Travel

5 Places in Lethbridge You’ll Love Exploring

5 Places in Lethbridge You’ll Love Exploring

My husband was born and raised in the Lethbridge area, so we try to make it down there once or twice a year to see his grandparents and the rest of his family. Each time we are there he takes me to another place to explore. Being located in Southern Alberta it is treated to warmer and somewhat milder weather compared to much of the province. It makes for ideal farming conditions, which is what most of the surrounding area seems to be fueled by.  Lethbridge is a wonderful city and as such it has so much to offer that I haven’t even begun to experience, these are just a few of my favourites that I have found so far. 

Best Western Lethbridge

Having been to Lethbridge a number of times we have stayed at a few different hotels. We have stayed in some good ones, and some bad. The Best Western is one we have settled on. Their breakfast options are vast, it even includes pancakes, there is something there for everyone. They have a pool, which if you have read my post about road trip tips, you know how I feel that is an important amenity.

Indian Battle Park

This park is at the bottom of a coolie, and it has tons to offer. Hiking, picnic areas, playgrounds, and so much scenery. I could spend hours exploring here, and I hope sometime in the near future.

The Neighbourhood Bakehouse

I make it a habit of trying out local bakeries where ever I visit. They always offer the most incredible delights, and I am very rarely disappointed. This one is one of my favourites, and I only discovered it on our most recent visit. Some of the best pastries I have eaten came from there and it’s hard to pick a favourite.

Henderson Park

Henderson Park is 117 acres of park. Its largest, and perhaps most alluring component is the near 60-acre man-made lake. It offers a little bit of everything for everyone. 

The lake itself is perfect for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and other non-motor sports. With a 2.5 km trail around the lake and another 4.3 km trail around the perimeter of the park providing you with the opportunity to take a stroll or view the commemorative and historical markers and displays located throughout the park. Not to mention the abundance of open space picnics. There are three playgrounds, as well an outdoor pool.  

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden

Inside Henderson park is the Japanese Garden, where you are transported out of the city, into a cultural experience. They combine the beauty of nature in a serene setting that I haven’t found anywhere else. The garden is meticulously kept, with bunnies and birds scampering about. Nikka Yuko was rated amongst the top Gardens in Canada by HGTV Canada and Chateline 2017. It is one of the most beautiful Gardens in Canada. Take a tour, or stroll around all by yourself.

Franks Slide

While Franks slide isn’t actually located in Lethbridge, its about 1 1/2 hours drive away, it is worth making the journey. Frank was a town located in the Rocky Mountains in the 1900s. On April 29, 1903 part of Turtle Moutain gave way and buried the town under 82 million tonnes of limestone. I highly recommend making the drive and visiting the interpretive centre, and even just observing the rock, that still lies where it fell over 100 years ago. 

It doesn’t matter what your personality might be, or what your reason for visiting, Lethbridge has something to offer you. My husband and I have often discussed it and we think if we were to ever move away from Edson, we would probably move to the area. What has been your favourite thing to do in Lethbridge?

5 Places in Lethbridge You'll Love Exploring
5 Places in Lethbridge You'll Love Exploring

Posted by Jenn in Travel, Travel Alberta, 5 comments
Feeling Nostalgic in the 90’s with Aqua

Feeling Nostalgic in the 90’s with Aqua

When Aqua announced their 90s Rewind tour my friend, C, and I immediately knew we wanted to go. We were unable to secure presale tickets so we online trying to buy tickets the second they came available. No luck. So we stalked the buy and sell pages and resale sites, desperately hoping to scoop up a pair. We checked all the surrounding area concerts as well.

With a mere two week left before the concert, out chances were looking meek. Then, while scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed one day I say SWOOP airlines was advertising flights to Abbotsford. We knew from our search for tickets that they also had an Abbotsford tour stop. After figuring out the logistics we booked the flights.

SWOOP

From Edmonton(YEG) to Abbotsford(YXX) the flights were approximately $48 CAD return. This price included all taxes. That being said, having only launched 6 months ago, SWOOP is a new discount airline. Included in the $48 is nothing. No snacks. No checked bag. No seat selection. And most importantly no carry-on. You are allowed a small personal item provided it fits under the seat in front of you. We opted to not bring any luggage with us and took our chances on the seat selection.

