2 Things you must do in Calgary as a family!

Only have a couple of days to spend in Calgary with your family? Here are my suggestions for the two attractions you must do with little kids in Calgary!

A couple of years ago I attended an Epicure conference in Calgary. Since we are from Saskatchewan and it’s an easy drive for us to get there. So we decided to head down a couple of days early for a family vacation.

Since we only had a couple of days before my conference started we wanted to make the most of our time and have some fun with the kids.

First stop: Calaway Park

Entrance to Callaway Park

This is a fantastic place to go with small children! There are some bigger rides that we didn’t get a chance to go on because our kids were too small at the time. But there was more than enough to keep us busy!

Now, where to first….

There were so many great rides for small children. The kids loved riding the Rocky Mountain Railroad. My son got to be in the driver’s seat and steer the wheel. He thought that was so cool! The views were great on this little ride as well!

All aboard!

Gorgeous scenery from the Rocky Mountain Railroad

Mike and Gemma went on the swings. Rhys was too small which was fine with me, then I didn’t have to go on this ride! haha I think Mike was more scared than Gemma!

Pretending to be cool with this ride. He was secretly terrified!
U Drive – Safety School of Motoring
The Tot Yachts

Eggs rideWe loved that they almost always had a mini version of the “big kid” rides! our kids were quite small at the time so we skipped a lot of those bigger rides.

Dodgem – bumper cars for littles
Freddie the Fireboat – a great little climb & play area for littles!

We also went on Splash Mountain, however I was too busy having fun to take pictures! My youngest (4 at the time) was absolutely terrified! lol  We may have scarred him for life from roller coaster type rides.  Especially ones with water involved. Oops! I’m not one to ride many rides, but I found Splash Mountain super fun!

I would estimate we spent around 2 hours at Calaway Park, and we managed to do a LOT! We went on a weekday so I’m not sure how busy/lined up the rides are on the weekend, but I highly recommend going on a weekday.

We hardly had to wait in line for any of the rides, and the food booths were quiet as well so we had no problems grabbing something to eat.

Having a corn do and enjoying the views

If you are heading to Calgary with small children, Calaway Park is the place to go! There were a couple of bigger rides like the big bumper cars and roller coaster. But it’s certainly not a big “adventure” park and I don’t think teenagers would enjoy it as much.  I recommend going when they’re younger as it seems to be geared towards the younger kids.

Our kids were 4 and 6 at the time and I think I would like to take them again when they’re a bit older to do some of the bigger rides.

#calawayfun

Second stop: Calgary Zoo

This was our second time to the Calgary Zoo and it never disapoints!

There are 5 main “parks” within the zoo.

  1. Canadian Wilds
  2. Destination Africa
  3. Dorothy Harvie Gardens
  4. Eurasia
  5. Prehistoric Park

Again, our kids were quite small at the time so I would recommend trying to choose just 3-4 parks or break up your zoo visit into two days. It can get to be a LOT of walking for littles. Definitely bring a stroller even if your kids are sort of past that stage.

The first time we went we skipped the Canadian Wilds (as we thought it would be quite similar to our local zoo. Boy were we wrong!) and the Prehistoric Park (because they kids were scared of the dinos!).

The second time though, we managed to touch on each park. We went quicker through the Africa, the gardens and the Eurasia parks as we remembered them fairly well from the time before. Then spent more time in the Canadian Wilds and PrehistoricPark. 

First stop – Penguin Park!

 

Hanging out inside the Karsten Discovery Centre waiting for the rain to stop.

At one point it had started to rain pretty hard so we snuck into the first building we could find. It was the Karsten Discovery Centre where they had different presentations and such. They also has some infographics on the wall explaining the impact of the floods in June 2013.

It was amazing how much they were still suffering and trying to rebuild and fund ongoing projects after that devastating flood. We had just been there two weeks before it happened in 2013. My sister and her family were planning on visiting the zoo three weeks after us and they never did get to go because it was shut down.

For ways that you can help give back to this amazing zoo, click here.

