50+ Things to Do with Kids in Edmonton, Alberta

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Edmonton, the capital city of Alberta and fifth largest in Canada, is an extremely kid-friendly city.

Some of the best things to do in Edmonton with kids include a huge indoor waterpark and amusement park, super interactive museums, excellent playcentres and swimming pools, dinosaur parks, and a national park right on our doorstep.

As a city with pretty extreme seasons, we also have a constantly changing variety of kids activities and festivals to enjoy.

I was born and raised in Edmonton. After living and travelling abroad for almost two decades, I now find myself back in my beloved hometown with two children of my own, Sage and Lavender. As a stay-at-home dad, I’m always on the lookout for new kid-friendly attractions, hikes, and places to go, so I will be constantly updating this article with new tips.

For even more ideas, you can see my non-kid-focused guide to the best things to do in Edmonton, or find out the best Edmonton neighborhoods to explore.

Table of Contents

Top Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Edmonton

The following are the best kid-friendly attractions in Edmonton, in no particular order.

Sleepover @ Fantasyland Hotel

A girl inside a space pod-themed bed in Fantasyland Hotel, West Edmonton Mall
My daughter in our space-themed room at Fantasyland Hotel

One of our most memorable experiences with our kids in Edmonton has been our staycation at the Fantasyland Hotel in West Edmonton Mall, the largest mall in North America. The hotel has a variety of themed rooms on offer, but we highly recommend the newest one: the space-themed room (see on Booking / TripAdvisor / Agoda).

Our kids absolutely loved the in-room hot tub, changeable multi-colored room lights, and especially their space-pod beds. We were thoroughly impressed with how well the room was designed, and really felt we were stepping into space.

There were even two separate huge television screens for parents and kids. We also loved having direct access to the Mall, with its many dining choices and loads of things to do with kids.

Two kids in a hot tub in a space-themed hotel room in Fantasyland Hotel, the best place to stay with kids in Edmonton
In-room hot tub in our space-themed room

Also see my guides to visiting Jasper with kids, Banff with kids, Drumheller with kids, Abbotsford with kids, kid-friendly hikes in Kananaskis, and camping with kids in Dinosaur Provincial Park.

World Waterpark

The West Edmonton Mall Waterpark
World Waterpark, the largest indoor waterpark in the world

West Edmonton Mall’s enormous World Waterpark is the largest indoor waterpark (and largest wave pool) in the world. You really have to see it and spend a day here with your kids to fully appreciate it.

The waterpark has something for kids of all ages. Toddlers can enjoy the Caribbean Cove spray park, Splash Pad, Dolphin Kiddie Pool, and the waves at the shallow end of the main pool, just off the “beach”. Older kids like ours can’t get enough of the Sun Runner tube ride and variety of easier water slides.

Free life jackets and swimming diapers are available on site. Although pricey, I recommend renting a poolside cabana if you’ve got a large family. You get your own private changing area, eating area, and place to store your things right by the pool, which is super convenient.

World Waterpark also offers Toddler Time, with a reduced price with limited access to certain rides.

Galaxyland

A kid looking excited as he stands in front of a huge indoor rollercoaster in Galaxyland, West Edmonton Mall
Excited much?

We aren’t leaving West Edmonton Mall quite yet. There’s yet another attraction in the Mall that can provide a full day of awesomeness with kids: Galaxyland amusement park.

North America’s largest indoor amusement park is guaranteed not to disappoint. There are nearly 30 major rides, including four rollercoasters, the ultimate being the Mindbender, which does three full loops.

For younger kids, Galaxyland also features a fun house, a huge multi-level playpark with ballroom, carousel and several more easy rides. There are also mirror maze and mini golf add-ons.

You can pay for individual rides, but really the all-day pass is a must. Also consider getting the two-day pass, which includes the World Waterpark, Galxyland, and several other kid-friendly attractions in West Edmonton Mall, such as Sea Life Caverns, Sea Lions’ Rock, the Santa Maria Ship, Ice Palace, Professor Wem’s Adventure Golf, Dragon’s Tale, Ed’s Bowling, and Crystal Labyrinth Mirror Maze.

Swing of the Century, one of the best rides for kids in Galaxyland, West Edmonton Mall
Swing of the Century, Galaxyland

Telus World of Science

Exterior of the Telus World of Science with some pink flowers
Spaceship-like Telus World of Science

We love Telus World of Science so much that we have an annual pass. Once a space-themed museum (I still can’t help but call it by its original name, Edmonton Space Science Centre), the museum now covers various scientific fields, including environment, health, robotics, space, and more.

