I’ve always felt that one of the coolest things about having kids was how it made me a tourist again in my own city. Since my daughters were born, I’ve gone to attractions and places and festivals and events that I “didn’t have time for” before I became a mom. I love seeing things through their eyes and I have a new appreciation for Edmonton and all the wonderful opportunities that are out there for families to experience.

Edmonton Riverboat

The Edmonton Riverboat! Photo by Jill Footz

On Friday, we had another first – My daughters and I rode the Edmonton Riverboat for the first time!

I don’t know why I had never taken the time to try the river cruise prior to this, but I do know that this won’t be my last Riverboat rendezvous! We had so much fun and we saw the city in a way we hadn’t before! Check out my top 5 reasons to love cruising on the Edmonton Riverboat:

Edmonton Riverboat

View from the top deck. Photo by Jill Footz

1. It’s Family Friendly!

Planes, trains, boats – kids, it seems, usually love trying new experiences that involve large modes of transportation. My daughters were so excited to check out the boat – the upper deck, the beautiful lower deck with its gleaming new hardwood floor and huge windows, the giant paddle wheels (especially when we were moving). From start to finish, this new experience was a blast!

Edmonton Riverboat

The paddlewheels were a hit! Photo by Jill Footz

The vibe on the boat is laid back, casual and fun. Our ride had everything from a small wedding party to couples on dates to families with kids. Everyone is welcome and the staff make sure everyone has a good time. The ride is between 60 to 90 minutes long – not too long for stir-crazy kiddos. And if they are stir-crazy, the awesome live musician will get them up and dancing!

Edmonton Riverboat

Excellent live entertainment! Photo by Jill Footz

2. …but it doesn’t have to be.

Take the kids – but then do yourself a favour and book another cruise to enjoy with just the adults. The Riverboat offers some cool special events and Thursday night Date Nights!

Edmonton Riverboat

Family nights, date nights, even wedding nights aboard the Riverboat! Photo by Jill Footz

3. Leave the cooking to them!

Most parents will agree that a night when someone else cooks is a good night all around. We enjoyed the buffet dinner, which included a selection of salads, rice, potatoes, ribs, chicken and dinner rolls. There was also excellent dessert options, including chocolate cake that received a hearty two-thumbs-up from my daughters. Don’t want to go for the full buffet? No problem – the upper deck includes a grill that serves hamburgers, hot dogs and smokies. There’s also a Sunday Brunch Buffet cruise, if you don’t want to wait until evening.

Boarding for river cruises begins one hour before the ride and food is available almost immediately, so you can eat then sit back, relax and enjoy the ride!

Edmonton Riverboat

The chocolate cake gets 2 thumbs up! Photo by Jill Footz

4. A new view!

The new Walterdale Bridge is probably Edmonton’s most photographed landmark. Thanks to Instagram, I think I’ve seen it from every possible angle – but I’ve never been underneath the bridge until Friday night. Pedestrians stopped to wave down at us from the and boat patrons eagerly waved back.

Edmonton Riverboat

A view of the Walterdale Bridge you haven’t seen yet! Photo by Jill Footz

Our cruise travelled west from the Riverboat dock and turned around just before the High Level Bridge. It offered a stunning view of downtown, several bridges, and more that you just simply don’t see from land. Whether you’re a master photographer or a selfie snapper, you’re sure to find images and angles unlike any others!

Edmonton Riverboat

So many photo ops! Photo by Jill Footz

5. Because you can!

Seriously, though, summer in Edmonton is just so short. So is Riverboat season. Take this opportunity to go off the beaten path for a truly unique family experience.

Edmonton Riverboat

The gorgeous view from the Edmonton Riverboat! Photo by Jill Footz

Edmonton Riverboat:

Where: Rafters Landing, Edmonton
Address: 9734 98 Ave NW, Edmonton (map)
Phone: 780-424-2628
Website: www.edmontonriverboat.ca