Dear Families from Alberta and those that plan to visit us here someday! If Sundre isn’t on your Alberta bucketlist then I hope you find the inspiration to add it!
I am Adrianna Skori, CEO and Founder of Kids Who Explore and I love to explore with my husband and 18 month-old son. Family travel allows us to connect to each other, meet new people, and create family memories for a lifetime. Trips don’t have to be grand or far, sometimes you can find some hidden gems right near your backyard. Join me as I share our Family Day Long Weekend in the very special town of Sundre, Alberta.
We were invited to Sundre to help showcase Winterfest and the family-friendly outdoor activities! Seeing more families connect to the outdoors and adopt nature into family holidays makes our hearts very happy. This was an Explore Sundre and a Kids Who Explore partnership.
Let’s go! Winter paradise awaits!
The Sundre Experience
Welcome to a home away from home! A cozy lobby, lots of space, and a full-service breakfast bar will make your stay feel wonderful. There’s a fitness centre, pool, hot tub, business centre, boardroom, conference room, and an event room. The Mountain View Inn is smoke-free and pet-free. The staff will treat you super well during your stay and give you extra comfy pillows upon request. There are also 5 accessible rooms on site as well.
We stayed in the family-suite, and it had plenty of room for my husband to set up his workstation and our toddler could run around and around prior to getting cozy in the extremely comfortable beds.
What to pack?
– All your winter layers, mittens, toques, boots, and adventure gear.
– Swimming gear for hotel pool & hot tub
– Baby items: books, bottles, diapers, snacks, extra clothes, and toys.
– Adventure to-go bag for day-use
– Camera, laptop, chargers, and other electronics
Located in Sundre’s Historic area along the picturesque Red Deer River. You can explore the collection of historical buildings right downtown Sundre with your family. Let the kids run along the beautiful river pathway and then explore indoors at The Chester Mjolsness World of Wildlife was donated by Chester and Martha Mjolsness. Chester’s extensive travels of the world and his trophy animal collection is now open to the public to learn about the wildlife from around the world.
Wild Horses of Alberta Society’s mission is to ensure the provision of all aspects of the conservation and humane treatment of wild horses in Alberta. The WHOAS objectives are to promote and educate.
Every family needs to meet Jack Nichol and hear his story and passion for wild horses. He promotes the welfare of wild horses by rescuing, gentling, and rehoming of the wild horses. Each horse has access to veterinary care and a spot on the photo wall where their story is honoured even after being transitioned to their new forever home. Jack is a very kind cowboy with a big heart and we felt so honoured to be in his company hearing his story.
WHOAS offers a public amenity at their rescue and handling facility that is safe for the public to come and witness first-hand the beauty of the wild horses. Donations are welcome at WHOAS, you can become a member, and learn more about the history of wild horses.
A beautiful setting in the woods right in the town of Sundre. There is approximately 17 km of walking paths for a family stroll, hike, snowshoe, or bike ride. A great spot to visit for all skill levels. You really get the full feel of nature healing and not having to venture far out of town.
Bergen Rocks International Sculpture Park
Bergen Rocks International Sculpture Park is located just a short drive south of Sundre. Morton Burke’s Bergen Rocks International Sculpture Park is a collection of world-class marble sculptures made by artists from around the world.
When you walk into Mountains Edge, you’ll be surrounded by professional service and greeted by Phil. A passionate father that has lived and explored in the Sundre area since he was 2-years old. Phil’s expertise with the area and ATV’s is incredible. He was also one of the many kind people from Sundre that we felt immediately connected to.
Mountains Edge offers accessory installations, pre-season inspections, and tune ups. They also sell an array of ATV’s like dirt bikes, side-by-sides, quads, and sleds. They even offer youth snowmobiles too.
Phil guided us around in the side-by-side and up through the amazing western wilderness of Sundre to a special viewpoint of the mountains. He shared a special family spot and a with campfire and lunch that made us feel so welcomed to the beautiful town of Sundre. We really hope Phil runs more guided trips because we will be signing up for the Limestone Mountain adventure!
A big snowstorm rolled in during our stay and sadly our medicine walk was cancelled. Mahikan Trails offers the opportunity to learn more about Indigenous culture, plant life, and survival. These walks are rich with history as you explore amongst the boreal forest and learn the fascinating history of cree lineage. As a family, you can learn about the plants and bushes that can be used to make something crucial to survival.
Support Indigenous Tourism and learn about Authentic Canada by visiting Alberta Indigenous Tourism.
Ride n Glide Bike and Ski Rentals
In 2020 Ride n Glide was born by founder, Katie Jo. She recognized the need for people to get out and exercise their minds and bodies. Taking her lifelong passion for sports and spreading that joy to outdoor lovers that come to visit. She buys and manages her own inventory.
Beginner families welcome! Here is your chance to tik off a bucket list item and try out a new sport! Have you always wanted to try Fat-biking or cross-country skiing? Renting is a great option to try with the whole family.
Sundre Bike n Ski Club is a registered non-profit and is group of residents who enjoy activities in the outdoors. They love to utilize the amazing terrain right in the town and they were hosting a practice at the Gazebo during Winterfest.
Where the community gathers and celebrates the magic of winter! Located at Greenwood Park and Campground/ The Gazebo.
