Summer Sizzlers

Grab our top tips, a tube of sunscreen and a water bottle – and enjoy some of Alberta’s great seasonal activities

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Alberta summers are short and sweet, so make the most of your free time this year. One of the best ways to safeguard your physical and mental health is to get out and get active – enjoy life. There is something for everyone and every ability, and certainly no shortage of fun stuff to do around the province. Check out a 10-pack of our favourites. Some are well-known summer jaunts and others are a little more obscure, but you’ll find something here for you.

Find Olympic Fun:

The main venue of the 1988 Winter Olympics is not just a training centre for elite athletes – the Calgary site is also open to the general public for various recreational activities. On North America’s fastest zipline, riders start at the ski jump tower and soar down the 500-metre course. For those seeking even greater thrills, try the summer bobsleigh ride. Led by a professional driver, bobsleigh riders travel at 100 km/h and reach four G-forces.

Cost: $60 for zipline, $69 for bobsleigh ride
Find out more: winsportcanada.ca/cop, 403-247-5452
Top tip: The zipline takes you to the top of the ski jump tower. Experience panoramic views of the city skyline and Rocky Mountains, then soar off the jump deck and ride to the base of the hill.

Pick a Pail

July and August in Alberta bring the sweet taste of berries. Head to a U-pick farm and load up. What you can’t eat or bake, you can freeze and lay away. Alberta grows, among other fruit, strawberries, raspberries, saskatoons, currants and cherries. The fruit varies in availability per variety, location and weather. The Alberta Farm Fresh Producers Association has a guide that can help you plan your berry-picking adventure. Some farms also grow U-pick veggies.

Cost: Variable. It depends on how far you drive, what and how much you pick.
Find out more: albertafarmfresh.com
Top tip:
Allow plenty of time and be sure to bring a snack, plenty of water, sunscreen and bug spray.

Ride a Segway

If you seek fewer thrills and more scenery, Segway Edmonton’s river valley tour is the perfect fit. Participants watch a safety video about the operation of the Segway and complete a training session before climbing on the two-wheeled, self-balancing electric vehicle for an hour and a half tour through the beautiful river valley.

Cost: $50 and up
Find out more: segwayedmonton.com, 780-995-7347
Top tip: Segways don’t have engines, brakes or a steering wheel; they move by responding to a person’s centre of gravity and turn with the flick of the rider’s wrist.

See it before it’s gone

The great Columbia Icefield, the remnant of an ancient ice mass, has about half a dozen terminal points, one of its most recognizable is the Athabasca Glacier. The big melt is on, so you might want to see this remarkable ice formation while you can – it’s receding at a rate of nearly three metres a year. Local tour companies provide guided ice walks on the lower half of the glacier.

Cost: $60 for a three- to four-hour guided walk.
Find out more: icewalks.com, 1-800-565-7547
Top tip: Listen to your guide. Hidden crevasses are deadly.

Be Ukrainian

Hit the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, 50 kilometres east of Edmonton. The award-winning historic site honours the many Ukrainian settlers in Alberta. Step back in time, to the late 1800s and meet some actors portraying real-life Ukrainian pioneers. The village includes Ukrainian churches, a grain elevator, blacksmith shop and a traditional sod hut. Don’t miss the great food.

Cost: $9, free for children under seven
Find out more: culture.alberta.ca, 780-662-3640
Top tip: The village is close to the entrance Elk Island National Park. Start early and make a day of it.

Do Not Feed the Dinosaurs:

The days of the dinosaurs roar to life again at Jurassic Forest, a 40-acre attraction located just outside of Edmonton, in Gibbons. Visitors travel millions of years back in time, as gigantic and realistic robotic dinosaurs roam this prehistoric preserve. Interpretative trails, an outdoor playground and an interactive exhibit hall complete the experience.

Cost: $14 for adult, $8 for children
Find out more: jurassicforest.com, 780-470-2446
Top tip: Jurassic Forest is set in a natural environment, so bring clothing suitable for the outdoors and good walking shoes. Bring a camera too, as there’s ample opportunity for pictures and videos.

Wish on a Star

Next time you’re driving between Calgary and Edmonton, make a stop in Red Deer to tour Sylvan Star Cheese Ltd., a family-run organization that makes award-winning cheese in the heart of Alberta.

Cost: $5 per person
Find out more: sylvanstarcheesefarm.ca, 403-340-1560
Top tip: Sylvan Star’s selection of Gouda includes mild, medium, aged and smoked Gouda.

Supersize it

The province has a variety of roadside attractions. Make a stop on your next road trip for a photo with any of these oversized gigantic Alberta wonders.

Vegreville’s pysanka, a giant Ukrainian Easter egg, was created to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1974. The egg symbolizes the peace and security the RCMP offered the area’s Ukrainian pioneers and their descendants.

The world’s largest dinosaur, standing at an impressive 86 feet high, is a well-known Drumheller attraction. Visitors can climb a staircase inside the giant T-rex and admire a view of the badlands from inside the dino’s giant jaw.

The world’s largest perogy is located in the village of Glendon, situated in Pyrogy Park just off of Pyrogy Drive. Hungry visitors can also sample various perogies at nearby restaurants.

Other oversized Alberta attractions include a lamp in the village of Donalda, Falher’s giant bee, Medicine Hat’s tipi, Taber’s corn stalk and Vulcan’s starship. Put them on your life list.

Cost: Gas to get you there, free to look

See the Buffalo Jump

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is the largest, oldest and best preserved of all bison jumps in the world. At the site, which was used by Aboriginal peoples of the plains for more than 5,000 years, the hunting technique was to chase bison over a steep cliff. Today, an interpretive centre guides visitors through the ecology, mythology, lifestyle and technology of those early peoples. The jump was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1981 and is located 18 kilometres north and west of Fort MacLeod.

Cost: $10 for adult, $22 for a family
Find out more: head-smashed-in.com, 403-553-2731
Top tip: Five of Canada’s 13 UNESCO World Heritage Sites are located in Alberta.

Get Brain Freeze

Make a point to stop at MacKay’s in Cochrane this summer for some shop-made ice cream.

Cost: $6.50 for a double
Recommended: A double cone, one scoop of black cherry and one of mango iced cream.

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