Edmonton is an ideal destination for your next family vacation with plenty of activities that the whole family can enjoy no matter what their interests are. While the urban offerings are certainly exciting, you can find plenty of outdoor adventure as well. Additionally, you'll find some world-famous sites here and so many festivals throughout the year that the city has earned the nickname of Canada's Festival City. Take a look at the best things to do in Edmonton with kids, and discover everything you need to create the ultimate itinerary for your next family trip.
Outdoor kids activities in Edmonton
1. Explore the past at Fort Edmonton Park
Take your family to Fort Edmonton Park to enjoy a variety of activities centred primarily around an old steam train. The train is still functional for you to ride on, but you'll also find live shows and a vintage midway. Seasonal events are also held here, so you'll find even more to do if you visit during the winter or Halloween season. You'll also find plenty of history here with several exhibits showcasing the history of the land and the importance of treaties.
2. See the animals at the Edmonton Valley Zoo
The Edmonton Valley Zoo is an animal sanctuary dedicated to conservation and education, so you and your family can visit with peace of mind knowing the animals are well taken care of. You'll find a variety of animals here including their iconic elephant that is often let out and shown off during presentations by the staff. The polar extremes exhibit is quite popular as well with animals like seals, sea lions, and arctic foxes making an appearance. More than 350 animals make their home here, so you and your kids can easily turn your visit into an all-day affair.
3. See dinosaur models at Jurassic Forest
When you and your family visit Jurassic Forest, you'll find yourself on a 40-acre prehistoric reserve where you can explore what the region was like millions of years ago. Life-size dinosaur models are set up throughout the area offering an awe-inspiring sense of scale that helps you understand the sheer size of these prehistoric reptiles. Kids can even enjoy a designated play area, and all the walking trails are easy enough for your little ones to handle. They offer food as well, so you don't have to leave the area when it's time to eat.
4. Learn about energy at the Canadian Energy Museum
Edmonton and Alberta at large are among the top oil providers in the world. At the Canadian Energy Museum, you and your family can learn all about that history as well as the various resources for energy and how they affect sustainability. You can see an actual oil rig along with the kinds of windmills used for harvesting renewable wind energy. You'll even find some games at the museum that your kids will be especially interested in that are as educational as they are fun.
5. Relax at the Prairie Gardens and Adventure Farm
If you're looking for a laid-back family activity in Edmonton, there's nothing quite like the Prairie Gardens and Adventure Farm. Here, you'll find a variety of things to do with 3 corn mazes to wander through and opportunities for kids to harvest their own vegetables. You'll also find an array of animals living on the farm like chickens and goats. You and your little ones can even get up close and personal with these animals. Additionally, you'll find a wide array of items at the shop that are made from naturally grown ingredients from the farm itself.
6. Explore Alberta's cultural identity at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village
The Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village is an open-air museum that showcases what life was like for the Ukrainian immigrant population in times past and the impact they had on the modern culture of Alberta. When your family visits, you'll find yourself in a living history museum where you'll feel as if you've stepped back in time to an old village. Over 40 buildings are included in the village, and they've all been restored and refurbished to their early-20th-century glory. You'll find a separate exhibit gallery as well that offers even more insight into the fascinating history of Ukrainian migrants to Alberta.
7. Explore the wonders of nature at the John Janzen Nature Centre
When you visit the John Janzen Nature Centre, you and your family can explore a wide variety of exhibits and educational programming that showcase the beauty and wonder of nature local to the Edmonton area. Naturalists are on staff to offer additional information that isn't available from the exhibits alone. In addition to several interactive exhibits that let you get up close to local plants and animals, your kids can also enjoy a playground area. All of this is located right within the city, so you can explore nature without having to leave the urban environment.
8. See the greenery at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden
The University of Alberta Botanic Garden is about 15 minutes outside of Edmonton by car and is home to a massive collection of cultivated plants and gardens. The Kurimoto Japanese Garden is one of the most popular attractions here, but that's just the beginning. You'll also find an exotic butterfly tropical showhouse along with collections of primulas and lilies. Don't forget to check out the Native Peoples Garden as well to discover what plants are important to Alberta's indigenous population. Keep in mind that most of the plants here are suited for a cold northern climate, with others being restricted to climate-controlled showhouses.
9. Splash around at Woodlands Water Play Park
If you're looking for an active adventure during the summer, there's nothing quite like Woodlands Water Play Park. This playground area is divided into 3 sections with each one appealing to a particular age group. You'll find a standard playground here along with playgrounds complete with water features including more than 20 spray features. One of the most popular parts of the playground is the super splash bucket, which can hold up to 50 gallons of water. For your convenience, this play park also features a cafe and on-site washrooms.