Telus World of Science is especially fun for kids. It’s super interactive and even has a dedicated indoor playcentre. Our kids also love lying on their backs in the domed Margaret Zeidler Star Theatre (included in admission) and watching nature documentaries in the enormous IMAX Theatre (extra fee).

There are also rotating feature exhibits that tend to be kid-friendly, with the most recent one focusing on dinosaurs. Telus World of Science is currently going major renovations, so check the website to see what’s open.

Two kids looking at a dinosaur in the Telus World of Science
Dino feature exhibit at Telus World of Science

Royal Alberta Museum

Two kids looking at a bear exhibit in the Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton
I’ve loved the RAM’s animal exhibits ever since I was a kid.

Reopened in downtown Edmonton in 2018, Royal Alberta Museum is Edmonton’s top museum of natural and human history. The museum is both fun and educational for kids of all ages, as well as adults.

I have fond childhood memories of the animal scenes and the indigenous displays at RAM, and fortunately these are still part of big the experience. The live insect room is another major draw, while the new RAM now includes a huge dedicated children’s room filled with interactive activities.

For less than the cost of two visits, you can get an annual Mammoth Pass, while kids six and under are free!

A child looking at huge millipedes in the Bug Gallery at Royal Museum of Alberta
Live bugs in the Bug Gallery
View of the Children's Gallery room at Royal Alberta Museum
The interactive Children’s Gallery

Fort Edmonton Park

An interpreter showing some furs to kids at Fort Edmonton Park
Our kids loved Fort Edmonton Park.

Fort Edmonton Park is Edmonton’s top historic attraction. It is a sprawling living museum with the original Edmonton Fort and streets set up as they looked in 1885, 1905, and 1920.

You can easily spend a full day out with the kids at Fort Edmonton Park. Our recent visit included a ride on the train and streetcar, hours of exploring the fort and many shops, and rides in the recently upgraded midway. The costumed interpreters stay in character and do a great job interacting with kids.

Recently reopened in 2021, Fort Edmonton Park now includes an excellent Indigenous Experience building. Our kids loved the light shows & indigenous stories told on rotation inside. 

Some kids petting horses at Fort Edmonton Park
Petting horses at Fort Edmonton Park
Some kids riding a carousel at Fort Edmonton Park
Merry-go-round in the new Midway
Two kids in the Indigenous Experience at Fort Edmonton Park
Listening to stories in the Indigenous Experience

Edmonton Valley Zoo

Red panda walking in snow at the Edmonton Valley Zoo
Red Panda (my personal favorite) at Edmonton Valley Zoo

What kid doesn’t love a day at the zoo? The Edmonton Valley Zoo is of a very manageable size (it’s a fraction of the size of the Calgary Zoo). Highlights include snow leopards, Arctic wolves, lemurs, and (my personal favourite) red pandas.

Your kids will be happy to know that there’s a petting zoo inside, as well as several play areas and structures to climb. For mom and dad, as of summer 2021, you’re allowed to purchase and consume alcohol on site. And don’t forget about the zoo in winter, including the Zoominescence Christmas lights event.

Five kids playing in a playground at Edmonton Valley Zoo
Last throws of energy after spending a winter day at the zoo (with red panda walking tunnel in background)

Exploring the River Valley

A young kid walking down a trail in the Edmonton River Valley
Lavender leading the way through the Edmonton River Valley

The Edmonton River Valley, formed by the North Saskatchewan River, is the largest urban green space in North America. We love going for walks in the River Valley with our kids. There are well over 100 kilometers of walking trails in the river valley, ranging from wide, paved cycling trails to off-the-grid bush trails begging to be explored.

Besides all the trails, around 20 major Edmonton parks are located in the Edmonton River Valley. I’ll cover the best parks and playgrounds as well as best hikes in Edmonton for kids in below sections.

