Aiming to spur visitors and Albertans alike to explore the national and cultural history of the province, the Royal Alberta Museum first opened almost 50 years ago. Housing over 10 million artifacts in close to square metres of space, there is truly something to spark the curiosity of any interest, from natural history to aboriginal culture. The museum also serves as a centre for other cultural community endeavors, such as the Edmonton Short Film Festival held annually in the month of September.
Located in outskirts Edmonton is the Muttart Conservatory , a botanical garden situated in the Saskatchewan river valley.
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As well as its public gardens, the landmark is also home to four glass-paneled pyramids, each of which hosts a different display of plant species. Part of the impressive West Edmonton Mall is World Waterpark , a huge indoor water park full of slides, themed pools and huge wave machines.
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As an indoor option for a day out that is truly fun for the whole family, this place is amazing fun! Adults and kids alike will love the great range of rides available, with special session times offered for young children. First established in , Devonian Botanic Garden remains the most northerly botantical garden in Canada. Now part of the University of Alberta , the garden is situated just 15 minutes drive outside of downtown Edmonton, in a beautiful green-space of acres. Alongside the well-cultivated plant collections, showcasing everything from a Japanese garden to dedicated alpine and herb beds, the property also features a specially maintained exotic butterfly house.
We Sell it! Duchess is a destination. You'd cross town to eat here — barefoot in snow if necessary. Feeling like it dropped straight from France, complete with Louis XV—style chairs, the Duchess' French-press coffee and huge ar…. With the opening of this maverick art gallery in , Edmonton at last gained a modern signature building to counter the ubiquitous boxy skyscrapers with its giant glass-and-metal space helmet.
Its collection compr…. A regal attempt at a genuine Torinese coffee bar, this inviting place allows you to recline on European-style sofas and armchairs and enjoy your coffee, beer or wine beneath twinkly lights. Grab a snack or something…. Chef and owner, Daniel Costa, delivers the best of Italy. Another open-air museum that should be included in your Edmonton travel itinerary, Fort Edmonton Park has old buildings faithfully reconstructed to reflect Edmonton's historical development.
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The buildings include a typical fort belonging to the Hudson's Bay Company, a street from a pioneer town of , the up-and-coming provincial capital in , as well as buildings from the s. Among the different forms of old transport, visitors can ride a horse-drawn wagon or a steam train. At the John Janzen Nature Centre nearby, there are exhibits about local geology and ecology.
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On the south bank of the North Saskatchewan River, four pyramid-shaped hothouses are home to rare and far-traveled species of plants. Each pyramid features a distinct environment representing different biomes of the world, from the tropical climate of Burma and Fiji to the temperate pavilion with its American redwoods and Australian eucalyptus. With so many species of plants on display, the conservatory is the premier horticultural facility in Edmonton.
From the high ground above the river, there is a beautiful view of the gleaming pyramids of the Muttart Conservatory against the skyline of Edmonton city center. Note : This important Edmonton attraction will be closed for renovations until the beginning of Legislature Building.
In the midst of a park-like garden, where the last Fort Edmonton once stood, is the Legislature Building. It's an imposing and attractive building, and from the terrace there are beautiful views across the North Saskatchewan River to the far bank. Guided tours are the best way to learn about the history of what the locals refer to fondly as "the Ledge," including its architecture and secrets of the building. A highlight of a visit is spending time wandering the park-like grounds surrounding the building.
Be sure to also visit the nearby Legislative Assembly Visitor Centre, which includes important displays related to local art, culture, and history. There's also a cool 4D immersive experience that provides an impressive visual history of the province and its people, as well as a great gift shop selling arts and crafts from across Alberta.
The gallery features changing and traveling exhibitions and maintains an extensive collection of more than 6, pieces. The site also features a gift shop, restaurant, and theater space. Private guided tours are available and can be tailored to suit your particular interests. The facility also offers a variety of educational programs for all ages, as well as lectures and workshops.
One hour by car south of downtown Edmonton is the friendly little town of Wetaskiwin. Here, the main attraction is the Reynolds-Alberta Museum, dedicated to everything to do with aircraft and vehicle construction. There are open-air displays of old agricultural machinery and tools, including some real old dinosaurs-steam tractors, threshing machines, caterpillar tractors, and trucks.
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There are also nearly historic aircraft housed here, as well as in the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame , and numerous vintage motorcycles to admire. The greatest event in Edmonton's calendar is the day festival known as K Days formerly called Capital Ex held every year at the end of July, when the wild days of the Klondike Gold Rush come to life once more. Street-parties, dancing, parades, live entertainment, gold panning, and a midway liven up the whole city. Visitors who plan to be in Edmonton during the festival should be sure to book accommodation well in advance.
What to Do
Edmonton Valley Zoo. Opened in , the Edmonton Valley Zoo has traditionally focused on research into threatened animal species. However, its family-oriented grounds are also home to more than animals representing over species, both exotic and from the province of Alberta. The animals and their caregivers are regularly out and about meeting and engaging with guests. Popular species to visit include red pandas, lemurs, snow leopards, and arctic wolves, each located in specially themed areas to represent their natural habitat.
Children's rides at the zoo include paddle boats, a miniature train, and a carousel.
The Alberta Aviation museum is a must-see for all aviation buffs. Located near the Edmonton city center airport, the museum is easy to find with its two fighter jets mounted in interesting positions, one nearly vertical. Along with its 40 aircraft on display, the museum is home to a rare form of aircraft hangar constructed as part of Canada's pilot training program in WWII.
Informative guided tours are available and last around 90 minutes. They include a look at the fascinating restoration facility where many of these vintage airplanes were rebuilt. The attraction's many interactive and hands-on science and technology exhibits cover topics like space, robots, forensics, and the environment.