With a beautiful fresh snowfall blanketing the town of Sundre, it was an incredible setting along the river. Although the temperature dropped for us to -28 degrees Celsius, we explored the ice sculptures, gathered at the campfire, watched fat biking, cross country skiing, sledding, and horse sleigh rides.
Winterfest is an amazing family event and included free family activities:
- Ice sculpture discovery walk
- Live music
- Indoor farmer’s market
- Horse Wagon rides
- Kids Scavenger hunts
- Museum entry
- Cross country skiing and fat bike rentals
- Medicine Walks with Bannock and hot chocolate
On the last day of the festivities was the Mountain Survivalist Competition where teams of two are judged on skills of basic survival. The main goal is to build a basic shelter, make a fire, boil two eggs, make a proper cup of tea, and process firewood without an axe. The record time from prior years was 26 minutes!
Follow along with @exploresundre to find out about Winterfest 2023.
Boondox Family Restaurant
Chef Ravi and father of three makes some amazing dishes. We opted for the Sri Lanken inspired food and shared a crème brulee for dessert. The kids grilled cheese was a hit too!
The menu is massive with vegan, gluten free and lactose free options available! We enjoyed reading through all the options including an Asian corner, pizzas, burgers, pastas, poutines, salads, steaks, and many entrees. Living up to the name of family restaurant, there is a kids and senior menu too.
A fresh cup of coffee, a hearty omelette, and great company is all you really need to start your day. We got the chance to visit with the owner Tom Jackson and hear a little more about the inspiration behind his business. The first part of the business is the deli where you can eat-in or take-out meals, daily lunch specials, and breakfast is ready for 7:00am. Also, a well-known spot in Western-Alberta for excellent beef jerky.
Kodiak BBQ specializes in catering large events like Christmas parties, reunions, corporate events, business luncheons, and weddings with their 22-foot smokers from Houston, Texas. He likes phone calls to hear about your event so he can help in the creation process.
Original T’s Restaurant
A buzzing family friendly restaurant that offers great value and service with an array of dining options for the whole family. Variety is always appreciated, and head Chef Christo Vardas sure has a talent with meal creation. Christo loves to socialize, and Original T’s is his second home. Locals had us very excited to meet him as were told by many that he was a very nice fellow. I agree! It was lovely to meet and dine in his restaurant.
We ordered the pizza on home-made dough that is prepared throughout the week, seafood pasta, calamari and a gourmet burger made to perfection.
Sundre Hotel Restaurant
Warming up inside on a chilly winter day with a wonton soup full of vegetables is the best feeling. Sundre Hotel is located right downtown and within a very close walk to the World of Wildlife Museum. The portion sizes are generous, and the restaurant space is modern with an open concept.
Schott’s Lake Resort
Pristine Natural Setting- it’s exactly as described!
Paradise can be found at this incredible family-friendly resort. Not just a winter destination, make sure to check out the camping spots, motel rooms, and cabins stays too.
Gourmet fireside food has us already yearning to go back for another 5-star meal. We shared the elk spring rolls to start off the evening with a dash of homemade raspberry compote on the side. This pairs nicely with the Shirley temple. The seafood linguine was packed with flavour and was the wow factor. Along with the short ribs and cornbread. The unique touches and chefs’ secret recipes were one of a kind.
We toured the family amenities that owner Kim Verkerk, created from her vision of having families get together. There is an amazing space for family celebrations, reunions, and gatherings. I highly recommend your next family retreat to be booked at Schott’s Lake. You can still feel the beautiful energy well beyond your departure.
George and Helen run a mom-and-pop establishment that has many tasty Greek inspired options on the menu plus many other varieties to choose from too. We chose the spanakopita with a side of fresh Greek salad with big slices of juicy tomatoes. We loved the friendly toddler loving vibes and felt so welcome.
Backwoods Bakery & Café
Getting our lunch packed up and our lattes to-go from Backwoods made us feel the love from this incredibly homey café. In our adorable paper lunch bags, we had a fresh fruit parfait, delicious sandwiches, wraps, dessert bars, with a chocolate milk for our little.
You need to pop in here to grab a gourmet coffee, snack, and check out the daily specials too! It is a fun atmosphere with great quality food and service.
We won’t be missing this stop on our next visit!
Elk & Owl Craft Coffee Co.
The Farmhouse Market
Your locally owned, operated fresh food and locally curated goods market located downtown Sundre.
Stock up groceries during your stay and support local. Walk into the warmth of the market and be greeted by the sweetest owner, Breanna.
I shopped around and chose out hand-knitted tea towels, a knitted baby toque, and a homemade scrunchie. I left with a handful of hand-crafted items from small businesses across Canada. I am reminded of the warmth of the Farmhouse Market when I spread raspberry jam and press fresh coffee from my farmhouse in Langdon.
The fresh produce was the best I’ve ever experienced! Snacking on fresh apples, baby tomatoes, and mini cucumbers with the family.
So many local vendors in one shop! You can buy new and used books and get a coffee or tea while you browse around. Get custom wood pieces from the wood shop in the back or meet with a holistic healer for a Reiki Healing session or Intuitive Reading.
We didn’t have a chance to get inside but we did some window shopping! From home décor, handmade jewellery, to fresh cut floral arrangements.