We love the African animals!
This little guy was born just 6 weeks before we arrived!
Watch out when those hippos lift their tail! They literally fling their s#$% everywhere with their tails and it is SUPER smelly! Get out as fast as you can. lol
You can be a big pig too!
Beautiful tropical fish
So many neat creatures!
Zebras!
Aren’t these flamingos gorgeous?!
Oh hello!
This guy was so playful that day after the rain! Definitely go when it’s cooler if you can. The animals are so much more active in the cooler weather.
The decorations here are a sight in itself!
Would love to come down here at night and see the beautiful lights. Heading back towards the front of the park and Prehistoric Park.
Ahhhhh!!!!
Made our way over to the Canadian Wilds this time and it is absolutely stunning! Such gorgeous scenery with all of the lush vegetation and mountainous areas.
Everything was so green and beautiful!
RAWR!!!!
GRRRRRRRRR!
Now that’s the most adorable dinosaur I’ve ever seen!

The Calgary Zoo is a place we could go back to time and time again. We never feel like we have enough time. I think as the kids get older we can spend more and more time there.

The kids really loved Prehistoric Park this time around. They loved pushing the buttons and watching the dinosaurs move and make noises. However I didn’t get very many pictures of that area. If your kid is into dinos, then this is the place for you!

I’d say you’d need at least 4-6 hours to really see everything there is to see.  Make sure you plan your time accordingly as we had planned to spend more time here the day before but it closed rather early (5 p.m.) That’s why we ended up at Calaway Park first.

There was lots of parking available at the zoo, however it was a bit of a walk to get to the entrance. Bring comfortable shoes because it’s a lot of walking!

This was also the day that Mike and the kids were driving home and stopping at Drumheller on the way.  So needless to say we ran out of time again and weren’t able to do all that we wanted.

After Mike and the kids went home I headed to my Epicure conference which was fabulous as always!

My team and I spent a bit of time chilling out on a pedestrian street in downtown Calgary. The rest of the time was spent learning everything we needed to know to grow our business! I can’t wait to go again when it’s in the west.

Second balcony patio in downtown Calgary. Such a gorgeous place! Wish I could remember which restaurant we were at and where it’s located. haha
After party after our gala event!
Epicure conference in full force! So inspiring!

Head over to Family Travel for more of our adventures!

Comment below and tell me what your favourite things are to do in Calgary with young kids. It’s a bit of a drive but we love to explore Calgary and are hoping to go back again soon. 🙂

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Family travels in Ka’anapali, Maui, Hawaii

Ka’anapali, Maui – a great place for kids!

The dream…

“What if we took mom to Hawaii?” he said. We all looked at each other in a little bit of shock, but immediately that shock turned to excitement! It was a place we had all wanted to go (or go back to). My mother-in-law (MIL) was turning 60 and we were trying to figure out an exciting way to celebrate. So a full year before we departed our dream started to take shape…

Planning…

I’m not gonna lie, we were extremely hesitant at first. For anyone who is raising a young family (and in their first year of starting a small business to boot!), you know that hefty price tag is enough to squash a dream like that in an instant. Plus I can NOT keep a secret, so it was killing me not to say anything to my MIL and kids.

However, all of the stars were aligning for us that year. My father-in-law (FIL) had been dreaming up this idea (and saving for it) long before he ever let on to any of us. He offered to pay for the VRBO rental for the whole gang (all 10 of us)!

ALSO, it just so happened to be Christmas and my parents had offered to give each of us (all my sisters and I, spouses, nieces and nephews) enough of their Avion points to fly anywhere in North America that year.  There was nothing holding us back!

While there were several ups and downs and changes in plans (we almost didn’t go! Gasp!), it all worked out in the end. We are forever grateful to have our flights and accommodations paid for and for my sister-in-law who took into account all of our individual requests and organized the VRBO rental for us. It is no small task let me tell you!

The next thing we knew we were surprising my mother-in-law and our kids with the news. 3 weeks later we were up in the air on our way to Maui!!

Travel day…

It was one really long day of travel and if you know anything about me and flying, you know that I HATE it! I’m not a fun person to fly with I hate to admit. If you have any tips on overcoming flying fears please send them my way! But the thing that keeps me going is that it is sooooooo worth it in the end to be able to experience all of the beautiful and exciting places this world has to offer.

My kids are champion flyers now. We took them on their first flight when they were 3 and 1 1/2, and have flown with them at least once or twice a year since (they are now 8 and 6). They each have their own carry-on that we make sure to pack with lots of snacks.

We’re on our way!

They also pack things to do on the flight and during the hours upon hours spent in airports. Their teachers have always been great and sent a little bit of work for them so they don’t fall behind. This is the first thing we get them to do once we’re past security and have to wait to board.

