Beaver Creek is a place that most Saskatoon school children visit at some point in their elementary school career. My daughter’s last visit left her begging for more and since we had a family staycation planned during the February break, we gave into her pleas and had a great day of family fun.
Beaver Creek is a conservation area just south of Saskatoon. It’s almost 130 hectares in size and it’s made up of a number of different habitats: forest, prairie and creek. Many of the plants and animals are seasonal so whatever season you choose to visit, there’s always something new to see.
Our first stop was the Interpretive Centre which we had to eventually force ourselves to leave. They have masses of interactive self-guided games, animal puppets and masks and dress up clothes to play with, as well as arts and crafts and even LEGO. We pretended to be owls and hunted for cloth mice which we took turns hiding around the centre. I have to admit my mice finding skills were sadly lacking that day so I encouraged my family to move onto the Beaver room instead where we could crawl through the life-size beaver lodge.
When we finally did make it outside we decided to go on the shortest hike which was supposed to take 17 minutes. It took us far longer. We happily ambled along, looking for animal prints in the snow and attempted to feed the chickadees with varying degrees of success. The guide at the interpretive centre had given us a clipboard with details of the various animals and birds to look out for, along with pictures of their prints to find in the snow. We even saw the prints of a snowshoe hare with prints of a fox following close behind. Ah nature! All the trails are in a loop so it’s almost impossible to get lost. The creek freezes during the winter but we were told it’s still not safe to walk on. We had lots of fun though sliding down the snowbanks. Crawling up again was another story…but the photos will be a great source of family blackmail in years to come.
How to get there:
Head south out of Saskatoon on Lorne Ave (Highway 219) for about 17kms. Pass the hamlet of Beaver Creek, and the turnoff is on the right side of the highway. There’s a large brown sign that marks the entrance. Drive down the short gravel road to the parking lot.
Things to keep in mind:
• There are four looped trails varying from 0.9kms to 3.2kms.
• The Interpretive Centre closes at 4:45pm each day and the gates are locked at 5pm.
• Entrance is free but there is an opportunity for a donation.
• Picnic tables are available on the deck of the Interpretive Centre. Or you can take a picnic and
enjoy it overlooking the creek. No open fires are allowed.
• Operating hours change seasonally so it’s a good idea to check the website.
www.meewasin.com or phone the Centre at (306) 374-2474 before you head out.
• Washrooms are available in the Interpretive Centre.
• The Interpretive Centre supplies sunflower seeds to feed the chickadees.
• There is a water fountain where you can fill water bottles.
Beaver Creek Conservation Area Contact Info:
Address: 402 Third Avenue South, Saskatoon
Phone: (306) 374-2474
Written by Michelle Shaw
Michelle Shaw is a freelance writer living in Saskatoon. She is mom to two amazing, active and very busy daughters, aged 11 and 16. Michelle worked as a journalist in South Africa for 19 years before moving with her family to Canada in 2009. She and her husband John happily juggle life with their daughters and a menagerie of animals including their three dogs, two pet rats, a horse and a cat called Tommy.