After finishing up our time in Alberta (and thankfully recovering from the awful bug that went through the RV), we headed towards Regina, Saskatchwean, with a stop in Moose Jaw to break up the drive a bit. Dan seemed to have escaped the virus for the time being.
In Moose Jaw, we stopped at the public library, which is in a historic, absolutely gorgeous building. The kids played and read books, and I took some time to get some freelancing work done. This library has a really big children’s area, and just outside the door to it, there was a desk with an outlet on the wall. So I was able to get lots of work done while still being available for the kids if Dan needed me. The pictures I took don’t do justice to the beauty of this building.
In the children’s area, there was a large table with craft supplies and pictures of suggested crafts. The kids had a blast making popsicle stick people, colouring Easter eggs on paper, and using their creativity to come up with their own crafts.
I really love it when spaces for children have a “free creativity” area, where kids can just come and do crafts on their own time. A couple of other places we’ve visited had this kind of setup as well, including the library in Slidell, Louisiana and the Saskatchewan Science Centre (more on this later).
In all, it was a nice library in a very nice building, though the neighbourhood seemed a little iffy. We were in Moose Jaw for just a few hours, and though we loved the library, I’m not sure I’d recommend a visit to the city, unless you’re already passing by, like us.
Having said that, for all my military friends who dread getting posted to Moose Jaw (I never understood why), at least know that the library is very, very nice. Apparently there are a few other things to do in Moose Jaw, but we didn’t stay long enough to check them out, and the library suited us just fine.
After I got lots of work done, the kids read lots of books, and everyone played for a while, we headed out of Moose Jaw and toward Regina, where we spent a few days. On our way to Regina, we saw this:
In Regina, we did lots of fun stuff with the children, and we really enjoyed ourselves. Read on for our experience, the costs associated with them, and our recommendations if you are limited on time and can only pick one outing.
Regina, Saskatchewan (with kids): Free & paid fun outings for the whole family
Regina, Saskatchewan is a super fun place for families. There’s lots to do, both for free and for pay. We didn’t find the paid stuff too expensive, and we really enjoyed ourselves.
On our first day in Regina, we visited the science centre. We spent lots of time there and had a tonne of fun. There are lots of things that will entertain parents as well as kids. Here’s some more info on what you can expect if you visit this awesome spot in Regina, Saskatchewan.
Regina, Saskatchewan with kids: Saskatchewan Science Centre
At $54 for all 5 of us to get in, I didn’t think the entry fee was too expensive. As of this writing, getting into the Saskatchewan Science Centre costs $12 for adults, $10 for seniors (60+) and children ages 3-12, $11 for youth (ages 13-17), and entrance is free for children 0-2.
There are two floors of fun with 185 hands-on activities at the Science Centre. We visited pretty much every single exhibit and both Dan and I as well as the kids really enjoyed ourselves. Here are just some of the things you can do at the Science Centre.
You can play with bubbles and learn about how they are made, how they reflect light, and generally just have a tonne of (probably very wet) fun. The Science Centre doesn’t provide rubber aprons like at the Boston Children’s Museum, so either accept that your kid will get wet and that making messes is part of a fun childhood, or come prepared with a change of clothes.
You can visit the reptiles, an arachnid, and mammals (bats) in the critters corner. You can also try to figure out whose mouth you have to go into in order to see these critters. Any guesses?
You can drive a tractor via a video game and find out how farmers till the soil, plant the seeds, and unfortunately, spray the crops. No organic farming mentioned, but that’s a great conversation starter to discuss different farming methods with the kids. And for the older ones, to have a discussion about why it might be that the farm equipment-sponsored video game doesn’t mention organic farming.
You can build a house and learn about construction materials. There are shingles, bricks, tools, a cool shingle elevator, and a super large flat screen TV showing a time-lapse video of the construction of a house. You can use a device under the screen to speed up the video, which is pretty cool. You can even learn about energy by pedalling a stationary bicycle and learning how much energy you generate by doing so—and what that energy could power.
You can even learn the science behind Canada’s game, including learning about power, speed, and how the player’s skill and their equipment play a part in how hockey works. And the most awesome part is that you can play hockey to learn about all these things 🙂
There is a large screen where you can shoot towards a target or a goalie. You can also learn about balance and how it affects skating, and see how long you can balance. This was perhaps my favourite part of the science centre; we had a lot of fun in this area.
Everything we saw at the science centre was pretty awesome, but one of the coolest things was the Periodic Table of the Elements… with the actual elements attached! Chemistry was never my strong suit, but even I geeked out looking at this thing.
There were many other displays, including an anatomy section, a water cycle display, a small basketball corner, a hot air balloon that you can make rise by pressing a button that raises the temperature in it, and a creative space.
In the creative space, you can make little stop motion films with toy animals, play with wooden blocks, make something according to a theme (when we went, the theme was wind socks), and watch as little parachutes go flying up a wind tunnel.
We had such a great time at the Saskatchewan Science Centre, and highly recommend a visit. We think the entrance fee is very fair and was totally worth it, and that’s coming from pretty frugal travellers who almost always look for free things to do wherever we go. But if you’re in money-saving mode, don’t worry. You can still experience science and have lots of fun at the science-inspired playground, which is located in front of the Science Centre building and is free to use.
