Everyday Life, Travel, Two Legged Fun

8 Great Summer Daycations in and around Edmonton

Great Summer Daycations In & Around Edmonton

Summer is now upon us and I wanted to share some of our family’s favorite day trips in and around the Edmonton area.  I love that there are so many great family friendly attractions just a short drive from our own house to get out and enjoy.  Pack a cooler of snacks, some good walking shoes, and get ready for a fun adventure! Continue reading “8 Great Summer Daycations in and around Edmonton”

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Two Legged Fun, Uncategorized

Goin’ to the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo….

One of our Summer Bucket list items was to visit the zoo.  We have managed to complete this Bucket List item twice over, at two different and amazing zoos: The Calgary Zoo and the Edmonton Valley Zoo.

 

The Calgary Zoo

Back in June we made a weekend trip to Calgary to visit my sister.  The main purpose of the trip was to pick out the paving stones we wanted to order for our patio, but we decided to make an entire weekend of it.  I looked at other things to do with the kids in Calgary, but ended up coming back to the Calgary Zoo again because it was something we had done before and enjoyed.

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I knew the kids were going to like it, but I was still surprised by just how excited my 2 year old animal lover got over seeing all the creatures.

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I had brought our folding wagon along because I know it is a lot of walking, but my two year old was insistent on walking almost the entire zoo on her own so she could see all the animals up close.  Nothing beats seeing the excitement come over a young child when they spot an animal in one of the habitats!

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And, of course, like most of our outings this summer, there had to be ice cream.

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After our ice cream break, we headed to the back of the zoo where I was excited to see they have added on some kid friendly attractions such as a carousel, train ride and a great playground.  It was a nice break from the walking and the kids were excited to try out the rides and animal themed park.

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Camden also discovered some large rocks that he happily climbed.

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And in true little sister fashion, Keira had to get in on the climbing action too!

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The dinosaur park has been there for as long as I can remember.  I remember enjoying it as a kid, but since it is such a big zoo we have ended up skipping over it the last few visits.  This time Camden seemed pretty interested in seeing the dino’s so we decided to take a walk through the Prehistoric area where we discovered all kinds of different dinosaurs along the path.

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And, we finally got to see the penguins on our way back out.  I think Keira could have spent the entire day just watching the penguins swimming and waddling and hopping around their Penguin Plunge habitat.  I don’t blame her, this is one of my favorite parts of the Calgary Zoo now too.

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Edmonton Valley Zoo

I can’t say enough about how impressed I am with the improvements to the Edmonton Valley Zoo.  Before it didn’t even compare to the Calgary Zoo, but the new entrance and expanded facilities has it looking more and more like a “real zoo”.

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I don’t know how, but some how we managed to miss seeing the biggest animal at the zoo – Lucy the Elephant.  She must have been out when we passed by her cage and then we didn’t see her out on her walk as we made our way through the rest of the zoo.  I was a little disappointed since we didn’t get to see any elephants at the Calgary Zoo either, but there were still plenty of other amazing animals to look at.

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One thing that hasn’t changed in decades at the Edmonton zoo is the petting zoo area, now known as their Urban Farm.  Camden sat it out so he wouldn’t have to wash his hands after petting the animals, but Keira was right in there with the goats, sheep, ponies and chickens.  This kid really has no fear when it comes to animals and I love seeing the excitement on her face and the jump in her step with each new creature she gets to come face to face with.

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Another highlight is the train that runs past the Urban Farm and through a tunnel.  It is a short ride, but the kids love it and there always seems to be a pretty good line-up to get on the train.  I also love that this attraction is now included with admission, whereas we had to buy tickets to ride the similar train at the Calgary Zoo.

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And I must say the Edmonton Zoo has Calgary Zoo beat hands down for ice cream selection.  They have a concession stand dedicated solely to frozen treats where you can find any kind of popsicle or hard ice cream flavor you could ever want.  Camden was pretty darn excited to pick out a Sonic popsicle complete with gumball eyes!

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In the newer area of the Valley Zoo is a whole section of rocks and tunnels meant to be climbed through and explored.  It made it a little hard to keep track of my two kids, but they had a great time.  I particularly liked the giant beaver house the kids could walk right into.

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Although they were two different trips, there were many common elements that made for a fun day.   For my kids you seem to be guaranteed a good time if there are interesting animals, a train ride, big things to climb on and ice cream!

And the marker of a good time for me?  Two happy, sleeping kids in the backseat after both visits!

Everyday Life, Two Legged Fun

Edmonton Valley Zoo Festival of Light

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I was very excited to find out the Valley Zoo in Edmonton was introducing a Festival of Light this Christmas season.  We had gone to Zoolights at the Calgary Zoo while I was still pregnant with my son and it was a fun experience to see the zoo all lit up at night.

My original plan was to go this past weekend so I was a little bummed when we were hit with extremely cold temperatures that made it impossible to go with two young kids.  After looking at the weekly forecast, we determined that Monday night looked the warmest (-6) and took it as our opportunity to check the festival out.

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They are currently working on renovating the zoo and I was excited to see the newly built front entrance finally open.  Our zoo is still fairly small in comparison to a lot of other zoo’s, but they are working hard to improve it and I think they have done a great job making it a worthwhile attraction to visit throughout the year.

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Keira started in the stroller but didn’t last long in the stroller before she was itching to get out and walk.   She raced between exhibits, shouting an excited “dog, dog, dog!” every time she spotted a new animal.  Luckily she was still strapped in the stroller when we came across the zookeepers out walking the Arctic wolf otherwise she would have been racing to pet it.

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I loved watching as Keira spotted the animals and started jumping and screaming in excitement.  We were able to get pretty close up to a lot of the animals, but that still wasn’t good enough with my little girl who had a few mini meltdowns trying to clamour her way into the enclosures.

We have only ever been to the zoo on hot summer days so it was neat being at the zoo at night and in the cold.  Some of the animals that would typically be hidden out of the hot sun were out and very easy to spot.  The Siberian tigers, fox, otters and other Arctic wolf were all out wandering around their enclosures and we were able to get a good look.

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No trip to the Valley Zoo is ever complete without checking in on Lucy the elephant.  We found her inside out of the cold, which gave us a chance to warm up a bit too.  It was a pretty warm night but it was still nice to be able to alternate between viewing the lights and animals outside and seeing the inside exhibits.

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As we were leaving, the reindeer were out for a walk which gave us a good view of them.  These were just 3 of the 7 reindeer they have at the zoo – not quite a full team to pull Santa’s sleigh!

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The snow was just starting to fall and the wind was picking up as we were loading into the car.  We weren’t that chilled, but we still decided to cap the night off with hot chocolate and donuts at Tim Horton’s!  It was well past bedtime and Keira was tired from walking most of the zoo on her own, but she managed to stay awake and happy.

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Overall it turned out to be an awesome night to go.  Due to the dark and the kids excitement I wasn’t able to get many non-blurry pictures, but I know they had smiles plastered to their faces for most of the night and their joy made it totally worth it.  If the temperatures cooperate I am pretty sure it will be something we will attempt again next year.