10. Find endless fun at Castle Downs Park
At Castle Downs Park, you'll find a wide variety of activities that the whole family can enjoy from playgrounds to sports fields. While soccer is always popular here, you'll also find a baseball diamond and an outdoor rink in the winter. Additionally, this park contains its own spray park for those hot summer days as well as a skatepark for those looking for more extreme activities. This facility also comes with picnic sites and washrooms for your convenience, so don't hesitate to turn your visit into an all-day event.
11. Pet animals at Thistle Hill Farm
Thistle Hill Farm is one of the oldest farms in the city where you'll find all sorts of friendly creatures your children can interact with. Additionally, you'll find pony rides here if your little ones are looking for a bit more adventure during their visit. Among the animals here, you'll find Nigerian dwarf dairy goats along with Dorper cross sheep. Some exotic and seasonal animals make their way here as well, so you may find some animals you may not have expected depending on the time of year you visit.
Indoor Edmonton attractions for families
12. Shop around the West Edmonton Mall
The West Edmonton Mall is a legendary mall that's known throughout the world as one of the largest malls in existence. Inside this massive shopping centre, you'll find more than 800 different stores and 100 different places to eat spread over an area that takes up more than 48 city blocks. In addition to the shopping, you'll also find a skating rink here and a thrilling amusement park complete with slides and coasters all indoors. You could spend all day at this mall and still not see everything it has to offer, so be prepared for what you're getting into when you add it to your itinerary.
13. Tour the pyramids at the Muttart Conservatory
When you visit the Muttart Conservatory, you can explore a wide range of impressive plant life from all around the world that's well-maintained all year long. Housed in massive pyramids, these gardens are like a vibrant green oasis from the hustle and bustle of the city. The pyramids are separated into arid, tropical, and temperate zones, each with its own selection of plants. Your family can explore these pyramids at your own pace, or you can opt for one of the guided tours that run on the weekend and Wednesdays for extra information about the plants here.
14. Explore the history of flight at the Alberta Aviation Museum
Whether you have aspiring pilots in your family or anyone who simply loves planes, you won't want to miss out on a trip to the Alberta Aviation Museum. Located among Edmonton's Blatchford Field in an old World War II-era hangar, you'll find a museum packed full of exhibits showcasing the history of aviation in Alberta, including 30 planes. Don't forget to try out the simulators here to get as close as possible to the sensation of flying a plane.
15. Get lost in knowledge at the Royal Alberta Museum
At the Royal Alberta Museum, you can explore a wide variety of collections with more than 2 million objects in total from several different fields of study. You'll find earth sciences and life sciences on display here in addition to exhibits about conservation and extensive cultural studies. All of it is focused specifically on Alberta. Some of the exhibits include objects such as dinosaur fossils, ancient tools, and space rocks, as well as personal accounts from people who lived through historical eras in Alberta's past. Temporary travelling exhibitions are common here, too, and they tend to bring a more international perspective to the areas of study on display.
16. Ignite curiosity at the TELUS World of Science
The TELUS World of Science is a fascinating science museum and activity centre that lets you and your little ones learn all about the fascinating world of science and technology. This centre is designed to be interactive, so your kids won't have any trouble finding something exciting to do whether it's preparing a mock space launch or playing around in an inflatable planetarium. The science demonstration stage often hosts fascinating events that are as entertaining as they are educational, and this location features one of the largest IMAX theatres in the city.
17. See master crafts at the Art Gallery of Alberta
Families interested in art can especially enjoy the Art Gallery of Alberta. This location is packed full of fascinating exhibitions that show off new artists who are perfecting old methods and trying techniques that are entirely new. Several kid-specific activities are available here as well including some that let your children showcase their inner artist. Separate activities exist for different age groups such as a Tours for Tots program that's set up for kids age 3 to 5. The weekly art camps for kids who are at least 6 are also quite popular.
18. Visit a museum and park at the John Walter Museum
The John Walter Museum is dedicated to the titular man who was instrumental in the development of Edmonton as a proper city from the early settlements known as Fort Edmonton. At this museum, you'll find several exhibits showcasing his entire life from the late 19th century to the mid-20th century. Additionally, you'll find a park here that features quite a few walking and biking trails along with a playground that your little ones are sure to enjoy. You can take a self-guided tour of the entire area or embark on a proper guided tour if you like.
19. See trains at the Alberta Railway Museum
The Alberta Railway Museum is an ideal destination if your family is interested in trains. This museum is dedicated to preserving and restoring historic trains and railway artifacts to showcase how rail shaped Alberta and Canada as a whole. You'll find quite a few exhibitions throughout along with tours and special programs. More than 75 locomotives and cars are on display here, and they even offer rides on completely operational vintage trains.