Home to some of Canada’s most stunning sceneries, Alberta has got it all – from vast prairies and magnificent mountains, to awe-inspiring canyons and spectacular turquoise lakes. This western Canadian region has something to offer for all kinds of travellers, with its two major cities bustling with excitement at every turn.
It is no surprise, then, that over 35 million people explored the province in 2016, reports the Global News. With attractions showcasing both the beauty of nature and awe-inspiring manmade structures, travelling to Alberta is an opportunity you cannot miss. Here are five things you should do in this magnificent region.
VISIT BANFF NATIONAL PARK
In 1883, three railway workers discovered a natural hot spring, according to the National Geographic. Little did they know that the greater area would be declared Canada’s first national park in 1885, and a UNESCO heritage site in 1984. Home to some of the world’s most beautiful unspoiled ecosystems, the Banff National Park spans a region of unparalleled majestic mountain terrain, magnificent lakes, numerous glaciers and ice fields, thick coniferous forests, and spectacular alpine landscapes.
A major year-round attraction in the Banff National Park is the Banff Upper Hot Springs. Take a dip into warm and soothing mineral waters while marveling at the spectacular scenery of the park. In the summer, tourists enjoy Banff’s many hiking trails or rent canoes to paddle through glacier-fed Moraine Lake and picturesque Lake Louise. On the other hand, travellers flock to Banff National Park in the winter for downhill and cross-country skiing.
EXPLORE LOCATIONS FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES
The critically acclaimed War for the Planet of the Apes, the latest in the Planet of the Apes franchise, shot most of its scenes in Canada, according to the Atlas of Wonders. The hugely successful film reboot series has grossed over $2 billion worldwide, spawning merchandising tie-ins and adaptions in books, toys, and comics. Even in gaming, the franchise has inspired Planet of the Apes mobile slot titles on popular platforms such as the UK-based Slingo, amidst a variety of other games that have popped up online to help promote the franchise.
After slipping out of Banff’s upper hot springs, pay a visit to the magnificent Banff Springs Hotel, where some of the film’s exciting scenes took place. Other parts of the film were shot in the mountains of the Kananaskis Range, which are home to bighorn sheep, mountain goats, grizzly bears, and black bears.
VISIT THE TOWN OF THE DINOSAURS
Around 75 million years ago, dinosaurs inhabited the small town of Drumheller, according to The Guardian. Many fossils have since been discovered in and around the area, with the town’s pride manifested in the Royal Tyrell Museum of Paleontology. Visitors can explore the museum’s many displays or take a hike at the town’s famous Dinosaur Trail through the Drumheller badlands.
MARVEL AT THE RED ROCK CANYON
Located in Waterton Lakes National Park, this hidden gem is usually free of large touristy crowds – making way for richer wildlife and scenery. The drive to the canyon is an experience in itself – wide open prairie grasslands will give way to jagged mountain peaks, hanging valleys, and alpine meadows.
Upon arrival, you’ll be amazed at the layers of contrasting red, green, and white bedrock layers that hold a gushing clear river. You can learn about the ancient history of the canyon and its unique formation. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, you can even walk along the bottom of the canyon in the cool water.
EXPLORE WEST EDMONTON MALL
If you’re craving for more urban activities, West Edmonton Mall is the place to be. The mall is measured at over 5.3 million square feet, making it the biggest shopping mall in North America. With over 800 shops and 100 eating establishments, a skating rink, a zoo, the world’s largest indoor amusement park, indoor lake, wave pool, you will never run out of things to see and do here.