24 hours before our flight we checked in online and took the seats assigned to us. Total flight time was under 1 1/2 each way. This was the first time I had ever flown with a budget airline and I was impressed that low budget didn’t mean sub-par. The plane (I believe it was the same each way) was clean and in great condition. I have paid much more, for much much worse.

 

Feeling Nostalgic In The 90's with Aqua
Feeling Nostalgic in the 90's with Aqua

Abbotsford

We spent the afternoon exploring the city of Abbotsford. Mostly we drove around, it was raining, but the charm was evident. The craft breweries and wineries we around every corner. Downtown is full of historic buildings, – they were even filming a Hallmark Christmas movie while we were there – and the markets with fresh vegetables we plentiful. The surrounding mountains would provide an abundance of hiking, provided I was with different company.

AQUA

This was the entire reason for this trip. The Aqua 90s rewind concert. The opening acts were Whigfield and Prozzäk. I only knew one song for Whigfield she sang it like it was 1998 and it was incredible. Prozzäk, who I was almost as excited for as Aqua, was disappointing. Their microphones seemed almost too loud and it was hard to understand them. We actually stepped outside during the performance and you could hear them more clearly from outside the building.

Between each act, they had a Much Music Video Dance. Man did that bring back memories. The throwback music had the whole crowd dancing all night. There wasn’t a single song that we went singing along with.

Finally, the moment we were waiting for. Aqua. Their concert offered everything we were hoping for. A night back in the 90s. We sing and dance to all the hits. From Barbie girl to Candy Man. Towards the end of the show, they started to perform their remixes, which was not something usually I usually enjoy, but the energy of the band and the crowd was something you couldn’t help but enjoy.

Time to go home

Alas, it was time to go home. With only 24 hours in the town of Abbotsford, we didn’t get a lot of time to explore. I did, however, have time to compile a list of things I would like to do on my return. I am already looking at SWOOP for flights and planning the return trip.

Posted by Jenn in Lifestyle, Lifestyle Review, Travel, 12 comments
Banff, Alberta The Top 7 Things You Don’t Want To Miss Out On

Banff, Alberta The Top 7 Things You Don’t Want To Miss Out On

My favourite place in the world is the mountains. I am not even picky about which Mountain Range, although I am partial to Rocky Mountain in my home province of Alberta. I can see them from where I live, and Jasper is just shy of 2 hours away from my doorstep. But, as much as I love Jasper, I have a particular fondness for Banff National Park

Banff offers so many things to do and explore but these are some of my favourites. 

Canoe 

One of my favourite memories in Banff is canoeing. I rented a canoe for an hour from the Banff Canoe Club and spent a fantastic hour leisurely paddling the Bow River. 

Banff Gondola

This was the first gondola I had ever ridden and the views are incredible. Ride it to the top of Sulphur mountain and take in the 360 views. Enjoy a meal at the top, then either ride the gondola down or better yet take the extra time, and energy, and hike down.

Take A Hike

While we’re talking about hiking; Banff National Park and the surrounding area is full of amazing hikes. All skill levels and distances can be found with just a short drive. Tunnel mountain is right in the town and it’s a perfect “beginners” hike.

Bow Falls

If hiking isn’t your thing, but you still want to check out some awesome views than Bow Falls might be more up your alley. They can be seen with just a short walk from the parking lot. 

Banff Hot Springs

Banff Hot Springs is open year round and the only place I have swum outside in the winter. To top it off it was snowing, that is such a cool experience. 

Lake Louise

Just a short drive, through the gorgeous mountain country, is Lake Louise. The picturesque lake offers canoeing in the summer, and ice skating in the winter. Explore it in both seasons, the little town offers restaurants and some shops as well. 

