Free Activites in Saskatoon for Your Kids this Summer

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Free is awesome. Kids with too much free time is not awesome. Here is a list of activities in Saskatoon that are free (yay!) for your kids (and you) to enjoy!

1) Water Parks, Playground Programs and Paddling Pools

There are water park playgrounds all over Saskatoon, near most schools, that turn into fabulous water fun lands. The City of Saskatoon has compiled a handy little list for your pleasure. May I suggest hitting up several locations throughout the summer?? You children will LOVE YOU! 😀

Handy list of water parks link. (Which is also, I might add…handy ;))

2) Parks

I realize the list above ALSO says “parks“, BUT this list is compiled of free play or picnic type parks. Make some lunch, grab a frisbee or their DS’s and head our to a park. We have several parks, all listed by neighborhoods. Check out some new ones and favorite ones. I do not think family’s do park outings enough. Great way to spend a family day AND it’s free!

Saskatoon Park’s

3) Walking, Biking, Blading

Soo many walking paths around Saskatoon! Why not take an active approach to a beautiful summer day and tour some of our great walking paths!

Saskatoon Walking Paths

4) Library

You may or may not have budding readers on your hands, but the library is a great place for your kids to spend some time reading or looking through books and subjects that they may not regularly read. You can also download library books to your e-reader, which is a sweet added bonus.

Library Locations and Info

5) Mendel Art Gallery

Art is a great way to expand your children’s mind. If you have an exceptionally creative child, they will very much enjoy this experience. The Mendel Art constantly features new artists and their work.

Mendel Art Gallery

6) Backyard BBQ

Invite family and friends and have a backyard bbq. The key to making this successful is to keep the kids busy. Think paddling pool, swing set, trampoline, a bouncer and toys. The next key thing is food, have everyone bring a dish. You can organize it by having a list of food items that you want made and as you call to invite people have them choose what they would like to bring.

7) Scavenger Hunt

These are easy to create and are a lot of fun. You can set it up in your own yard, or a park or all over Saskatoon if you feel motivated to do so. This will definitely give your kids something to talk about when they go back to school.

Summer is a short-lived event in Saskatoon and summer holidays best, when enjoyed. Give your kids the best summer ever, with this list of free things to do! 🙂

Saskatoon-15 Things to Do in 3 1/2 Months of Summer

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Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan festival tents...

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Summer in Saskatoon lasts for about 3 and a half months, better do as much as humanly possible in that time! Here are 15 things to do in 3 1/2 months!

1) Jump

For joy because it is FINALLY summer!! Did you think winter was EVER going to end this year…OMG longest one ever!

2) Greenhouses

We have two pretty awesome ones to check out:

Both places are a shoppers dream and a great place to celebrate summer!

3) Walking

There are 6 awesome places that I love. Great walks to take new or not new dates on…

4) Berry Barn

You can pick the freshest berries that you will EVER eat living in Saskatoon!

5) Forestry Farm

You didn’t think that I would leave out our classic zoo, did you??

6) Farmer’s Market

Fresh produce and Sask made items for your shopping pleasure. They are open Wednesdays 11am-5pm and Saturdays 8am-2pm.

7) Garage Sales

The area you live in should have a website, that lets you know when the community garage sales are taking place or you can search them out through the StarPhoenix in the classifieds.

8) Shakespeare on The Saskatchewan

This event seems pretty self explanatory! You have Shakespeare, you have our river. July 6th-August 21st

9) Waterfront Craft Art Festival

Takes places on Spadina, June 11th.

10) Sasktel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival

If you love Jazz or music, this is one festival you will want to go to! Pretty sweet.

11) A taste of Saskatchewan

Mmmmm. July 19th-24th. Everybody likes to eat!

12) PotashCorp Fringe Theatre

July 28th-August6th. Great place for unique things!

13) Saskatoon Exibition (August 9th-14th)

EVERYBODY goes to this one! I have to admit that this place is getting a little scary at night. If you have a family or you are scared easily ,I highly recommend that you go during the day. Just saying…

14) Folkfest

August 18th-20th. Food, fun and alcohol! 😀

15) Get Married!

Somebody HAS to get married this year, might as well be YOU!! Yay weddings are fun! Do it! I have even included a link from the Justice and Attorney General of Saskatchewan, (how romantic) for frequently asked questions about getting hitched in Saskatoon. BEST DAY EVER!

