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5 Awesome Autumn Activities in Alberta

5 Awesome Autumn Activities in Alberta

So long, summer. Hello, fall. The days are getting shorter days and there's a chill in the air, so throw on a sweater, get a pumpkin spice latte, and read up on 5 of the best things to experience in Alberta in autumn.

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"larch valley-1" by John Johnston is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Take a Hike

Fall's a great time to visit Alberta's national and provincial parks as they're generally less busy and you can see some stunning colours upclose on a number of trails. Larches are a popular sight in late September and early October, when the trees' needles turn golden before falling from the branches. Larch Valley is a must-see, and the hike there from Moraine Lake is very crowded—a free shuttle bus from Lake Louise will get you to the start. There are trails where you can get away from other hikers and still see plenty of larches. Check trail conditions with Parks Canada and Alberta Parks.

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"IMG_3134" by Peter Galvin is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Get Lost

Corn Mazes are fantastic fun for the family. Get lost wandering the paths cut into corn fields and try to find your way out. Seen from above, corn maze designs are remarkable, and farmers change the designs every year. Children will especially love the Kraay Family Farm near Lacombe, halfway between Calgary and Edmonton. In addition to its world famous maze, it features a pumpkin cannon, an adventure course, and s'more making. Special events like night walks and pumpkin picking take place in October, so check out Alberta Pumpkin Patches And More to find a maze, pumpkin patch, or farm to visit. 

stargaze

Stargaze

Look up! There's a Harvest Moon on October 5 and the Draconid (October 7-8) and the Orionid (October 20-21) meteor showers. The showers are best seen between midnight and 1 a.m., and Elk Island National Park's Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve is one of the top places to see the cosmic shows. Jasper National Park, too, is renowned for its night sky views, and the Jasper Dark Sky Festival, which runs from October 13 to 22 in the town and throughout the national park, is an excellent event for astronomers and dark sky viewers.

A number of observatories around the province are open to the public. Learn about the stars and space science at the University of Calgary's Rothney Astrophysical Observatory and others:

pumpkin pie

Give Thanks

Originating as a celebration of a successful harvest, Thanksgiving's now a time to gather with family to give thanks for all that is good in our lives. Events around the province on the Thanksgiving long weekend (October 7-9) include pumpkin festivals, Halloween-related activities, and traditional meals. Calgary's Heritage Park has a special weekend planned, and the Bluegrass Nursery's festival has hay rides and pumpkin smashing.

If Thanksgiving is a new holiday for you, be sure try some traditional food: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, and pumpkin pie.

halloween

Be Haunted

On Halloween, celebrated every year on October 31, you'll see people dressed in costume. A long time ago this was done to scare away evil spirits; now, it's a fun excuse to dress up as a superhero, monster, or movie character. Children go door-to-door collecting candy, and adults have an excuse to party in disguise. According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, Halloween's now the second most commercially successful holiday after Christmas.

There are plenty of candy-filled events for kids on and around October 31, from Halloweekends at Calaway Park—Western Canada's largest outdoor amusement park—to a month of spooky events at Heritage Park and Fort Edmonton. Ghost tours (in Calgary and Edmonton), horror festivals, and haunted houses are more suitable for grownups. Visit Canadian Halloween for information on costume shops and events for all ages.

Sources: Huffington Post, Avenue Magazine, Daily Hive, EarthSky, Canadian Encyclopedia

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Saturday, 22 February 2020

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