Located less than an hour away from Edmonton is Elk Island National Park. This beautiful oasis is where you can experience the majesty of one of the largest animals you may ever see: roaming plains bison and wood bison. Elk Island is also home to more than 250 species of birds, so it’s a bird watcher’s paradise.
Aside from wildlife viewing you can walk along the beautiful board walk around Astotin Lake or if you are feeling up to the challenge you can tackle one of many hikes!
Another cool facility out at Elk Island National Park is the bison handling facility and research station. This is a great facility that you can tour to learn more about the inner workings of the Park and how the bison population is controlled, tested for disease and vaccinated. FREE tours depart Saturdays at 1 pm and 3 pm from the Visitor Information Centre.
There’s a ton to do by day, but what about by night? Elk Island National Park falls within the Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve area so it is perfect for star gazing and watching the Northern Lights (when they occur). Edmonton is also home to one of the top Aurora Scientists in the World so if you plan on visiting Edmonton, at any time of the year, I encourage that you sign up for the Aurora Watch website http://www.aurorawatch.ca. This website provides a real-time monitor of geomagnetic activity in the Edmonton area and offers a free email alert service to let you know if there may be aurora visible tonight. Signing up for Aurora Watch is a must for any guest visiting the City.
Elk Island National Park is my favorite place to visit year round. There are so many activities to do there and you will get a real sense of the Alberta prairies.