I didn`t list EVERYTHING happening this summer here in Saskatoon. So if you want to list your event, go right ahead and do so! 🙂

Saskatoon Forestry Farm: 6 New Ways to Enjoy It!

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Welcome to the Forestry Farm Park and Zoo Sask...

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If you live in Saskatoon I am quite certain that you have been to the Forestry Farm, even more so if you are a parent. In fact, you probably have a season pass, because it is kinda like giving charity to our zoo animals. Us Saskatonians are a thoughtful bunch that way.

After going to the Forestry Farm 3 times, you probably feel confident that you have seen all there is to see. I am giving you new glasses today and 6 new ways to enjoy our friendly neighborhood zoo…

1. Quarters

No not for the bars that are prohibited here in Saskatoon, but for the birds. The next time you check out the Forestry Farm, bring a pocket full of quarters for bird seed. For your entire duration while in the park gates, resolve to only seeking out birds and feeding them. This will shift your entire experience. When you are all out of bird seed, disinfect your hands and go home; today was bird day, NOTHING else.

2. Random Walk

On Random Walk zoo day, you are only permitted to walk off the beaten path. You may need a child leading you on this day’s adventure. Spend the morning walking on all the natural paths that swing around the animal gates and the other paved, much more taken paths. The best way to prepare for Random Walk day is to tell your child (if you don’t have one, get ready to get strange looks when doing this) that today is adventure day and have them lead you on the random walk.

3. Picnic

You have done this. DON’T do this at the benches in front of the concession area. THAT’S not a picnic, that’s lunch…outside. Bring a blanket, your little lunch kit of food and hand sanitizer! Have a picnic in the zoo area (preferably away from bird feces). The Forestry Farm has beautiful trees and nicely shaded areas for relaxing and picnicking.

4. Train Day

Train day is great for lazy days or the super hot ones where your shoes are melting to the cement. Hop aboard the train and enjoy a little of the scenery, that you may not regularly enjoy because the train ride covers the entire perimeter of the zoo and let’s face it, that’s a big walk for your day off. After your exhausting train ride, go home and nap…your deserve one! 😉

5. Tourist Day

Do you own a flower shirt and a camera?? You are soo ready for this! You need friends with the same gear, large group is best. On Tourist day you take 300 pictures and ask total strangers to hold your purse or bag while they take your picture. You want pictures of you standing in front of EVERYTHING! In fact, grab a local and get a picture with them too and mumble to your friend how they look like so and so and how that’s weird. Post that on Facebook, best day EVER.

6. Forget Glasses

On THIS special day, you need glasses ones that help you read stuff. But oops, wouldn’t you know it, you forgot them at home! Silly you! As you walk through the zoo, everytime you get to a new enclosure ask your new friend (the stranger standing beside you) to read the plastic animal info chart and tell you what it says. When they are done reading it, you say hmm that doesn’t make any sense, with a confused look on your face. Maybe this one should be entitled forget brain day, whatever you call it, it will be a unique experience.

Okay, there are your 6 NEW ways to enjoy our classic Saskatoon Forestry Farm, I didn’t say they were good ways, I just said they were new and they are, until you do them, then well, technically they’re not.

6 Best Places to Walk in Saskatoon

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Rear view of Hotel Bessborough with horizontal...

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Thinking of going for a walk, wondering what to check out on your travels and where you should go? Look no further. Here are the 6 best places to walk in Saskatoon:

1. The Bessborough (601 Spadina Crescent East)

The most beautiful and oldest (I think) hotel in Saskatoon. Rumor has it, that the hotel is haunted but THAT has nothing to do with walking, unless you take a stroll inside. And you should. But for the sake of this list, I am suggesting the river walk around the Bessborough (also called The Bess, if you live here). It is beautiful. As an added perk, you will see and possbily enjoy, the Saskatoon Bus Stop Refreshments! (Spadina Crescent & 21st Street East).

2. Broadway (near the river/bridge area)

Broadway itself is a fun place to spend a day shopping, taking in a little of our culture and maybe some drinks BUT if you are on a walking mission stay around the river and bridge. Saskatoon has beautiful bridges, (duh, we’re practically famous for them!) and the walking areas around the river give Saskatoon a quaint city feel. If you love to walk, walk towards the next bridge, either Victoria (which is our oldest) or the University (which is very popular).

