After spending time at Edmonton’s wondrous Science Centre, head out of the famous Oil Town into the field to dig in the sand to uncover prehistoric dinosaur fossils instead of precious black gold. Escape the crowded waterpark of West Edmonton Mall for the tranquillity of the University of Alberta’s mystical Aga Khan Garden filled with peaceful pools, fountains, and terraced garden spaces. Spend a fun-filled, educational day learning about the fierce cougars, black bears, and curious raccoons of Discovery Wildlife Park. Please check out the following list of the top day trips from Edmonton, Canada, to enhance your big city visit with nearby wildlife sanctuaries, golden beaches, and towering fear-inspiring dinosaurs.
1. Discovery Wildlife Park
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Take a walk on the wild side by signing up for a tour to get up close and personal with the majestic big cats of Discovery Wildlife Park. Sit back and learn about the various bears, raccoons, wolves, cougars, and lions while they interact with their trainers. Sign up for special wildlife encounters that bring you face to face with bears, exotic tigers, and elusive wolves. Assist the conservation efforts of the park staff to rescue and train animals orphaned and donated by overfilled zoos by donating funds and purchasing souvenirs from the gift shop.
Discovery Wildlife Park
Address: 5400 42 Avenue, Innisfail, AB T4G 1P9
Website: Discovery Wildlife Park
Opening hours: May 1 - September 7: 10am - 7pm (daily), September 8 - October 12: 10am - 5pm
2. Elk Island National Park
Enjoy camping under the star-filled Alberta sky to experience the stunning Northern Lights wash swatches of emerald green across the midnight sky. Sit by the sizzling campfire to keep warm as the first settlers to Canada’s prairies would have done centuries earlier. Stroll or cycle carefully across the numerous, easy to travel trails so as not to spook the massive bison herds. Spread out your blanket for a peaceful picnic in the tall Serengeti-like grassy meadows to dine amongst the native birds and peace-loving woolly bison.
Elk Island National Park
Address: 54401 Range Road 203, Fort Saskatchewan, AB T8L 0V3
Website: Elk Island National Park
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
3. Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village
Leave the modern world of Edmonton behind to be transported back to the early days when Ukranian immigrants arrived in Canada and settled much of Eastern Alberta. Hop aboard a horse-drawn wagon to drive past historic buildings transported from all over Eastern Alberta to maintain the historical authenticity of such early settlements. Wander through the sprawling grounds admiring the 40 historic buildings before heading over to listen to an informative presentation on Ukranian culture by staff dressed in period costumes. Be careful when walking or riding along the wooden and earthen pathways since these can become extremely hazardous in wet conditions.
Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village
Address: 195041 Highway 16 East, Lamont County, AB
Website: Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village
Opening hours: May - Sept: 10am - 5pm (daily)
Price: 0 - 31 USD
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4. Cross Iron Mills
Drive out of sprawling Edmonton until you are a 20-minute drive out of Calgary, to spend a day exploring the unique shopping center of Cross Iron Mills. Enter through Bass Pro Shops and encounter fascinating rocky mountain landscapes filled with fearsome polar bears, howling wolves, and wide-eyed does en-route to entering Alberta’s largest single-level mall. Enjoy dining in the 1200-seat themed food court after windowshopping at popular retail outposts including Tommy Hilfiger, Laura, Calvin Klein, and Hugo Boss. After visiting Coach for the latest in luxury handbags and accessories, finish off at Bed, Bath & Beyond with a relaxing massage in one of their therapeutic loungers.
Cross Iron Mills
Address: 261055 Crossiron Boulevard, Rocky View No. 44, AB T4A 0G3
Website: Cross Iron Mills
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 9pm, Sun: 11am - 6pm
5. University of Alberta Botanic Garden
Enjoy strolling through the secluded forested avenues until you reach geometric shaped pools in the stunning Aga Khan Garden. Be at one with nature as you listen to birds singing and streams trickling en route to the terraced amphitheater. During the autumn months, experience the vivid fall foliage, waterfalls, decorative lanterns, and stone garden ornaments in the serene Kurimoto Japanese Garden. After enjoying the peace and serenity of the gardens, stroll over the Japanese wooden bridge to the Ozawa Pavilion Teahouse to relax with a cup of rejuvenating green tea.
