School is out, summer holidays are here, the kids are excited, but how do you keep them busy throughout the summer without breaking the bank or losing your sanity? Thankfully, there are over 1,500 free or low cost activities offered in the Edmonton area, so grab your calendar and plan your days for your best summer ever!
One of my favourite ways to research places to go and to save on admission costs, is Groupon. From Go-cart racing to discounts on WEM World Water Park, this site has some great ideas for places to take kids of all ages, and greal deals that lower the admission costs. As with any coupon, check the expiry date and terms of usage as some coupons are only valid at certain times of the day or year.
Most of us are aware of the Green Shack program, splash parks and free access to all outdoor pools this summer, but did you know that the City of Edmonton offers many other affordable children’s actities? From short activities like “Tours for Tots” to summer camps for pre-teens, you will find an array of wonderful activities that will keep your kidlets very busy. For a list of program guides, season passes, and to register for programs, go to Edmonton.ca and check out the program guides under “Courses and Programs”, on the “Activities, Parks and Recreation” tab. For those of us traveling by ETS, buying a “Splash & Ride” summer pass will provide unlimited access to all Edmonton pools in addition to ETS usage.
Membership in local businesses and organisations offer unlimited facility use as well as discounts and give-aways for kid friendly activities. The EFCL organisation is a great resource to contact and join your local community league. Membership rewards vary from league to league depending on the availability of various discounts and passes. Community leagues may also offer day camps, talent shows, guest entertainers and drop-in centres.
Purchase a Plus or Premium membership from the Alberta Motor Association to receive the “Kids Go Free” membership for free. The package, for kids fifteen years and younger, offers free bike assistance, roadside assistance when traveling in someone else’s vehicle, and the same partner discounts you get. Kids get their own cards and just show their cards to get discounts on admission to museums, WEM attractions, movie theatres and so much more. For an extra special treat, go on a trip and enjoy the savings on dining and lodgings at any AMA Alberta partner.
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Just north of the City, off Highway 28A (97 St.), is a less known but well-kept facility which could keep your children busy year-round. The Edmonton Garrison Military Family Resource Centre (please Google for the website) is an amazing multi-activity centre where you can purchase an affordable associate membership (you don’t have to be in the military) which provides access to the indoor pool, equestrian centre, hobby shop, and community centre and its many programs. The community centre also offers reduced admission costs for many Edmonton attractions. The centre has an ETS schedule to and from the city.
Of course, we can’t talk about children’s activities without talking about the YMCA. Purchase a membership to enjoy unlimited access to swimming pools and facilities. YMCA offers day camps and summer camps for children, from cooking camps, aqua camps to circus camps, the activities are all listed on the YMCA website under the “Programs” tab. The organisation has a number of locations throughout Alberta and Edmonton, and also offers family supports and day care.
There is so much you can do with your children this summer, almost makes me wish my kids were little again, almost. Have a funtastic summer everyone!
This article was written by Mandy Smallwood.