The kids also make sure to download any movies or shows they want to watch on the flight from Netflix (with a little help from dad).

Between those two things, games on their tablet, snacks on the plane and a couple of bathroom breaks it’s enough to keep them busy until we land.

What are some ways you keep your kids occupied on flights and in airports?

Mike is always content watching movies or reading a book on airplanes. Me? Well all I need is a crochet hook and some yarn. 😉

Paradise…

Maui……what can I say. It is total paradise.

We arrived late at night and a couple of us ended up on separate flights. So when everyone arrived and gathered our bags, we headed straight to get our car rental and hit the Costco near the Kahului airport. Even the smells and items you could buy in the Costco in Maui proved right away were were in paradise. The freshest pineapples you ever saw, coconuts and chocolate covered macadamia nuts. Boy, did we go through a LOT of chocolate covered macadamia nuts on that trip! lol

We had about an hour drive to get to Ka’anapali and unlocked the doors to our home away from home. Let me tell you, that VRBO rental did NOT disappoint! It had an enormous pool and hot tub, a private guest house (which our little family had the privilege of staying in, don’t ask me how!), and the biggest, most beautiful kitchen I have ever cooked in! Plus it was only a couple of minutes walk to the ocean. Ahhhhhhhh we were in paradise.

Beautiful flowers he found on our walks near the house. Don’t worry he wasn’t picking them, he just picked the ones that had already fallen off of the tress and were on the ground. lol
Walks near the house.

Lahaina…

 

So of course just hanging out with your family, by the pool, eating, drinking and having a grand old time is more than enough to keep us happy for a week. However we did end up on a couple of really great excursions during our week in Maui.

The first thing on our agenda was to head down to Lahaina town to take a walk down Front Street and check out the shops and restaurants. It’s a great place to grab some shaved ice and just walk around and browse the shops. We also took a walk down by the ocean front for our kids’ first time seeing the ocean! It was such a special evening.

 

First time seeing the ocean
The whole gang at Cheeseburger in Paradise in Lahaina.
Another one because she’s cute.
“I’m Forrest. Forrest Gump”
“People call me Forrest Gump”

We just happened to plan our trip near Christmas and on the day of the lighting of the Banyan treeOur kids are not that patient when it comes to shopping and just looking around so we headed down to Banyan Tree Park early, grabbed a seat on an old bench and waited for the lighting ceremony. There was music and dancing as well as vendors set up in the park selling local, handmade goods. But the thing I will probably remember the most about that night is the millions of birds that flock to that tree. The noise that those birds make is unbelievable! It was quite the experience in itself, and thankfully only one of us got pooped on that evening!  :O 

Waiting for the lighting ceremony.
The Banyan tree was unbelievable!

If you plan to visit Lahaina during the lighting of the Banyan Tree make sure to get there early because there are not a lot of places to park! Expect to walk quite a ways as well. But don’t worry, there is so much to see and do you will enjoy the walk. We parked down by the outlet mall and there were plenty of cool places to check out and shop along the way. While the actual lighting of the tree wasn’t that spectacular, it was a great excuse to go check out Lahaina.

Beaches…

The beaches in Ka’anapali were fantastic for little kids! I was still really nervous about letting my kids jump in the waves so someone was always with them, but did they ever have a blast!

From where we were staying, we had a short walk to cross the highway to where we could catch the free Ka’anapali resort shuttle. With little kids in tow, this shuttle saved our butts a few times! We were so thankful we discovered it. This shuttle takes you all the way down the hotel strip and stops at all of the major hotels along the way. Did I mention it’s totally free? Of course we left a tip every time. The drivers were so friendly and inviting and the kids loved putting the money in the jar after every trip. And, because it was Christmas time they had the best Hawaiian Christmas music playing on the trolley! We may have sang along a time or two. 😉

Anyways, back to the beaches. The beach we loved the most was Black Rock Beach. It was by far the most calm. The Black Rock stops a lot of the big waves from coming in and hitting the beach. The waves were the smallest here and we felt the most comfortable letting our kids play. A few of the adults in our group took out their snorkeling gear and did a bunch of creature spotting near Black Rock. Because it’s so warm and calm, it’s a place where a lot of the little sea creatures come to play. While I don’t think anyone in our group spotted a sea turtle, we heard this is the best place to go to see them.