Rocky Mountain Bagel Company

As much as I love Banff the surrounding area has so much to offer as well. This is in the neighbouring town of Canmore. This is the one place that o stop every single time I am in the area. The bagels are good but the bagel sandwiches are even better. I have never gotten anything from there that I haven’t loved. I am particularly fond of their gluten-free apricot cookies

Every time I visit Banff I find another thing to fall in love with. Is there anything I missed that you love?

Banff Alberta Top 7 Things You Don't Want To Miss
Banff Alberta The Top 7 Things You Don't Want To Miss Out On

Posted by Jenn in Travel, Travel Alberta, 17 comments
How To Spend 6 Days In Maui, A Breathtaking Tropical Paradise

How To Spend 6 Days In Maui, A Breathtaking Tropical Paradise

This post is in no way sponsored, all opinions and experiences are my own. No affiliate links are present.

In January 2018 we spent a gorgeous and perfect week in Maui. We were spoiled by incredible weather, and I must admit I was spoiled for my first beach vacation. While there were so many things that I wish we had seen and done, there wasn’t a single thing that I would have skipped. – Except for a couple of restaurants, find our favourites here – Like any vacation, a week is just not long enough to see and do everything in a place.

Day One

  • Breakfast at Down The Hatch
  • Pick up Rental Car in Kahului
    • Stop st Krispy Cream if you’ve never been
  • Buy some groceries at Food Land
  • Late Lunch at Bubba Gumps
  • Late Dinner at Prison Street Pizza

Day Two

  • Explore West Maui
    • Honolua Bay
      • Enjoy the food truck
    • Nakalele Blowhole
    • Kahakuloa Head
  • Drums of the Pacific Luau
    • Strole Kaanapali Beach why you wait
    • Enjoy the Mai-Tais!

Day Three

  • Stroll Front Street
    • Banyan Tree
      • Makers Market
    • Old Courthouse
    • Sand beach – Low Tide Only
  • Kaanapali Beach
    • Admire the big resorts
  • Drive to Kihei
  • Whale Watching at
  • Shave Ice at Ulalani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice
    • The Lahaina with Macadamia Icecream and a snow cap is AWESOME

Day Four

  • Drive the Road To Hana
    • Stay tuned for its own post

Day Five

Day Six

We stayed at the Aina Nalu Lahaina by Outrigger in Lahaina Maui. It was a great place and I would absolutely stay there again.

Renting a Jeep was the best decision we made for the whole trip. We were able to easily do anything we wanted to do, without any issues. I 100%recommendd a Jeep over a smaller vehicle.

Have you visited Maui or another of the Hawaiian islands? What was your favourite thing to do?

How To Spend 6 Days In Maui, A Breathtaking Tropical Paradise
How To Spend 6 Days In Maui, A Breathtaking Tropical Paradise
Posted by Jenn in Travel, Travel Maui, 17 comments
Why Tunnel Mountain is the Best First Summit

Why Tunnel Mountain is the Best First Summit

I’ve always wanted to summit a mountain. To get the unapparelled views of the surrounding for the very top. When we planned a trip to Kananaskis last summer I immediately set out to find a good hike for us to do.  When looking at neighbouring Banff, I stumbled on the Tunnel Mountain Hike, and it was a no-brainer. Hike in the beautiful Rockies, and summit my first mountain.

Tunnel Mountain is Banff’s smallest summit, located right in town. After doing some research I was promised a relatively easy hike. 4.3 km (up and down) with a gain of 300m of elevation. My hiking experience at the time was pretty limited, and my summit experience was absolutely zilch, so this sounded like something right up my alley. The promise of 360° views of the townsite, and surrounding peaks sounded like just the motivation I would need to get the top.

There are two parking areas. One offers quite a number of stalls and there is a short walk up to the second. This parking area, where we parked, only has about 6 stalls and in early August they are in high demand. The earlier you go the better off you’ll be. not just for parking, but for heat and business of the trail as well.

The Hike

The trail is wide and well-maintained with switchbacks the lead you up the mountainside, leaving the vertical gain very manageable. You walk easily through the trees and towards the top of the mountain, with plenty of gorgeous area with photo ops of the surrounding landscapes. While there is switchback there are points on the trail where the grade is still substantial, you are still climbing a mountain.

