There’s no place quite like Banff in the winter time, and it offers the perfect mix of activities to provide families of all ages a holiday they will never forget. To give you an idea of what the town has to offer at this time of year, we have compiled a list of some of our favourite family themed excursions to be enjoyed this winter.
Tubing (Available for adults and kids aged four and up)
Banff in wintertime means finding ways to hurtle down snow-covered mountain slopes by any means necessary. For families with younger children, tubing is a more comfortable alternative to tobogganing, while being less physically demanding then either skiing or snowboarding. Tubing is free for kids up to 17 at Lake Louise Sunny Tube Park, while Mt. Norquay Tubing Park offers a more extensive tubing network to keep you entertained throughout the day!
Santa Claus Parade
Commencing this year on Sat. 16th November, the annual Banff Santa Claus parade kicks off the festive season in town. Following a course from Elk St. to Buffalo St. via Banff Ave. The parade includes festive floats with Christmas lights as well as other attractions to get everyone into the holiday spirit.
Also on the festive agenda is Banff Gondola’s Mountaintop Christmas. Free with the price of a Gondola Ticket, this event, which runs from November 16th to December 30th, features an opportunity to meet Santa in his workshop, Christmas films, and other activities such as cookie and craft decorating.
Upper Hot Springs
The Banff Hot Springs are one of the most famous natural landmarks in the area, and the Upper section is a perfect place to take your little one as it features a wading pool located next to a full-sized equivalent. Open all year round, it’s a great, low-budget option to add to the list.
Bundle up warm and head down to the local stables to take in some of the iconic views surrounding Banff behind a team of horses. Sleigh rides offer a fun and gentle activity that the whole family can enjoy, and you’ll even learn a thing or two about the area from your guide. The experience also includes hot chocolate and marshmallow roasting to help you stay warm!
Snowshoeing (Available for kids aged 12 and up)
Snowshoeing is a uniquely fun and historic way to explore the vast white spaces that surround the town. You can rent snowshoes easily in the town centre, or join a guided tour to fully get the most of your experience!
Banff is steeped in history, and there are a number of museums located around the town. The most well known is the Cave and Basin National Historic Site, where you can visit the birthplace of Canada’s national parks system as well as learning about the natural and cultural history of the park and the mountains that inhabit it. The Whyte Museum, located on Bear Street, also pays homage to the history of the Rockies while educating visitors on the diverse Indigenous peoples past, present and future who have inhabited the area. Alternately, head to the Banff Park Museum, Canada’s oldest natural history museum, to view over 5,000 historic botanical and zoological specimens.
When you add in the spectacular backdrop of the surrounding mountains, it’s no surprise that skating on the frozen lakes that surround Banff is one of the most popular activities for visiting families every winter. You will need to provide your own skates, but these can be easily and affordably rented in town.
While an everyday indoor activity like bowling may not be at the top of your holiday ‘to-do’ list, the weather in Banff may dictate that spending some time inside might be on the agenda at some point. Fortunately Banff has two bowling alleys to keep the family entertained.
Highrollers, located in the heart of Banff Avenue, lives up to it’s ‘PINS. PINTS. PIZZA’ mantra with six lanes, freshly made pizza and an extensive craft beer list.
For those with younger families, the Canadian Bowling and Entertainment Centre at Fairmont Banff Springs offers four lanes, as well as ping pong tables, a video arcade and full menu lounge.
With so much to do in and around town, they’ll never be a forgettable moment, so make sure to check out all our winter activities and book yours today!
Photo Credit: Jake Dyson
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