Black Rock, Ka’anapali, Maui, Hawaii
Waiting to catch a wave! haha We were too busy having fun here, didn’t get a lot of pictures.

We also checked out May’s beach on the other side of Black Rock. When we first discovered it we couldn’t believe how quiet it was! I still don’t understand why it was so quiet because it’s a beautiful beach. But it had some bigger waves which made us really nervous with little kids. It’s definitely a place we would have gone back to on our own to do a little boogie boarding.

May’s beach
Our short stay at May’s beach.
Heading back to Black Rock from May’s beach, not our favourite beach with kids.

 

The guys spent a lot more time down a ways from Black Rock on Ka’anapali beach. It was a little further out so the waves hit pretty hard here and it was the perfect spot to boogie board! Our VRBO rental provided us with boogie boards so we didn’t have to bother getting rentals. However we used the crap out of those things and ended up breaking them and having to replace them anyway. lol It was totally worth it!

We highly recommend the beaches here for kids and adults alike. But I will tell you we were thankful for extra hands and eyes of our family members to help with the kids. This allowed Mike and I to head out into the water to do some wave hopping and boogie boarding ourselves. So fun!

Maui Ocean Center…

While we planned most of our activities around our large group, we did sneak away one day to take the kids to the Maui Ocean Centre.

The rest of the gang went for a long drive up the coast and checked out the blow hole near Nakalele. Although it’s something we would have like to see, we were limited on time so Mike and I decided to go do something that would be a little more fun for the kids.

Even though it was quite windy that day we still had a blast at the Maui Ocean Center and would highly recommend it for anyone – kids or not! We saw a ton of beautiful marine life that you can’t find anywhere else. They had a ton of great exhibits with turtles, rays, and so many tropical fish I had never seen before. Our favourite part was by far the Open Ocean exhibit. It’s a 750,000 gallon tank with an acrylic tunnel that you could walk through to see all of the marine life swimming around you! You can learn more about the Maui Ocean Centre here, and I will let my pictures do the talking.

We call him “Pinochio”
Nursery Bay
The coolest fish!
Rays
Just hanging out
My favourite were the jellyfish!
Open Ocean exhibit – way too cool!
This tunnel was the coolest!
Listening to the exhibit info on his speaker. He loved putting in the numbers and listening to the stories. We probably didn’t need to rent four of these, one or two would have done the trick.
Grabbing a bite to eat from the Reef Cafe
Feeding and examining the turtles
We didn’t think the kids would be that interested in the scavenger hunt rubbing that they provided. Boy, were we wrong!
They loved it!
There was a glass floor in the Open Ocean tunnel as well!

Whaler’s Village…

If you are are a shopper then Whaler’s Village is the place for you! There are lots of really cool shops here. Everything from high end, to the ABC Store where we would run across and grab a few essentials whenever we needed them.

Whaler’s Village also hosts different activities like lei making, coconut husking and hula lessons. While we considered partaking in a couple of these activities, again, we were short on time and had to pick and choose wisely. We did stroll through here a few times on our way to and from Ka’anapali Beach. The kids played on the cool climbing structure they have set up in the middle of the courtyard. We even caught a free hula dancing show as well here!

Maui Christmas!
It was a late night.
My beauty

Ka’anapali Beach…

Ka’anapali beach is gorgeous! There is a walking path that spans the entire length of the beach. Between the walkways here and around the golf course, we never ran out of beautiful scenery to take a jog/walk down. We hit this path nearly every day and found new things to see and do each time.

The most special day we had of all was near the end of our trip when my (now) future brothers-in-law planned a gorgeous dinner out for all of us on the beach at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa. While we couldn’t figure out what the heck the boys were doing taking off and making plans for everyone. But we were blown away by the beauty and thoughtfulness that went into the planning once we arrived. Low and behold – they were planning on one of them proposing!!! It was such a perfect, and special evening and we were honoured to be included.

Fancy dinner on the beach at the Westin
The night started out beautiful, but got cool quickly
And dark quickly!

Ka’anapali Beach is also where a lot of the big resorts are located. Although I’m not sure we were supposed to, we ended up walking through a lot of the grounds of the hotels and there are some stunning resorts there! If you stop at the concierge at many of the resorts they will hook you up with Luau recommendations and tickets. This may not be the best way to find a great price, but they were very helpful in recommending which ones were available at the time and which ones were good for kids. However, we didn’t end up doing a Luau, we opted for our dinner out on the beach and whale watching instead.

