet panicked over how cold it was as soon as she got in. Tim was in the water with the kids the whole time and he never got used to the temperature. On the other side of the canyon, teenagers and tweens were jumping in like it was a warm bath. However, on a really hot day it would be a great way to cool down.  But be aware and stay safe- have a spotter, bring floatation devices, and know your limits for cliff height ( Violet was in competitive diving this year, so she was quite comfortable going off the higher cliffs). There’s lots of small ledges for kids to jump off of, but just exercise caution.  Even if you just go to watch older kids jumping in and see the gorgeous views, it’s still worth a stop. Cost- Free

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Scoops and Loops- My kids never miss a ice cream shop, and stops to Scoops and Loops have been part of our Jasper tradition since the girls were old enough to eat it.  What this place lacks in charm in makes up for in the sheer amount of flavours to choose from. We usually grab a cone and head across the street to the park space to enjoy it. We also enjoy The Bear’s Paw bakery and enjoy trying fudge from one of the many candy stores in town. We try to reserve a few hours of our trip just to walk around town and enjoy the sites and smells. Scoops and Loops located right by the Firehall and north of the visitors centre. Cost- kids cones start at $3, very reasonable prices but very limited seating.

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Pyramid Lake- We like to spend an hour or so at Pyramid Lake renting a canoe or paddleboat and venturing around the lake. We also love to drive out to Pyramid Lake Island and walk along its shores. My kids love “being on a island” (even if it’s just connected by a bridge, but at least that bridge is so pretty for pictures!). There’s also the option of biking down pyramid mountain for kids who have mastered the art of breaking- it’s all downhill and fast!  Cost- one hour of a paddle boat rental including lifejackets-$50.

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Athabasca Falls– One of Jasper’s busiest tourist destination, Athabasca falls are best viewed first thing in the morning or later in the evening to avoid tour buses. However, even when it’s busy it’s still worth the short drive out of town down highway 93. My kids liked climbing down to the river through the old water channels. It was a great lesson in erosion and the power of water. Easy hiking/walking for all ages, with some steep stairs if you choose to go all the way down to the river. While the trails are safe with barriers, hand-holding is required for little ones. Cost- Free

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Maligne Canyon– Another busy location in Jasper, but it’s worth braving the crowds to hike Maligne Canyon. There’s a series of 6 bridges that cross over waterfalls, canyons and the river.  The hike from the Tea Room to 5th bridge is under 4 kms roundtrip and the perfect walk for younger kids. With lots of bridges and sights to keep them entertained, they’ll barely know they’re hiking.  And If you kids are younger you can always have on family member leave a car at 5th or 6th bridge to avoid having to walk back up to the top (and the extra strain of going uphill with little ones). Cost- Free, but pack water and hats. The rocks around the falls can be slippery so hold small hands.

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Jasper Recreation Centre-  Wherever we camp we always scope out the nearest town pool. It’s the perfect way to spend a rainy day, get clean without venturing to the campground showers, or just relax in a hot tub. Jasper’s recreation centre is reasonably priced and has lots of offer. We took advantage of the indoor climbing wall and swimming package on our visit last week because the rain just wouldn’t stop. The girls loved the waterslide and the monkey bars over the water.  It was the perfect toasty warm respite from the rain (and we also took in a movie at the downtown theatre that day too, because after 4 days of rain we all needed just to stay dry for longer then 20 minutes) Cost- $19 for a family pool pass or $8 per kid for a climbing wall/swim pass combo . Towels were available to rent for $2 each.

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Other places we loved to visit in Jasper is Mount Edith Cavell (hike to the Glacier look-out it’s absolutely amazing), the Jasper Park Lodge hotel grounds, Horseback riding (located up Pyramid Lake Road), Pyramid Lake Beach,  Maligne Lake and Spirit Island, and the numerous playgrounds within the townsite. You won’t be bored- the exploring opportunities are endless. What’s your favourite not-miss attraction?