Girl standing on a Chinese Gate in Louise McKinney Park
Chinese Garden in Louise McKinney Park (can you spot Lavender?)
Two kids in the Korean Pavilion in Government House Park
Korean Pavilion in Government House Park

High Level Bridge Streetcar

View of Edmonton downtown from the front window of the High Level Bridge Streetcar
Driving across the top of the High Level Bridge

Riding the High Level Streetcar was a real adventure for our kids. Operated by the Edmonton Radial Railway Society, this fleet of restored streetcars (ours was a 1947 streetcar from Melbourne, Australia) ply an old CPR line from downtown Edmonton to trendy Whyte Ave on the south side.

The most exciting part of the ride is of course crossing the Edmonton River Valley atop the High Level Bridge, with expansive views of the River Valley, University, and downtown Edmonton.

A kid looking out the window of the High Level Bridge Streetcar at the Edmonton River Valley
Crossing the Edmonton River Valley
A girl looking out the window of the High Level Bridge Streetcar, with downtown Edmonton in the background
She said she wasn’t scared…

Muttart Conservatory

Two kids inside the Muttart Conservatory
In a pyramid filled with plants

Consisting of one small and four large glass pyramids set in the River Valley, the Muttart Conservatory is a city-run greenhouse. Each of the four pyramids houses a totally unique biome, including arid, temperate, tropical, and a rotating fourth one, and they are all connected underground.

You wouldn’t think a greenhouse would be that fun for kids, but ours really enjoyed it. It really feels like you’re stepping into a different climate in each one, and the sheer array of plants and flowers is impressive, even for little ones. Where else can you step into a jungle or desert in Edmonton?

A boy standing inside a glass pyramid of the Muttart Conservatory with plants all around him
We were pretending we were in the Jurassic period.

Cat Café on Whyte

A girl petting a cat in Cat Cafe on Whyte
Petting kitties on Whyte Ave

Edmonton’s first (and so far only) Cat Café is located at the east end of the main section of Whyte Ave. The cafe welcomes children, but kids under 7 can only enter one of the two main rooms.

Our kids are cat lovers, so they really enjoyed this one. The entrance fee ($6 for age 1-6, $11 for 7-12, $16 for 13+) includes unlimited drinks and an hour-long visit. Socks are required, and a reservation is usually necessary.

Two kids sitting at a table with a cat on it at Edmonton Cat Cafe on Whyte
Don’t mind me…Just being puffy on your table.

Best Parks, Spray Parks, and Playgrounds

Below are a just a few of the best playgrounds and parks in Edmonton for kids. For several more ideas, including some awesome new playgrounds in suburb communities, see my more detailed guide to the best Edmonton playgrounds.

Here’s a complete list of parks and spray parks in Edmonton.

Kinsmen Park & Grizzly Bear Playground

A girl riding a baby grizzly bear statue at Grizzly Bear Park, Kinsmen, Edmonton
Riding a grizzly cub at Grizzly Bear Park

One of our favorite playgrounds in Edmonton is Grizzly Bear Playground in Kinsmen Park. The large bear-themed park includes several natural climbing structures, and we love the views of the High Level Bridge above. There’s also a spray park, outdoor pool, and huge Kinsmen Sports Centre on site.

At the river end of the park, John Walter Museum is a small collection of historic buildings. In summer, there are often children’s activities being held there. Within short walking distance from Kinsmen, Queen Elizabeth Hill provides the classic Edmonton view of Walter Dale Bridge.

Kid playing in Kinsmen Park Edmonton
Grizzly Bear Playground at Kinsmen Park, with the High Level Bridge in the background
A kid standing on Queen Elizabeth Hill, with Walter Dale Bridge in the background
At the base of Queen Elizabeth Hill, with Walter Dale Bridge in the background

Sir Wilfred Laurier Park & Natural Playground

A kid standing in a coyote-shaped tower in Natural Playground, Sir Wilfred Laurier Park
Coyote tower at Sir Wilfred Laurier Park’s Natural Playground

Right next to the Edmonton Valley Zoo, Sir Wilfred Laurier Park is one of the best parks in Edmonton for having a picnic. There are several large, reservable and first-come-first-serve spots with fire pits, and trails with lovely river views.

Recently, a beautifully designed new playground was added, called “Natural Playground” on GoogleMaps. One large climbing structure is shaped like a howling coyote.

Rundle Park & Music-Themed Playground

A kid playing a toy guitar in a music themed playground at Rundle Park
Making noise at Rundle Park

Rundle Park is a large park in east Edmonton known for its large ponds and many walking trails. We especially enjoy walking the footbridge across the river to Goldbar Park, where we like to explore the rocky beach by the river.

