Dig for fossils, learn to snowshoe or build a balloon launcher. There’s something for everyone this Family Day on Monday, Feb. 18.
Whether you are six or 86, embark on an adventure with free or almost free activities at provincial parks, heritage sites or museums. Keep reading for “other events” from Gibbons and Morinville to Red Deer and Okotoks during the Family Day long weekend.
Historic Sites, Museums and Archives
Nine provincially owned heritage facilities offer free admission for visitors on Monday, Feb.18. This includes:
Oil Sands Discovery Centre – Fort McMurray
Come between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. for a day of do-it-yourself science. Try your hand at some exciting activities, crafts and experiments, all using materials you can find around the house. Make your own balloon launcher, discover the chemistry behind playdough, and watch our live science show in the theatre for more fun ideas to try at home.
Government House – Edmonton
Government House offers free public tours every Sunday and holiday Monday, beginning Feb.17 until late November, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Explore this stately home with its selection of original historic furnishings, impressive meeting and ceremonial spaces and extensive art collection.
Royal Alberta Museum — Edmonton
Feed your curiosity from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Journey through millions of years of history and see thousands of objects, from dinosaurs and mammoths to tiny insects and glowing gems. See how Alberta’s Indigenous communities share knowledge and values through generations, and meet the people who shaped our province. Plus, visit thousands of live critters and have fun in our Children’s Gallery, complete with an archeological dig pit! Get ready to discover a history of Alberta you won’t find anywhere else.
Rutherford House – Edmonton
Celebrate Family Day with a visit to the historic home of the first Premier of Alberta, Alexander Cameron Rutherford, and discover the unique personalities in the Rutherford family. Which one of them loved golf? Who did all the driving for Mr. Rutherford? Who played the piano? Who dug that old rag-time jazz? Explore this elegant historic house, play historical games with the costumed interpreters, sample a treat made in the historic kitchen and make an old-fashioned craft.
Reynolds-Alberta Museum – Wetaskiwin
Make memorable moments this Family Day weekend. Fun-filled activities include the Factory Game, where you can see what it would be like to mass produce cars on an assembly line. Challenge yourself by playing “Giant Games” or experimenting in “Take a Car and Make it Bizarre.” For those with an interest in aviation, explore flight dynamics using the Vertical Wind Tunnel, the Bernoulli Bench and the Rocket Launcher.
Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology – Drumheller
Special Family Day programming will be available all weekend long. The Storytime program is perfect for the little ones. Fossil Casting, for ages 4+, allows visitors to make a piece of pre-history to take home. On Monday, enjoy a free presentation by Curator of Dinosaurs Donald Henderson; kids ages three to six can take part in the Dino Adventure Hour program that includes holding real fossils, working in an indoor dig and making a cool craft. Free auditorium shows also run throughout the weekend. A small fee will apply to the Fossil Casting and Dino Adventure Hour programs, and pre-registration is recommended.
Frank Slide Interpretive Centre – Crowsnest Pass
Enjoy a free day from 10 a.m.to 5 p.m. to hear unforgettable stories of tragedy and resilience. You will learn about the 1903 Frank Slide through audio-visual presentations and interactive exhibits. Catch special programming at 11 a.m. to see the evolution of underground mine lamps; at 1 and 3 p.m., learn about the wildlife of the Crowsnest Pass in a fun and interactive program.
Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump – near Fort Macleod
Celebrate the “Full Moon of the Eagle” from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The day includes live birds of prey, a simulated archaeological dig, guided building tours, “Living off the Land” artifact demonstrations and storytelling. You can even become a buffalo runner during a re-enactment of a buffalo hunt.
Remington Carriage Museum – Cardston
Come party like it’s 1919 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Family Day! Enjoy old-fashioned carnival games, win prizes and indulge in food, fun and music! Admission is free and games tickets will be sold at the museum entrance.
Alberta provincial parks in winter are for more than just cross-country skiing. Try snowshoeing, fat biking, ice fishing, tobogganing, skating and downhill skiing, along with festivals in Alberta’s most exciting season! The fun keeps going all year. Visit AlbertaParks.ca/events for a list of upcoming events; click here to find a park and winter activity in your region.
