Red Deer is a city built around a park and it’s no ordinary park. Waskasoo Park is the crown jewel of the city. It is home to Alberta’s first federal migratory bird sanctuary, a beautiful river valley, Bower Ponds, and more than 100 kms of trails. If you want to get to know Red Deer, you have to explore the park that’s at its heart. While you can walk or hike the trails, you will see Waskasoo from a whole new perspective while on a bike.
There are plenty to see in Waskasoo Park and we’ve put together a list of some places where you can stop and take a break. So, grab a map, pick a trail, and start exploring!
You will find a permanent exhibit gallery, a great little bookstore, and washroom facilities inside the Nature Centre. Staff run interpretive programs based on the flora and fauna found in the park throughout the year, from topics such as nature walks to Meet the Critters.
Right next to the Kerry Wood Nature Centre is Gaetz Lake Sanctuary. Set on almost 122 hectares of protected land, Gaetz Lake Sanctuary is Alberta’s oldest federal migratory bird sanctuary. Take a walk through the sanctuary and see if you can spot any birds from inside the bird blind. More than 130 species of birds and 28 species of mammals have been spotted in the area.
This 1911 Victorian-style farmhouse has a lovely tea room that overlooks Bower Ponds. You can stop in for lunch or afternoon tea and enjoy the view. Staff give historical tours upon request and after tea, you can rent a boat and go for a paddle on the ponds.
Stop for lunch or dinner at Westlake Grill or just enjoy looking at the horses and riding on the lovely paved trails that run through the ranch. The ranch occupies 207 acres of Waskasoo Park.
Pop by the replica of Red Deer’s 1885 fort and check out the outdoor and indoor displays that tell of its history. The Fort commemorates the First Nations, Métis, and European people who influenced the development of central Alberta.
There are 18 different parks and recreation areas within Waskasoo Park, including the popular pollinator parks. These pollinator parks acts as a habitat for native pollinators. Take the time to stop by and enjoy the hard work of our native pollinators!
Make a stop at one of the Big Bend Market locations to get some locally-made food for your picnic basket. Red Deer is surrounded by more than 9,000 area farms. The market supports local farm families and locally sourced food products. On Saturdays, you can also get local food and produce at the Red Deer Market from the May long weekend until Thanksgiving weekend.