By Karlie Marrazzo
Exploring my home province of Alberta is one of my favourite things to do at any time of year, so when the Alberta Motor Association invited me to be a summer ambassador for their #TheRoadIsCalling campaign to show off my hometown of Edmonton, I was over the moon. I am a weekend warrior and love to discover new places close by, so this was the perfect opportunity for me to discover more about my home city.
Read on for my recommendations on unique things to do in and around Edmonton, and stay tuned until the end of this post to enter a giveaway to win a prize pack that includes admission to all of the attractions I visited!
Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village
Although I have an Italian last name, I also share Ukrainian ancestry with hundreds of thousands of other Albertans. Ukrainian immigration began in waves in the late 1800s and continued through the 20th century. To celebrate 125 years of Ukrainian immigration to Canada, the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village puts on Ukrainian Day, an annual event featuring food (Perogies! Cabbage rolls! Kielbasa! Borscth!), dancing, music, and the chance to explore their outdoor living history museum, complete with historic buildings from the early 20th century and historical interpreters. It was time for me to get in touch with my Ukrainian side. Located 50km east of the city, the Village is an easy 25-minute drive down Highway 16 and is a great day trip.
I hadn’t been to the Village since I was in school and I was impressed with the historical village and the Ukrainian Day events. The sounds of spoken Ukrainian kissed my ears throughout the park and I felt transported to another time and place. After munching on perogies and sausage, my dad and I took a free horse-drawn carriage ride through the historical village, accompanied by a period correct guide. We then roamed in and out of the Orthodox church, the metalsmith’s shop, general store, the police station, private homes and beautiful gardens and farms, complete with roosters and pigs.
On your way back to Edmonton, stop in at Elk Island National Park just 5km down the road for some bison spotting! Take advantage of the nature trails or take a spin on one of the lakes in a canoe while you’re there.
- AMA Members save 10% on regular admission!
Segway tour through the North Saskatchewan River Valley
The river valley is Edmonton’s jewel – more than 100km of trails criss-crossing through 20 lush green parks traversing the entire city is definitely something worth bragging about. River Valley Adventure Co. has been offering Segway tours through the heart of the river valley for four years and has just expanded its tours into the heart of downtown.
I’d already earned my SegLegs on two previous tours with RVAC, and this tour was the best one yet. Our fabulously enthusiastic tour guide Joe took us on a grand tour of the river valley, guiding us across the Low Level Bridge and through Nellie McClung Park, Queen Elizabeth Park and Walterdale Park. I’ve lived in Edmonton for my entire life, yet it was the first time I had been on some of those paths. The tall trees reached up around me as I zipped through and, surrounded by green on all sides, I didn’t feel like I was in the city at all. We then took our Segways to the city streets and crossed back to the north side of the river, past the Rossdale Power Plant and Burial Site, and into the Rossdale neighbourhood, where we admired character homes and the view of the downtown skyline. As the sun set into the river, we wrapped up our evening tour at the serene Chinese Garden Gazebo.
- This fun activity and more like it can be booked with the help of AMA Travel.
Surfing lessons at West Edmonton Mall Surf Club
The nearest ocean to Edmonton is more than 1000km away, so if surf lessons are something that is on your mind, you’re most likely waiting for your next vacation to a sun destination to ride the waves. I’ve never had the courage to surf on the ocean, but was very intrigued at the opportunity to take surf lessons with West Edmonton Mall Surf Club at the World Waterpark in one of the biggest malls on earth.
The lesson started at 8am sharp on a Saturday morning, giving plenty of time for the lesson before the waterpark opened to the public. The owners and instructors, Kris and Jono, went over all of the safety precautions with the group before helping us select our boards and teaching us some board tips on paddling, kneeling and standing before getting us in the water. This left us with a full hour to surf at our leisure and the opportunity to do as many, or as few, rounds as we desired. Kris and Jono were in the water the whole time, shouting out encouraging words and helping with technique. I stayed on my belly the first few times, opting to paddle and get used to the rhythm of the waves. Nervous at first, I felt free and exhilarated as soon as I caught my first wave. Feeling confident, I was able to rise to my knees on my next pass, but was unable to duplicate it afterwards. It was amazing to be able to learn to surf in such a controlled environment with predictable waves, and gave me more confidence should I ever choose to surf on the ocean.
o AMA Members SAVE $7.00 or more on passes for World Waterpark, Galaxyland Amusement Park and other great attractions.
Ready to experience all of these great attractions for yourself? Enter my giveaway!
The Road is Calling Edmonton prize pack!
The not-so-fine print:
The contest is open to residents of Alberta only.
The prize is one (1) family pass to Explore Alberta’s History, two (2) one-hour Segway tours with River Valley Adventure Company, and two (2) surfing lessons with West Edmonton Mall Surf Club. Total value is $406. I will contact the winner after the contest closes to arrange for pick up or delivery of the prize pack.
Family members of the author are ineligible.
