Everyday Life, Travel, Two Legged Fun

Unlocking Magic at the Disney Store

Unlocking Magic At The Disney Store_Store Opening Ceremony

It should come as no surprise that one of the kids and I’s favorite stores is the Disney Store.  Although there are two here in Edmonton, we don’t seem to get to the malls that often and that means the kids are always excited to spend a good chunk of time checking out the new merchandise and playing in store.

Several months ago I hit up the mall while the kids were in school, and just happened to walk by first thing as the Disney Store was doing a special store opening ceremony.  I learned this is something they do daily and have been meaning to take the kids, so last week my daughter and I finally went to see what it was all about.  She was still too young for the Lego Monthly Mini Build I had her brother signed up for that evening, so I figured this was something special her and I could do that day. Continue reading “Unlocking Magic at the Disney Store”

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Everyday Life, Two Legged Fun, Uncategorized

Doll’s Aboard the Teddy Bear Special!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Up the hill was a beautiful historic Anglican Church built in 1916 that we were able to go in and view.

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Back down main street were some neat little shops filled with handicrafts, fudge, fresh baking and ice cream.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Check one more off our Summer Bucket List!

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Everyday Life, Two Legged Fun

Indoor Toddler Fun in Edmonton

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As the weather is slowly starting to turn cold on us, I thought I would compile a list of all the fun indoor play places the kids and I frequent throughout the winter months.  I find I start to go stir crazy if I am trapped in the house with the kids, so it is nice to have so many options open to us.  Please click the link titles for more information.

Cafe’O’Play – Edmonton and Sherwood Park 

  • An indoor play place and coffee house – what’s not to love??  I get to sit and relax with a delicious latte while the kids crawl through the plastic playhouses and slides, ride around the track in a cozy coupe or pretend to be little engineers at the train table.  Everything is secured and enclosed so it is easy to let the kids lose and not be stressed about them wandering off.

The Toy Hutch

  • This indoor inflatable park offers a little of everything between the giant inflatable slide, train table and climbing structures.  They have also offered special event days in the past where they have brought in a petting zoo for the kids.  It can be quite noisy with the inflatables going, but it is a clean, fun space for the kids.  Located in West Edmonton.

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Inflatable Fun Fun Place and Café

  • A new inflatable place on the southside, Inflatable Fun offers a clean secure play area complete with bouncy castles, plasma bikes and a really fun clubhouse upstairs.  The café area offers delicious homemade sandwiches, coffee and baked goods if you are looking for a quick snack or lunch.

John Janzen Nature Centre Tegler Discovery Zone

  • The nature centre has an incredible indoor playground complete with slides, tunnels, beaver den and a giant bee hive.  The kids and I all enjoy climbing through the tunnels and pretending to be the actual animals in the dens.

Treehouse Indoor Playground

  • This is on our to try list.  They have opened fairly recently and I have heard good things about this indoor playground.  It looks fairly large and includes all the typical plastic slides and tunnels for the big kids as well as a toddler’s area.

West Edmonton Mall Toddler Time

Before Camden turned 3, we used to visit West Edmonton Mall quite frequently to take advantage of the free admission for him.  There are several attractions throughout the mall which leads to quite a few options to keep the kids entertained.  For those 3 and above, the mall attractions do offer Toddler Time Monday – Thursday 12pm-3pm at a rate of $12 per child and their adult chaperone.

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  • Galaxyland – WEM’s indoor amusement park offers a range of rides that are suitable for toddlers.  Camden really enjoys riding around on the motorcycle and car tracks,  I was able to enjoy the hot air balloon ferris wheel and train with him last winter while Keira enjoyed the views strapped on me in the baby carrier.
  • Galaxy Kids Playpark – There is a small admission for this indoor playground located within Galaxyland, but it offers a wide range of climbing structures, slides and ball pits.  There is both a young kids area and more challenging equipment for the bigger kids.
  • Sea Life Caverns – Located right by the Sea Lion tank, the sea life caverns are a bit of a hidden treasure within the mall.  Climb down the stairs and you are surrounded by manta rays, sharks, giant sea turtles and penguins.  I love aquariums so this is one of my favorite places to take the kids.  Adults do have to pay an admission fee.
  • World Water Park – The waterpark is also an option, although I haven`t been brave enough to take the kids on my own yet.  I think this will also have to be on our to-do list for this winter because Camden has gone to the waterpark once before and seemed to really enjoy himself.

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Millwoods Town Centre Mall Playground

  • A decent option if you are looking for something is to head to Millwoods Town Centre Mall and let them play on the playground right by the food court.  It is a fairly simple playground, but it is a good option to allow me to get a bit of shopping in (Target, Dollarama, Shoppers Drug Mart, Safeway) and let the kids burn off some energy.

IKEA

  • Once your kids hit a certain height, you are able to drop them off with the caregivers at Smaland in IKEA for up to an hour while you shop.  There are slides, a ball pit, movies, coloring and activities to keep them entertained while you get to enjoy some child free time.  While there, I also like to hit up the IKEA café for an inexpensive meatball lunch.  Kids eat free on Tuesdays!

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Chapters

  • Once in a while we will take an outing to Chapters bookstore so the kids can play with the train table and I can grab a latte from Starbucks.  It is usually fairly quiet and relaxed and just one more way to help pass the long winter days.

Telus World of Science

  • The Telus World of Science has a great kids Discoveryland Gallery with a play airport (complete with xray machine), water area and giant piano.  I also highly recommend you check out one of the shows in the 360 degree domed Margaret Zeidler theater (included with admission).  The kids and I have seen both “In my Backyard” and “One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure” (ages 2-6) and it is a fun and unique experience.
  • If you are a Harry Potter fan, the new Harry Potter exhibit opens November 23rd.

Terwillegar Recreation Centre

  • Our closest recreation centre offers both an indoor playground and a nice saltwater pool for the kids.  This fall Camden is taking a class at the rec centre on Thursday mornings so I can see Keira and I spending a lot of time at the playground since she still gets in for free!  (2 and under)

Capital City Gymnastics Open Gym

  • I love visiting gymnastic centres for drop-in hours.  The entire floor is padded so the kids can’t get hurt and there are all kinds of new things for them to jump on and climb over.  Capital City Gymnatics just opened a brand new facility this Summer and I am eager to check it out in the upcoming weeks.

So there you have a glimpse of how we plan to spend the next several months.  I realize there are things I may have missed, so if you have suggestions or know a fun spot we might enjoy, please share in the comments below!