Everyday Life, Two Legged Fun

Discovering Dino’s at Jurassic Forest

One of my favorite daytrips from Edmonton is to the Jurassic Forest in Gibbons, Alberta.  It is quick and easy to get to from the city and is great for both the young and the young at heart.  I mean, who doesn’t love seeing giant robotic dinosaurs?

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It had been a couple years since we last visited Jurassic Forest, and when I saw they had added on a dinosaur themed mini golf course for this year, I knew it had to be added on to this years Summer Bucket List.

Continue reading “Discovering Dino’s at Jurassic Forest”

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Everyday Life, Two Legged Fun

A Trip Back in Time: Fort Edmonton Park

Visiting Fort Edmonton Park was one of the items on our Summer Bucket List.  After taking the kids the past two summers, it has become a bit of an annual summer tradition now for us and is definitely something I now look forward to in the summer months.

This year we made our way through the park travelling backwards through time.  We began at the 1920’s midway, went down 1905 Street, stepped onto 1885 street and then made our way all the way back to the 1846 Hudson’s Bay Fort.

My kids are still a little small for some of the rides on the midway, but they were still happy to ride the beautifully restored carousel and go for a spin on the hand-cranked bug swing ride.

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Camden was also excited to try his hand at the fishing game again this year.  For prizes, each kid came away with a plastic horse toy they proudly held onto for most of the day.

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After enjoying the midway, we headed down the wooden walkways towards a farmstead where Keira happily discovered a pen of horses.  This is just one of many animal pens throughout the park and seeing their excitement over the animals is a large part of the reason I love bringing the kids here.

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Next, we hit up the ice cream shop!  This is definitely one of the highlights of a trip to Fort Edmonton.  We enjoyed our cones outside the confectionary store and then made our way across the street to the movie theater where my 4 year old was quite fascinated with the whole notion of movies being in black and white.  “But why do they not have colors mommy?”

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We then made our way through the firehouse and to the playground where the kids ran, climbed and worked off their ice cream cones.  It is not a fancy playground by any means, but the swings, teeter-totters, slide and jungle gym are more then enough for the kids.  I also love that it is tucked back away behind the buildings under a canopy of trees and is a nice spot to enjoy a packed lunch.

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Our next step back in time was past the tent city and teepee and onto 1885 street.  While I was in University, I spent an entire summer baking cookies and working in the bakery on 1885.  My attire included a long skirt, apron and a lovely bonnet while I spent the day in front of hot oven in the bakehouse.  I was disappointed last year to see the bakery and bakehouse were no longer running and a new bakery area had been put in the hotel across the dirt street.

Some things that haven’t changed are the horse drawn carriage ride running through 1885 street and the delicious hard candy’s from McDougall’s store.  We enjoyed a bag of the raspberry flavor as we were waiting for our turn on the wagon ride!

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Even though there are all kinds of great old houses and buildings to look through, that day we didn’t actually view the inside of many of the buildings because the kids were too happy running around outside and finding animals.  At the urging of one of the costumed interpreters I did end up getting them into one of the homes where they were excited to find a kids playroom upstairs.

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Before we went to Fort Edmonton, I tried to explain to Camden where we were going and showed him pictures from our past trips.  He was quite excited by a picture from when he was 2 and he got to ride a pony so I promised he could ride one again this time.  It was Keira’s first time riding and I think both kids really enjoyed the experience.

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Finally, we ended our trip through the park at the actual Fort.  The kids were getting pretty tired by this point, so we didn’t do too much exploring but we did get a good glimpse into a few of the buildings to see what life used to be like for the early settlers here in Edmonton.

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We then wrapped up our day with a trip back to the main gates on the steam engine.  We had already gone on our train journey with Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions earlier this summer, but the kids were still very excited to get to ride a train.  If there is a train involved, you can pretty much guarantee a successful outing with toddlers in tow!

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If you haven’t been to Fort Edmonton Park, I highly recommend it.  This is my third year taking the kids and each year just seems to be getting better as they are able to do more and are learning more.  It is fairly widespread so I brought the stroller along for my youngest, but we were able to make our through the entire park without using it too much.  There are lots of areas to stop along the way and there is so much to see and do that I don’t think the kids really notice how much walking their little legs have done.

And if you are an AMA member, don’t forget to show your card at the  gate for 15% off admission!

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Celebrations, Everyday Life, HOME, Two Legged Fun

Family Fun Down on the Farm

It has been a pretty great past several days at the Doll house.  After sitting around all last long weekend waiting for a sod delivery that never came, we finally got our grass on Wednesday evening and were able to get the backyard all done Thursday afternoon.  I love the grass and can’t tell you how happy I am to have the dirt covered up and finally feel like there is an end in sight to our summer long landscaping projects!