Rundle Park also has a small music-themed playground beside ACT Aquatic and Recreation Centre. But our favorite thing to do at Rundle Park is actually in winter (see the winter activities for kids section below)!

Castle Downs Park & Playground

The main draw of the playground in Castle Downs Park is that it is simply huge. Besides the playground itself, there’s a skateboard/scooter park, spray park, baseball diamond, rugby pitch, plus indoor and outdoor skating rinks.

Jackie Parker Park & Spray Park

A boy running through a row of sprinklers at Jackie Parker Spray Park in Edmonton
Cooling off at Jackie Parker Spray Park on the south side

Jackie Parker is another huge park, located in Mill Woods on the south side. There’s an awesome park, especially awesome spray park, off-leash area for dogs, and large pond that becomes a skating rink in winter.

Best Indoor Playcentres, Children’s Cafés, and Swimming Pools

While Edmonton winters can be painfully long, fortunately for parents we have some great indoor playcentres and swimming pools.

Our Favorite Indoor Playcentres

Interior of Treehouse, an indoor playcentre in Edmonton
Treehouse, our favorite indoor playcentre

Our go-to indoor playcentre in Edmonton is Treehouse. There’s one on the north and south side of Edmonton. They include a huge playing tower, toddler zone, and arcade where kids can win tickets to exchange for prizes. Socks are required and outside food is not allowed.

Other indoor playcentres in Edmonton worth seeking out include Hide N Seek in the west end, Amazone Playzone on the east side, and All Stars Playland on the south side.

Sweet Pea Café & Playhouse

Sweet Pea is a café for parents with a large connected children’s play area. It includes themed stations where kids can play roles like cook, fire fighter, veterinarian, and so on. They offer 90-minute slots that should be booked in advance online.

The service is super friendly, and unlike what we’ve experienced at other kid-focused restaurants and cafés, the food and drinks are actually good.

If you happen to live on the south side, you can also check out Pom Pom Play Café, which is especially aimed at toddlers (recommended age up to 7).

Our favorite Swimming Pools in Edmonton

Edmonton has some really great swimming pools for toddlers and young kids. Our favorite is the pool at Clareview Recreation Centre, which has a lazy river, large waterslide, and diving boards up to 5 meters. There’s also a decent indoor playground on site.

In summer, outdoor swimming pools in Edmonton include Mill Creek Outdoor Pool, Queen Elizabeth (Kinsmen) Outdoor Pool, Borden Park Outdoor Pool, Fred Broadstock Outdoor Pool, and Oliver Outdoor Pool.

We also regularly make the trip to Millennium Place in Sherwood Park at Servus Credit Union Place in St. Albert for their excellent swimming pools.

Awesome Day Trips from Edmonton with Kids

Some of the best places to visit in Edmonton with kids are located just out of town. The following are all within short driving distance of Edmonton. Find even more ideas, see my list of best places to visit in Alberta and my guide to quirky Alberta roadside attractions.

For even more explorations around Alberta, read my guides to Fort McMurray, Red Deer, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Canmore, and Waterton Lakes National Park.

Elk Island National Park

Two kids on a picnic table with Astotin Lake in the background
Astotin Lake, the main lake at Elk Island

We simply love visiting Elk Island National Park, the smallest of Alberta’s five national parks, throughout the year with our kids.

Only 30 minutes east of the city, Elk Island is a natural escape that preserves our local landscape as it originally looked. You are almost guaranteed to see bison in the park, as well as many other types of wildlife (we even saw a porcupine!)

Two kids on a boardwalk with fishing nets on Amisk Wuche Trail in Elk Island National Park
Amisk Wuche Trail, one of the best trails for kids in Elk Island National Park

Most of the park’s dozen or so trails are doable with kids. We especially recommend the Lakeview and Shoreline Trails on Astotin Lake (where you’ll also find a playground and docks on the lake), and Amisk Wuche Trail, which has boardwalks across swamps that are perfect for kids to spot critters from.

In fall, the park’s foliage is stunning, while in winter our kids love tramping through the snow and walking on frozen lakes. In summer, the park is perfect kayaking, camping, and more.

Two kids playing in the snow on a frozen lake in Elk Island National Park
Playing on a frozen lake at Elk Island
A kid doing a snow angel on a frozen pond in Elk Island National Park
Snow angels on a frozen pond (see the animal tracks?)