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  • July 21, 2016 - 11:50 pm

    Chantelle Doll - I love your site! Thanks for all the great photos and ideas – I will be referring back to this list when we take our kids to Jasper in a few weeks.ReplyCancel

  • July 26, 2016 - 4:02 pm

    Courtenay Mayowski - Great post Kelsy! This is a great round-up of Jasper activities. Miette is also my fave hotsprings in the rockies!
    Last year we took Hannah on the Wilcox pass hike – it’s my fave rockies hike! It overlooks the Columbia Icefields. She was in the hiking pack last year, so it might have been tough to do it this year with all three kiddos, but it’s not a difficult hike :)ReplyCancel

Disneyland seems to be a childhood staple for many young families. My Facebook feed is filling up with families getting ready for their summer vacations in California with excited kids and countdown calendars. I’ve been to the Anaheim park 4 times, twice as a kid and now twice as an adult and it still holds that special kind of magic. However, it can be full of meltdowns and frustration if not planned properly. We’ve managed to keep our trips (nearly) tear free and here’s how we’ve done it.

  • Travel in off season. The website “Is it Packed?” breaks down how busy different theme parks will be on a calendar. It also gives live updates.  But if at all possible, travel on days listed as ” Ghost Town”
  • Obviously travelling in off season doesn’t work for everyone. And that’s where this tip comes in. Run over to the RideMax website and pay for a subscription to their analytic based ride software. I know this sounds a bit crazy, but the program is actually worth it’s wait in gold.  Last May, we visited the park a week prior to the 60th celebration. The place was nuts. We previously made up our schedule on RideMax and did every single ride we wanted to in the park (within our height restrictions) in one day. We also met a handful of characters, went back to the hotel for a 2 hour nap and had a leisurely lunch.  The software schedules everything in- from breaks to parades to shows. It gives advice on loopholes I never knew about. You decide what you want to do and it figures out the best plan. It’s also full of tips and tricks for where to sit for parades and when to do character greets. Another case-in-point: My brother bought the software for his trip last year with four kids. The first day they flew through the park, everyone was happy and they had a fabulous day. So the next day the decided to just wing it- Disneyland didn’t seem THAT busy.  But by lunch time the kids were begging to go back on the RideMax schedule. Having a game plan eliminates aimless wandering, arguments about what to do next and reduces MUCH longer waits then necessary. During our entire day we never spend more the 15-20 minutes on any ride line-up and some with no wait at all.  Just try the software, it offers a money back guarantee if you don’t trust my review.
  • Be at the parks, with your tickets already purchased, waiting in the turnstile 30 minutes before the park opens. You will get into the park before the rides even open and can literally be the first one in line. Our family did the entire Fanastyland area in the first hour of the park opening. You’ve spent the money to be there, it’s amazing what just showing up early will do. But also be aware which park have the “Early Magic Morning” and try to go the the other park that day to ensure you really are first in line. Our first two hours at the park were our favourite of the day. Make them count.
  • Head down to Target or Walmart to pack your bag full of snacks, treats, water bottles or juice boxes. Disneyland still allows you to bring in your own food. We decided to only purchase one meal a day in the parks, the rest we would bring in ourselves. We saved a ton of money (and had the all-you-can-eat buffet for a “lupper” in Frontierland). Also it’s good to note that any quick service food station will also give you free ice water at anytime.
  • If your kids are under 8, consider bringing a stroller, even if they seem to big for it. Walking the park can be exhuasting and being able to sit down for those long walks can give kids much needed breaks. Strollers can also have storage for your food and drinks, so you’re not carrying it on your back. I honestly thought the stroller would be annoying, but as I looked around and saw parents dragging around crying kids while Violet sat happily in her seat I was singing praises for having it along.
  • Do your research ahead of time. Figure out how tall your children all and plan for those rides. Let your kids know what they can’t do (if any) to avoid disappointment at the park.  Engage your kids in planning by using Disney’s website which is extremely interactive (and will build the anticipation!).
  • Use Google street view to choose your hotel based on distance from the park gates. I researched hotels from Expedia and then cross referenced them with Google Street View to get the cheapest hotel in the closest distance from the gate. I was also able to see which restaurants were close by and how far away Target was for last minute supplies.  Our choice ended up being Hotel De Sol, which was very basic but good enough for a quick 2 nights stay- and the least expensive choice at the time. It was literally across the street (5 minute walk from the gate) and was a fraction of the cost of the larger chain hotels. I wanted to be close to be able to get back to the room easier for naps, and to arrive early at the park before the crowds. Obviously if the Disneyland Hotels had been in the budget, I might have splurged for them- but we are always on a budget over here 😉
  • Use the Rider Switch passes. Maeve was too short to ride Big Thunder Railway or Splash Mountain so we simply asked the attendant for a pass. Then one of us could stay with Maeve while the other one went on the ride with Violet. Afterwards the adults could swap places and Violet got to go on the ride a second time with no wait. It was the best system.  The adult waiting with Maeve could take her on another ride (Winnie the Pooh was right near Splash Mountain), grab a treat (Churros or Dole Whip anyone?) or explore a bit while waiting.
  • Use the fast pass system throughout the park. The RideMax program tells you when and where to get your passes, but if you aren’t using Ridemax definitely take advantage of getting the passes first thing in the morning to bypass the long line-ups later in the day.
  • Check out one of the major websites for Disneyland tips- Mousesavers or The Dis board (where you can post questions and get quick answers from other travellers). Both were super helpful when I was trying to plan our last trip and had a question google couldn’t help me with. There are so many great blogs and website what so much information- try to utilize it as much as possible. When you’re spending nearly $100 a day per person, it’s worth your time to plan ahead.
  • Buy a few souvenirs ahead of time and bring them out in the park like glow sticks for the fireworks, Mickey shaped treats,  and even themed clothing can be purchased for cheap, leaving you extra funds for the one special souvenir (or a silhouette portrait on Main Street, hand cut by talented ladies with stories to tell. By far, my favourite thing from our trip.)
  • Don’t try to do it all. Because you can’t. Decide what’s most important for your family and go from there.  But A little research ahead of time is worth your time. Figure out Parade times, firework times, what rides are closed for maintenance,  and any special events that are happening. Then set your priorities and enjoy your family vacation. Remember to take breaks, spend some time people watching and take it all in.

