From staycation secrets to favourite things to do in Centra Alberta for families, here are a few suggestions to help you get out and about…
- For a tranquil day in a natural setting, Bower Ponds is a beautiful park full of attractions and a variety of recreational opportunities. The park includes a playground overlooking the Red Deer River, a serenity garden and a natural amphitheatre with a covered stage. Two fountains keep the central pond healthy and refreshed in the summer months and offer a fun element for boaters to row under. You’ll also find more than 10 kilometres of trails that connect to Heritage Ranch, McKenzie Trails and Three Mile Bend trail system.
- Visit one of the local farmers’ markets for a fun vibe and locally produced farm goods and crafts. The Market at Red Deer is open Saturdays from the May long weekend to Thanksgiving. Gasoline Alley Farmers’ Market is open year-round from Friday to Sunday, and the downtown merchants host a market on Wednesday afternoons.
- Spend a few hours at the Red Deer Mountain Bike Park located in North Red Deer. The park caters specifically to mountain bikers and doesn’t allow motorized or equestrian use. The park includes a large area of single-track trails and some technical features including dirt jumps, boardwalks, wood features and free-ride stunts, with trails marked from easy to advanced.
- Visit one of many museums highlighting Red Deer’s past. Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery, The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Norwegian Laft Hus all offer a glimpse of Red Deer’s place in Alberta’s growth. Spend some time at Sunnybrook Farm Museum, learning about Red Deer’s faming history.
- The Ghost Collection is one of the largest bronze life-size sculpture collections in Canada. The pieces are located throughout the heart of downtown Red Deer and tell the story behind the community’s formation. Start your tour at the recreation centre, and keep your eyes open for sculptures including Doris & Mickey and Francis the Pig. Your walk downtown will also offer up colourful murals and a whimsical giant brick rabbit!
- Historic Fort Normandeau park and interpretive centre are open to the public from May until October each year. Originally built as a resting place for those travelling between Calgary and Edmonton, the fort now commemorates the First Nations, Métis and European settlers who lived in the area.
- Kerry Wood Nature Centre is located on the south bank of the Red Deer River. The centre is Red Deer’s year-round home for environmental education and natural history. Visit the nature-based playground, explore the Nature Centre exhibits and the Grove and Harmony garden.
- Stay cool at one of the spray parks in Red Deer. Kin Kanyon spray fountain and Blue Grass Sod Farms Central Spray and Play offer the chance for the kids to cool off while you watch from the comfort of your blanket. Discovery Canyon is a water park located along the Red Deer River. Rent or bring your own tube and float down the sloped canyon through bubbling pools of water. The park features a beach area, a nature themed playground, concession, picnic tables and washrooms.
To plan your Central Alberta Adventures, check out the Red Deer Advocate’s Insider’s Guide to Red Deer and Beyond here.
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