3. Forestry Farm Park (1903 Forestry Farm Park Drive)

Most people think of animals, but there is a beautiful park, that has a path running around the perimeter OR you can talk a nature walk right through the center and chart your own course. Lots of scenery and family gatherings.

4. Off Leash Parks

You do not need a dog to enjoy the off leash areas (although it DOES make it more comfortable!). We have several to check out around Saskatoon. I have included links to a map for your convenience.

5. Meewasin (in Silverwood Heights area)

Great path to walk on with your children or leashed pets. The area is quiet and very scenic. You will be greeting other walkers, people on bikes and runners along the way.

6. Anywhere in Saskatoon

There are a couple of areas that I would avoid at night, as in 22nd Street West and 20th Street West and any streets running through those streets. However, aside from that area, Saskatoon is a beautiful city for walking through. Our city is small and a large space can be covered and discoveries made over a short period of time. I recommend starting in one area of town without a plan or a direction in mind and let the day take you where it will. You will enjoy this unique perspective of Saskatoon.

If you have any great walking places to add or you want to add more details to the places we have listed, please feel free!

Saskatoon Circus-Hope You Brought Cash (Lots of it!)

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As you know, because Saskatoon is more small than huge, the circus was just in town. If you have kids, I can only assume that you went because it felt like every parent and child in Saskatoon were cramped into the hot, smelly, mosh pit like tent. Of course, that is only my perspective, the kids thought the circus was amazing and fun!

The BEST part of the circus, were the shows. They included:

  • Trained Horses
  • Acrobatics
  • Hilarious Clowns
  • Trampoline Dude
  • Elephant Rides
  • Puppy Show

Every act was unique and done very well. I give kudos’ to the people who travel with the circus and commit their lives to performing acts, some of which seem quite dangerous at times. Thank you to all the performers, you did an amazing job!

I DO have a couple of things I would adjust before I consider the circus again:

One of the challenges of the tent set up was trying to leave during intermission or after the show. It was very unpleasant, there was not a clear system and it took 15 minutes of very slow walking to escape the chaos. The experience was made worse, because like most parents of children you are catering to a irritable, tired, over stimulated, wanting toys, need to pee, hungry, child. A new system needs should designed or alternative exists created. The circus was in a make shift tent and the effort in trying to leave might be considerably different at the Credit Union Centre.

Another frustration, was the frequent pausing of the show to advertise how us parents could spend more money, as the travelling food and toys made their rounds. The tent was hot and muggy and at any moment, children could have random tantrums and cry fits, we know there is food and toys making their rounds, please do not stop the show to let us know this.

Overall, the circus was a great family outing and when it comes to Saskatoon I am sure that I will again be there with tickets in hand. My advice to you before you head to the circus is to either give your children a budget OR brings lots of cash, because you my friend are going to spend it!

 

6 Reasons Why the UltraAVX at Galaxy in Saskatoon Rocks!

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popcorn

Image by danmachold via Flickr

Movies are the best thing EVER, second only to theatre popcorn. As we booked our Pirates of The Caribbean tickets through cineplex.com, we were given the option of Digital 3D and UltraAVX 3D. I have not heard of UltraAVX3D, so we decided to check it out. Here are the Top 5 reasons why it is better than the regular theatre rooms:

1. Reserved Seating!

When you book your tickets online, just like at TCU Place and Credit Union Centre, you get to choose where you sit! If you are a control freak on ANY level, you will LOVE it! Never mind the stress of where will we be able to sit when you get there, or finding enough seats so that you can all sit together, nevermind ANY of that! Choose your seats and be done with all of that.

2. Cushy Carpet

When we first got to the coveted new theatre, I thought that someone had spilled some pop on the floor because my shoes were feeling squishy and then I wondered if my shoes had become randomly extra comfy. No. The carpet is brand new and feels fabulous! Yay to new, cushy carpets.

3. Do you smell that?!

No stale air here. You know the familiar sweatyish, popcorn smell of your classic movie theatre experience, you won’t have that here. It is at this moment, when you look up and realize that this theatre is new and smells new!

4. Seats

As you gaze in wonder, because you live in Saskatoon and you don’t get out as much as you should, you notice that the seats look different. Vinyl? Maybe. But definitely bigger and they lean, not just the broken ones from the old theatre, but ALL of them! Fabulous!