 

Here’s what Main Street USA looks like it if you arrive as soon as the park opens. I should have turned around and got picture of the crowd behind us. But my girls were too excited looking out for the castle. Truly Magical. The rides opened 30 minutes after the gates opened, so we had a bit of time to roam and get in line and be first!

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Just some snapshots from our latest trip last May from Tim’s old iPhone. We didn’t even bring our camera in to the park since it was just a day to devote to playing and I didn’t want to worry about a camera or my even good phone.  We were the first ones at the castle and the rope hadn’t even dropped yet. They do a little ceremony in the morning to open the park which was fun, and then we were off to Fanastyland. My girls loved all the classic themed rides, so it was perfect doing them first. We saw quite a few characters roaming around first thing in the morning and we were even able to play a game of “unbirthday tea” with the mad hatter, all by ourselves! Both girls were given buttons by cast members since it was their 1st visit. You can also get them from the TownHall/ Forestation on Mainstreet for free.
Disneyland-travel-tipsWhat’s your best Disneyland tip?

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July 9&10 is one of two weekends a year you can get the family out fishing without a license. Last year Tim bought a fishing licence- but only got out a couple of times with the girls – so this year he’s skipping the licence and taking advantage of the free weekend instead. It’s the perfect excuse for a Daddy -Daughter date (mostly because I know how much he likes setting up tackle on a pink Barbie fishing rod:))  It’s a great time to try it out with the kids or even to borrow a friend’s gear to try it for the first time.   Last year we took the girls out to Hermitage Pond in the NE and even though we didn’t catch anything, the girls still really enjoyed the experience. But being chased by the geese around the pond was an entirely different story…

Before you head out-

  • Check out the stocked fishing ponds in right Edmonton via this link or head out to a Provincial park.
  •  Note that National parks are not included in this promo
  • Anyone can fish this weekend- visitors and residents of Alberta, with no WIN number or license is required
  • All the general fishing rules apply- check Alberta’s Fishing Regulations for more details or read up on the My Wild Alberta website for more info about stocked ponds in the Edmonton area.

 

Best of luck! And even if you don’t catch anything, hopefully you can get some relaxing in by the water’s edge.
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Maeve at Hermitage Pond last summer trying her luck (she caught a lot of weeds and was surprisingly happy with that.)

