With nearly a million people inside the city limits, the city of Edmonton is a fairly large community. The metro area adds about 300,000 people to the local population, making the region the second-largest city in Alberta.
Furthermore, people are still moving to Edmonton in droves; the number of residents has increased by more than 14% since the 2011 count. There is no wonder the community boasts so many new construction homes and townhouse communities. There are so many fun things to do in Edmonton, and new residents may be wondering where they should start exploring. Keep reading to learn about five must-see attractions for people who have just moved to Edmonton.
Admire Plants from Around the World at Muttart Conservatory
Created in 1976, Muttart Conservatory is one of the jewels of the Edmonton community. It features three greenhouses, publicly accessible gardens, and multiple biomes. Horticulture lovers will find unique plant life from all over the world, in addition to beautiful landscaping and architecture. The location is known for several pyramid-shaped structures containing displayed plants or skylights.
Designed by world-famous architect Peter Hemingway, the site features a compound with four pyramids serving a different purpose. Three structures contain plants from a specific biome, such as tropical, temperate, and arid climates. The fourth pyramid hosts a variety of displays that change with the seasons. Anyone who has wanted to enjoy Asian water lilies or Eucalyptus trees from Australia will love taking a stroll through these facilities.
Children under two years old can enter free, but adult admission is $14.95. Buy memberships for the whole family for just $149.95.
Muttart Conservatory Additional Information
- Address: 9626 96a St NW, Edmonton, AB T6C 4L8
- Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Friday 10 a.m.–5 p.m. / Wednesday & Thursday 4–10 p.m. / Saturday & Sunday 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
- Contact: 780-496-8755
Discover the Indoor Amusement Park at Galaxyland
Speaking of legendary landmarks, the West Edmonton Mall is one of the best shopping areas in town. However, it's home to so much more than shops. Chief among its curiosities is the famous Galaxyland indoor amusement park. Walls and a ceiling may surround this facility, but it is still a full-scale attraction featuring the world's longest and tallest indoor rollercoaster. It is also home to one of the tallest indoor rides in the world at 36.5 meters.
- The combination alien shooting game and ride Quirks in the Works
- Cosmo's Space Derby for bumper cars with a twist
- Four roller coasters, including the Galaxy Orbiter
- Unique seasonal attractions like the Haunted Castle
For those that don't enjoy rides, there are still many other options. Practice a perfect swing with Professor WEM's Adventure Golf or plot an escape with the Alien Outbreak Escape Room. The concession area serves stardust mini-doughnuts and cotton candy from Galaxy Treats.
General admission packages range from $39 to $54, with 2-day passes available for $119.
Galaxyland Additional Information
- Address: 8882 170 St NW #2784, Edmonton, AB T5T 4J2
- Hours: Monday–Thursday Noon–5 p.m. / Friday & Saturday Noon–7 p.m. / Sunday 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
- Contact: 780-444-5300
Adventure Awaits at Elk Island National Park
Established more than a hundred years ago, Elk Island National Park is one of the best locations for outdoor fun in Edmonton. With more than 165 square kilometres of green space, this public service is managed by the Parks Canada Agency. More than 220,000 people visit the facility each year.
During the cold months, the park is an excellent place for typical winter activities. Visitors enjoy cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Summer month activities include golfing, kayaking, mountain biking, and wildlife watching. Unserviced camping and hiking are both done all year round, with many people preferring a particular season. Less rugged types will love that the facilities provide constant access to telephones, potable water, and washrooms.
The park hosts several environment types, including prairies, forests, and grasslands. Visitors may spot some wild animals, including beaver, timber wolves, black bears, and more than 250 species of birds.
Elk Island National Park Additional Information
- Address: 54401 Range Rd 203, Fort Saskatchewan, AB T8L 0V3
- Hours: Open 24 hours
- Contact: 780-922-5790
Uncover the Area's History at Royal Alberta Museum
For many people, nothing quite holds fascination like the distant past. Whether they are gazing at artwork from human ancestors or animals that roamed the world before modern society, this is true. With focuses on human history and natural history, the Royal Alberta Museum is designed with history fanatics in mind. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and admission is only $21 for adults and $10 for youths.
The museum is separated into a few different exhibit collections. The Natural History Hall offers insights into the world around Alberta, including displays on geology and fossils. View replica skeletons of giant mastodons and sabre-toothed cats, or learn from dioramas into the evolution of life in the region. Amateur geologists will love the beautiful collection of gems and minerals from all over the globe.
For something a little more familiar, visit the Human History Hall for inspirational stories from the area's indigenous cultures. Live through their eyes with displays of lifestyle, art, culture, and commerce. The Bug Gallery is like a living zoo of creepy crawlies, including various insects and spiders. Presentations also educate with explanations about how invertebrates develop societies or use camouflage. The Children's Gallery features exhibits designed to cultivate the discovery of curiosity among the youngest minds.
Royal Alberta Museum Additional Information
- Address: 9810 103a Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5J 0G2
- Hours: Wednesday–Sunday 10 a.m.–4 p.m. / Closed Monday & Tuesday
- Contact: 825-468-6000
Glide Through the Silver Skate Festival
Like most large communities, Edmonton has several nicknames, each capturing an element of the area's character. It is often called "The Oil Capital Of Canada" because of its robust natural energy reserves. During the most popular eras of football and hockey, the community was known as the "City of Champions." Today, it is also called "Canada's Festival City." Under that banner, one of the most popular annual events is the Silver Skate Festival held in February.
As the longest-running winter festival in Edmonton, the Silver Skate Festival is ten days of fun for all ages. Drawn from the rich Dutch traditions of the area, the event is held each year in Hawrelak Park. With some help from nature, the park is transformed into a winter wonderland to host skating, arts, culture, and recreational activities. Those who enjoy ice skating can feel the thrill of the crisp air as they listen to local music. Experience the arts and culture scene through the Wayward Snow Sculpture Garden or the Crystal Lanterns.
Attendees can also listen to the oral histories of the local Indigenous people or take a walk along the Folk Trail to relax and experience the festival's legacy. Up the challenge with a cross country ski trail or test out some new snowshoes with a walk through the park. Amateur photojournalists can enter the Winterscapes Photo Contest with their best landscape shots.
Best of all, the festival is free!
Silver Skate Festival Additional Information
- Address: 9330 Groat Rd NW, Edmonton, AB T6G 2A8
- Hours: Daily 5 a.m.–11 p.m.
- Contact: 780-442-5311
Fun Is Easy to Find in Edmonton
Edmonton is a city with a thousand different ways to have a good time, from museums to science centers. Stay warm and cozy during the winter, or head out to the best lakes near Edmonton in the summer. Either way, this Alberta community has a lot to offer new residents and lifelong locals alike.