Set on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River, Fort Saskatchewan is a leafy city to the north of Edmonton. It was founded in 1875 as a fort for the North-West Mounted Police and flourished with the arrival of the Canadian Northern Railway in 1905. Today, many of Fort Saskatchewan’s earliest buildings are protected within the Fort Heritage Precinct, which draws families from near and far.
In this beautiful part of Alberta, there’s so much for families to do, with great museums and a dinosaur-filled park to explore. In this guide, we’ll introduce six attractions and experiences not to miss in and around Fort Saskatchewan, all of which cater to families. For accommodation in Fort Saskatchewan, you can search online via a holiday rental site such as Find All Rentals where you’ll find options to suit all families. In addition to multi-bedroom apartments and spacious homes in Fort Saskatchewan itself, you can search for properties in Edmonton, which is just 30 minutes away.
Explore the Fort Heritage Precinct
For a dose of local history, head to the Fort Heritage Precinct, which is best explored on a family-friendly guided tour. In addition to the 1875 fort of the North West Mounted Police, it features an early-20th-century station from the Canadian Northern Railway and a warden’s residence that dates back to 1937. Together, they bring to life the fascinating history of the region and the events that have shaped its development. You can climb atop the bastions for elevated views across the precinct before imagining what it was like to attend school here in 1902.
Stroll along the North Saskatchewan River
From the Fort Heritage Precinct, stroll along the riverfront trail that leads to Fort Centre Park and beneath the Fort Saskatchewan Eastbound Bridge. It offers picturesque views across the river to the Notre Dame de Lourdes Catholic Church, which dates back to the late 19th century. The loop trail returns via the Fort Saskatchewan Gaol Cemetery with its unmarked graves where prisoners were laid to rest. At the end of your walk, you can say “hello” to the flock of sheep brought in to control the Fort Heritage Precinct’s turf before enjoying a family-friendly treat at Millers Ice Cream.
Explore the Jurassic Forest
A short drive from Fort Saskatchewan is this dinosaur-themed outdoor education center where you can learn about the creatures who roamed the planet 250 million years ago. Set across 16 hectares to the north of Gibbons, this prehistoric preserve boasts more than 70 animatronic dinosaurs dotted throughout the woodlands. Wander along the boardwalk trails to listen to the roar of a Stegosaurus and watch as a Triceratops grazes nearby before getting up close to a mighty Tyrannosaurus rex. Armed with a paleontology guide and a scavenger hunt, you can learn all about their characteristics before letting the kids run free in the dinosaur-themed playground.
Visit the Alberta Railway Museum
Directly west of Fort Saskatchewan is the Alberta Railway Museum, which houses an impressive collection of locomotives and rolling stock from the area’s railroads. It’s a hands-on place that kids will love, with the opportunity to climb aboard some of the old vehicles. On select weekends, vintage train rides are also available. For those who are technically minded, there’s plenty of railway equipment and maintenance gear on display, not to mention archival documents detailing the history of the Northern Alberta Railways and the Canadian National Railways.
Get hands-on at TELUS
Set on the edge of a leafy park in the suburbs of Edmonton, TELUS is a science and tech-themed museum that’s been designed with kids in mind. There are a huge variety of exhibitions across its themed galleries, including rooms dedicated to the human body, robotics, and space. You can marvel at our universe in the Zeidler Dome or experience life on Mars in the S.P.A.C.E. exhibit before learning all about health in the Allard Family Gallery. Be sure to stop in at the museum gift shop where you’ll find unique at-home science experiments and do-it-yourself kits created by TELUS.
Go ten-pin bowling at Fort Lanes
For family fun in Fort Saskatchewan, you can’t go past a game of ten-pin bowls at Fort Lanes. It boasts fully automated lanes that do the hard work for you and has an onsite snack bar serving drinks and food. In addition to its bowling lanes, the complex also features a state-of-the-art HD virtual golf simulator where you can practice your swing. While ten-pin bowling may not be one of your main reasons for visiting Canada, it’s a great way to meet and mingle with local families. Nearby are several places where you can grab dinner after your game, including the Atlantic Kitchen and Eggcellent P’Eats.