Do you feel like it’s the same old thing every year? Quickly after the beauty of fall fades, the next season creeps in. A season that makes even some of the world’s most resilient animals say… yeah, no, gonna sleep through this one.
I’m talking about winter.
Winter makes us feel the need to bury ourselves under every blanket in the house, turn on the fireplace, and debate whether letting our kids watch TV for the next 5 months straight is reasonable. Anyone with me? I haven’t always been the biggest fan of winter and my fiance is even less impressed with this particular season.
Unfortunately (but also, fortunately), our 5-year-old child tends to set the stage for our daily activities, so… OUTSIDE WE GO! He has truly helped warm my relationship with winter. Greatly. I’ve come to actually love it! So I’m going to spend the next little while trying to convince you, while winter isn’t the easiest season to tolerate, it can be one of the most fun! Believe me?
First, let’s quickly touch on safety. Safety in the outdoors is always important, but I would say it’s the most critical in the winter with all the ice, snow, and darkness (I know… I’m selling it. Please keep reading!). I’ll keep it short. I strongly suggest you check the forecast and overpack with many layers and backups if you’re heading out. If your kiddo is typically unimpressed with the cold weather, bringing hand and foot warmers can help keep them toasty and you happy!
Winter Fun in the Backyard
Camp Yowochas has been running year-round programs since 1981, and summer camp programs since 1916. But this year, they’re offering something completely new! A way for your kids to get their regular schooling done, but ALSO enjoy the benefits of the outdoors.
In 2019, Camp Yowochas hosted over 8,300 visitors, including summer campers, schools, user groups and employ up to 60 staff members during the high season. Located in Fallis, AB, this year, they are offering Yowochas Learning Academy!
The Yowochas Learning Academy is designed for students who have chosen a distance or virtual learning option with their school division. The Camp Yowochas team will work with the parents of the students to understand and schedule their day to ensure they are meeting all curriculum needs.VLDC is for students who are 5-15 and enrolled in kindergarten to grade 9.
“In a typical year at Camp Yowochas, our staff are busy providing programs for more than 8,000 guests throughout the year. The COVID-19 pandemic changed everything this year, and we worked hard to figure out safe, responsible and meaningful ways to continue to run programs at Camp Yowochas. Through our summer Family Fun Days, Cabins at Yowochas and the Yowochas Learning Academy, we continue to support our community by offering programs that meet their needs in these uncertain times.”
– Terry Kony, Director, Camp Yowochas
Designed With Parents In Mind
As the Alberta Mamas, obviously, we are parents ourselves and we know that we’ve all had to make changes AND choices that have not been easy. Camp Yowochas wants to provide parents with the opportunity to return to work with the peace of mind of knowing their children are safe and progressing in their learning and development.
Growing up in a small town outside of Edmonton there was always one field trip we looked forward to the most – Fort Edmonton Park.
It was always in June close to the end of the school year when we packed into school buses with our pockets full of change to spend at the candy store. I still can’t walk into the park without thinking about those raspberry and lemon hard candies that came in the little brown paper bag. Even though the candy store was definitely the highlight when I was 10, I still credit Fort Edmonton Park and the way their incredible interpreters brought Canadian history to life for my love of the past.
In the small hamlet of Torrington, situated on 1st Street is the world-famous Gopher Hole Museum.
What is the Gopher Hole Museum?
Started in 1996, when they set up permanent residence, the Gopher Hole Museum has been delighting visitors with their anthropomorphic, mostly Albertan, dioramas.
If you’ve ever driven on the Yellowhead Highway around Wildwood and Entwistle, you’ve no doubt noticed a massive lake along the highway. During a recent road trip we actually saw a sailboat on this lake and I was intrigued so, decided to take the kiddies on a road trip to Chip Lake.
There are smaller tenting sites, larger open sites and then also group sites for camping, though there is no power. At $25/night it’s super affordable!
Open Farm Days is an annual favourite for many connecting Albertans to their food sources: farmers. For some (myself included) we are generations removed from the family farm, and I have absolutely zero clue about farms, animals, electric fences (they’re a thing), and how they get cows to move to a new pasture. It’s completely mind-boggling to me.
Last week we were invited to Metis Crossing which is Alberta’s first major Metis Cultural Interpretive destination. Located about 1.5 hours North East of Edmonton by the Town of Smoky Lake, it is an easy day trip through some beautiful country.
With Covid cases rising we are on the lookout for more things to do with the kids that create a sense of “normal” for them without risking being exposed. We were reassured by the Metis Crossing staff that protocols have been put into place to still get the experience you want with the safety you need. Plus, with all of this online learning from home, the trip is kind of like a field trip!
UPick season is here!
We are all feeling it – the need to “get out” but the worry of too many people, not enough distance…it can make anyone want to stay at home. After being cooped up for too long, we decided to get out of the city for the day and go pick some Haskaps at Rosy Farm’s UPick for a fun treat, some fresh country air, and a whole lotta Blue Skies.
For those that are wondering “what the heck is a Haskap?” prepare to have your mind (and tastebuds) blown.
Updated July 2020
There is almost nothing better than a road trip, with the exception of going on a road trip and making a pit stop to see that world’s largest honeybee or a real-life UFO landing pad.
In honour of all things weird, here’s our ultimate list of all things roadside in Alberta.
Planing a trip to see the “Worlds Largest” in N.E. Alberta, see our tip and our trip here.