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Alberta Attractions

• A WorldWeb.com Travel Guide for Alberta, Canada.
The Canadian province of Alberta encompasses everything from forests to prairie lands to mountains over an area of 661,848 sq km. Although Alberta is known for its diverse scenery, the province is also home to a variety of large and small centres each with their own characteristics. Whatever one's taste, whether it be art galleries or zoos, Alberta's communities offer an array of attractions sure to please everyone.

ALBERTA'S NORTH

A variety of communities can be found in the great, spacious outdoors of Alberta's north, among boreal forests and lakes and under the spectacular Northern Lights. Grande Prairie, located northwest of Edmonton, gives a taste of wild northern Alberta but with a city feel, boasting lush green parks, golf courses, museums, galleries and other attractions. Another large centre in northern Alberta is Fort McMurray, a city famous for its oil sands, which visitors may explore at the Oil Sands Discovery Centre. Fort McMurray also has staple attractions like movie theatres and parks. Peace River, High Level, Slave Lake and Rainbow Lake are other communities worth a visit. Each of these towns are a great place to relax and soak up the beauty of northern Alberta.

ALBERTA'S HEARTLAND
 
Alberta's Heartland not only offers postcard-perfect prairies with gently rolling, bright yellow canola fields in summer, the area also has a plethora of attractions. Situated half-way between Edmonton and Calgary, Red Deer is Alberta's third largest city and the largest centre in Alberta's Heartland. It offers the perks of a city along with the appeal of the countryside. Historic Fort Normandeau, the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum and Bower Ponds are a few of Red Deer's most visited attractions.

Not far from Red Deer are the popular summer communities of Sylvan Lake and Gull Lake. Both offer great lakes for swimming, boating, camping or just relaxing on the beach. Family-friendly attractions can be found in towns like Lacombe and Stettler. Highlights in Lacombe include Edwardian buildings and the challenging Lacombe Corn Maze created every fall. Stettler features a western-style downtown area, great parks and the Alberta Prairie Railway Excursion.

EDMONTON & AREA
 
Nicknamed Canada's Festival City due its abundance of annual events, there is always something going on in Edmonton. Even when there is no festival scheduled there are still plenty of things to do in Alberta's capital. The city is a shopper's fantasy boasting Canada's largest shopping and entertainment centre, West Edmonton Mall. The mall's directory features hundreds of shops as well as a multitude of restaurants, an ice rink, a water park, mini golf courses and an amusement park. The Alberta Legislative Building and an assortment of museums, parks, golf courses and other attractions can be found in Edmonton.
 
Fort Saskatchewan, Spruce Grove, St. Albert and Leduc are all communities in close proximity to Edmonton, each offering their own sights and attractions. Quaint downtown areas, farmers' markets, parks and small museums are a sample of delights to discover in Edmonton's surrounding area.

ALBERTA'S ROCKIES

Visitors to Alberta's Rockies can spend days admiring the area's natural attractions of snow-capped mountain peaks, deep turquoise lakes and mesmerizing waterfalls. Located a short drive from Calgary is Kananaskis Country, a picturesque landscape of spectacular mountain scenery rich with campsites to fully enjoy nature. The mountains continue to tower higher as visitors make their way into Banff National Park. The town of Banff serves as the hub of the park and attractions like Lake Louise, Moraine Lake and Johnston Canyon are all close by. The Icefields Parkway connects Banff National Park north to Jasper National Park and features fantastic mountain scenery along the way. Columbia Icefield, Maligne Lake, Marmot Basin and the town of Jasper are a few of the many sites that Jasper National Park is known for.

CALGARY & AREA

As steamy July days roll into the city of Calgary everyone, from bank tellers to the evening newscast team, trades in their suits for more comfortable attire—cowboy hats, plaid shirts and shiny belt buckles. The world-famous Calgary Stampede kicks off every summer in Calgary and consists of 10 days of rodeos, rides, concerts, pancake breakfasts and other fun events. Although the Stampede attracts hundreds of thousands of national and international tourists every year, the city offers a deluge of year-round attractions, including interpretive centres, theatres, parks, charming neighbourhoods and a richness of culture all its own. A few highlights in Calgary include the Calgary Zoo, the 627-ft (191-m) Calgary Tower and Heritage Park.

If in need of a break from the busy pace of city life, there are quite a few smaller communities close by. Airdrie, Bragg Creek, Black Diamond and Cochrane offer gorgeous scenery, leafy parks, art galleries and unique shops in which to browse.

ALBERTA'S SOUTH
 
Alberta's south presents a diverse landscape of prairies, mountains and hoodoos. Like the topography in this area, the attractions of southern Alberta are wide-ranging. In the southwest corner of Alberta, visitors will be amazed by the beautiful mountain peaks, lakes and wildlife inside Waterton Lakes National Park. Northeast of Calgary lies Drumheller, where the scenery takes on an out-of-this-world appearance with moon-like, eroded badlands. These badlands are rich with fossilized dinosaur bones, which visitors can learn about in Drumheller's Royal Tyrrell Museum.

Close to Fort Macleod is the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. The jump's interpretive centre educates tourists about the Blackfoot people and buffalo hunts. If after galleries, museums and parks, visitors should check out the area's two largest cities, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. Both cities have a variety of worthwhile attractions such as the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden in Lethbridge and the Medalta Potteries and Hycroft China Museums in Medicine Hat.
Horseshoe Canyon - Drumheller
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Photos of Alberta  Horseshoe Canyon - Drumheller


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