At one point we reached an area and I was sure that we were at the top, also we were not, and a kind lady told me we had just a little further so we ventured on.

When we got to the top there was no doubt, the signage made it clear. there is a wide open area perfect for picnics, although I hear there is a grassy meadow a little further down the trail I didn’t know about at the time. The views of the townsite below and surrounding mountains and river are spectacular. Exactly what I needed after the hike up the mountain. After a quick water and snack break, we headed back down the way we came. Providing the same useful information to people, “you’re almost there!”

The trail is very popular, so if you’re looking to be alone you may want to find another. It is a great first summit and easy hike for both children and dogs. For my first summit, it inspired me to add more to the list, both for us to do solo, as well as family friendly.

Tunnel Mountain Trail Information

  • Elevation Gain: 300 meters (948 feet)
  • Time: 2 to 3 hours round trip
  • Distance: 4.3 km (2.7 miles) round-trip
  • This trail is very popular and can get crowded in the summer and early fall months. Beat the crowds by hiking early in the morning or in the late afternoon.

Tunnel Mountain Trailhead

Lower Trailhead: In downtown Banff, from the southern end of Banff Ave., turn east on Buffalo St. (turns into Wolverine) to St. Julien Rd. Continue until parking lot on your left where a sign marks the trailhead.

Upper Trailhead: Continue past the Banff Centre. The trailhead is on the opposite side of the road from the Tunnel Mountain viewpoint parking area. This parking area is small as mentioned but shortens the hike to 3.6km.

 

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Why Banffs Tunnel Mountain is Your Perfect First Summit
Why Banffs Tunnel Mountain is Your Perfect First Summit
Posted by Jenn in Travel, Travel Alberta, 13 comments
Drumheller Alberta, 2 Exciting Days In The Dinosaur Capital Of The World

Drumheller Alberta, 2 Exciting Days In The Dinosaur Capital Of The World

What little boy doesn’t have, at least a mild one, an obsession with Dinosaurs? When exploring options for our family holiday Drumheller, the Dinosaur Capital of the world became an easy option for us for a long weekend vacation.

Surprisingly, with only a few short weeks until the long weekend, and knowing we wanted to camp our options were not as limited as we thought. We ended up making a reservation at Dinos Nest, which is located within Drumheller City limits. We stayed at the sister site Dino’s RV Nest. The location is awesome as it seems fairly central when you’re looking at tourist destinations. The lady who we dealt with was incredible and was full of tips and suggestions when we were planning our day. We had a good size green space at our campsite and my kids quickly made friends with the other campers. The playground was a definite hit. We did have to pay for firewood but that is the case in nearly all campgrounds these days and we found the price to be fair. The portable fire pits are ingenious and incredibly handy.

After getting a good nights sleep we started out for a full day of adventuring and exploring Drumheller.

Day One

  • The Worlds Largest Dinosaur! You can not visit Drumheller and no give this a visit. My family loved this. The little ones were thrilled to be “eaten by a dinosaur” and take some awesome pictures.  With over 100 steps to the top is a treck, but the journey is worth it.  There is a gift shop there, however, do yourself a favour and skip it. The Royal Tyrrell has a more reasonably priced one.
  • Follow the North Dinosaur Trail.
    • The Little Church. It is beautiful, and the history is wonderful. It is Little, as the name implied, so little in fact that we nearly drove past it.  It seats only six people at a time, but it seats them comfortably.
    • Horsethief Canyon, another area rich with history and the view is incredible. I wish we had brought a picnic as it would have been a perfect spot. The boys made friends with some gophers and sat there watching them for a good amount of time.
    • Bleriot Ferry which crosses the Red Deer River. It takes about 5 minutes or so to cross the river and then you’re on your way.
    • Orkney Viewpoint, just off the beaten path for another incredible lookout. It is gorgeous and I would love to catch is during a sunrise/sunset. The river snakes through beautifully.
  • Royal Tyrrell Museum. Drumheller’s Claim to fame. There are a lot of interactive displays to keep the kid busy while we read the information panels. Certainly informative. The staff throughout the museum were full of interesting fact and were happy to answer any questions Big H & L had to ask. They have an amazing fossil of a Nosodor, in near perfect condition. This is was my absolute favourite exhibit and I highly recommend you take some time here. The gift shop was reasonably priced which both shocked and pleased me. I expected otherwise. This is the gift shop I recommend you buy your souvenirs at.