Read about all 38 of Canada’s national parks here.

Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village

Interpreter standing in a field at Ukrainian Village
Interpreter at the Ukrainian Village just outside of Edmonton

Just past Elk Island National Park, Ukrainian Village is another living museum, similar to Fort Edmonton Park. This one recreates a Ukrainian settlement in Central Alberta from 1892 to 1930.

The interpreters here also take their roles quite seriously. Kids learn a lot about  local history here, including how difficult life back then would have been. Our kids especially enjoyed spotting all the hidden flags when we visited, and we all loved our Ukrainian feast at the end (especially the pyrogy poutine!) 

A boy sitting on the steps of an old building at Ukranian Village, one of the best day trips from Edmonton with kids
Taking a rest on the steps of the old town hall at Ukrainian Village

Jurassic Forest

Two kids looking at a dinosaur statue in Jurassic Forest, a good Edmonton day trip with kids
Spotting dinos in the forest

So we are pretty biased here…My two kids are quite possibly the biggest dinosaur lovers in the world. But we had a blast at Jurassic Forest, a dino-themed park with life-sized, moving, growling dinosaurs hidden along paths through the forest.

The dinos themselves are of course the main draw, but we liked it more than the usual dinosaur museum experience because it got us outside and walking in nature. And there’s dinosaur mini-golf!

A long-necked dinosaur hiding in the trees at Jurassic Forest Edmonton
A not so inconspicuous diplodocus says hello

Prairie Gardens

A hand with scissors cutting some strawberries
Pick your own berries at Prairie Gardens

Near Jurassic Forest, Prairie Gardens is a leisure farm with a variety of children’s activities on offer. Depending on when you visit, these may include U-pick berries, bonfires, gelato, meeting the farm animals, hay rides, a Hallowen pumpkin festival, and a variety of workshops.

Edmonton Corn Maze

Two kids standing in a corn maze
Getting totally lost in the Edmonton Corn Maze

For more farm fun, we especially enjoyed the Edmonton Corn Maze. The maze itself is enormous; we didn’t go too far in, but enough to get lost several times. The design changes every year, and there’s a large poster with a photo of the whole maze shot from above that you can (try to) use as a map.

Two kids looking at sunflowers at Edmonton Corn Maze
I don’t even ask them to pose like this…They just do it.

There’s much more to do there besides the corn maze; the sunflowers were especially beautiful, while the kids were entertained for hours by the games, farm animal feeding, potato, and hay stacks to climb. The best time to visit for the maze and sunflowers is in August.

A girl standing on a fence and looking at sunflowers at the Edmonton Corn Maze
Admiring sunflowers at the Edmonton Corn Maze
Two kids bouncing on a huge balloon at Edmonton Corn Maze
Bouncy balloon at Edmonton Corn Maze

 U of A and St. Albert Botanic Gardens

Two kids standing in a botanical park in St. Albert
Being sweet at the St. Albert Botanic Park

The University of Albert Botanic Garden near Devon covers a huge area and is great for a relaxing stroll, fresh air, and picnic with the kids. It’s a little pricey and hasn’t been fully maintained in recent years, though.

For this reason, we prefer to visit the free St. Albert Botanic Park, which is much smaller, but very pretty nonetheless.

Kids sitting on a fountain in Fountain at St. Albert Botanic Park
Fountain at St. Albert Botanic Park

Best Walking Trails for Kids in Edmonton

One of our favorite things to do with our kids in Edmonton is to go hiking. OK, so most of these are more like walks or casual strolls than hikes, but the kids feel like real hikers when we do them.

Whitemud Creek Ravine

A girl walking on a trail beside a creek in Whitemud Creek Ravine, one of the best places to go hiking with kids in Edmonton
Strolling through Whitemud Creek Ravine

One of our favorite areas to take our kids hiking is Whitemud Creek, which flows through southwest Edmonton and empties into the North Saskatchewan.

We usually park at Snow Valley Ski Club (which also has Rainbow Valley Campground and the new Aerial Park, see below) to access Whitemud Creek Trail. Here’s a map of the full hiking trail, but we usually just do small parts of it. It’s an easy, flat walk, and you can even see some hoodoos in the making!

