Holiday Edition: 7 Family-Friendly Activities in the Edmonton Area

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Let the lights twinkle and the sleigh bells jingle! This holiday season, you’ll find a variety of family-friendly events in the Greater Edmonton Area. From stunning illuminated displays to quiet winter walks, there’s something for everyone. Along with making wonderful holiday memories, you’ll also be helping local charities and worthwhile initiatives. 

Click any of the headings below for more details. It’s also a good idea to check the event linked websites and social media feed for updates, hours, cancellations and possible blackout dates. 


Glow YEG 
Image courtesy of Glow YEG 

The month of December looks a lot brighter, thanks to the Glow exhibit at the Edmonton EXPO Centre. This year’s theme is “A Fairytale Christmas,” with beloved storybook characters on hand to help kids experience the magic of the season. Enjoy over 100,000 square feet of family fun through elaborate light displays, delicious food, holiday entertainment, and shopping at the Merry Maker’s Market. 


Santa’s Breakfast
Image courtesy of University Hospital Foundation 

This popular event is part of the University Hospital Foundation’s Festival of Trees fundraising initiative, in support of a new Neuro Rehabilitation Innovation Centre. Choose a Saturday or Sunday morning in early December to have a festive sit down breakfast in a heated dome at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden. Each dome seats up to six people and has transparent sides, so you can enjoy the scenery, entertainment and a visit from Santa. 


Canadian Tire Magic of Lights
canadiantire-light-blog-bannerImage courtesy of Magic of Lights 

Starting November 24, take the family for a memorable holiday light experience, all from the comfort of your own vehicle. Although it’s held at Rad Torque Raceway in Leduc County, this event is about slowing down and enjoying the view. For about 20 minutes, you’ll follow a leisurely 2.5 kilometre path of spectacular LED light displays and animations. Be sure to flip on the radio for accompanying merry music! A portion of the proceeds will be donated to 630 CHED Santas Anonymous and Canadian Tire JumpStart. 


Edmonton Christmas Market 
Image courtesy of Edmonton Christmas Market 

Beginning November 30 at Fort Edmonton Park, the Edmonton Christmas Market comes alive with captivating light displays, unique culinary experiences, roving performances, festive live theatre, family-friendly workshops, a local market of over 100 vendors, tasty treats, and a whole lot of holiday cheer. Enjoy a day out with the family and find a unique gift for everyone on your list. 


Image courtesy of University of Alberta Botanic Garden 

Located southwest of Edmonton, the University of Alberta Botanic Garden invites you to experience Luminaria: A Winter Garden Story beginning November 23. Held in the evenings, this winter festival is inspired by the inviting atmosphere of alpine holiday markets. The Woodland Express train takes guests on a ride through the forest, giving them a sneak peek of the action in Sprites Hollow. For a peaceful walk under the stars, follow the candlelit path to the Kurimoto Japanese Garden.  


Zoominescence: A Festival of Light 
Image courtesy of Valley Zoo Development Society 

Now in its 10th year, Zoominescence is a collection of artistic light exhibits, hosted by the Edmonton Valley Zoo and the Valley Zoo Development Society. Imagine a glowing art exhibit on a snowy canvas – that’s Zoominescence. This limited-time event celebrates the beauty of light and the importance of animal conservation. Admission is free to current Zoo members. 


Elk Island National Park 
Image courtesy of Elk Island National Park 

This preserved piece of pristine nature is just 35 minutes east of Edmonton and is accessible all winter long. The park plays a major role in bison conservation and is home to an estimated 400 plains bison and 300 wood bison. It is also an undisturbed sanctuary for elk and over 250 species of birds. Spend some time hiking, snowshoeing and tobogganing, or simply enjoy the serenity of the winter landscape. 


Other Local Events 
A short drive outside the Edmonton city limits, there are many festive community events to choose from, such as Devon’s Christmas in the Park and Fort Saskatchewan’s annual Enchanted Forest. For more pre-Christmas events in the region, check the listings on the Family Fun Edmonton website. Happy Holidays! 

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