Outdoor fall fun
While summer is typically considered
the time to get outside, autumn can be
an equally great season for enjoying the
outdoors. Although short, fall offers much:
the mosquitoes are gone, the weather
is milder, the crowds are thinner and
shoulder-season rates make overnight
getaways a bit easier on the wallet.
Take a hike
With 75 provincial parks, five national parks and
innumerable local and municipal recreational areas
in Alberta, it’s not hard to find a spot for a stroll.
Cooler temperatures and changing fall colours make
this the perfect time for short hikes or nature walks.
Pack a sweater and some water and fruit and bring
along a jar for collecting bugs or pebbles, or a paper
bag for craft-making leaves. You can even have
a scavenger hunt for things such as worms, pine
cones, sticks of a specific length, special coloured
leaves or certain bugs. Finish off the day with a
healthy meal at a nearby campground.
Before freeze-up, prepare for next spring’s garden by
planting tulip, lily, crocus, iris or daffodil bulbs. Most
kids love digging in the dirt and lots of bulbs can be
planted close to the surface, making it easy for even
very young children to help out.
get out of town
While gas can be pricey, it’s possible to get
outta Dodge without breaking the bank. A
single-day road trip means you won’t have
to shell out for a hotel, and if you pack
your own drinks and food you can save a
lot more money that way. You might want
to choose a specific destination or maybe
take a roundabout drive. Either way, you’re
set to make some fun memories together
while seeing something new.
Now that it’s getting dark earlier, stargazing
is a viable activity for families with children of
all ages. After dinner on a moonless evening,
bundle up and go out for a look at the night
sky (if you’re in a city, you may have to drive
out of town to get an unobstructed view.) Find
the North Star, watch for satellites and comets,
marvel at the Milky Way, and try to locate some
fall constellations. Observe the equinox on Sept.
23, marking the first official day of fall.
Visit a fall fair or a corn maze
Carnivals and fall festivals are staged in
communities small and large this time of year.
You’re guaranteed to find pumpkin carving
contests, face painting, kids’ games and more at
any of the dozens of fairs celebrating the bounty
of the season. Or spend a fun fall morning getting
lost in one of several corn mazes in Alberta.
See applemag.ca for a list of corn mazes.
Visit a veggie stand
Harvest time means plump pumpkins, fresh corn
and lots of other vegetables and fruits. Visit a local
farmers’ market, a U-pick farm or a market garden to
stock up on produce before the ground freezes hard.
rent a canoe
Or a kayak, paddle boat or dinghy. Fall is the
perfect time to enjoy the last fair days of summer
on one of Alberta’s beautiful lakes or rivers.
Some local sporting goods stores, universities or
colleges rent small watercraft, and many lakes
have small rental companies on-shore. Or, find
a local pond and take your fishing rods, soaking
up those last warm rays of the year. (Be sure to
check the 2011 Alberta Guide to Sportfishing
When the flakes begin to fall, take
advantage of the still relatively mild
temperatures and head outside to look for
wildlife tracks in the snow. In most parts
of the province, even in urban areas, you’ll
likely be able to see tracks from foxes,
coyotes, rabbits and deer. Also look for the
tracks of smaller and more elusive animals
like weasels, voles and mice.
Hang out with the neighbours
Before everyone heads back indoors for the
winter months, take some time to organize
a neighbourhood garbage pick-up, set up a
community-wide garage sale, plan a block
party or direct a neighbourhood play—you’ll
likely develop new friendships and revive
old ones by getting involved with your local