My husband was born and raised in Fort McMurray, and, while his parents have retired south, several friends still live in the community, including our kids’ godfather. We don’t head up north often, but love the area when we do (the drive is long). There are so many things to do!
A hotel room in Fort Mac is a pretty reasonable price – especially on weekends when not as many people are working – so we treat the kids and stay in one instead of cramming them into a friend’s basement. One of our favourites is the Radisson Hotel and Suites Fort McMurray with their awesome orange waterslide!
We’ve got you covered this summer for free water fun with our list of spray parks in Fort McMurray! Don’t forget the sunscreen, water bottles, and snacks – we’ll let you know about restrooms (if we know!). Get out, have fun, and make memories!
You’ve got questions about oil and gas in Fort Mac? The Oil Sands Discovery Centre has answers! Before bombarding the locals as you try to understand the “tar sands”, stop in at the Oil Sands Discovery Centre for a deep dive into what there is to know about the work happening around Fort McMurray.
Don’t miss: Go behind the building to see the old machinery and see the 10-minute hot water extraction demonstration in the theatre.
Looking for something to do with the kids after 5pm in Fort McMurray? Head to The Alley YMM! This family friendly spot has a bowling alley, arcade, laser tag, and the biggest pizza I’ve ever seen!
Going with your adult friends? Don’t worry, it’s great for you, too! We saw a couple Bachelor/Bachelorette parties starting their night on the town as we were wrapping up ours.
Photos can’t explain how MASSIVE the operations north of Fort McMurray are. In 1999 Syncrude decommissioned several machines and placed two at the side of the highway in an open-air museum to exhibit these giants and share information about what happens at their open-pit oilsands mining operation.
We’re fans of big things at Alberta Mamas. I’ve seen a lot of them. But walking up to these machines that are as big as my first four-story apartment building? You’ve got to see this!
If you’re looking for an exciting adventure that will take you back in time to explore the rich and fascinating history of Alberta, then the Experience Alberta’s History Annual Pass is just what you need. Super affordable, this pass is the perfect way to explore some of the most iconic heritage sites and museums in the province, offering a unique chance to immerse yourself in Alberta’s past and learn more about the people, places, and events that shaped our amazing province.
My kids are 8 & 11 and are in Grade 3 & 6. Just like us sometimes they need a break. So I let them stay home from school even when they’re not sick.
We don’t over schedule (as much as we can with two active kids) but sometimes life piles up. Big family changes, busy weekends, changes in school, and growth spurts sometimes all pile up in one messy ball of emotion and they get to a point where they just cannot function.
So they get to stay home. No questions asked.
I will say that this does not happen often. We trust them to make a judgement call when they need it and this power has yet to be abused. So far in this school year the youngest has taken one day and the oldest has taken two. They are rarely sick (knock on wood) and although we travel occasionally they don’t often have to miss a ton of school.
I can usually tell as soon as they wake up that they are going to use the “free pass” that day. Sometimes they will wake up, start playing into it and talking about staying home but 99% of the time they perk up, eat their breakfast and continue on with their day. But the other 1%? They tell me they just need a day.
A day to stay in bed. Read. Build Lego while listening to their podcasts. Watch their favourite cartoons. Cuddle.
I know the privilege I have to be able to work from home and adjust to their needs. I am grateful I have kids who do not take advantage of this. I get that this will not work for every family.
But for us this works. And as they grow up and become adults I hope that they learn that it’s OK to take a day to recharge.
Deanne Ferguson is the owner of Box Social Event Planning. When she is not planning fun, family, friendly events she is finding the yummiest food for the Edmonton Home and Garden Show Food Stage. She loves her #cocktailMonday dates with her husband and chasing around her two boys. You can find her at @DeanneFerguson on Instagram and @BoxSocialYEG on Twitter
Choosing activities for your children can not only be overwhelming but frustrating as well. There are SO many options out there now. And when your child is young it is impossible to tell what they’re interested in besides listening to Baby Shark on repeat and asking to watch Paw Patrol for the 10000000000000th time.
Hands up if you base your hotel booking on how awesome the pools are? With 3 kids it’s definitely one of the top must-haves on our list. A standard two-loop waterslide isn’t enough to make it on this list – these pools all have more than your typical Best Western “cool” pool. Whether you’re still looking for a getaway during the summer or a fun “stay”-cation here is a list of hotels with awesome pools across Alberta!
Each month, we play 10 questions with one of Alberta’s most interesting mamas. This month we hear from maternal support practitioner Sarah Wallace. Sarah is a mama to four kids between the ages of three and eight, and since battling postpartum depression, has become passionate about helping other moms navigate the fourth trimester. Currently, she serves the areas of Edmonton, Leduc, and surrounding communities. Connect with Sarah on instagram @sarahwallacedoula, or by visiting her website sarahwallacedoula.com
1. You’ve been very open about your own struggles with postpartum depression. What made you decide to share this experience with others?
When I was first going through postpartum depression, I felt so much shame about it. I didn’t actually realize that I had postpartum depression and just thought I was failing at being a mom. Hearing other’s stories led me to make an appointment where I got diagnosed and that was a game changer for me. I wasn’t failing as a mom – I just needed some help! I share my story in hopes that another parent who is suffering will see that they are not alone and will reach out for help. I also share it because I want to take some of that stigma away so that those struggling don’t feel so much shame for needing some help.
2. Why were you inspired to offer both birth doula support and postpartum doula support?
I have been supporting families for a long time now. Through my work with Momstown as well as my own personal experience, I saw how a positive postpartum experience can really set a family up to succeed. After I had my 2nd and 3rd sons, I found myself floundering and struggling through because I didn’t know how to ask for help and my support network wasn’t always able to help when I did. I knew that I wanted to help families get through the hard bits in the postpartum so that they could feel more confident. I love birth work and seeing folks birth their babies into this world, but there is something special about the relief a new parent feels when you come in and ease some of their burdens for a few hours.