After a day full of activities we were all ready to head back to the camper. We made a batch of Tacos in a Bag for dinner while the boys made friends with the other kids at the campsite. After dinner (and marshmallows of course) they headed off to bed and Blayne and I enjoyed the rest of our evening – with an amazing show of the Northern Lights – and planned what we would do the next day of our dinosaur filled weekend.

I think my favourite time of any trip is after the kids go to bed, and Blayne and I get to relax on our own, in the quiet. Doing it outdoors around the campfire is something special all on its own.

Day Two

  •  The Hoodoos. My kids absolutely loved this place. Climbing and running around. Beautiful scenery too. It is much smaller than I had expected, but years of people and weather have led to that. They are still unique and wonderful though. None the less, you can spend hours exploring and climbing. We spend about an hour there and we didn’t even make it a fraction of the way to the top.
  • Atlas Coal Mine. While there are only certain things you can do if you’re under the age of 6, there is still a ton to do here with the younger ones. The pony cart ride and the train ride were by far the most popular for us.  B and I enjoyed it from a more adult perspective and the boys loved seeing everything. The staff, especially the train conductor, were friendly and super informative. We were there for about 3 hours. Bring a picnic as this is also a perfect place to eat.
  • Rosedale Suspension Bridge. Not only is it free it gives you another glimpse into the past. Big H and L could have easily spent all day going back and forth if we were to let them. At the other side, there is plenty of trails that you can hike if that is something you have time to do. I hear there are smoulder piles that have been smoking for years, so keep an eye out for that!
  • The Fossil Shop. Drumheller has no shortage of souvenir stores but this one is special. The items in the store are BEAUTIFUL, which grossly undersells it even. While there some incredibly large and expensive pieces there are plenty of small, gorgeous, unique pieces available as well for a very fair price. I’m confident that there is something there for everyone. The staff is helpful and encourages you to “touch the past.”

One Final Stop

  • WHIFS Flapjack House. We had breakfast here after being told by numerous Drumheller locals that it was the place to be. The food was awesome. The buffet had all the offerings and their famous Flapjacks were all they were made out to be.

From there we ventured onward. Still talking about the memories we made and the wonderful vacation we had.

Drumheller Alberta, 2 Exciting Days In The Dinosaur Capital Of The World
Posted by Jenn in Travel, Travel Alberta, 28 comments
Top 5 Family Friendly Places in Big Beautiful Jasper

Top 5 Family Friendly Places in Big Beautiful Jasper

Jasper is one of the most uniquely beautiful places I have seen in my life.  I’ve seen mountains all over North America, Maui’s most recently, but the views of the Rockies are unparalleled. So, living only two short hours away from Jasper we try to get there as often as we can. Hunter LOVES the mountains. Like me, they give him a sense of home, and he is much more grounded when we visit them. We still don’t get there nearly as often as we would like, but in the trips, we do manage we have been able to pick some of our favourite places to visit as a family.

Maligne Canyon

Maligne Canyon is easily considered one of the most interesting canyons in the Rockies. They have a walking path set up so you can walk from the top of the canyon and falls, all the way to the bottom. Or vice-versa. There is a total of 6 bridges the crisscross over and each offers a uniquely magnificent view. The walk does consist of thousands of stairs – I’m estimating – so it can be quite physical but you can park at the top or bottom and do as much or as little as you want. There is also a picnic area available at either end. Maligne Canyon is a place we have visited many times over the years.

