As the holiday season approaches, we all look towards the mountains for winter activities such as skiing and snowboarding. Don't forget that there are many other family oriented things to do whether you are going just for a day or have longer to spend.
Banff is always a great place to spend some time. My kids used to love stopping to see the hoodoos, riding up the gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain and, of course, spending time on Banff Avenue visiting the candy store and the rock shop.
Think of dog-sledding and horse-drawn sleigh rides, ice skating, tobogganing and sledding. The Hot Springs are open year round as is the Gondola. Just imagine the snowy vistas you can see from the top of the mountain!! Check the Town of Banff website for information on winter activities.
If you prefer to be indoors, you can visit some of the museums such as the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies (I loved the historic photographs) or the Banff Park Museum National Historic Site of Canada (The kids loved the animals.) One of my personal favorites is a stroll through the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. Legend has it that the main stairway is haunted by the ghost of a bride who fell as she descended the stairs.
Jasper is another great place to go. The Maligne Canyon ice walk offers a chance to see frozen waterfalls and fanciful ice formations. The Jasper tourism site lists the tour companies which will guide you through this frozen wonderland. You can find information on both indoor and outdoor activities on this webpage.
Lake Louise and Canmore also offer a host of winter activities. I particularly love skating on Lake Louise with the mountains towering around us.
You can make the most of your visit by checking out some of these great books at Calgary Public Library before you go. Find some hidden corners that you haven't discovered before.