Whale watching…

Maui is the place to go if you want to go whale watching. Every year starting in December the whales migrate down from Alaska to the warm waters of Maui to mate. We thought we were going to be early from what we researched, but we lucked out and the whales had already arrived!

We didn’t have much to do with the planning of our whale watching tour, thankfully my SIL and BIL took care of that. But basically you can head down to the dock near Banyan Tree park in Lahaina where all of the boats dock. You can take your pick of which tour you’d like. Some are shorter, some are longer. Some have different food and drink options. But make sure to have a look at the boat you’ll be taking before you go or you may literally end up on a dingy with dozens of other people! Not my idea of a good time amiright?

On our way out. Can you tell I’m getting a little nervous already?
This girl loves the ocean!
The boys on the boat. Unfortunately I didn’t get any good pictures of the whales. It was too exciting and happened so quickly that I missed them.

This is another situation I’m not a real fan of. I hate being in confined places. I knew I would get motion sick so I took Gravol for that. But what I didn’t realize until I was out there was that I wasn’t going to love being out on a boat for two hours and ended up having a panick attack. 🙁 Luckily I had my happy pills that my doctor prescribes me for flying and it kicked in fairly quickly!

Does anyone else have this problem? Do you have any tips or tricks to combat this? Luckily nobody else in our group has issues with motion sickness and confined spaces so they took the kids up to the deck with them to get the good view of the whales. I stayed down below where it felt more sturdy. Even so I still got to see quite a few whales surface and I’m sooooo glad i went!

The last day…

Once we got everything packed up and the house back in order, we hit the road back towards the airport.

We had a little bit of time to spare so we took a detour out to Kihei where my SILs and BIL stayed the last time they were in Maui. While it was a very short stop, we enjoyed checking out the beach and the Kalama Village. Because a trip to Hawaii wouldn’t be complete without drinking straight from a coconut and we were busy doing that, so I didn’t actually get a chance to look around the Kalama Village. However I know it’s a place where I could spend a lot of time! It was so beautiful in there and had the local handmade goods that I love. It’s definitely a place I would love to go back to some day.

It wouldn’t be a trip to Hawaii without drinking from a coconut!
Swinging on a beach in Kihei

We made another quick stop at the Ross Store near the airport on the way back, took our rental vehicles back and headed home on our red eye flight.

All in all we absolutely loved Maui with kids and could spend a lot more time (and money!) there.

Have you ever visited Maui? What were some of your favourite things to do?

Comment below as I can see us heading back there again and we would love to hear your ideas and try some new things!

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Why Martensville, SK is a great place to live or visit!

At home in Martensville

Read on about why we love Martensville and all of the great things to do here.

When I first decided to write this family travel blog I thought about all of the adventurous trips we had been on as a family over the years.

I couldn’t decide on which location I wanted to start writing about first- maybe Maui because it was the furthest we’ve been as a family and most extravagant? Maybe Arizona because we visit there quite often (at least once a year)? How about Calgary where we went on a road trip last summer and the kids had a blast?

But when it comes down to it the place we love the most in the whole world is our home – Martensville. So isn’t that the perfect place to start?

Why we love Martensville

I could sit here and list all of the stats, location, population and all that boring stuff, but none of that has much to do with why we love it here. If you’re interested you can find all of that on the Martensville website. Let’s talk about the good stuff!

How did we end up here?

About 12 or 13 years ago my sister and my friend Nikki were playing in a beach volleyball tournament and they invited us to come watch. It was a hot, sunny day in July and we had nothing else to do so we thought “Sure! Sounds fun”. Mike and I hit the road and drove the whole 10 minutes out of the city to Martensville.

We were in our early 20’s living in Saskatoon at the time and basically nowhere else in the world mattered to us. Living the “big city” life! We worked in Saskatoon (my husband still does), we played in Saskatoon (hello nightclubs, theatres and festivals!) and it was as close as we could get to being right in the middle of our parents’ hometowns.

Everything changed that day when we headed down highway 12.

I remember thinking as we drove up “What the heck? Is Martensville really this big? All this stuff has been out here this whole time? It’s so close to the city!”