 

 

 

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Every summer I sit down with the girls and we write down our goals for the summer. Some are simple things like “make our own popsicles” or have a ” backyard sprinkler party with friends”  and some require a little bit more planning. Tim and I are constantly setting family goals and we are trying to get them both in a habit of setting goals and getting the work done to make them happen.  It’s all “work hard- play hard” around here.  Making a bucket list  is a fun way to encourage planning and to teach them to start living a goal-orientated life even at a young age.  I also try to get them to think of free or low cost options so our summer budget isn’t stretch to the max.  Then after we write everything out we hang it on the fridge and they both fight over who gets to cross each item off after we complete it. Close enough, right? So here it is, Violet and Maeve’s 2016 Summer Fun list.

 

2016- Summer Bucket List for my Edmonton Kids

  • Hike MacTaggart Sanctuary  (we already do it near weekly, but the kids still put it on the list, it’s that nice. Blog post here)
  • Participate in John Janzen’s drop in programs  (blog post here)
  • Try out a new spray park in a different part of the city. 10 times. (the 10 times part was added in by one particular 4 year old)
  • Have a weeknight picnic and rent a paddle boat at Hawrelak Park
  • Camp in Jasper at Whistlers Campground in our vintage 1972 Boler (see a brief description of Whistlers HERE)
  • Go to 104st Farmers Market early on a Saturday morning
  • Bring our own popcorn to an outdoor movie just down the street from our home with Terwillegar Twilight Movie nights
  • Take part in the Summer Day Camp “Nature Agents” at our local YMCA
  • Bike ride for a slurpee on a sunny afternoon
  • Celebrate Canada Day with the annual free pancake breakfast and Fireworks- (this list will make your Canada Day planning easier).
  • Eat our favourites at the Heritage Festival  (pupusas, thai curries, mango on a stick, coconut rice, and those mini pancakes from the Holland booth are all yearly traditions-  it’s 38 days away, but who’s counting;) )  
  • Camp at Crimson Lake and enjoy the beautiful beach there (blog post coming soon, or you can see it listed on my top campground post, here)
  • Eat as many fresh raspberries off our backyard bushes as possible (and then head out to Roy’s Raspberries U-pick when we run out!)
  • Hike Wagner Natural Area just outside the city (blog post coming soon)
  • Hit up a couple outdoor pools in the city, including our favourite, the Queen Alexandra Pool, with in and out privileges to the spray park and Kinsmen “bear” park located next door.
  • Make our own popsicles trying as many different new flavour combinations as possible with help from this Buzz Feed blog post.
  • Spend a rainy day at the movie theatre watching Finding Dory.
  • Have a sprinkler Party with friends- we’re making our own giant slip ‘n slide with plastic drop sheets from Home Depot.
  • Make the trip back out to Whitecourt for an afternoon of tubing on Free waterslides (blog post here)
  • Camp in Kananaskis and hike the incredible kid-friendly trails of Bolton Creek (thanks to my friend, Tanya, for this awesome blog post with all her recommendations)
  • Go to a free Buffalo interpretive program at Elk Island National Park (blog post here)
  • Paint our fence (okay, so Tim may have added that one in, but I’m confident we can make it fun, right?)
  • Visit several different Alberta “living” Museums with our  steal-of-a-deal annual pass– including the Icelandic Stephansson House out near Markerville. And any visit to Markerville  isn’t complete without a visit to the old fashion creamery too!
  • Spend a night camping at Red Lodge Park and float down the Little Red River on tubes, perfect for ages 3-10. (more info here)
  • Take the train downtown and watch the K-Days parade from the curb.
  • Head to TWOS and watch their newest Imax film, Secret Ocean in 3D, which will be perfect for my snorkelling-obsessed 6 year old on a chilly summer day.
  • Take a day trip Blackfalds’ Abbey Centre again- outdoor waterslides, hot tubs, kids pools, a kids train and spray park, a indoor playground… all under 2 hours from the city. With a family day pass costing a fraction of the cost of a single ticket into Wild Rapids, it’s the perfect place for outdoor waterslides on a budget . We went last year with a group of friends and discovered it’s best for ages 3-10.  There’s food onsite but we opted to eat lunch at a local resturant and then head back to the giant indoor playground for round two of fun.
  • Go to Jurassic Forest with friends Grayson and Owen
  • Take part in the City of Edmonton’s Nature Nights. We have a couple on the calendar, including July 20 and August 3 and would LOVE to meet you there!

 

 

Happy Summer!

