By Kelsey Boulton (@playmore.exploremore)
Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden
Corner of 9th Ave. S and Mayor Magrath Drive
With its close proximity to Henderson Lake Park, several hotels and restaurants, Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden is a local gem you definitely need to add to your itinerary. While your there make sure to ask for their Kid's Activity book designed by local cartoonist Eric Dyck to keep the kids engaged throughout the garden!
Did you know?
The name for the garden, Nikka Yuko, translates to mean Japan-Canada friendship.
If you are visiting Lethbridge during the winter, I highly recommend checking out the Winter Light Festival at Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden. With ice sculptures and over 150, 000+ lights decorating the garden, the Winter Light Festival is an unforgettable magical winter experience for the entire family. Be sure to stop and ring the bronze Friendship Bell as you make your way through the garden.
Visit Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden for more information regarding admission and hours.
Helen Schuler Nature Centre & Nature Reserve
1 Indian Battle Rd S
With over 200 km of self-guided discovery trails, Helen Schuler Nature Reserve is one of our family’s favourite places to escape the city and connect with nature. Open year-round, the nature centre offers a wide range of interactive experiences for all ages.
Indian Battle Park
Located in the Oldman River Valley and home to the historic Fort Whoop Up Interpretive Centre, Indian Battle Park is a 150-acre park that is definitely worth visiting on your next family vacation in Lethbridge.
Activities for the family:
Be sure to check out the natural themed playground featuring a giant rock rattlesnake, a climbing wall, beaver lodge, and spider web pathway.
Go mountain biking at Botterill Bottom Park
Visit Fort Whoop-Up or the Coalbanks Interpretive Kiosk
Did you know?
The Lethbridge high-level bridge is the longest & highest trestle bridge in the world
Local tip: Be sure to view Lethbridge’s high-level bridge both from a distance and up close. If you are lucky enough, you might even get to stand underneath the bridge while a train passes overhead!
80 - 62nd Ave N
Pavan Park is one of our all-time favourite areas in Lethbridge to visit as a family. Considered a hidden gem of Lethbridge, Pavan Park is a 125-hectare natural park on the city’s northern edge.
What we love about Pavan Park:
- The large nature-themed playground
- Large variety of walking and hiking trails, both aggregate and paved
- Easy access to the Oldman River
- Access to public washrooms (summer only)
Elizabeth Hall Wetlands
Located just off Bridge Drive
Just passing through Lethbridge? Why not take a pit stop, get outside, stretch your legs and explore the Elizabeth Hall Wetlands located just off of Highway 3.
We love coming to the Elizabeth Hall Wetlands as a family for a leisurely walk and to look for all the different birds and wildlife in the area. The Elizabeth Hall Wetlands is a 78-acre nature interpretation park located just off Bridge Drive, along the west side of the Oldman River. Information kiosks and observation points are located throughout the trail system.
Local tip: Look out for the western painted turtles on the exposed logs on the west side of the wetlands. This is usually where we have the most luck spotting them.
Lethbridge parks and fun
Nicholas Sheran Park
245 McMaster Blvd W
If you are planning on spending some time on the west side of the city, be sure to check out Nicholas Sheran Park. With plenty of activity options for the family, it’s a great place to spend a couple of hours. It’s one of our families go to places where we will often enjoy a picnic lunch, go for a bike ride/walk around the lake, explore the shoreline of the lake, and of course, always spend some time at the playground.
Activities for the family:
- Check out the large, train-themed playground
- Take a walk or bike ride along the 7km of paved & shale trails throughout the park
- Have a picnic at the picnic shelter or one of the picnic tables in the park
- Enjoy a family game of disc golf
Fun Fact: Nicholas Sheran Park is home to Lethbridge’s only Disc Golf Course, featuring a full 18 hole course spread over 100 acres of the park.
Henderson Lake Park
(2710 Parkside Drive South)
Henderson Lake Park is one of the biggest parks in the city, central to many other local attractions, hotels and restaurants.
Activities for the family:
- Walk or bike along the trails
- Discover the 3 playgrounds (Our favourite is the one located on the north side of the park)
- Enjoy a picnic or BBQ at one of the drop-in picnic shelters
- Spend the afternoon fishing
Henderson Lake Pool
Typically, open from mid-June to September, Henderson Pool is the perfect place to spend a couple of hours with the family during the hot, summer days in Lethbridge.