We pulled into town and were surprised by how beautiful the town was. The streets were in such good shape and there were brand new houses popping up everywhere. There were fast food joints, grocery and hardware stores, and so many parks and green spaces.

We made our way to Kinsmen park when the annual Buster Days festival was in full swing. There were so many families out and about that day. They were all running around, playing and having a blast!

I couldn’t believe so many people drove out to Martensville for this festival!…….again early 20’s, didn’t understand that, in fact, these people were all FROM Martensville. hahaha

We watched some volleyball, had a drink or two with our friends, bs’ed with a few of the locals and headed back to the city. All-in-all a super fun day, and one I’ll never forget.

Fast forward a couple of years

We decided to move out of our tiny 1 bedroom condo and find ourselves a house. By that time we were sort of over the fast paced, late-night lifestyle we were living.

Having both grown up in small towns we wanted to live somewhere a little more community based. Somewhere where we would love to raise our kids someday.

We looked in smaller neighbourhoods in Saskatoon. Checked out lake front properties out at Blackstrap. And we went through a few open houses in Warman.

But in the back of our minds, we were always thinking about that hot, sunny day in July and the feeling we had participating in Buster Days in Martensville. The beauty of it, the small town feel, the recreation opportunities, and the fact that we were still so close to Saskatoon and all of its amenities that still holds a special place in our hearts (watch for a future blog post!). So when we viewed the house we live in now, we knew that was it. This was going to be our home.

Fast forward another 10 years

We love it even more! Our kids were born here, we have made so many fantastic friends, almost all of our activities are done here, and it’s still so close to our families and the amenities of Saskatoon.

But enough about us, let’s talk about what there is to do in Martensville!

Things to do for free!

If you’re just in town for a few days visiting family, participating in a sports event, or whatever is bringing you to Martensville, you will find plenty to do without having to break the bank. Because let’s face it, when you have small kids, there’s nothing more frustrating than paying for something only to have it cut short by a temper tantrum or the millions of reasons why situations are cut short with kids!

Green space & playgrounds:

 If you have kids let me tell you Martensville is the place to be! Off the top of my head I can count 9 playgrounds, and they are all walking distance from my house! Mind you we are smack dab in the middle of the city which isn’t the case for everyone.

Even if your not in the centre of the city,  you can bike absolutely anywhere, or find someplace to play within walking distance guaranteed! On top of that we have even more green space and walking/biking trails located throughout the city so go out and explore!

Climbing wall at Dallas Martens Park
Playground selfies

The city has provided a large off-leash dog park so your best friend can get out and play too!

Kinsmen park:

This is probably the biggest park in the city and there is so much to do!

A couple of years ago the city installed the coolest outdoor gym. There is workout equipment (cardio and resistance machines), and it’s located right next to “the big hill” that the locals love to run and climb on.

Plus it’s the best hill for tobogganing in the winter!

Lots of local fitness coaches love to hold their boot camps and yoga classes here because of the beautiful scenery, the sheer amount of space, and the different options and elevations of the area.

Wintertime at Kinsmen Park
Our favourite winter activity – tobogganing on the big hill at Kinsmen Park
Evening walks in Kinsmen park
Workout!
Evening walks at Kinsmen Park
Rollerblading in Kinsmen Park

There is a beautiful lake and creek (great for fishing with the kids!) that runs through Kinsmen Park. As well as tennis courts and ball diamonds where you’ll find games happening almost every night of the week and tournaments on the weekends.

You will also find a disc golf course, a brand new skate park as well as an extra outdoor rink, and cross-country ski trails in the winter time. We find ourselves in Kinsmen park a LOT!

Kinsmen park is also a beautiful location for a wedding or gathering with the gazebo situated in the middle of the park near the lake. It’s also the location of the annual Buster Days event and it’s right next to the Martensville Athletic Pavilion (MAP) which I’ll talk about more in a minute.

Lion’s Park:

This is one of our favourite places to play, especially in the summer!

Lion’s Park is where the free outdoor spray park is located, as well as two large playground structures.

The heritage centre is found at this location and is another public place you can rent out for gatherings or classes.

There is a ton of green space in Lion’s park, another hill (does anyone else love to run and climb on hills as much as we do? haha) and it’s a great place for little ones to get together for soccer/blastball leagues in the spring time.

Soccer games at Lion’s Park
Spray park fun!

