On July 4th we had the pleasure of travelling with Alberta Prairie Railroad Excursions aboard their Teddy Bear Special. We have no trips or holidays booked this summer so I booked a few months ago thinking it would be a nice treat for the kids (and us adults!). I was a little hesitant to book because of the price, but as you will see, the $200 was totally worth it for what we got out of the day.
Because we were riding the Teddy Bear Special, the kids were asked to each bring a teddy. As an activity earlier in the week, I decided to take the kids to West Edmonton Mall to pick out an outfit for their Teddies at Build-A-Bear Workshop. My son was disappointed they didn’t have the How to Train A Dragon hoodie he had seen on the website, but there was so much selection in the store that it wasn’t hard to find something he liked for his teddy. He quickly settled on a soccer uniform for his bear, while my two year old zoned in on the stuffed dogs. Luckily I was able to convince her she didn’t need yet another stuffed dog, and we went with a rainbow striped top and jeans for her bear.
We boarded the train in Stettler, after a quiet hour and a half long drive in the car from Edmonton. Thank you iPads and sleepy children! Inside they had our names labelled above our seats and the kids quickly settled in with their teddies, excited to get their tickets punched and begin the journey ahead.
I was surprised how happy my two year old was just staring out the window and watching the scenery. I thought she would be fidgety and bored on the actual train ride, but she was fascinated by the farms, vehicles and cows passing by.
It also helped that, once moving, we were able to get up and explore the entire train. It was longer then I was expecting with passenger cars, an open air car for viewing and two concession stands. As a treat, the kids each picked a Ring Pop and we shared some popcorn to tide us over until lunch time.
Our train’s destination was Big Valley. There they had a roast beef lunch waiting for us at the community hall, which we quickly ate and then set out to explore the village.
Up the hill was a beautiful historic Anglican Church built in 1916 that we were able to go in and view.
Back down main street were some neat little shops filled with handicrafts, fudge, fresh baking and ice cream.
And because our outings don’t seem to be complete without ice cream, Camden suckered daddy into a cone of Bubble Gum Ice Cream for himself while Keira repeatedly swiped dad’s mint chocolate chip waffle cone.
After a quick clean-up from the ice cream, we still had time to go for another small walk and explore some of the old farm machinery.
We were also able to go right inside the Big Valley grain elevator which I found kind of neat. I don’t think my farm raised husband was near as fascinated.
There were a couple other historic buildings and small museums nearby we didn’t get a chance to explore because it was then time to head back to the train station for the Teddy Bear parade. The clowns lead us for a small walk down main street so we could show off our bears, and then it was back onto the train for the return journey to Stettler. As an added touch, each kid received a small Beanie Baby as their prize for participating in the parade.
Back on the train, I also got a flashback to my childhood when this guy entered our train car to entertain the kids. I remember Rosco the Clown being at a few of my friends birthday parties way back when I was in elementary so I was surprised to see it was indeed him. I think he was still doing the same tricks and his jokes were just as corny as ever, but he sure knows what he is doing because he had my two kids laughing their little butts off.
It was a beautiful day for a train ride and I was surprised how much both my kids enjoyed it. The staff from Alberta Prairie Railway were amazing and everything was well thought out and planned to keep the kids entertained and happy. They run several different rides throughout the summer, with some of the more adult focused journeys even involving train robberies. The village of Big Valley had a lot more then I was expecting and there is definitely something to be found for all ages. If you ever plan to be in the Stettler area or are looking for a fun daytrip within Alberta, definitely check Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions out!
Check one more off our Summer Bucket List!