A girl climbing hoodoos in Whitemud Creek Ravine
Climbing hoodoos in Whitemud Creek Ravine

You can also access the ravine further south at Mactaggart Sanctuary Trail Parking Lot on 23 ave. The Mactaggart Sanctuary Trail is more remote and difficult, including one scary bit where you have to cross a small ravine on a shaky ladder.

Still, my daughter Lavender absolutely loved this challenging experience (even though I pretty much carried her across…) and talked about it for months after!

Lavender loved the Mactaggart Sanctuary Path

Mill Creek Ravine

A girl standing beside a frozen creek in Mill Creek Ravine
Exploring Mill Creek Ravine in winter

Mill Creek is another tributary of the North Saskatchewan, and a 10-km-return trail runs along it from the eastern end of Whyte Avenue all the way to the river and back. It’s a paved cycling trail, with some smaller trails branching off from it into the bus. Here’s the full map of the main trail.

The ravine is also home to the popular Mill Creek Ravine Outdoor Pool.

Emily Murphy to Kinsmen Park

A kid looking at frozen chunks of ice on the river in Edmonton
Watching the river ice on the Emily Murphy to Kinsmen Park trail

We quite enjoy the casual stroll along the river from Emily Murphy to Kinsmen Park. The trail is mostly flat and right at river level; we always find the kids enjoy being closer to the action that seeing views of it from afar.

This trail is even doable in winter, and our kids loved seeing the huge chunks of ice on the river at that time. Emily Murphy Park has a small tobogganing hill as well, while Kinsmen has the excellent Grizzly Bear Playground.

Elk Island National Park Trails

Two kids walking down a trail between two swamps at Elk Island National Park
We always love hiking at Elk Island

As I already mentioned above, there are numerous hiking trails in Elk Island National Park. Lakeview, Shoreline, and Amisk Wuche Trails are especially good for kids.

These trails can get quite busy on weekends, so we always arrive early to get a parking space (let’s be honest…we always arrive early because our kids wake up so early).

Here’s a full list of walking trails in Elk Island National Park. They’re almost all flat and easy, but just vary in terms of length.

Clifford E. Lee Sanctuary

A kid standing on a bench looking out at a swamp at Clifford E. Lee Sanctuary just outside of Edmonton
Bird wathing at Clifford E. Lee Sanctuary

A far lesser known alternative to Elk Island National Park, but with a similar marshy landscape, is Clifford E. Lee Sanctuary.

The small sanctuary is located west of the city near Devon. A small collection of super easy walking trails and boardwalks lead provide access to the swampy area. We always see tons of birds and other wildlife when we visit.

Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area

Two kids on a dock on the lake at Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area
One of several lakes you can hike around at Chickakoo

Another lesser-known place to go hiking with kids west of Edmonton is Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area. There are several different trails on offer, and we found them to be perfect for our (at the time) 5 and 7 year old.

They were just challenging and long enough, with some ups and downs, but not too much or too long. The scenery is also similar to Elk Island, but with far fewer people.

More Fun Places to Visit with Kids in Edmonton

Here are a few other fun places to visit in Edmonton with kids that didn’t quite make it into the top spot for us, but we still recommend visiting if you have more time in the city.

Alberta Aviation Museum

A kid standing in front of an old airplane display at Alberta Aviation Museum
The Alberta Aviation Museum covers the history of airplanes in Edmonton and the Far North.

We’d driven past the Alberta Aviation Museum in the now defunct Blatchford Airport a thousands times before my son and I finally decided to stop in one day for a look.

We were pleasantly impressed with the large number of historic aircrafts on display. Sage enjoyed navigating us through on the map provided which shows every plane on site, and there were several kid-friendly computer games and simulated flights.

The price was a little steep considering we spent less than an hour inside. On certain days, they allow children to sit in the cockpits, so if you do go, try to make it on one of these days.

A kid playing a flight simulator at Alberta Aviation Museum
Moments before he crashed into a field just outside of Edmonton

100 Street Funicular

Kid sitting on the steps beside the Edmonton Funicular
Steps beside the Funicular

Lavender really enjoyed going for a ride on the Edmonton Funicular. The funicular connects Edmonton’s downtown to the Funicular Promenade Bridge. The bridge itself has a great view looking up at downtown and the Fairmont Macdonald Hotel.

At the end of the bridge, Frederick G. Todd Lookout has a great view in the opposite direction, looking at the river. From there, an elevator goes down to the river valley trail, from where you can walk over to the Chinese Garden in Louise McKinney Riverfront Park.