City run programs:

The City of Martensville recreation program is second to none! They are always coming up with new and exciting ways to get the community more active and social.

Every year they organize events such as the Amazing Race Challenge, geocaching, city wide garage sales, tradeshows, festivals and more!

Find all of the current event updates here.

A couple of our favourites are Winter Fun Fest, the Canada Day celebrations, and of course Buster Days and the parade which are all run by local volunteers and anyone can attend by donation.

“Snooshing” (?) at Winter FunFest
Enjoying a treat at Buster Days
Climbing wall at Buster Days

Library:

The Martensville library runs several free programs as well including story times, game and crafting nights, scavenger hunts, reading challenges and lots of crafts for the kids.

We spend a lot of time at the library . It was especially great when our kids were small and we were looking for a place to go to get out of the house and have some (free!) fun.

Why it’s a great place to raise your kids

It feels safe:

While there are always things we need to watch out for and teach our kids about safety, Martensville is one of the safest places I know.

The kids can walk to the bus stop on their own. A lot of kids walk and bike to school by themselves (we’re not quite there yet but getting close! My kids are 6 and 8 as I write this and we live over 1 km from the school.)

The schools teach a lot about “stranger danger” and bike safety, and the city runs an “I wanna walk” program to help kids learn how to stay safe along their route to and from school. We feel very comfortable here as a family.

There is so much to do!:

On top of all of the things I mentioned above, there are also a TON of local programs and fitness facilities for kids in Martensville.

We have both competitive and recreational dance studios and gymnastics classes. There are fitness classes for all ages.

The city organizes a ton of paid programs each year as well including swimming lessons at the fantastic Martensville Aquatic Centre. Cooking, art, babysitting, sports, you name it!

They have even started organizing fun days to drop your kids off at on days where there is no school and you still have to work.

Swimming lessons at the Martensville Aquatic Centre

Some of our favourites are:

Bravo Dance Co.

Tumblers Gymnastics

SoulPower Fitness

MASA and Sask Five Giants for ball

and many city run programs located all over the city that you will find in the program guide. My son loves Sportsball, and my daughter is excited to get into Girl Guides next fall!

Bravo Dance Co. recital

Because Martensville is such a young community, many of the local businesses have play areas and activities for kids as well.

For example the McDonald’s has a play structure, the library has a large kids section with seating, crafts, etc., the dentists, eye doctors and physicians have toys, books and colouring in their waiting rooms. Plus they’re so great with kids too! Even our favourite coffee shop has a play area, kids drinks, free Wifi and even hosts local pop-up shops that have included story times in the past.

The local Canalta hotel rents out a room for kids birthday parties so they can open presents, play games and then go swimming in the pool! They also host K&K Swim school which offers indoor swimming lessons all year long.

Hanging out at our favourite coffee shop – Clearcut Coffeehouse

There are plenty of churches in Martensville and many of them cater to kids with Sunday school programs, Vacation Bible School (VBS) in the summer as well as infant rooms and many fellowship gatherings.

Schools:

Martensville is now home to 4 elementary schools (including a catholic school and french immersion) and one high school which has had a huge expansion recently.

We can’t say enough about how much we love Venture Heights, but from what I hear from our friends I don’t think you can go wrong with any of the schools here. The teachers are fantastic, the reading and math programs are especially successful, the kids have so much fun while they’re learning and the class sizes are much smaller now with the added schools. Plus the teachers are very cooperative in sending work home when we travel so the kids aren’t behind on their classes. 😉

There are also three preschools in Martensville. I honestly don’t think you can go wrong with any of them either. We sent our son to Busyfingers Preschool and he absolutely loved it! But I think most people just base their decision on location. Find links to all of Martensville’s schools here.

Something for adults too

Restaurants and pubs:

There are several places to meet up with friends for dinner or a few drinks, including Boston Pizza, Mr. Mike’s, the Sportspage, the Adobe Inn and the Caesar Mill just to name a few.

A couple of them have heated patios, live music, and deals for sports teams that come in after their games.

There are a lot of fast food and pizza places as well as some sit-down ethnic eateries like Black Pepper and Pon’s Kitchen.

Wine on the patio at Mr. Mike’s

Shopping:

While we don’t have all the great clothing shops and box stores (because they are only 10-20 minutes away in Saskatoon!), we do have a few hidden little gems when it comes to shopping in Martensville.

