Beating Summer Boredom – Homestretch Edition
At the end of the school year kids are excited to be free and do nothing as the summer stretches before them, but come August, that excitement can turn to boredom, and for parents the phrase “I’m bored” can seem on endless loop.
Here are 10 fun ways to keep your kids occupied as you enter into the summer homestretch.
A Goat-Filled Family Day
Grotto Gardens is a fun and budget-friendly way of amusing kids at any time, with their furry friendly farmyard animals (especially the goats), to their tractor sandbox and other kid-friendly areas. But on August 10th they’ll really roll out the fun with their annual Family Day. A day that includes a Goat Yoga class that is open to kids (with their parents), bouncy castles, live music and face-painting along with treats galore from their bakery, and a chance to go into the pens with their new baby-doll sheep and goats under the guidance of Grotto staff, to get up close and personal with these adorable animals and learn more about them.
A Day at the Park – Saskatchewan style
A day pass to enter Cypress Hills, Saskatchewan costs only $10 per vehicle (or free if you travel with a Saskatchewan resident 65 years or older), and allows you to take advantage of all of the businesses and activities that the Park offers, from Segways tours to mini-golf, horseback riding and more, along with their beach and playground, the Leisure Pool, where $14 will buy you a family pass for a family of five (two adults and three children, or one adult and four children). You’ll also be able to take advantage of the many picnic Areas and firepits with firewood to host a wiener and marshmallow roast, take in the many Amphitheatre and Guided Tours offered all month long by donation by Park staff, borrow a GPS unit and find the many geocaches hidden around the Park, and then round-off your day with Dark Sky Programming at the Observatory with their Astronomer in Residence, from Friday-Monday starting at 9:30pm in August. August 10th you can also take kids on a wagon ride courtesy of the Southwest Harness Club with proceeds going to the Children’s Wish Foundation.
A Day at the Park – Alberta style
The Alberta side of the Park also offers lots of great fun, from free mini-golf, to budget-friendly kayak, canoe and paddle board rentals, geocaching, a great beach for swimming and sandcastle building, and a number of amazing mountain bike trails (which can also be used for hiking) thanks to their friends at the 670 Mountain Bike Club out of Medicine Hat. The Park staff also offer Amphitheatre and Guided programming!
Meet Scotty the most MASSIVE T. rex in the World
Found 25 years ago in the hills surround Eastend, this year Scotty the T. Rex was declared the world’s most MASSIVE T. rex dinosaur, and her remains can be seen nearby at the T. rex Discovery Centre. Bring the kids to meet Scotty in person whether during their normal hours, or on August 16th for Scotty’s 65,000,028th birthday celebration! Watch the movie Dino Hunters to learn what they needed to do to find and excavate Scotty, take a turn digging in the paleo pit, get a guided tour of the Discovery Centre and learn not only about Scotty but about all of her friends as well, and take a walk around the Centre to see if you can find some fossils of your own in the Frenchman River Valley.
Be sure to take in the Eastend Historical Museum while you’re in the neighbourhood and take part in their Creative Kids programs, where $5 will let you take part in one of their 2hr workshops aimed at kids 6 and up.
Giddy-Up to Fort Walsh
Every Saturday in August Fort Walsh National Historic Site, the first NWMP Headquarters in Canada, hosts their family-friendly Frontier Life program. Watch historic weapons being fired, take a stroll through the Fort meeting the people that made life possible, and take part in their Horse Program where you’ll learn just how much care and attention the mounts of the mounted police were given and watch the process unfold on their Fort’s own equestrian steeds. You can also learn more about the ill-fated Cypress Hills Massacre on one of their daily bus tours for only $4.90 per person.
Getting a Taste of Maple Creek
Held August 17th in Canada’s Greatest Western Town, head to Maple Creek to enjoy the Taste of Maple Creek a day of fine food from the many great Chefs and Bakers that make Maple Creek their home, while also enjoying the Creek Classic Show n’Shine, a Taste of Books book sale, an outdoor free family movie and BBQ, and an all ages street dance.
If visiting Scotty got your own inner fossil hunter looking for more, you can join the T. rex Discovery Centre’s paleontologist Dr. Emily Bamforth on an actual dig in the East Block of Grasslands National Park during Fossil Fever. Cost is $73.60 per person per day (includes lunch and shuttle) and the event runs from August 14th to 18th, with the Badlands Blast concert and dance on August 17th. Wild scenery, lunch in the badlands and five hours of finding hidden gems such as fossils. Wind down enjoying a hot chocolate beneath the spectacular night sky as you watch the glowing campfire embers.
Family Friendly Fitness
Getting kids off the couch can sometimes take a Herculean effort but getting kids involved in fun-fitness activities gives them the motivation to try a little harder. Join in on the Discover Mountain Biking training in Cypress Hills, Alberta, or put a family team together to tackle the Hillbilly Hustle on the Saskatchewan side August 4th, where teams of 5 compete on a short course of canoeing, running, cycling and swimming for best costume and race time. You can also take in the Cypress Hills High Altitude Trail Challenge (CHHATC) on the Sask side August 17th, where race events range from 2kms, 5kms, 10kms and 21kms. A great way to get kids started on running.
Looping Around Leader
Held the long weekend in September, the Leader Loop Bus Tour has been split into two half day tours to make it easier on kids and their attention spans! Travelling to the Great Sandhills, the Sceptre Museum, the Estuary Hutterite Colony, St. John’s Schoolhouse (they’ll never complain about their schools again), these tours can either be taken for a single half day, or combined for a two-day journey. And come with value-added swim and golf passes for the pool and golf course in Leader.
Party with the Stars
Held on the September long weekend this year, Cypress Hills will once again host the Summer Star Party, where professional and amateur astronomers alike descend upon the hills to gaze at the stars, give tips on night photography, and gather to offer public programming from solar viewing to star gazing, along with astronomy presentations by experts in the field.