Contest runs from Thursday, August 18, 2016 at 12:00am to Thursday, September 1, 2016 at 11:59pm.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by the Alberta Motor Association, as part of AMA’s “The Road is Calling” summer campaign. Your AMA Membership can save you – whether you need roadside assistance, to book a vacation or at one of our Rewards partners. AMA is also having an awesome summer road trip contest as part of this campaign, where you could win an escorted journey through Ireland (a $9,000 value)! Check out
ama.ab.ca/theroadiscalling/ to enter the contest, and see the adventures other bloggers went on! As always, all opinions are my own.
48 thoughts on “The Road is Calling, Edmonton! + Giveaway! (Contest Closed)”
Wow sir I am impressed with all you did this summer. Great job!!!
Karlie this is an awesome contest. If I was still living in Edmonton I’d enter, but I’ll definitely share it with my friends and family back home.
Pretty Awesome blog post and contest. I will also tell my sister about it 🙂
I never knew there was surfing lessons at WEM!
Even though I’ve been in Edmonton all my life, I love how our city has so much hidden gems in it that I’ve still haven’t experiences or explored
Thanks for sharing some awesome things to do! Never knew about the surfing..
Reading about your adventures makes me want to get out and explore/have some awesome adventures of my own. Thanks for this post I really enjoyed it!
Oh this is so great! I can’t enter the contest as I am not a local, but I wish my areas would do something like this! How fun you were chosen to show off your town!
This is awesome – I really want to do the surf lessons!
Ukrainian Village is a great getaway!
I should really check out the Ukrainian Heritage Village at some point!
I would love to try the Segway, and my son family would love the surfing at WEM. Passes for the museums, absolutely wonderful! Amazing giveaway! Great post!
I’ve heard a bit about the Segway tours and am very interested but also nervous. I’m a bit of a klutz!
I love trying new things, so this is right up my alley! Great to see you out exploring the wonderful city we live in …. and sharing it with us!
I’d love to do that Segway tour and check out the river valley a bit more in-depth. There’s so many places I bet I haven’t seen in there that i truly need to explore!
Never knew you could surf at WEM!
Thanks Karlie for your great Miss Wanderlust blog! And the chance to win.
Awesome article, i’ve done the river valley segway but never knew they have surfing lessons at WEM!!
Always wanted to do segway tour
I would really love to try the surf lessons in WEM. Living in Alberta enjoying the water is sometimes hard to do since we only have cold lakes. This would be a great activity for my daughter and me. Thanks for the chance.
Surfing would be so fun to try!
Very nice write up on our beautiful city. My wife and 2 daughters have been to the Ukrainian Heritage Village but me and my son have not. There is a strong Ukrainian side with my wifes family and they loved the old school feel there.
The segway tour is something I would love to take my kids on. What a great way to see our river valley.
Now surfing at WEM is something for dad. I have always wanted to try that but having never been to an ocean its kind of hard. I think this is amazing.
Thank you for showing me these great activities.
Wow! Looks awesome 🙂 Great job showing so much variety!
Not on facebook or twitter, so commenting is the only way I can enter.
Great post on the WEM Surfing. My buddy has been doing this for the past couple of years and loves it!
Would love to explore the city on a segway!! Looks really fun 🙂
I love how much there is to do in Edmonton! My favourite is anything along the river valley 🙂
I love it- fantastic activities!
So many great things to do and see in Edmonton. Exploring the river valley or downtown on a segway would be awesome!
Karyn Hall – check this out.
A very well done synopsis on this to do in Edmonton!
I just read that this contest is only open to Alberta residents =/. Such fun activities
Love your blog Karlie! Great YEG post!
I try to go out to Elk Island a couple of times in the spring and summer. Definitely beautiful out there.
A few of the buildings in the Ukrainian Village were moved from the rural town I grew up in. It’s been years since I’ve been there….but I did drive through Elk Island Park this summer….thanks for refreshing many childhood memories!
Lots of great adventures! That segway tour would be a blast & have always wanted to go to the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village. Will share this with my brother in St. Albert.
I’ve done a lot of different things in the city, but all of these would be new experiences for me!
I’d love to visit the Ukrainian Village! I’ve never been!
Would love to explore Edmonton like you did!
Would love to win and explore more of Edmonton 🙂
I want to try the surfing lessons
So much to see and experience right in our own backyard!
So much to see and experience right in our own backyard! So fortunate to call this area home
The surf lessons sound like a great idea and I have always wanted to ride a Segway!
Love the opportunity to try new things close to home!
I’ve always wanted to visit the Ukraine Cultural Heritage Village. I’d love it if I win, and I will tell everyone on Twitter about my adventures, thanks to the AMA!
I was recently in Edmonton for the fringe festival. My trip to the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village was possibly the highlight of my time in the city. Most of the buildings in the village are original, so it truly felt like I had traveled back in time. I even learnt how to make pierogies while I was there!
I also recommend the al fresco dining experience Elk Island National Park. The tickets are a pit pricey, but the ambiance is just magical.