University of Alberta Botanic Garden
Address: 51227 AB-60, Spruce Grove, AB T7Y 1C5
Website: University of Alberta Botanic Garden
Opening hours: May 1 - 31: 10am - 5pm (daily); June 1 - Sept 2: Mon - Wed & Fri - Sun: 10am - 6pm; Thu: 10am - dusk
Price: 0 - 31 USD
6. Pembina River Provincial Park
Enjoy hiking along the rugged forest trails hoping to encounter some of Alberta’s native white-tailed deer, moose, beavers, badgers, and mink. Float leisurely down the winding Pembina River while admiring the breathtaking natural beauty passing by one either side. Splash playfully, fish, and paddle along the mighty Pembina River hoping to view black bears from the shoreline. Remember to always exercise caution on the river since cell service may not be reliable in case of emergencies.
Pembina River Provincial Park
Address: Entwistle, AB T0E 0S0
Website: Pembina River Provincial Park
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
7. Jurassic Forest
Be transported back to prehistoric times when dinosaurs roamed freely across Alberta’s badlands remaining unchallenged only by superpredator, T-Rex. Enjoy participating in onsite digs to unearth ancient fossils of extinct flora and skeletons of such notable creatures as a stegosaurus. Meet up with knowledgeable staff members to experience educational presentations on Alberta’s dinosaur history and their environments. Indulge in a game of mini-golf while carefully keeping your eyes open for towering brachiosaurus, triceratops, and ferocious T-Rex passing by.
Address: 23210 Township Road 564 #2, Gibbons, AB T0A 1N0
Website: Jurassic Forest
Opening hours: Tue - Thu: 10am - 2pm (closed from Fri - Mon)
Price: 9 - 105 USD
8. UFO Landing Pad
Lovers of all things science fiction will be able to experience Alberta’s own little green men staring into space from the center’s windows. Spend time investigating the historical photographs of UFOs and crop circles at the UFO Tourist Information Centre. Look up in hopes that a shiny silver spaceship will descend upon the flag emblazoned landing pad. Don’t forget to purchase souvenirs featuring extraterrestrial life forms or steely UFOs before taking a quick selfie of the eerie 1967 landmark.
UFO Landing Pad
Address: 4844-5012 53 Street, St. Paul, AB T0A 3A1
Website: UFO Landing Pad
Opening hours: Fri & Thu: 10am - 6pm (May - October)
9. Alberta Beach
Leave the summer heat of the prairie metropolis of Edmonton for a relaxing beach getaway to the tiny village of Alberta Beach. Book ahead to enjoy summer months since the community of nearly 1,100 is overtaken by an influx of nearly 3,000 beachgoers during peak season. Enjoy a funfilled day filled with swimming, beach volleyball, and lounging under a beach umbrella. Stroll along the golden sand beachfront while watching pets and children frolicking in the cool, refreshing waters of Lac Ste. Anne.
Address: Lac Ste. Anne County, AB
Website: Alberta Beach
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
10. Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary
Drive out of the bustling oil town of Edmonton to get away to this tranquil nature sanctuary filled with furry beavers, badgers, hare, muskrats, etc. While walking along the wooden boardwalk through the tall grass of the marshlands, beware not to disrupt nesting sites and water aviators. Make certain to avoid disturbing the wildlife while hiking through the dense pine forest by keeping your pet on a leash. Enjoy a peaceful picnic in the wildflower-filled meadow while admiring white-tailed deer in the distance bounding through the lush grass.
Clifford E. Lee nature sanctuary
Address: Spruce Grove, AB
Website: Clifford E. Lee nature sanctuary
Opening hours: Sunrise - sunset (daily)
After spending time shopping at West Edmonton Mall, head out of town to indulge in day trips that will fascinate everyone. Enjoy encountering powerful, woolly bison, fierce wildcats, and even mighty beasts from the Jurrasic period. After spending the summer months in search of Alberta’s little green men and golden sand beaches, fly home from Edmonton with many captivating memories locked away for next year.
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