Gateway Gazette

Having Fun Naturally – Parks Day Celebrations

 

Parks Day is July 18 and Alberta’s provincial parks are alive with all kinds of activities.

aep-twitter-infographics-dinosaurparks-chooseGames, food, displays, crafts, water activities, tours, treasure hunts, contests, special entertainment and even water bomber demonstrations are just some of the festivities scheduled at Alberta’s parks throughout the weekend of July 18 and 19.

While provincial parks generally see close to half a million people taking part in programs each year, it’s anticipated that Parks Day will draw upwards of 10,000 visitors to parks across Alberta.

With a provincial park or protected area within an hour of almost every community in Alberta, there are plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy. Here is just a little of what to look forward to across Alberta:

July 18

  • long-lake-2006Long Lake Provincial Park – 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. – Watch a spectacular water bomber demonstration just off the beach, take part in a sandcastle building contest, enjoy complimentary hotdogs, juice and cake.
  • Cypress Hills Provincial Park – 10 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. – Open mike with singer/songwriter Ron Mason at the beach, Junior Explorers will discover birds, butterflies and bugs, all ages can learn wilderness survival skills or go geocaching, enjoy Parks Day cake, take a Twilight Trek and then watch fireworks at 10:15 p.m. All regular park programs are free for the day.
  • Aspen Beach Provincial Park – noon – 3 p.m. – Decorate your bicycle and ride in the bike parade, join the scavenger hunt, help make a Parks Day banner, enjoy Parks Day cake.

    July 19

  • Greene Valley Provincial Park – activities from 2 – 4 p.m. including displays, crafts, face painting, refreshments and entertainment.
  • Eagle Point Provincial Park and Blue Rapids Provincial Recreation Area – 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. – your choice of paddling down the river, an ATV ride or archery. Finish off the evening with an outdoor BBQ and an interpretive presentation.

To find out what’s happening at a park near you, visit the Parks Day page on AlbertaParks.ca. To see photos of Alberta’s provincial parks on flickr click here.

Did you know?

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Parks Day, now in its 26th year, highlights the powerful role nature plays in our daily lives by drawing Canadians to experience parks firsthand. Check out the Canadian Parks Council’s recent health and well-being publication titled Connecting Canadians to Nature through Parks. Here are some interesting nature factoids to ponder (hopefully while you’re enjoying time outdoors)…

  • When children are outside and in nature they move more, sit less and play longer – behaviours associated with improved body composition, bone density, blood pressure and mental health;
  • People exposed to nature recover from surgery faster and require fewer medications;
  • Memory performance and attention span improves 20 per cent after spending an hour interacting with nature;
  • Nature is good for the soul, reminding us that we are part of something bigger than ourselves;  and
  • Nature makes us nicer – communities with more green space have lower rates of crime and violence.

Happy Parks Day everyone! Hope to see you at one of the province’s 486 sites this weekend.

Source Alberta Environment and Parks

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