Strathcona County in Alberta is a special municipality that is part of the Edmonton Metropolitan Area. It is between the city of Edmonton and the Elk Island National Park. It is both rural and urban, and less than 100,000 people live there. More than half of them live in the hamlet of Sherwood Park.
Strathcona County’s most visited area is Sherwood Park, which is right next to the city of Edmonton. It also has a lot of things for people to do and see. Still, all of the places are worth going to, especially if you like being outside. It’s a great place to check out whether you live in Edmonton or in the specialized municipality. The 10 best things to do in Strathcona County are listed below.
1. Spend time outside
If you like being outside, you can’t go to Strathcona County without spending some time at the Beaver Hills UNESCO Biosphere. This forest reserve, which dates back to 1892, is one of the oldest protected areas in all of Canada.
The Strathcona Wilderness Centre, the Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve, and the Ministik Lake Game Bird Sanctuary are all unique places that you can find in the Beaver Hills UNESCO Biosphere. It also has more than 100 kilometers of trails and almost 700 places to camp.
Animal lovers love the biosphere because it is home to waterfowl, songbirds, deer, and moose. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, mountain biking, walking, and having a picnic are all things that visitors can do.
2. Get to know science
At Strathcona Science Provincial Park, you can do this while enjoying the beautiful outdoors. The park is 625 meters above sea level. It is on the east bank of the North Saskatchewan River.
The land used to be a Native American camp, and the Alberta government built the 2.9-square-kilometer park to protect it. Most of the interpretive buildings aren’t used anymore, but the park’s outdoor spaces are still a lot of fun.
The Sunridge Ski Area, the Biathlon Center, and the Model Aviation Field are all in the Strathcona Science Provincial Park. People can do things like cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, hiking, mountain biking, and tobogganing in the park.
3. Ride a rollercoaster
Not just any roller coaster, but the world’s tallest and longest indoor one! Mindbender is a roller coaster at Galaxyland Amusement Park that goes in loops. The amusement park is inside the West Edmonton Mall, which is the largest mall in North America.
There are also many other rides at the amusement park that will get your heart racing, such as the 36.5-meter Space Shot, the giant Swing of the Century, and the Cosmo’s Space Derby bumper cars. At Galaxyland Amusement Park, you can enjoy more than 25 rides.
If you want to ride more than one roller coaster, don’t miss the chance to go on Galaxy Orbiter, which is Canada’s first roller coaster that spins. On Autosled, even small people can enjoy the turns and hills.
4. Try wine from the area
At the very south end of Sherwood Park is the Barr Estate Winery. Rick and Amy Barr started the winery. They make three kinds of fruit wines, none of which are made from grapes.
Go to this winery to try wine made from raspberries, rhubarb, and strawberries if you want to try something very different. You can take a tour of the property and see how the wine is made and where all the fruit is grown.
All through the year, tours and tastings happen on Friday nights and Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Every week, there are seven tours, and people must be at least 18 years old to join.
5. Look for Bison
The wood bison is the largest land animal in North America. Many of them live in Elk Island National Park. In fact, the park has helped save them and other kinds of bison in important ways.
The park is in the Beaverhills area, but it is its own attraction. It’s open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and you can camp, hike, cross-country ski, snowshoe, and, of course, watch wildlife.
In addition to bison, you can see black bears, elk, deer, coyote, lynx, and the smallest land-based mammal on the continent, the pygmy shrew, in Elk Island National Park. There are also a lot of birds, like great blue herons, American white pelicans, red-tailed hawks, and trumpeter swans.
6. Go back to the past
At the Fort Heritage Precinct in Fort Saskatchewan, you can learn about the history of Strathcona County and the area around it. Visit the historical village and walk through its original buildings to go back in time more than 140 years.
Let a guide show you around the village so you can see all the interesting things and hear all the stories. Most of the buildings can only be seen with one of the on-site guides, so tours are highly recommended. They last about two hours.
Take your time walking around the grounds to take it all in and learn about Western Canada’s history. You can even climb the stairs to the bastion of the Fort, sit in the school from 1902, and spend time in the courthouse from 1909.
7. Try the food, art, and music of the area
At the Savour Strathcona County festival, you can do all of these things at once. Every year, the event is held at the Strathcona County Community Centre in Sherwood Park in the month of July.
The event is held every year to show off the great food and art in the city. Restaurants, food trucks, and artists show off their work. There is also live entertainment to keep things even more exciting.
Local restaurants make great Italian, Thai, Japanese, Mexican, and Indian food. You can also eat perogies, barbecued goodness, tacos, or ice cream from food trucks. After that, you can go shopping for gifts made by local artists.
8. Have a picnic
The Broadmoor Lake Park is the best place to do this. The big park is near Sherwood Park and is a beautiful place to spend a day and have a picnic.
Broadmoor Lake is the main attraction of the park. It is surrounded by trees and has a path that goes around it. In the winter, the lake turns into a great place to skate outside.
If you’re visiting with kids, take them to the large playground and the spray park. They will love tobogganing down the hills in the park in the winter.
9. Check out art
Take a walking tour of the city and look at the public art along the way. This could be a fresco, a memorial, a fresco on the outside of a building, or a sculpture in a park.
Strathcona County has 32 pieces of public art right now. Most of them are in Sherwood Park. These include the colorful mural on the County Hall staircase, the stainless steel screens in the West Plaza of the community center, and the 11-foot-tall Dalmatian Sadie in front of Fire Station #6.
The Ardrossan Recreation Complex is a great place to go because it has 3 public works of art. These are the community collage, which shows important people in the community, the beautiful glass panels, and the celebration of sports in luminous glass.
10. Ride a train
You can spend a day on a train by driving less than an hour north of the city to Camrose. The Battle River Railway takes trains through some beautiful scenery and old places.
You can eat lunch in a historic hotel, take a tour of an old Catholic church, and look at the biggest baseball glove in the country.
There are also special events like the murder mystery nights and the Oktoberfest train. Eat sausages and drink beer, or join a local theater group to find out who did it.