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Thursday morning was also a big day for Camden as he got to go check out his preschool classroom and meet his teacher for the first time.  He seems pretty excited to start school next week and was even a little disappointed that Keira and I were staying with him for his first day.

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Friday was my birthday.  We celebrated with a low key lunch out at Red Robin (hello free birthday burger!) and a delicious cake my husband picked up locally from Wild Earth Bakery & Cafe.  It was a delicious banana cake, coated in peanut butter buttercream with a covering of chocolate ganache.  It was also adorned with chocolate covered bacon which we were a little unsure of, but my kids both can’t seem to get enough of.

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I have been trying for the last couple weekends to get my husband to step away from the landscaping/yardwork and accompany the kids and I to the Lacombe Corn Maze.  After managing to get the sod laid Thursday and using my birthday as a bit of a manipulation tool, I convinced him to take the one hour drive south Saturday morning to visit the Kraay Family Farm and get lost in the maze.  The weather was perfect and I was happy to get some quality family time in on what could be one of the last fleeting days of warm weather.

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My husband and I had been to the corn maze several summers back and I was impressed to see how much has changed in the 10+ years since we first went.  From what I remember, the main highlight was the corn mazes and there were only a few small attractions for the kids.  Now, the corn maze seems to play second to all the playgrounds, games, rides, animals, and other kid centered attractions throughout the farm.

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There was a lot to take in, but one of the first things Camden decided to try was the giant bouncing pillows just inside the gates.  Camden had fun, but you do get bounced around pretty good if there are other jumpers nearby.

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Next up Keira led us towards the animals.  There were ducks, chickens, pot bellied pigs, a miniature donkey and some goats.  The goats have a nifty set of catwalks that go all over the animal pens and allow you to view the goats far up above your heads!

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We then took a short tour around some of the farm in a tractor drawn wagon train.  Camden was excited to point out the pumpkins turning orange in the pumpkin patch and Keira was just happy to go for a ride!

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On the drive down I was feeling a little bad about not having completed quite a few of our Summer Bucket List items, but we were able to check off a few from this outing.  Mini golf was on our list, and the farm had a great dinosaur themed course that is included with price of admission.

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And while it isn’t quite go-karting, I am counting these pedal powered karts as going go-karting on our Bucket List.  Camden was just big enough to be able to pedal them and was happy zooming past the other drivers as he made his way around the small track.

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With slides, a tire horse merry-go-round, multiple play structures, a giant sandbox and unique crooked playhouses this is one of the best play areas we have been to all summer.  There were no shortage of things to keep the kids busy and I am sure we could go back repeatedly and they would not be bored.  We had a hard time prying them away to try some of the other activities we wanted to see!

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One activity I was surprised by how much Keira enjoyed was playing in a bin full of dried corn.  I think she would have happily stayed there for hours rolling in it, digging her toes into it and running it through her hands.  There was a giant sandbox just steps away, but she was far more interested in the corn.

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After a quick hot dog lunch, we made out way over to play a few games and get ready to watch one of the twice daily pig races.  There are a couple concession stands throughout the farm as well of plenty of tables and seating if you wanted to bring in your own picnic lunch.  The farm also rents out barbeques and there are tents available for special events such as birthday parties.

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The pig races were short, but cute.  “Boss Hogg” did a good job commentating and getting the kids involved, and it was funny to see some of the pigs not too sure of where they should be running.

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Then, finally, we made our way through one of the three corn mazes.  It was a lot of walking and both kids were getting pretty pooped by the end, but my husband did a good job of not leading us too astray.  There are also clues and employees throughout the maze for those who might be completely directionally challenged!

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And we ended our trip to the farm with, what else, but ice cream!!  I think the kids would be more then happy if I built next summer’s bucket list solely on places we could go to enjoy ice cream.

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The farm and corn maze visit made for a fantastic day, but the icing on the cake was really in the evening when this happened:

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While relaxing with some drinks in the front yard, I watched how well Camden was doing riding his balance bike and decided to take the training wheels off his pedal bike to have him give it a try.  I was expecting some wobbliness and failed attempts, but what he did blew both my husband and I away.  With little more then a small push from my husband, my little guy took off pedalling his 2 wheeler like a pro.  Within minutes he was going up curbs and riding in circles like it was old hat to him!  I didn’t even have the video camera ready to catch the first try because there was no way I thought he would be able to do it that easily.

I couldn’t be prouder of my little boy and can’t think of a more wonderful way to start off being 32.  I  am looking forward to more upcoming family adventures and am excited to watch as the kids continue to grow and surprise us in the year ahead.

 

For more information on the Kraay Family Farm, be sure to check out their fantastic website or visit the Lacombe Corn Maze on Facebook.  As you can see by my many photos, there is no shortage of things to do on the farm and I would highly recommend it for anyone looking for fun activities to do with their kids in and around Central Alberta.

 

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