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The province of Alberta treats visitors to a touch of Canadian history, shopping mall mania, tall towers, Olympic nostalgia, and Calgary’s famous cowboys.
We think the best place to start off our Alberta sojourn is in the capital city of Edmonton, always a winner in providing activities for its guests. Step back in time with costumed interpreters circa 1840s western Canada at Fort Edmonton Park. The Royal Alberta Museum and Wild Alberta Gallery showcase the histories of Canada’s people and Canadian nature, respectively. At the Natural History Gallery, gems, minerals, dinosaurs, and bunches of bugs are the main attractions. Behold, the world’s largest shopping center, West Edmonton Mall, which boasts 48 city blocks under one roof. We’re talking about approximately 800 shops and 100 eateries, so bring your loot. Other Edmonton diversions include taking a dip at a lively water park, glide around an ice rink, perfect your putt at miniature golf courses, and take in the mega-mall’s all-new “Sea Lions Rock” production. Board the Edmonton Queen river paddlewheeler to experience the city’s great outdoors, or cast a line for trout or walleye in nearby waters with assistance from a local fishing guide.
From Edmonton, drive all the way to Calgary, south on Hwy 2. En route in Wetaskiwin and Red Deer (both off Hwy 2A) are promising locales for scenic mountain biking and out-of-the-way fishing adventures.
In Calgary, the “Heart of the New West,” Calgary Tower attracts visitors with its TOPS Grill, revolving Panorama Room, and observation terrace. The Tower’s cuisine alone is worth the elevator ride to the summit. Canada Olympic Park, the original site of the XV Winter Olympic Games, hosts an Olympic Hall of Fame and Museum, as well as sporting options for visitors. Are you an auto racing enthusiast? Well, then, ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! Race City Motorsport Park in Calgary sponsors seasonal car, truck, motorcycle, and drag racing contests. If you appreciate a different kind of horsepower, you can arrange your Alberta travel time accordingly, and plan to attend the Calgary Stampede, a worldwide rodeo extraordinaire. The Stampede takes place during ten jam-packed days each summer with the chuck wagon races drawing the biggest crowds. Even if you miss the rodeo itself, you can still visit the famous event’s home base at Stampede Park, a venue for harness and thoroughbred races. Test your luck at the slots in the Stampede Casino while you’re there. Just, uh, don’t lose the family nest egg in the process.