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  • June 22, 2016 - 5:56 pm

    Tabitha - Best homemade Popsicle: strawberry and rhubarb cooked down with 2 tbsp of honey and a splash of water. Not too sweet and so refreshing!ReplyCancel

    • June 22, 2016 - 6:52 pm

      Kelsy - Right now I’m just throwing strawberries, greek yogurt and some honey in the blender and freezing! We surprisingly have any rhubarb in the garden, otherwise I’d try these out. Yum!ReplyCancel

      • June 22, 2016 - 7:00 pm

        Kelsy - *Don’t have any! I wish we had Rhubarb! LOLReplyCancel

        • June 23, 2016 - 3:29 am

          Tabitha - Come over tomorrow and get some rhubarb. We have 3 big plants, and not enough Popsicle moulds!ReplyCancel

So I know it’s been silent over here lately- but I can’t believe how busy it’s been over the last few weeks. I hate buying into the whole “I’m so busy” attitude, but really, it’s been crazy.  I’m extremely grateful that my photography business is doing well, but I’d love to find the time to post on here more-  I have so many ideas and places I want to share with you.

Last summer I wrote about our favourite places in Edmonton to hike with kids, and this summer we are heading just out of the city to find new places to explore. We finally had the chance to visit the Clifford E. Natural Area just outside West Edmonton. It’s located just north of Devonian Gardens, right off Highway 60 and then west 2km on Range Road 514/Woodbend Road. There is some small signage to direct you along the highway (if you are looking for them- they can be easy to miss).  This Bird Sanctuary is protected by Alberta Parks and maintained by Ducks Unlimited. It is well worth the 20 minute drive out of the city for some easy hiking and great interactive exploring. When hiking with kids it’s great to give them a little more then just a trail- things like boardwalks, bridges, water,  stumps to jump off and giant rocks to climb on all keep them them engaged and interested during your walk.  At Clifford E. Lee Natural Area my girls loved the displays throughout the path system challenging them to find different animals and foliage. They also loved running along the long boardwalk loop.  With the exception of the Woodland Flower trail, the other 4 main pathways all connect so its impossible to get lost.  Each route is under 1km, making it possible to explore every trail in a afternoon (and making it perfect for kids).

On our visit we checked out the bulletin board at the entry and found a list of commonly found wildlife in the park- this kept the girls engaged during our walk trying to find each one. We came across many  different birds (there’s feeders throughout the park), a garter snake, squirrels, a mouse,  wild mushrooms, wild raspberries, strawberry plants and numerous insects. Violet also brought along her animal tracking book and only found the tracks of the elusive domestic canine…but she loves trying to find the different footprints and analyzing every bit of mud she comes across.  Her animal tracking book is one of her favourites and definitely a must-have for camping trips and exploring trails.

The board walk trail goes around much of the marshland and is about 3 feet off the ground. There are no railings, so if you have little ones who “need” to run but may walk right off the edge, it might be easier to carry them in a backpack or stroller. The park, with the exception of the Aspen Trail, is stroller friendly.  There is lots of boardwalk for walking along with a stroller and then wide dirt paths through the forest and fields. The parks is also leashed dog-friendly but not bike friendly.

I would budget 2 hours for exploring and pack a lunch for the picnic tables at the main gate. It’s beautiful little hidden gem in the Edmonton area that’s worth a visit.

Look forward to
-Several family friendly trails that loop
-Lots of wildlife to search for and built-in binoculars to do so
-Bird viewing platforms that double as a “treehouse” in kids’ eyes
-Peace and quiet just minutes outside the city with no admission costs

But be prepared for
-Mosquitos (it is marshland after all)
-Limited bathroom facilities. In other words, head to the bathroom before heading out (the porta potties on-site were spider invested)
-The boardwalk does not have railings, which could be a hazard for younger kids

Our insider tips
We visited on a weekday and we only saw one other family on the trails. If possible, try to explore during the week. Take a cell phone picture of the map at the gate so you can refer back to it when deciding which paths you’d like to take- a 1km can be the difference between a fun walk and a tantrum with toddlers.   Be sure you pack a hat (the boardwalk trails are in full sun).  There are no services in the park, so make sure you bring water and anything else you may need.    Be sure to read my blog post about hiking with kids for more tips before you head out.

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