We’ve been spending some time during the summer exploring Alberta to find family-friendly attraction right here at home. Red Deer is only a 90 minute drive from Calgary, making it perfect for a day trip or a weekend getaway. It also has a lot to offer! Even though Red Deer is about a tenth the size of Calgary, they have tons of options for outdoor water play. Here are our favourite places for water play in and around Red Deer:
River Bend Recreation Area – Located along the river 3.5 km north of 30 Avenue from 67 Street.
In the summer months, Discovery Canyon has a inner tube run that kids can ride down (you can rent tubes or bring your own). At the bottom is a lovely beachy area with sand, rocks and shallow water.
Discovery Canyon typically opens in Early June and closes after the first weekend in September (weather dependent) and runs every day from 9am-9pm.
Abbey Centre – 4500 Womacks Road – Blackfalds, Alberta (15 minutes North of Red Deer)
Our family had an amazing time at the McKay Ranch Outdoor Aquatic Centre – there is just so much to do! With a spray park, toddler pool, play pool with slope entry and spray features, a hot tub, jr olympic pool with diving board and 2 big waterslides, we could have played there for ages.
The Aquatic Centre typically runs from Mid-May to Mid September. You do need to pay to get in but you get a wrist band allowing you access to the whole centre including the indoor play place and a family is only $20!
Tayles Splash Park – Blackfalds
Gregg St, Blackfalds, Alberta
Blackfalds is just 15 minutes North of Red Deer. Their spray park has a a variety of different spray features and is right next to a really cool pirate ship playground. The train line runs right along the park (across the street) on the west side which is a big plus in our world.
Blue Grass Sod Farm Central Spray and Play
Northwest corner of Rotary Recreation Park (47A Avenue and 48 Street)
Red Deer’s newest spray park is large and attractive. My kids absolutely loved this spray park. There is tons of room for many many kids to run around – I had to use pictures I took while it was raining because there were just too many kids for me to get any clear shots.
There is also lots of places to set up a blanket in the shade or in the sun and picnic tables too. The train tunnel and big rocks are especially cute touches. My kids were especially fond of the ‘water guns’ but ran around together all over the place while I was able to sit back and relax.
Typically runs from the beginning of June until the September long weekend from 11am-7pm.
Kin Kanyon spray fountain/wading pool
32 Street on 47 Avenue in Kin Kanyon picnic area.
This little spray pool is really unique with a large rock sticking up in the centre. I would have expected it to be slippery, but it’s textured and I didn’t see anyone slip while we were there. The kids loved climbing up the rock and running through the sprays. It’s located just a short walk from the Kin Kanyon playground and picnic area. Typically begins running on the May long weekend and stops after the September long weekend
Located by Great Chief Park south of Kerry Wood Drive
In this beautiful park, you can rent two or four person paddleboats, canoes, kayaks, waterballs and surrey bikes. We rented a four person paddleboat and it was fun but so much work! I recommend balancing the boat instead of having the little people in front (like we did). This should make for easier paddling. The paddleboats are $7 per person for a half hour or $10 per person for an hour and include life jackets. The ponds are quiet and calm and really lovely to travel along.
There is also an excellent playground right next to the ponds.
Beaches near Red Deer
Sylvan Lake Provincial Park Beach
About 25 minutes west of Red Deer, you’ll find the beach at Sylvan Lake Provincial Park. They have a nice beach as well as picnic areas and a lakeside pathway. There are also boat rentals and other recreational facilities.
Located on Gull Lake 35 minutes NW of Red Deer, is Aspen Beach Provincial Park. It is great for small children, with a big sandy beach, shallow lake, playground and picnic areas.
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express – Red Deer North for our trip. It features a swimming pool with a waterslide and hot tub. A free breakfast with hot and cold items is included which makes the mornings so much easier when you are travelling with kids. The rooms include a mini-kitchenette, a variety of pillows and comfortable beds.
The hotel is located on the Northern end of Red Deer and has great access to Discovery Canyon, the Abbey Centre in Blackfalds and Aspen Beach on Gull Lake.
Disclosure: In order to facilitate these reviews, we were provided with accommodation in Red Deer. Thank you to Red Deer Tourism and the Holiday Inn Express – Red Deer North for facilitating our trip!