Strathcona County, Alberta is located between Edmonton and Elk Island National Park. It’s a special municipality that’s part the Edmonton Metropolitan Area. It is a rural area with a lot of urbanization. More than half of its 100,000 residents living in Sherwood Park.
Because it is right next to Edmonton, Sherwood Park in Strathcona County is the most popular. It also offers many attractions for visitors. All areas are worth a visit, especially if your passion is the outdoors. It doesn’t matter if you live in Edmonton or another specialized municipality; it’s worth the effort. These are the top 15 things to do in Strathcona County.
1. Outdoors is great!
Outdoor lovers should not visit Strathcona County if they don’t stop at the Beaver Hills UNESCO Biosphere. This forest reserve dates back to 1892 and is among the oldest protected areas in Canada.
Beaver Hills UNESCO Biosphere contains many special areas such as the Strathcona Wilderness Centre and Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve. There are also over 100 km of trails and 700 campsites.
The biosphere is an oasis for animal lovers. It’s home to songbirds and waterfowl as well as deer, moose, and deer. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and dog sledding are all possible.
2. Discover more about science
You can do this while enjoying the beauty of the Strathcona Science Province Park. At 625m, the park is located on the east bank in the North Saskatchewan River.
It was an aboriginal camp, and the Alberta government created the park covering 2.9 km to protect it. Although many of the buildings have been removed, its outdoor spaces are still lively.
Strathcona Science Provincial park is home to the Sunridge Ski Area and Biathlon Centre, as well as Model Aviation Field. Visitors can enjoy cross-country skiing and downhill skiing as well as hiking, mountain biking, and tobogganing in the park.
3. Rollercoaster rides
It’s not just any indoor rollercoaster. It is the tallest, longest indoor rollercoaster in the world. Mindbender, a looping rollercoaster, is located at Galaxyland Amusement Park. It is located in the West Edmonton Mall, North America’s largest mall.
There are many other rides at the amusement park that will keep you entertained, including the huge 36.5-metre Space Shot, the gigantic Swing of the Century, and the Cosmo’s Space Derby bumper car. Galaxyland Amusement Park offers more than 25 rides.
Galaxy Orbiter is Canada’s first spinning rollercoaster. Autosled is also available for those who are smaller.
4. Taste local wine
You will find the Barr Estate Winery at the south end of Sherwood Park. Amy and Rick Barr founded the winery, which produces three types of fruit wines. None of them are grape-based.
This winery offers a unique opportunity to try wine made with strawberries, raspberries, and rhubarb. You can tour the property to see not only how wine is made but also where the fruit was grown.
All year, tours and tastings are held on Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons. Each week there are seven tours. Visitors must be at the least 18 years old to participate.
5. Search for bison
Elk Island National Park houses many wood bisons, which are the largest terrestrial mammals in North America. The park played a significant role in their conservation as well as that of other bison species.
Although it is located in Beaverhills, the park is a tourist attraction all its own. The park is open all year round and can be reached by phone or email. It offers hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and wildlife viewing.
The Elk Island National Park houses bison as well as other animals such black bears, elk and deer, coyote and lynx. It also has the home of the pygmy snake, which is the smallest land-based mammal on the continent. You will also find plenty of birds like great blue herons and trumpeter Swans.
6. Time travel back
Fort Heritage Precinct is a museum in Fort Saskatchewan that traces the history of Strathcona and the surrounding areas. Explore the village’s historic buildings and go back more than 140 years.
A guide will take you through the village, showing you the many artifacts and telling stories. These tours last approximately 2 hours and are highly recommended as many buildings cannot be viewed without one of the local guides.
Enjoy a leisurely stroll around the grounds and learn about the history of Western Canada. Even the Fort’s bastion can be reached by climbing the steps. You also have the opportunity to sit in the 1902 school or visit the 1909 courthouse.
7. Local food, art, and music are available
All of this can be done at the Savour Strathcona County Festival. Every year, the event takes place in July at Strathcona Community Centre in Sherwood Park.
This annual event celebrates the best food and art in the area, with local food trucks, restaurants and artisans showcasing their work. Live entertainment will keep the atmosphere alive.