A kid standing on Edmonton Funicular Promenade, with buidings of downtown in the background
The Funicular Promenade to Frderick G. Todd Lookout
A girl looking at the Edmonton River Valley and Frederick G. Todd Lookout from Louise McKinney Park
Frederick G. Todd Lookout and elevator is visible in the distance. Shot from another lookout in Louise McKinney Park

Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market

Three kids looking at candies at the Strathcona Farmers Market
Many temptations at the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market

So our kids have been to way more farmers’ markets than they would care to. But if you’re going to visit one in Edmonton with kids, then I’d recommend Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market (Saturdays only).

The market is fully indoors, and there are lots of treats on offer suitable for kids. For a fun way to arrive, ride the High Level Bridge Streetcar there in summer – it stops right at the back.

Alberta Railway Museum

A Canadian train car at the Alberta Railway Museum
Old train car at Alberta Railway Museum

If your kid loves trains or vehicles, then consider paying a visit to the Alberta Railway Museum a short drive northeast of the city. For us, our rides on the High Level Bridge Streetcar and on the train and streetcar at Fort Edmonton Park were enough. The museum is open on summer weekends only.

John Janzen Nature Centre

When I was a kid, we used to love going to John Janzen Nature Centre to peer at little critters in the ponds. The kid-focused centre is right beside Fort Edmonton park, but it has been closed and undergoing renovations for a few years. It is supposed to reopen in fall of 2021; I’ll report back here once we visit!

Art Gallery of Alberta

While art galleries aren’t ideal for younger kids, the Art Gallery of Alberta does offer a variety of art classes, art camps, and drop-in activities for toddlers and kids.

Edmonton Summer Activities for Kids

A girl rollerblading across Fort Edmonton Footbridge
Rollerblading across Fort Edmonton Footbridge

Besides the parks, spray park, and playgrounds I already mentioned above, here are more ideas for things to do in summer in Edmonton with kids.

Rainbow Valley Campground & Aerial Park

Aerial Park at Snow Valley Campground, a campground in Edmonton
Aerial Park at Snow Valley Campground

Did you know that you don’t even have to leave Edmonton to go camping? The Rainbow Valley Campground is right in the city, at the base of Snow Valley Ski Club.

Campers gain access to the new Aerial Park on site, as well as the network of walking trails in Whitemud Creek Ravine.

Alberta Legislature Grounds

A girl in front of a large fountain at Alberta Legislature Grounds
One of several fountains at Alberta Legislature Grounds

The Alberta Legislature Grounds have always been one of our favorite spots to hang out in summer, with or without kids.

On the front (downtown-facing) side, there are several water pools and fountains to play in, while the back (river-face) side has a huge lawn with many trees, ideal for a secluded picnic.

A boy playing in a water fountain at the Legislature Grounds in Edmonton
Sage playing in the water in front of the Legislature building

City Hall Water Fountains

Water fountains spraying in front of Edmonton City Hall
Fountains in front of City Hall

For even more water fun in summer, the large fountains in front of City Hall on Churchill Square are great. The water is super shallow so it’s suitable even for babies or toddlers, while the huge fountains allow bigger kids to get soaked.

Canoeing or Kayaking on the North Saskatchewan

One of the best ways to experience Edmonton is by paddling through it on the North Saskatchewan River. Even if you don’t have your own kayak/canoe or transportation to the drop-off spot, you can let Edmonton Canoe handle the arrangements for you.

Kid-Friendly Summer Events

Edmonton has so many festivals that it is known as Festival City. Most of them are kid-friendly, too!

K-Days (formerly Klondike Days) is one of the biggest events of the years, with tons of rides, midway, fireworks, and more.

Older kids will also appreciate some of the performances at Edmonton International Fringe Festival, or they can learn about Canada’s many cultures at Heritage Festival.

In early June, also don’t miss the International Children’s Festival of the Arts in St. Albert, just north of Edmonton.

Camping & Beaches

Entrance sign for Ma-Me-O Beach at Pigeon Lake
Ma-Me-O Beach at Pigeon Lake

One of our favorite things to do with kids in summer in Edmonton is to take a day trip to the lake. Some of the best lakes for camping and going to the beach within short drive of Edmonton include Wabamun Lake, Miquelon Lake, Pigeon Lake, Gull Lake, Sylvan Lake, and Buffalo Lake.