A couple of super cute gift shops include ClassC Artisans boutique and SAS Home and Floral boutique.

ClassC sells only local handmade goods and you will find so many treasures including bath & body, home decor, food items, as well as clothing and accessories.

They support over 60 vendors from Saskatchewan, many of whom are from Martensville including me and my Precious Gems Crochet products (Disclaimer: shameless plug!) Honestly , even though I do have things for sale here, I would be a huge supporter of this store no matter what. You will find so many great gift ideas and things for the home, and when buying here you know you are supporting a local handmade business. Swoon!

SAS has a ton of great gift items and home decor as well, plus they have the most gorgeous plant and flower arrangements. Give them a call when you need to send an arrangement out to brighten someone’s day!

Martensville also has a couple of chain stores like Marks Work Wearhouse (which apparently has a pretty decent clothing selection I hear! I haven’t been in yet but I’ve been meaning to check it out), Canadian Tire, Dollar Store & Dollarama, Co-op grocery store & c-store and a Pharmasave.

I honestly hardly ever have to go to the city to do my shopping or pick up supplies anymore!

Fitness: 

There are a few really fantastic fitness facilities here.

SoulPower Fitness is one of my favourite places to be. They offer group classes for all levels, and the atmosphere is so comforting and makes you feel alive! The staff is super friendly and always have your well being and safety in mind.

Wrench Fitness is a workout based facility. They hold many different classes as well but are well known for their workout facilities, personal trainers and CrossFit extension.

Both of these places have a very strong presence in the community and are always giving back with sponsorships and fundraisers. Isn’t that the best?!

Martensville Athletic Pavilion or the “MAP” as locals call it has a little bit of everything.

There are 3 large courts that are used for everything from volleyball, basketball and soccer, to Toddler Time, school gym classes and open gym time to just play!

There are rooms for rent for birthday parties or workshops, or you can even rent a court!

There’s a workout area and a separate stretching area plus a running track that spans the entire top level of the building!

The prices at the MAP are very reasonable and a great place to take your whole family.

Workout space at the MAP

Besides the different fitness facilities Martensville organizes many activities for residents to get out and get active. There is slow-pitch, city run fitness classes (including yoga, aquafit, and Zumba), tennis, line dancing, curling, and floor hockey just to name a few. These can all be found in the Martensville program guide.

Services:

There is literally everything you need in Martensville. It is one of the best cities in Canada to start a business, and many of my friends (me included!) are entrepreneurs!

We have dentists, optometrists, veterinarians, chiropractors, massage therapists, estheticians, stylists, small shop owners, direct sellers, handmade artisans, realtors, photographers, you name it!

Pretty much everyone I know from Martensville either owns a business or has a “side-hustle” of some sort.

Markets and Gardens:

Every summer from mid-June to the end of August, Martensville hosts a non-profit farmer’s market. This year the market runs every Thursday in the curling rink from 3-7 p.m. You will find everything here from fresh fruits and veggies, canned goods, baking, handmade crafts and bath and body products.

In true farmer’s market fashion everything must be make, bake or grow.  Martensville also supplies a community garden that is located in Kinsmen Park for residents who like to garden at their leisure, but don’t have the space for it.

Face painting at the Martensville Farmer’s Market

Seniors:

Martensville has an ever-growing senior population as well. They are always looking for different activities and ways to get everyone in the community involved.

The New Horizons centre in town invites anyone 55+ for social hours, potlucks and other activities. They also organize bus trips, MAP passes and other forms of entertainment for this demographic.

The city also has programs specifically for seniors including Seniors Globe Walk, line dancing and Pickleball to name a few.

What’s nearby: 

I mean I could go on and on about all of the things I love about my city (obviously! This is a long one! haha) but we don’t have all day. One other point I want to make about Martensville is it’s excellent location. We are less than an hour to at least 3 major lakes and only 10 minutes from Saskatoon and Warman,

Playing in the sand at Blackstrap Lake
Snacks at Blackstrap Lake
Martens Lake

There is so much to see and do in this area. I really encourage you to come on out and visit one of Canada’s fastest growing cities – Martensville.

Now I want to hear from you. Have you ever been to Martensville? If so, what do you remember about it. What were your favourite things to do? If you haven’t been, what intrigues you about Martensville? I always love to hear your feedback! Post a comment below. 🙂

 

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