5. Bigger is Better

Bigger always trumps, I don’t care what your significant other told you, they lied and it does! The screen, the new screen is bigger and clearer. With the technology of tv moving faster and movie efficiently than the movie screen’s quality, the quality of the movie screen was getting left behind. This one brings it up to standard. It is beautiful, clear AND bigger!

6. 3D Today

More than likely in 2 weeks there will be better 3D technology available and another new theatre room will be born, but for now this theatre is awesome and the 3D is fabulous. The movie literally sits in your lap and will make you a little dizzy, because of the depth that the screen allows you to feel within the movie.

These are the reasons why you should check out the new (insert some cheesy, suspenseful musical nodes here…) U-L-T-R-A-A-V-X at Galaxy in Saskatoon!

Saskatoon-Top 5 Things to do at The Forestry Farm Park

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Summer is here, FINALLY! And just like all of our Saskatchewan winters, I am pretty sure THAT was our longest and coldest one ever!

Making every warm day counts, is probably one of the things we have learnt to do best! We have great parks here in Saskatoon, one of my favorites is the Forestry Farm Zoo Park. This may not be the formal name, but my girls sure don’t know that. As you pay your (huge) $2 admission into the park, I believe it is free if you are inclined to walk ;), you will take a stroll down a curvy road, (the EXACT same road that adorns our Christmas lights every year) and you will see a sign that says, “Forestry Farm House“. Just past the clearing is a super fun day for your family.

The Top 5 Things to do here:

1. Play at the Park!

I believe, the park set up is sponsored by McDonald’s and as you know they have the funds to build whatever they want. Your kids will love this park and will burn copious amounts of energy playing, chasing, climbing and meeting new friends here.

2. Pick Flowers

You child can pick flowers. Maybe to you they are just dandelions, but to your beautiful children they represent hope, hope that whoever is at the receiver end of their yellow capped bouquet will be happy, it is usually their mom, who is (if you are anything like me) thrilled to bits to receive these scented goodies!

3. Fish Pond

Just past the park is a place where kids can fish. You can usually spot a couple of kids with their fishing rods. They have a great set up, there are large rocks all the way around the pond for kids to get closer to the water, as all kids LOVE water, much more than parents are comfortable with sometimes. They also have benches and picnic tables for either you to enjoy your coffee or lunch.

4. BBQ Grills

If it is a beautiful day, why not have a bbq picnic with the family. There are several bbq grill set ups, but make sure to get there early as they do fill up quickly with families. If you do not need the element the grass is well-kept and any spot is perfect for the blanket and your kids will love you forever or until they want something again.

5. Wide open

This park is beautiful and has huge, open patches of grass for you to play catch with any number of flying objects.

Take advantage of this warm day, if it so happens to be one and check out this park with your family, super fun day ahead!

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Finding The Perfect Daycare in Saskatoon

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Photo taken by me as an example of a stay at h...

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Finding a great daycare for our kids is the most important thing we can do (you know, other than stay at home to take care of them). There are several factors that come into play as we shop around for the place that our children will spend a big chunk of their time.

Before you begin your search you should consider a few things:

  • Do you want to go with a dayhome or a daycare?

A dayhome is child care out of someones home. Generally the caregiver has kids and want a way to stay home with them or they began when their children were young. Most operate during day but there are homes in Saskatoon willing to work around shifts. They can either be private or Government run. In Saskatoon, the liscenced ones are Government regulated and have guidlines for what should be incorporated into the day. They also have a Government worker that will oversee and assit them when needed.

A  daycare is generally in a public building, has caregivers, more children and structure. There are very different set ups and opportunities within each of the daycares. You may want to ask them what makes them different.

  • How old is your child and what ages do you want them to be with?

Most child care homes will have an age of majority, usually babies, toddlers or pre school age (as other kids are in school all day). This will affect the activites and stimulation that is provided. It is important to ask what age of children your child will be spending the day with.

  • How is the day spent?

I think it is important to know how your child`s day will be spent. A big thing to check here is tv time. More than 2 hours of TV a day, actually dulls our child`s IQ. Government ran dayhomes only allow for 30 minutes of tv time a day, so you can see where they stand with this point.

  • Values are aligned

As you talk to various caregivers, you will get a sense of who they are and what they value. If they have similar views and values to yourself you will feel comfortable talking to them and you can decide from there.