Annette Lake

This is one of our most recent discoveries, we were initially out to find a short hike to do with the boys that was also stroller friendly-ish, and as you can imagine the stroller part is difficult. Then, by complete accident, we stumbled upon this beauty. Not only is the 2.5km path around the lake fully paved so that is both friendly for strollers and wheelchairs, there are also benches all along the way so people of any fitness level can do it and have plenty of places to rest as well as enjoy all 360° of beautiful views. There is also a gorgeous sandy beach perfect for playing in the water and laying in the sun. We will be visiting this lake many times in the future.

Sunwapita Falls

This is a unique set of falls. There is a viewing area which offers a spectacular view of the main falls. There is also a 1km trail that leads to a viewing point of the lower falls. We have only made this trip once, but I highly recommend doing this short hike to see the second falls. The grade is pretty gradual, but it is there. One of the smother trails we have hiked.

Athabasca Falls

This is one of the only places I remember visiting as a child and one I continue to visit nearly every time we visit the park. Athabasca falls are the most powerful falls in the Rockies. The water roars and thunders as it falls and if you stand in the right place (or wrong) you’ll be soaked with the spray from the falls. It is truly an experience. The rocks are wet and therefore slippery, so do not venture outside of the designated areas.

Whistlers Campground

The one and only time we actually camped in Jasper this is where we stayed. It is an extremely large campground but is laid out wonderfully and you would never know its size without driving through it. The bathrooms are clean and well kept and just a short walk from wherever your campsite is. There is plenty of wildlife in the area and if you’re lucky you will be able to spot some from your campsite.

The sites and activities to do in Jasper National Park are limitless. I honestly don’t think we will ever have time to see and do it all. These are just the tip of the iceberg and the ones that we have all enjoyed as a family, some on more than one occasion.

What is your favourite thing to do in Jasper?

Top 5 Family Friendly Places in Big Beautiful Jasper
Top 5 Family Friendly Places in Big Beautiful Jasper
Posted by Jenn in Travel, Travel Alberta, 16 comments
3 Restaurants In Lahaina You Need To Eat At

3 Restaurants In Lahaina You Need To Eat At

Are you planning a trip to the beautiful island of Maui? If you aren’t already then you probably should be. If you are, you will probably spend a little bit of time, if not most of it, in the town of Lahaina.  Lahaina is where we stayed during our week on the island. We where we treated with spectacular weather welcoming locals, and delicious food. While you’re in Lahaina you will have a nearly endless supply of restaurants to try. Out of all the restaurants that we tried, the three below were by far my favourite.

Down the Hatch

This was the first restaurant we ate at on the very first morning after arriving on the island. We happened on this restaurant by chance when we were searching for a good breakfast joint while walking around the street. Once featured on Diners Drive-ins and Dives, the restaurant is tucked in the courtyard of a multistory shopping-centre on Front Street and offers counter service. Their menu is smaller but amazing.  Four different items ordered and not a disappointing one in the bunch.

We enjoyed this restaurant so much we visited it TWO more times during our week-long trip. The second, for dinner, I tried the Lobster grilled cheese that was featured on their episode of DDD. This sandwich brings all my favourite things together, cheese and lobster. When we snuck in for one more breakfast before on the day that we left, we again, all ordered new items with zero disappointment. Of all the places we ate at during our trip this was the only one that we ate at more than once.

They also have a sister restaurant, The Breakwall Shave Ice Company, in the same spot. We, however, did not try it personally.

TRY: The Lobster Grilled Cheese Sandwich and the DTH Breakfast Sandwich

BONUS: During our stay in January 2018 we were able to get a 2 for 1 coupon from our hotel.

Prison Street Pizza

Like Down the Hatch we came across this pizza place while we were exploring the town of Lahaina. We found it while in search of breakfast, so we didn’t try it immediately but returned later that night and had it for dinner. We ordered the S-turns the Old World and the Garlic Bread for takeout. While we waited we sat down and enjoyed a beer from Maui Brewing Company. – Make sure you give their beer a try. –

The dining area is quite small, and family style so we shared a table with a man who owns a surf shop in town. – I am always happy to hear that the locals also enjoy a restaurant, it gives me a lot of confidence in the food. – We grabbed our food and headed back to our room to eat. The pizzas we large, the crust was perfect and the toppings were fresh and flavourful. The 4 of us ate the garlic bread quickly and the pizza didn’t last long; although there were a few pieces left for the next day. We tired another pizza place later in our stay and this one was our favourite.

