Red Deer is a growing city and has a very family oriented population. Young couples are choosing Red Deer as a place to call home and start a family.
With that, there are plenty of family friendly ways to explore the city. This includes museums, parks, lakes, festivals, and much more covering all seasons.
Red Deer Museums
Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery
Located near downtown Red Deer, this museum showcases Red Deer’s history and features an art gallery filled with work created by local artists. Become an artist yourself with drop-in family art making every Saturday in the summer and fall during MAGnificant Saturdays. There are also day camps for children hosted every month.
Sunnybrook Farm Museum
Experience a trip through the history of Alberta farming without ever leaving the city. The self guided tour is free of charge, but you can book in advance for professionally guided interpreted tour featuring a wagon or barrel ride during the summer months. Children can also spend the day at Sunnybrook Farm with Day Camps held in July and August. The museum is located just north of the Bower Mall.
Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum
Not only does the facility showcase the great athletes and contributors in Alberta’s sports history, the museum features games, activities, and interactive displays that can keep the entire family busy for hours. $5 per adult, $3 per child, or a special $12 family rate.
Kerry Wood Nature Centre
The nature centre features displays and interpretations outlining nature and its role in Red Deer. The nearby Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary offers an excellent chance to experience that nature in one of the more scenic areas of the city. Various programs such as bike tours, hike days, and more are available during the summer months.
Historic Fort Normandeau
The Fort, River Crossing, and Interpretive Centre show the history of early trading and Métis settlers in Red Deer. There are also live programs and the opportunity to go on nature walks throughout the summer. Attractions include raft tours, archery, bannock making, and much more.
Red Deer Parks and Trails
There are over 110 kilometres of trails in Red Deer that cover the entire city. They all lead to every park and have entry points scattered throughout the city. Parks in Red Deer include Bower Ponds, Heritage Ranch, Three Mile Bend and many others.
Outdoor Picnic Areas
Red Deer is home to a number of outdoor day camp areas, fixed with picnic tables and fire pits. Picnic areas include the McKenzie Trails Picnic Park, Rotary Park, Kin Kanyon, Kiwanis Picnic Area, and Heritage Ranch Picnic Shelter.
Red Deer Campgrounds
There are 2 campgrounds located in Red Deer. Lions Campground is along the Red Deer River on Riverside Drive and the Westerner Park Campground is on the city’s south end, on site at Westerner Park. Both are fully serviced and near all city amenities.
Spray Parks and Pools
There are plenty of spray parks and pools in Red Deer. Outdoor areas include Discovery Canyon, the Bluegrass Sod Farm Central Spray and Play, and the outdoor fountain at Kin Kanyon. These are all free to attend and are open all summer long. Inside there’s the Collicutt Centre, Red Deer Recreation Centre, the Michener Pool, and the GH Dawe Recreation Centre which is open year round. Swimming lessons and other programs are available through these facilities.
Day Trips Starting From Red Deer
Red Deer is centrally located around a few lakes and beaches. Sylvan Lake, Gull Lake, Pigeon Lake, Glennifer Lake, and Buffalo Lake are all within a 90 minute drive away from Red Deer. Spend the day on the lake boating or fishing, or find a nice spot on the beach.
Discovery Wildlife Park
Have your picture taken with a bear, go on a wild cat tour, and see some wildlife you won’t find anywhere else in central Alberta. There are educational presentations just about every day with various animals. Located just south of Red Deer near Innisfail.
Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions
Take a steam train ride through history. The train departs and arrives in Stettler with live interpreters and a tour of east-central Alberta. There are a number of trip themes such as murder mysteries, teddy bear specials, the polar express, and feature country dinner excursions.
Ellis Bird Farm
Stroll through the orchards, learn at the visitor centre, and enjoy all kinds of bird watching and photography opportunities at Ellis Bird Farm. Family programs are offered by request, or you can drop in for a visit free of charge. Just a few kilometres south east of Lacombe.
Kraay Family Farm
Can you escape the corn maze at the Kraay Family Farm? That’s just one of over 40 attractions at the farm, about 5 kilometres west of Lacombe. Other attractions include a tire mountain, mini golf, a chicken show, pig races, and much more.
Events and Festivals
This is Red Deer’s biggest summer attraction, happening every year during the 3rd week of July. It features a midway, all sorts of food, and live entertainment. There’s really something for everybody.
Street performers from across the world gather in downtown Red Deer over 2 days in July to showcase their unique talents. Local musicians also hit the stage, and theirs crafts, face painting and much more to set the scene for a full weekend of fun.
Fort Normandeau Days
Held in August each year, Fort Normandeau Days bring visitors back to 1885 when the Red Deer River Crossing was a hub for trading between Edmonton and Calgary. The event showcases First Nations culture, black powder battles, and has homemade ice cream, old fashioned games and much more.
Pioneer Days are held every August at the Sunnybrook Farm and Museum to highlight the early farming days in Alberta. Both days start with a pioneer breakfast and attractions include tractor pulls, a tractor parade, threshing demonstrations, children’s activities, and a lot more.
The biggest Canada Day celebration in Central Alberta is hosted at Bower Ponds in Red Deer. The day includes live music all day long, ethnic foods, multicultural entertainers, storytelling, and fun for the entire family. Of course, a massive fireworks show wraps up the festivities.
Canyon Ski Resort
You don’t have to spend hours in the car to get in some skiing or snowboarding. Canyon Ski Hill is just north of Red Deer and is Alberta’s largest non mountainous resort. Adult lift tickets start at $35 and family rates start at $130.
There are 3 trail loops in Red Deer designed for cross country skiers in the winter time. They are routinely maintained and are fit for skiers of all ages and skill levels. Loops can be found at Great Chief Park, the Riverbend Recreation Area, and at Heritage Ranch. There are also snowshoeing options available at parks throughout the city.
There are 62 outdoor public rinks all over Red Deer, all featuring a boarded rink and 2 hockey nets. Many feature light fixtures for night time use. There’s also the opportunity to skate on the Red Deer River at Bower Ponds, West Lake, and Anders on the Lake. Also, you can tryout the 400m speed skating oval at the Golden Circle.
Red Deer Winter Carnaval¸
This event is held every February at Festival Hall. It features all sorts of family activities such as live music, winter games, face painting, and all sorts of good eats.
Red Deer Lights The Night
This special event is held every November to kick-start the Holiday Season in Red Deer. The massive display of lights are officially turned on at City Hall Park and the downtown area and Red Deer`s largest Christmas Tree is revealed.