Here are a few events and activities for people looking to get outdoors this Family Day long weekend: (All activities are weather permitting)
Crimson Lake Provincial Park – Rocky Mountain House
Find a whole day of outdoor fun and entertainment at the annual Crimson Lake Winterfest, starting at 11 a.m. Snowshoeing and ice fishing demonstrations are just a few of the activities to try out. Reduced camping rates let you fill your weekend with outdoor adventure.
Beaver Lake Provincial Recreation Area – Lac La Biche
Everyone is invited to enjoy a wintery afternoon of Fun in the Snow from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Festivities include horse-drawn sleigh rides, ice fishing, cross-country skiing followed by a hot dog roast and Cabane à Sucre.
William A. Switzer Provincial Park – Yellowhead County
A weekend full of events and activities starts Feb.17 with Ice Fishing Fun Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. No experience required! Or enjoy free hotdogs, hot chocolate and coffee. Hinton’s annual French culture festival, Bonhomme Carnaval, kicks off on Feb.18 between noon and 4 p.m. There will be free cross-country skiing, free kick sleds and traditional French music. The Family Day Snowshoe Walk starts at 1 p.m. – snowshoes are provided, so just show up to enjoy this guided forest walk.
Family Fishing Weekend
The Family Day weekend also marks the first of two annual “Family Fishing Weekends.” You’re invited to head out and discover the lure of fishing without the need to buy a sportfishing licence! Of course, all regulations still apply. For more information, visit Family Fishing.
Family FISHtival — Bow Habitat Station, 1440-17A Street SE, Calgary
Kick off the Family Fishing Weekend on Saturday, Feb.16 from 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. with free outdoor activities like snowshoeing, roasting marshmallows and playing games. There’s also reduced admission of $5 per person for the Discovery Centre, where visitors can enjoy wildlife games, trivia and crafts. There is no charge for children three and under.
Alberta legislature – Edmonton
Albertans of all ages are invited to enjoy free family fun on from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Family Day. Venture through the Lost in the Legislature History Hunt, take in musical and magical entertainment by world-class local performers, get crafty, and listen to stories with Rocky the Ram. The Legislative Assembly Visitor Centre will have free exhibitions, educational activities and the immersive historical film Our People Our Province. A variety of food vendors will also be on-site.
Hundreds of affordable events and activities are taking place throughout the province to experience with your family. Here are just a few examples of other ways to celebrate the long weekend. Some events may include a small fee; please contact event organizers for more information.
- Silver Skate Festival — Edmonton, William Hawrelak Park from Feb.8 to 18.
- Family Fun Day! – Edmonton Valley Zoo, Feb.18, Noon to 4 p.m.
- Outdoor Ice Rinks – Edmonton, various rinks, various times
- Family Day Film-making Festival – Edmonton Public Library, Feb.18, 1 to 5 p.m.
- Family Day at the Art Gallery of Alberta – Edmonton, Art Gallery of Alberta, Feb.18 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Community Recreation & Leisure Centres – Edmonton, various recreation and leisure centres, various times
- Fire and Ice Festival – St. Albert, Lacombe Lake Park, Feb.18, Noon to 4 p.m.
- Family Day at Elk Island National Park – Elk Island National Park, Feb.18, Noon to 4 p.m.
- Winterfest & Vintage Snowmobile Show – Fort Saskatchewan, Fort Saskatchewan
- Historical Society, Feb.18, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Snowman Festival – Morinville, various locations, Feb.17 to 18, various times
- Kids Can Catch – Wabamun Lake, Feb.16, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Gibbons Family Day – Gibbons, various locations, Feb.16 to 17
- Winterfest – Sylvan Lake, various locations, Feb.16 to 18
- Family Day Fun – Red Deer, various locations, Feb.18 to 19
- Family Fun Day – Calgary, Eau Claire Market, Feb.19, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Okotoks Family Day – Okotoks Recreation Centre, Feb.18, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- Neighborhood Winter Blast – Grande Prairie, various locations, Feb.16 to 18
- Winter Fest – Sundre, Sundre Pioneer Museum, Feb.16 to 17