There’s also a campsite in Elk Island National Park, as well as Elk Island Retreat, a private campground just outside the park that has cool accommodations like teepees, geodomes, cabins, and yurts.

If you love lakes, see my guides to the best easy-to-reach lakes in Jasper and easy-to-reach lakes in Banff.

Edmonton Winter Activities for Kids

The harsh winters seldom stop Edmontonions from getting outside with their kids (except when it gets really, really cold!) Here some of our favorite outdoor activities to do with kids in winter in Edmonton.

Ice Skating

A boy skating on an ice path at Rundle Park
Sage on the new ice path at Rundle Park

Thanks to COVID and almost everything being closed, we spent pretty much the whole winter of 2020-2021 ice skating. Fortunately, there are some excellent skating rinks in Edmonton!

Here are our favorite rinks to go skating in Edmonton with out kids:

  • Victoria Park: a very large rink with new skating paths through the woods that are lit up with colorful lights at night
  • Hawrelak Park: Edmonton’s largest skating rink
  • Rundle Park: a new series of ice paths through the woods plus a large rink for hockey
Two kids ice skating at Hawrelak Park
Edmonton’s largest skating rink, at Hawrelak Park

Also read about our family trips to Jasper in winter and Banff in winter.

Christmas Lights Spotting 

House with Christmas lights on Candy Cane Lane in Edmonton
50-year running Candy Cane Lane

Edmontonians take their Christmas lights seriously, and it seems to get better every year. Going for drives to see famous Christmas light spots is one of our favorite things to do with the kids in the holiday season. Here are some of the best spots for Christmas lights in Edmonton:

  • Alberta Legislature Grounds
  • Edmonton City Hall
  • Candy Cane Lane
  • Christmas at Bob’s (7421-108 Street NW)
  • Magic of Lights (at Castrol Raceway)
  • Zoominescence (at the Edmonton Valley Zoo)
  • Luminaria (at U of A Botanic Garden in Devon)
  • Griswold’s Christmas Lights House (in Stony Plain, a suburb of Edmonton)
Two kids looking at Christmas lights at Christmas at Bob's
Walking through a tunnel of lights at “Christmas at Bob’s”

Edmonton Ice Castle

Ice Castle in Hawrelak Park, Edmonton
The impressive Edmonton Ice Castle

You really can’t miss the huge ice castle that is built at the peak of winter (usually opening after Christmas) in Hawrelak Park. Unfortunately, the US-based company didn’t make it to Canada in 2020-2021, but hopefully we’ll see it return in future years.

Skiing in Edmonton

Edmonton has three small ski resorts in the River Valley: Sunridge, Snow Valley, Edmonton Ski Club.

Just out of town, there’s the slightly larger Rabbit Hill, or you can make the four-hour journey to Marmot Basin in Jasper National Park. The latter is comparatively huge, so you should save it for when your kids have got the hang of skiing.

Tobogganing

Tobogganing in Edmonton at Gallagher Park
Huge tobogganing hill at Gallagher Park

Kids seem to universally love tobogganing. For small hills, we recommend Emily Murphy Park or Griesbach Central Park. Older/braver kids can try the enormous hills at Rundle Park, Government House Park, or Gallagher Park.

Kid-Friendly Winter Events

A mother and two kids posing with some ice sculptures at Silver Skate Festival in Edmonton
My fam at the Silver Skate Festival

In Edmonton, the first snowfall marks the start of winter, usually sometime around Halloween. Here are a variety of children’s Halloween events in Edmonton to look out for.

In winter, we loved skating and seeing the ice sculptures at Silver Skate Festival. You can also usually see ice sculptures at the Alberta Legislature Grounds and along Whyte Ave as a part of the Ice on Whyte event.

A girl looking at an ice sculpture of a bird at Edmonton Silver Skate Festival
Snow sculpture at the Silver Skate Festival

More Indoor Activities for Kids in Edmonton

Most families can only handle so many outdoor activities in winter in Edmonton, especially when the temperatures really plummet.

Fortunately we have loads of indoor children’s activities, besides all the museums, playcentres and play cafés I’ve already mentioned above. Here are some more ideas:

Well, that brings us to the end of this guide to visiting Edmonton with kids. I hope you’ve found more than enough ideas for things to do in Edmonton with babies, toddlers, or kids. If I’ve missed any fun activities, please let me know in the comments below!

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