TRY: The garlic bread! Large pieces, with strong while not overpowering, garlic flavour.

BONUS: By the crowd, it is obvious the locals frequent here.

Ululani Hawaiian Shave Ice

If you’re going to Hawaii, you’re probably going to try shave ice. If you’re going to Maui, you’re going to want to go to Ulalani. There is no doubt why this place has been rated the #1 restaurant on the entire island. We shamelessly enjoyed a shave ice nearly every day during our trip. The ice is soft and creamy(?) and the flavours are incredible. They seem to have endless combinations. The staff here is friendly and will not hesitate to strike up a conversation while they’re making your delicious treat, giving great suggestions from a local point of view.

TRY: The Lahaina, named after the town their original location, perfectly combines Pineapple, Coconut and Banana. Adding a scoop of Macadamia ice-cream to the bottom and a snowcap on top makes this delicious dessert even more incredible (if that’s even possible).

BONUS: The Lahainaluna Café next door to their Lahaina location proves to be just as good as their Garlic Fries are incredible, so take the extra steps and give them a try while you’re there.

 

Have you visited Lahaina, Maui? If you have what is your favourite restaurant that you tried while there.

3 RESTAURANTS IN LAHAINA YOU NEED TO EAT AT
THREE RESTAURANTS IN LAHAINA YOU NEED TO TRY
Posted by Jenn in Travel, Travel Maui, 11 comments
What You’ll Love at the West Edmonton Mall Water Park

What You’ll Love at the West Edmonton Mall Water Park

When it comes to raising my children one of the most important things, to me, is to give them experiences. I know the boys will remember these types of things over the material objects. If those experiences include being active all the better. Visiting the West Edmonton Mall World Water Park allowed us to give Hunter both of those. We have visited the water park a few times in the past as a family but, during a recent trip to Edmonton, we were able to take advantage of a private rental and check it out without a baby in tow. Because of the private rental, there is the possibility that not every feature was available to us as would be during a regular day.

West Edmonton Mall

If you have never been to West Edmonton Mall  (WEM) I highly suggest it. It is the largest mall in North America.  Not only does it have the water park but also an indoor theme park, a sea lion show, an aquarium, a skating rink, an arcade, bowling alley, hotel and oh so much more. There is something there for literally everyone.

The Water Park

Anyone who has ever been to West Edmonton Mall can tell you that they have HUGE windows overlooking the water park so that people can get a glimpse of what is inside. Hunter stared at it in awe and asked: “how did they get the ocean inside the building?!”

The waterpark itself is the second largest indoor park in the world. It features the world’s largest wave pool – more on that later. This place has 17 indoor slides and a tonne more features. Some were new to me and I can’t wait to go back just the adults.

The change rooms are large and feature a number of private change areas for people to use. The lockers were available to rent for only $12 for an entire day – great if you’re there for more than just a few hours – and they used an awesome wristband instead of a lock and key, so no worry about losing a key in the water. You can also load your wristband with money to purchase snacks, drinks (adult or not), or even rentals.

The Pools

During past visits, the first stop we made was the Dolphin Kiddie Pool which has three little slides and some water toys. This is where both Hunter and HD were in the water for the first time. This is the area made for the smallest kids. Due to the large around of children using this area, it is not necessarily the best place for babies, however during a normal day, I could see this area being a tad quieter. The water is generally warmer in this area so sitting with the little ones is pretty enjoyable when you’re not getting splashed.

The wave pool is the biggest attraction to me. It has always been my favourite thing. The water is warm and the waves are fierce. The closer to the edge of the pool it is much calmer. We easily spend the majority of our time in this areas. Jumping and riding the waves is great, but if you can get your hands on a tube, then riding the waves is even more fun. Even when we have had babies with us we enjoyed the wave pool.