  • Cost

This is an obvious one. Most childcare homes in Saskatoon are ranging from $25-$40 a day, with $30 being the most popular price right now. Daycares generally run a little cheaper as they care for more children.

All of that being said, how do you now begin to look for childcare that is right for your child.

1. Government Listings

The Government has a comprehensive list for liscenced childcare home and daycares in Saskatchewan. They are listed by area and give addresses. This puts you in control for who you are talking to. Liscenced homes and centers are monitered and have rules they need to follow. If this makes you the most comfortable, then this may be the best route for you. The rates will also be more regulated in this group.

2. Schools

You can call the schools in your neighborhood for a list of child care homes in the area. This will give you the most comprehensive list close to your home. Some offer preschool programs that run all day, as well as before and after care for your child.

3. Friends

Once you are in need of childcare start letting everyone know. This way you will have your friends preview people for you, and also choosing people that they like, and because they are your friends, their choices will be similar to yours.

Childcare is very important. The very best childcare will come from you, the parent. That being said, you might have to work or you might be in school…and you need to know that your child is well taken care of and enjoying their day as well. Take your time and find the best childcare for them.

If you have any suggestions about great daycare places or have a childcare home, please feel free to comment.

Saskatoon-10 Places to Go

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Wikipedia:Mendel Art Gallery and Civic Conserv...

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Every city has the attractions that are boast worthy and some of the best places are only known by the people who live there. When in Saskatoon, what is there to do with your free time?

1. Forestry Farm (aka our zoo)

Every city has one, and if you are into animals or into zoos themselves, make sure to visit ours. Our zoo is pretty decent when compared with others. Just outside the zoo, is an excellent play park area for kids and a huge area for picnics and barbecuing. Sweet.

2. Public Library

Do you like to read away from the hype of book stores? We have several great libraries located all over the city. They are a nice place to spend some quiet time reading. If you do not like to read…

3. Mendel Art Gallery

Every month they have a new exhibit, featuring a new artist. Our Art Gallery is a great place to check out some original art, every time I have been there they have a unique display from a very talented or sometimes disturbed individual, but always very interesting and thought-provoking. Did I mention it was free?

4. Berry Barn

Looking to bring your date to an old school romantic place? The Barn, although a little subdued is a great little date place. They also do weddings, so if your date goes well you can book ahead for that! 😉

5. Children’s Discovery Museum

Do you have kids with too much energy and a lot of curiosity AND a day off? This place is great for that! The cost is only $3.50 per child and they have several displays for your child to explore and friends to make while doing so.

6. Saskatchewan Railway Museum

I have not been here, but I am checking it out this summer. It looks very cool. And the theme, well you guessed it, is railways. They have several railway cars to check out. I could tell you more, but like I said I have yet to visit the place.

7. Western Development Museum

Great museum! We are here almost on a weekly basis. They are constantly updating, renovating and adding new displays. It is a fairly huge museum and you can easily spend an afternoon learning Saskatchewan history. Great for the family.

8. Meewasin Valley Trial

There is a beautiful walk that runs by the University and the bridges downtown. If you live here or are just visiting, this is one walk I highly suggest. Bring comfy shoes. The walk is beautiful and you can more fully appreciate it with happy feet!

9. Ukrainian Museum of Canada

Tons of Ukrainian history and definitely a place to pursue for a couple of hours. Again, I have yet to go here. I am Ukrainian so I should probably get my history lesson on! I also spelled Ukrainian wrong every single time in this entire paragraph (prior to spell check). Will that also be in my heritage lesson? haha!

10.  Wanuskewin Heritage Park

The history and beliefs of our first nations people. Excellent museum. Always upgrading and expanding.

If you are looking to entertain some of your time in Saskatoon, here is your unofficial guide. Please feel free to add anything that I have not mentioned! 🙂

Hi Saskatoon!

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Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan festival tents...

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Saskatoon Insider is all about Saskatoon, from the inside out. We check out ALL things Saskatoon, we are unlike other Saskatoon sites because our perspectives will be unusual and focused on the best things about everything there is to Saskatoon.

If you have a place, person or “thing” that you want us to check out, send us an email and we’ll feature the inside goods! We promise to keep it light and positive. insiderus@saskatooninsider.ca