Our family recently had the opportunity to spend a fun Sunday afternoon trying Guess Where Trips. We set out having no idea where the folder full of envelopes would take us, and ended up having a fantastic day discovering several great trails and attractions we would have never explored otherwise. Camrose was not on my Summer Fun Bucket List to visit, but we were excited to find some great Train themed activities worth making the trek for!
I am not normally one for spontaneity on trips, so a daytrip seemed liked the just the right amount of commitment to me. Although I had no idea which direction we would be headed that day, Guess Where Trips helped ease my need to plan ahead with a handy Before You Go guide including a packing list and a rough itinerary. They even include several curated Spotify lists to listen to on the road, I knew it was going to be a good day when Shotgun by George Ezra was the first song that cued up!
Guess Where Trips come beautifully packaged and chock full of information and activity ideas. Each trip is broken into 4 main stops/legs with a new envelope to open at each stop along the way. I loved the Amazing Race feel to it each time we got to open a new envelope and discover the booklet full of ideas of where we could head next! It was really fun and interactive, offering a wide range of options for all ages and interests.
1. Camrose Rail Museum and Park
Our visit to the Camrose Rail Museum and Park was a bit of a happy accident. We were saddened to this train experience was closed on Sunday’s, but I somehow managed to mess up typing in addresses in my GPS and the vehicle ended up taking us there anyway. We figured we would just hop out and take a quick look around, and were excited to be immediately greeted and invited in to explore the grounds. Lucky for us, it turns out that this summer they are testing out being open on Sundays too!
This museum has a definite small town charm and the lovely volunteers running the museum only add to that. The centerpiece of the museum is the beautiful 1911 Canadian Northern Railway Station, with several surrounding buildings, a working model railroad display, gardens, and a playground area for the kids. Visitors are welcome to explore on your own, or have one of the friendly volunteers give an interpretive-guided tour of the Station Museum and historic gardens. During special events, they will also run rides up and down the track with this cheery faced engine Thomas fans are sure to recognize!
2. Camrose Stoney Creek Train Trestle Bridge
The next stop we chose from our Guess Where Trips guide was the Stoney Creek Trestle Bridge. This historic wooden train bridge is located just a short 800 m walk down the pathway from the Stoney Creek Nature Playground at 53 Street and 39 Avenue. From the playground, head down the hill and take the path to your right.
This is a short and easy walk for shorter legs, and the path is paved the whole way to accommodate strollers, wagons, bikes and scooters. Be warned there is not much shade coverage, though, and it can be quite hot in the open sun. The trestle bridge also may not be the most exciting thing for the kids, so plan to reward them with some time on the fantastic Nature Playground at the end!
3. Ride the Mirror Lake Express
We did not have the chance to experience a ride on the Mirror Lake Express, but it looks like a lot of fun for tiny train lovers! This popular happy faced train was lovingly built in Camrose by cabinet maker Jeppa Danielson and his wife. It took 14,000 hours of labour, spans an impressive 92 feet, and is able to accommodate 24 passengers.
Today the train is owned by the Camrose Chamber of Commerce and ran by a team of volunteer conductors. In the summer months you can catch a ride with Jeppa the Engine in Mirror Lake Centre Park (56-57 Street and 49 Avenue) every Tuesday and Thursday from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm at Mirror Lake Park. Rides are just $3 each and children 2 & under ride free. There are also lots of great themed nights you can find information on by following the Mirror Lake Express Facebook page.
Thank You Guess Where Trips!
With the help of Guess Where Trips, we had a great day as a family discovering some new paths and places we would have never thought to visit! There were a few hiccups – like ants biting our feet & a closed brewery – but all in all it was a great day. We didn’t manage to make it through all the envelopes on our trip, but we really loved our stops in Camrose and are excited to get out again and see where envelope 3 and 4 might take us on our next day of spontaneous fun!