Presented in partnership with Esurance
It’s that time of year again. School is wrapping up, vacations will soon kick in and you’re left wondering what you’ll do to keep everyone busy and having fun this summer. Enter: The Road trip! They are one of my favourite things to do and after years of exploring Alberta, I’ve come up with some fun ways to pass the summer months that are both exciting and yes, even a little educational.
And this summer, the road trip has gotten even better thanks to the arrival of Esurance to Alberta. Already available in 43 states, the forward-thinking insurance company has now come to Alberta, just in time to make sure our road trips are as safe as possible. Welcome to Alberta, Esurance, I hope you like mini-doughnuts.
Esurance’s cool technology makes staying in touch with them a breeze, meaning that this summer you can focus on having fun with your friends and family, and not worrying about insurance.
So where should you go now, that you can enjoy worry-free travel? Well the possibilities are endless and always exciting. With fun and unforgettable memories in mind, here are some of my favourite places to get up close and personal with animals in Alberta!
Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary
What’s a wolfdog you ask? Well, it’s exactly like it sounds. It’s a dog that’s a result of being bred with a wolf and depending on their DNA content, they can either be more dog than wolf, or more wolf than dog. Either way, they are very difficult dogs to raise, which is why so many of them end up here at this sanctuary.
The sanctuary offers a variety of tours of the grounds and up close and personal experiences. I’ve gone a few times and it’s always amazing. Not only are the animals beautiful, you also get a lot of much needed education about wolves and wolfdogs, and what they mean for our eco-system. If you’re looking for an experience that you and your family will be talking about for a long time to come, this is it!
Discovery Wildlife Centre
(yes, that’s a real bear behind me)
Since discovering the Discovery Wildlife Centre a few years ago, I’ve gone back every year and find something different. What started out as a family farm how now grown into something the same size as the Calgary Zoo. The animals are all well treated and have ended up there after being given up by other zoos or abandoned by their owners. Many of the animals there have lost their parents and would have been left to fend in nature by themselves.
A second aspect to the Discovery Wildlife Centre is that it’s actually where they keep the bears we’ve seen used in so many bears in movies and commercials. They use this, along with their trainers, to educate people about bear safety, which is a really important skill living in Alberta. The results is some pretty incredible photos. This is a easy day trip from Calgary and well worth it, just to see so many incredible animals up close.
The Alice Sanctuary – Farm Animal Rescue
Outside of Calgary
I’ve never been to the Alice Sanctuary, but it’s on my 2017 to-do list. It’s not a place that you can just visit, and they ask you to contact them to set up a visit (firstname.lastname@example.org) or better yet volunteer, but I definitely want to do it. The Alice Sanctuary provides care and healing for rescued, surrendered and abandoned farm animals. Some of my friends have been going for the last little bit and it looks really amazing. The sanctuary is home to cows, pigs, horses, ducks, mules and Little Man Pete, who I want to become best friends with.
Inglewood Bird Sanctuary
Since it’s located smack-dab right in the middle of Calgary, it’s technically not a trip, but depending where you live in Calgary, it could take you a while to get there. You’d probably not expect to see a bird sanctuary just outside of the downtown core, but that’s what makes the sanctuary so special. And while we tend to think of preserving natural habitats for animals as a relatively new thing, The Inglewood Bird Sanctuary and Nature Centre have been giving bird a place to enjoy a well deserve rest since the 1920s!
At the sanctuary, you’ll find 270 species of birds, 21 species of mammals and 347 species of plants. The sanctuary was hit hard during the 2013 flood, but is now almost completely open to the public. This is a great place o spend a sunny Saturday and enjoy the best of what Calgary has to offer.
The Alberta Birds of Prey Centre
Hawks, eagles, owls, oh my! This is Canada’s largest birds of prey facility. It’s situated on a 70-acre wetland area site near Lethbridge. We went for the first time last year and was amazed what we saw. The centre is really a celebration of nature featuring the hawks, falcons, eagles and owls of Alberta. You can walk around the grounds, but make sure you get the chance to have an owl rest on your arm and watching the flying demonstration. You’ll be doing your eyes a favour. This place is really cool!