Image of kerry wood nature centre in Red Deer
Sep 2

Membership Spotlight | Kerry Wood Nature Centre & Fort Normandeau

Check out our Membership Spotlight on Kerry Wood Nature Centre & Fort Normandeau!

Membership Spotlight | Kerry Wood Nature Centre & Fort Normandeau

Waskasoo Environmental Education Society provides fun, educational programs, and workshops for all ages. They operate the Kerry Wood Nature Centre and Historic Fort Normandeau. Both of these places are popular with locals and visitors, learn more about these attractions below:

Kerry Wood Nature Centre

Located in The City of Red Deer, on the south bank of the Red Deer River the Kerry Wood Nature Centre is Central Alberta’s year-round destination for environmental education. Visit the Nature Centre for hands-on natural history interpretation, interactive exhibits, unique books or gift ideas, and so much more. The Nature Centre is the hub of Red Deer’s Waskasoo Park Trail System; a starting point for anyone looking to delve into their natural surroundings and local wild spaces.

Interpretive Centre

The Kerry Wood Nature Centre offers an extensive program of natural history interpretation, major special events, school/youth groups, and public programs, sleepovers, day camps, and more. Explore the Nature Centre and see the newly renovated exhibits, natural playground, and music garden or simply go for a stroll on one of the fabulous nature trails in the Sanctuary. The Nature Centre offers many diverse programs geared toward bringing people into the many natural spaces in Red Deer and surrounding areas. 

Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary

Since 1924, the Gaetz Lakes have been protected as a federal migratory bird sanctuary. Now part of Waskasoo Park, the Sanctuary's 118 hectares (almost 300acres) are set aside as a home for plants, mammals, birds, and other wildlife. Five kilometres of trails, a bird blind, and viewing decks introduce you to a variety of habitats. To protect the wildlife, no skiing, jogging, pets, or cycling are permitted in the Sanctuary.

Imagination Grove and Harmony Garden

Explore Red Deer's first outdoor classroom and natural learning play space at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre. Nature playgrounds are an effective and increasingly popular way of connecting children with our natural world. The Imagination Grove is designed to engage children to learn and explore Red Deer's natural spaces. Harmony Garden is a unique outdoor music garden that inspires creativity in everyone. Bring your friends and family and make music together.

Winter at Kerry Wood Nature Centre

Red Deer's vast parks and trails system has many areas that can accommodate those with an adventurous lust to tread the path less travelled. Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary is the perfect place to try snowshoeing. It is set on almost 122 hectares of land within the city of Red Deer and is one area where snowshoers love to explore. As a protected federal migratory bird sanctuary, skiing, jogging, cycling, and pets are not allowed. Which in turn provides a more peaceful setting with ample opportunities to observe wildlife. The Kerry Wood Nature Centre has snowshoe rentals and offers family Snowshoeing Adventure Time on various Sundays for those wanting to try out this winter activity.

Click here
for all the events and programs that Kerry Wood Nature Centre has to offer.

Historic Fort Normandeau

The park and Interpretive Centre are open to the public from May to October each year. During the opening season, Fort Normandeau is a great place to explore Red Deer's rich cultural history. They offer an extensive program of natural and human history interpretation, environmental education, special events, school, youth group, public programs, rafting trips, sleepovers, and day camps. There are extensive permanent and temporary exhibits and interpretive signs, school programs, family events, courses, and much more.

The Crossing

Before the railway connected Edmonton and Calgary in 1893, the Red Deer River Crossing was the gateway between northern and southern Alberta. The native people knew it as the safest river crossing point for a long way upstream or downstream. In 1884 Robert McClellan built a stopping house at the crossing to take advantage of the traffic on the Calgary & Edmonton Trail. The next year, with the settlers afraid of violence during the Riel Rebellion, his hotel was fortified by the 65th Mount Royal Rifles under the command of Lt. J.E. Bedard Normandeau. Today the Crossing and its fort commemorate the First Nations, Metis, and European people who influenced the development of today's central Alberta.

Interpretive Centre

The story of the Red Deer Crossing is displayed through dramatic programs and artifacts as well as new indoor and outdoor exhibits. The theatre features an excellent 12-minute audio-visual program. Public washrooms are available onsite. Throughout the summer, history is brought to life with authentic, entertaining, and informative live programs. All three of Red Deer's founding cultures are celebrated. Visitors can learn to make bannock or home-made ice cream. They might dance to First Nations or Metis music, toss the caber and eat haggis, or participate in an old-fashioned garden harvest. From May through October, schools and youth groups can book the site for guided programs or even overnight campouts in the teepees. Summer day camps and teepee sleepovers give youngsters an in-depth exposure to their heritage.

Click here for all the events and programs that Historic Fort Normandeau offers.

Click here to learn more about Waskasoo Environmental Education.

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