What we love about Henderson Pool
- Zero depth entry pool, making it great for all ages and swimming abilities
- Large grass seating area, benches, and picnic tables
- 2 waterslides (bonus - parents can ride with children too small to go on their own)
- Separate spray park area
Visit Henderson Pool (Lethbridge) for more information regarding hours of operation, admission rates, and other amenities at the pool.
Playgrounds in Lethbridge
Looking for a good playground to help the kids burn off some energy? Lethbridge is the place to be! You could spend an entire week just checking out all of the amazing playgrounds around the city. The Lethbridge Parks App has a directory of all the playgrounds in Lethbridge with all the information you need to find the best playground for your family. Here are some of our family favourites worth checking out while in Lethbridge:
1. Caledonia Park Playground (1100 Abitibi Rd W)
2. Tartan Park Playground (381 Tartan Circle W)
3. Sequoia Park Playground (3800 21 Ave S)
4. Chinook Tourist Park Playground (2805 Scenic Dr S)
5. Legacy Park Playground (400 Blackwolf Blvd N)
Fun beyond the city
Waterton Lakes National Park
Waterton Lakes National Park has been my favourite family day-trip destination since I was a little girl. Just 1.5 hours from Lethbridge, Waterton Lakes National Park is the perfect day-trip destination for families. While you can explore a lot of the area in just one day, I would highly recommend spending a few days or even a week, if you can.
Family Fun in Waterton - Our family’s top picks
1. Drive the scenic Red Rock Parkway to the fascinating and beautiful Red Rock Canyon where you can enjoy a picnic, an easy hike, or some time playing in the Red Rock creek.
2. Walk around the village and grab an ice-cream cone, rent a bicycle from Pat’s, or tour through some of the locally owned souvenir & boutique shops.
3. Grab lunch at Weiners of Waterton & then go for a walk along the shoreline of Upper Waterton Lake.
4. Let the kids burn off some energy at the community playground which also features a spray park and picnic area.
5. Drive the scenic Akamina Parkway to Cameron Lake where you can go for a hike along the lake-shore trail, or rent a canoe, stand-up paddleboard, kayak, rowboat, or pedal boat from Cameron Lake Boat Rentals and go for a paddle on the lake.
Local tip: We almost always make Cameron Falls our first stop when we get to Waterton. Why? The falls are a must-see landmark in Waterton and almost equally as important, there is access to public washrooms nearby.
Check out mywaterton.ca to discover more of what Waterton has to offer.
Looking to explore beyond Lethbridge for a family day trip? Be sure to check out Crowsnest Pass. Whether you are a history enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or a nature lover, Crowsnest Pass has something to offer you.
Family Fun: Our family favourites
1. Visit Frank Slide Interpretive Centre and learn more about Canada’s deadliest rockslide.
Go for a family hike and follow the 1.5 km trail that winds through the rocks of the Frank Slide
2. Get active with the family at Pass Powderkeg Ski Hill & Mountain Bike Trails. A perfect place for families to ski & ride with a friendly environment for all ages & abilities
Did you know?
Pass Powderkeg ski hill has a beginner area set up for all ages & abilities and best of all, it’s FREE!
3. Spend the day at Chinook Lake, a hidden gem of Alberta’s southern Rockies
With a large day-use area, lake activities and extensive trails, it’s a great place to spend a warm summer day with the family
4. Stop at Lundbreck Falls for a picnic and to watch the powerful falls. Located close to the highway 3A, Lundbreck Falls is an ideal place for a quick pit stop
If you want to spend more time exploring what Crowsnest Pass has to offer, be sure to check out the Crowsnest Pass website.
Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park/Áísínai’pi
Check out one of Southern Alberta’s hidden gems, Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park, an extraordinary natural treasure that will not disappoint.
Did you know?
Áísínai’pi is a Blackfoot word and it means “it is pictured/written”. Writing-On-Stone is home to the largest concentration of Indigenous petroglyphs and hieroglyphs in North America.
1. Try the Hoodoo Trail - a 2.2-kilometre trail that winds through hoodoos, sandstone cliffs and petroglyphs and hieroglyphs, upland prairie grasslands, the Milk River valley, and coulees.
2. Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy with the family.
3. Bring your canoe, kayak, raft, or tube and float down Milk River.
4. Check out the sandy beach and cool off in the Milk River.
Be sure to visit Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park to learn more.