[:en]Winter is coming.

Did you know that there was plenty to do in Edmonton in winter besides freezing on your commute to work? Just because the entire cityscape is blanketed in snow and ice doesn’t mean you can’t suit up, jump in the car, and find tons of great fun for the whole family all within an hour’s drive of the CBD. Here are three of our personal favourites.

Edmonton Ice Castle

You don’t have to jump through your wardrobe to get to Narnia anymore. It’s actually right next door this winter. Ice Castles, a company specializing in sculpting delightful, Narnia-like fortresses out of ice, is returning to Edmonton for 17-18 winter season. The castle will span about one acre across Hawrelak park in the Edmonton River Valley and be open to marvelers from December to February weather permitting. So grab the kids and get ready to tour through a maze of tunnels, waterfalls, and fountains. You may even get to see a throne room lit up with LED lights!

Cross-Country Skiing and More at the Strathcona Wilderness Centre

Ready for an outdoor adventure that your kids won’t soon forget? Head over to the Strathcona Wilderness Centre just 30 minutes away from the city. Listen to the snow crunch beneath your feet as you take in the tranquil sounds of the pristine wilderness. Family camping trips, day passes, picnics, and more can be had at affordable rates. If you’re lucky you might even catch a special event like World Snow Day.

The University of Alberta Observatory

Winter is an amazing time to view nature’s most breathtaking lightshow, the Aurora Borealis. The Northern Lights are a spectacle unlike any other on Earth, and the University of Alberta gives families a chance to use their powerful telescopes for free during the free viewing hours. On Thursdays from noon to 1PM and during varying evening hours, the university opens its doors to the public and gives free viewing privileges to everyone. There are even interesting public lectures. So if you’re looking for an affordable, fun, and educational evening outing for the family, this is one of Edmonton’s hidden gems.

Just because winter is coming doesn’t mean you have to barricade yourself indoors and run from the cold. Embrace it! Edmonton comes alive in the winter with fun activities for the whole family. And, if you’re worried about who has access to your home while you’re gone, Fluent Home Edmonton will have its eyes on what matters most to you.