Kids Areas

Another exciting place for kids to spend their time is Carribean Cove, a Multi-level play structure to climb and crawl around on. The boys LOVE it there and squeal with delight every time the dump bucket dumps the water. There are a few slides, a tone of sprayers, and water cannons. The water is quite cold, but it doesn’t seem to bother the kids at all. There are tables and chairs next, so it is somewhere for parents to sit while the little ones run around.

Hot Tubs

The West Edmonton Mall Water Park offers a large double sided hot tub. It has powerful jets and plenty of sitting room. Soak your body, your legs or even just your feet.

The Slides

If you noticed, I haven’t even spoken about a single waterslide. That is because in the multiple trips we have made in the last 5 years we have gone down one water slide. That’s right, one. Why in a place that has so many waterslide options? Because we had so much fun and spent so much time playing and experiencing everything else the park has to offer. Even with that, there are things we didn’t get a chance to try, that we will have to save for a later trip.

It was a late night but it was a great one, still, the kids are asking when they can go back to the “ocean inside the building.” These are the activities we love doing as a family. Things that keep their bodies and their brains active. Things that they will remember for years to come. We can’t wait to go back.

What You'll Love at the West Edmonton Mall Water Park
What You'll Love at the West Edmonton Mall Water Park

 

Posted by Jenn in Travel, Travel Alberta, 6 comments
Surviving a winter family road trip.

Surviving a winter family road trip.

Christmas is in just 12 short days, and for many people that will involve loading up the car with people, gifts, and luggage to head on a long winter family road trip. Family road trips at any time of year can be overwhelming and stress full, but during the winter where everything is in another level.

Much of my husband’s family is about an 8-hour drive away from where we live, and while we have never made the trip at Christmas we have made it in the winter more than not. This, of course, involves packing up three kids and make the journey.

These are the tricks that I have accumulated over the years to make travelling with our boys a tad easier and in some cases, safer.

Let them pack their own bag

Kids, or mine at least, get excited when they have some independence. Letting them pick and pack their own clothes really helps them be excited about what is happening and going somewhere. I send mine with a number of shirts, pants, socks etc so I still know everything they need is taken.

Leave early

On the way out of the city, we started our journey at 4 am. Cruel I know, worse for me than the kids.  Our hope was that they would sleep for the first part of the trip. Little H is usually asleep the moment he was buckled into his car seat and Big H doesn’t make it out of the city. L can usually power through nearly the whole drive but he is a unique boy. The later we leave the more they seem to fight.

Books

Neither of my kids can read yet but that doesn’t stop them from flipping through books and making their own stories. I bring a handful and this keeps them busy for a few hours.

Games

I am not an iPad mom. But, I believe there is a time and a place and so we have a couple of personal games systems that we let them play with when they really got stir crazy and that kept them busy for a bit.

Have something for them to look forward to at the end of the drive

This can be as simple as ice cream or a toy or anything that they are going to want to get.

If possible have a pool at the hotel

This is probably our best move. L has never been a strong sleeper so when staying in a hotel we prepare for the worst. Making them super tired always seems to do the trick. Swimming, even for a half hour is always sure to exhaust my kids so before bed each night we went for a swim by the time they hit the pillow they were already asleep.

Bring their bedding

Our kids each have a special pillow and blanket they can’t sleep without. By bringing them with us it is close enough to their actual bed that it wasn’t a big deal.

Bring an extra full outfit

My boys, always seem to need an extra change of clothes no matter where we go. L somehow manages to get syrup all over his shirt he is supposed to wear to dinner. Big H loses a pair of pants. Little H explodes out of his diaper. Seriously just bring extra clothes.

ALL your winter gear

Be prepared for the worst. In the event that your vehicle breaks down or you get lost, or any other of the million things that could happen you want to be prepared. No heat in the winter means you’re going to be cold. Have everything you need to be as warm as possible.

Understanding

Remember these are little people who normally move 100 miles/minute. Being strapped into a vehicle for hours means that energy isn’t being expelled. They are going to misbehave.

Travelling isn’t easy for anyone, let alone with kids. We usually make it through unscathed and are able to enjoy our time at wherever we were headed.

What are your best road trip tips?

Posted by Jenn in Travel, 8 comments