Explore Rockies has a great promotion going on this summer for residences of Alberta called Unplug & Explore until October 21, 2012. Log on, take the pact to unplug from your electronic devices and get free tickets for your kids to explore the rockies. Each free kids ticket has to be accompanied by an adult ticket.
You can save:
- $14.95 on every Banff Gondola child ticket
- $20.00 on every Banff Lake Cruise child ticket
- $24.95 on every Columbia Icefield Experience ticket
Cool, huh? Experiencing the beauty of the Canadian Rockies with your family WHILE taking a break from your electronic devices, Facebook, Twitter, etc? Cool!
We took part in this yesterday. I had an amazing day exploring Banff with my husband, my son and our new nanny, Raweewan. Raweewan arrived in Canada from Thailand a few months ago and she hasn’t gotten to visit Banff before.Evan & Raweewan in the Norquay meadow.
Since we’ve had a long few weeks, we weren’t up for a super early morning. We left late morning and packed a picnic lunch to eat when we arrived. We love picnicking at the meadow up Norquay mountain. We forgot our blanket but it didn’t matter…we still had fun. On the way up Norquay and during our picnic we saw a chipmunk, a mountain sheep, a gopher and a raven.Riding up the Banff gondola!
After lunch we headed over to the gondola to ride up Sulphur Mountain. We love the gondola…any time someone visits us for the first time, it’s off to the gondola we go. You can not beat the view. It is breathtaking! I also like the little hike to the summit. It’s super easy because it’s all on decking (though there are LOTS of stairs) and you get a bit of exercise while enjoying the view & playing peek-a-boo with all the chipmunks.You can see EVERYTHING from here! From the top of the Banff Gondola.
We were a bit rushed because we had tickets for the 4pm Lake Minnewanka cruise and we needed to arrive 30 minutes early. When we got there, we were happy to see that they have an ice cream/sandwich shop (Yay ice cream!). The fam got in line while I went and got our tickets on the dock. She said “We board about 10 minutes before 4.” Sweet! Plenty of time. Famous last words! We sat, ate our ice cream, played with the chipmunks and…didn’t make it down to the dock in time to make the boat (though we were there by 3:50). The first 4pm boat left and we had to wait until around 4:20 for the second 4pm boat. It was HOT because there really wasn’t any shade. Oh well, it was our own fault. Lesson learned….be early to the dock! Our cruise was beautiful but after quite a hot day, it was a bit nap inducing. I was hoping to see some wildlife but we were quite far from the shore so it was not to be.Me & Dewey enjoying the Lake cruise The far Eastern edge of the Canadian Rockies at the end of Minnewanka Lake.
As we left the boat cruise, we drove the Minnewanka Loop hoping to see more animals. Not much luck there but we did have some excitement. Since it was such a beautiful day, we were driving with all the windows down. Our little paper park pass ripped off the windshield & flew out the window! Dewey wanted to forget about it but I (rules girl) was afraid we would get a ticket. I made him turn around (saw a deer while we were turning around…score!) and we found it pasted to the road. Dewey dropped me off & I waited for them to turn around and come back for me while I stood on the side of the road trying to look ok so people wouldn’t try to stop and help me. Fun….or…something.Part of being unplugged? No iPhone while waiting for dinner.
We wrapped up the day with dinner at the Bear Street Tavern (great pizza & kid friendly) and a walk up Banff’s main street. Part of being unplugged meant that Evan couldn’t play iPhone while waiting for dinner like he usually does. Instead, we had a rousing game of Tic Tac Toe (or X’s and O’s as he calls it). After we headed to the car and headed back to Calgary. Evan was happy that we saw a few elk as we were leaving but, alas, there were no bear sightings….other than a stuffed one at the candy shop.The only bear we saw in Banff this weekend.
A few tips for a visit to Banff:
- Remember your park pass if you have one….we forgot ours.
- If you need to buy one, stop at the Husky station in Dead Man’s Flats. They can sell you a park pass for about $2 cheaper than the park gate & you get to skip the park gate line. (There may be other gas stations that sell them too. I had no idea you could buy them other than the park gate. Thanks to the people ahead of me in line that bought one!)
- Bring sunscreen & a hat for the kids. It gets hot and on the top of the mountains the air is thin & the sun is strong.
- The top of Sulphur Mountain is not overly stroller (or wheelchair) friendly because it has a LOT of stairs. If you visit with a small child, I would leave the stroller in the car and take a baby carrier like the Ergo Baby.
- Bring your camera! I took all my pics with my iPhone b/c the charger for my camera is in storage (gah!). It did ok but a real camera is better….especially when trying to take pics of skittish chipmunks.
Where is your favorite outdoor place to visit? Do you ever call for an “unplugged” day with your family?
Disclosure: We were given tickets for the Gondola and Lake cruise. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.