You can enjoy Indian, Thai, Japanese and Mexican cuisines prepared by local restaurants. Or, you can eat from food trucks that offer perogies, barbecued goodness or ice cream. Shop for souvenirs made locally afterwards.
8. Take a picnic
Broadmoor Lake Park is the best place to do it. This large park is located in Sherwood Park and is a great place to enjoy a day or have a picnic.
Broadmoor Lake is the park’s main attraction. It has a path that loops around it, benches along its shores, and many trees surrounding it. The lake can be transformed into an outdoor skating rink in winter.
Take your children along to the large playground or the spray park if you are visiting with children. They’ll love tobogganing down the hills of the park in winter.
9. Take a look at the art
Take a walking tour around the city to see public art. It could be a mural in a building’s exterior, a sculpture placed in a park, or a memorial or fresco.
There are 32 pieces of public art in Strathcona County at the moment, with most of them located in Sherwood Park. They include the colorful mural on County Hall’s staircase, the stainless-steel screens in West Plaza and the Dalmatian Sadie at Fire Station #6.
Three public art pieces are part of the Ardrossan Recreation Complex, which is well worth a visit. These include the community collage, which depicts key people in the community and the beautiful glass panels that celebrate sport in luminous glasses.
10. Take a train ride
Camrose is less than an hour north of the city. Here you can spend a full day riding a train. The Battle River Railway runs trains through beautiful scenery and historic landmarks.
Enjoy lunch at a historic hotel, visit the Catholic Church and view the largest ball glove in America.
You can also find special events like the Oktoberfest train or murder mystery nights. You can eat sausages and drink beer or learn the story with a local theatre group.
11. Enjoy a round of golf
Strathcona County has many public and private places where you can play golf. The city is a great place to play golf. Elk Island Golf Club is a top-rated course and the oldest in Alberta. The clubhouse serves delicious food and boasts a nine-hole golf course.
The Broadmoor Golf Course is a great spot to learn and play golf. While the Belvedere Golf & Country Club has a championship course, it’s also a great place for both learning and playing. The Country Side Golf Club and Victoria Golf Course are also close by Strathcona County. Rundle Park Golf Course is another nearby course.
You can do this no matter where in the world you live, but Strathcona County is a great place to indulge if you love sweets. Many places offer sweet treats, including freshly baked cinnamon buns and donuts.
There are several local restaurants that offer unique dining experiences, such as Vivo Ristorante and That Bar-B-Q Place. For a great cup of coffee, you can also visit Common Ground Community Cafe and Roasti Coffee Company.
There’s a restaurant to suit your taste, whether you want Thai, Japanese, Italian, or Japanese cuisine. You can even find Mexican, Mediterranean, and Ukrainian restaurants.
13. You can walk through an ice castle
You can visit an ice castle right next to Edmonton. Ice Castles, an award-winning attraction, was built in six cities across North America. Edmonton is one of them.
Manmade frozen attractions are spectacular. They were built with hundreds of thousands of icicles, which were manually placed by ice artists. Other attractions included LED-lit sculptures, frozen thrones and tunnels carved from ice, fountains, and many other features.
You can walk through the ice castle to take amazing photos. Ice Castles are only open in winter and will leave lasting memories.
14. Ski the slopes
It makes sense to ski in Alberta. This is possible because there is a spot right by Strathcona County, which is located at the western edge of Edmonton.
The Sunridge Ski Area is located along the North Saskatchewan River. It is part of Strathcona Science Provincial park. There are 11 runs on the property, of which 45 percent are black diamond-rated.
You can also enjoy cross-country skiing, snowboarding, and tubing in the area. You can also practice your skills in two terrain parks.
15. Find out more about the history of the city
The Strathcona County Archives and Museum displays the history, heritage, and culture of Strathcona County all under one roof. Explore the museum to learn more about the city, its inhabitants and the history of the area.
The museum has permanent exhibits that include an historic train station, church, parlour and blacksmith shop, as well as a dairy barn, blacksmith shop, and church. You should also visit the First Nations exhibit or the Natural History Walk, which displays a large collection of butterflies, fossils, and dinosaur bones.
Everything is modeled after a rural community from the 1900s. This allows you to travel back in time and discover all about Strathcona County’s history.