Part of your job as a grandparent (besides spoiling your grandkids silly) is to be a link to the past.
Everything has changed since you were his age – but you can show him what it was like on a special Grandpa-Grandson day out to a museum. You know that kids learn more if they’re having fun and with lots of room to run and cool new (well actually, really old) stuff to see – he’ll have the time of his life.
Spend the day in St. Albert
St. Albert’s Musée Héritage Museum & Grain Elevator Park is home to a big museum, two grain elevators, a little white schoolhouse, a two-storey log cabin and Alberta’s oldest surviving building, the Father Lacombe Chapel. Learn about local history in the museum, visit the schoolhouse, let interpreters lead you through the elevators and cabin – then sit awhile, have a snack and tell him about your school or church a really long time ago when you were a kid. (Yes Liam, I was a kid once too!) There’s also a train station in Grain Elevator Park and if your little guy is crazy about trains (aren’t they all?) a game of “waiting for the train” might just be a highlight.
Show him some really big machines in Leduc
Leduc Number 1 Energy Discovery Centre in Devon explores the history of Alberta’s energy sector. Inside the centre you’ll find lots of interactive displays about fossils, oil and alternative energy, a learning lab (where you can dress up like a real scientist) and the world’s largest drill bit. Then head outside to climb aboard a real rig and walk around a giant (105,000 lb!) grader, tractors, cranes and a really really big tire. And you thought a ride on your riding lawnmower blew his mind, just you wait.
Millet Museum and splash park
Pack up some goldfish crackers and juice boxes and head 40 minutes south of Edmonton to the Millet and District Museum. The exhibit room features (almost) life-sized facades of a barn, general store, creamery and hotel as they would have looked 100 years ago. You can also visit an old fashioned school room, a tool shed, barbershop and a kitchen like Grandpa’s mom might have had. In the afternoon, if it’s a nice sunny day, you can mosey downtown to the splash park and then go on an ice cream hunt.
Take a ride on a real steam train
Since he was two, he’s been dragging buckets of those little wooden trains everywhere. He eats with them, he sleeps with them and he won’t leave the house without one in each pocket. Well, just imagine his delight when he comes face to face with a real live steamie at the Alberta Railway Museum in Edmonton. Visit any summer weekend from May to September for rides around the tracks on little speeder cars, see the replica station and visit 75 cars and locomotives. And on long weekends this summer, volunteers will bring out 1392, a big black steam-powered locomotive (who will be 100 years old this year) so you can take a ride.