We spent quite a bit of time both at the playground and inside the science centre, and the whole family enjoyed both. It makes me think that with the amount of empty buildings in Kingston, we really ought to have some kind of Children’s Museum or Science Centre there… but with all the cuts Ontario’s facing, unless some rich entrepreneur or philanthropist helps out, I don’t think small cities are going to see too many new educational places… But I digress.
The day after the science centre, we checked out two other cool places in Regina: the Royal Saskatchewan Museum and the RCMP Heritage Centre.
Regina, Saskatchewan with kids: Royal Saskatchewan Museum
The Royal Saskatchewan Museum was a fun outing. We enjoyed learning about dinosaurs and early mammals, animals of the Canadian North, and how the way of life of Indigenous peoples has changed over the centuries. Of course, when you’re visiting these places with children, you don’t get to notice all the details of everything, because their attention span is pretty short. But the kids still really enjoyed themselves, as did we.
I must say, though, if you need to pick between the science centre and the museum when you’re visiting with young kids, pick the science centre—they’ll be entertained for longer periods, so you’ll be able to see more as well.
The kids enjoyed the many animal displays at the museum, especially the dinosaur fossils and the water displays that could be looked through to see the animals below.
There was also a children’s play area with a small climbing gym, a magnetic wall, a discovery wall, and lots of dinosaur pictures and fossils, which really confused me, since the play area was called the “Paleo Pit.”
Dinosaurs went extinct millions of years before the paleolithic era, so I’m not sure why the museum chose to name the kids’ area “Paleo Pit” and then throw a bunch of dinosaur references in there. Nevertheless, the children had fun.
After enjoying the Royal Saskatchewan Museum and before leaving Regina, we thought we would visit the RCMP Heritage Centre, after all; if you’re going to learn about the RCMP, there’s no place like the Canadian Prairies.
Regina, Saskatchewan with Kids: Royal Canadian Mounted Police Heritage Centre
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Heritage Centre was an interesting outing for both the parents and the kids.
At $30 for the whole family, we thought it was a reasonable price. As of this writing, admission is free for children 5 and under, $6 for children 6-17, $8 for students 18+ and seniors (with ID), and $10 for adults 18+. However, you can pay $30 for a family admission, which includes entry for 2 adults and up to 5 children. It’s so nice to see the inclusion of large families in “family admissions,” which doesn’t happen very often.
Active members of the police force and of the military pay $5. Police and military veterans enter free. I’m not sure how the RCMP defines “military veterans,” but Veteran Affairs Canada considers me one (for those who don’t know, I served in the Canadian Naval Reserves for 7 years).
If you’ve ever served in the military, it may be good to mention it. I was happy to pay the small entry fee, so I didn’t say anything. I also don’t carry around my honourable discharge papers (though I’m unsure whether they’d ask for them).
If you live in Regina and think you would enjoy visiting several times, the RCMP Heritage Centre offers memberships, which allow you unlimited visits among other benefits. For current information about admissions, please be sure to visit the RCMP Heritage Centre website.
There were a number of interactive displays along with the “don’t touch” variety, so it was still a good place for the kids.
G-boy especially enjoyed the cars he could sit in and pretend to drive. One of them was a virtual driving experience, like a driver’s test. I tried it, and it was actually pretty hard!
G-boy had even more fun after he got to dress up as an RCMP officer, and M-girl enjoyed doing that as well.
K-girl especially enjoyed riding the virtual horses. I gave it a try, too.
And Dan had a big smile on his face when he found a Bombardier vehicle in one of the displays.
We learned a bit about the history of the RCMP, how it was established, how the duties, training, and interaction with the public has changed over the years, how the vehicles have evolved, and more.
I think this museum is an excellent outing for anyone interested in Canadian history and/or for a field trip for homeschoolers or school children studying the history of the Canadian West. There’s also some opportunities for cute photos.
One of the neat interactive displays is one about how the RCMP uses forensic science to investigate crimes. You can go through a room where a crime is presented, and you then find clues to help “crack the case.” The case is a murder, and it was a bit much for our kiddos, who are still pretty innocent (which is a blessing).
The girls got a little scared halfway through, and G-boy simply couldn’t understand why someone would shoot someone else on the head. So it may be wise to wait until kids are a little older to go through that particular area, depending on your kids’ sensitivity (or lack thereof) to violence.
After looking at several displays, playing in the cars with the children, and feeling like this is the most Canadian thing I’ve ever done (right up there with throwing maple syrup on snow and eating it), we headed towards the little gift shop on the way out.
The gift shop had several items, both RCMP as well as Regina and Canadian-themed, but sadly, no stickers. I did; however find a little mountie ornament, which we purchased as a little memento of our trip to take home. And when I saw this book, I simply couldn’t pass it up.
We had a really nice time in Regina, and we highly recommend a visit if you have children (and also if you don’t). We learned lots about Canadian history here, and we had a lovely time at the science centre.
If you have to pick one outing only and you are with young children, we recommend the science centre. If you are a history lover, we recommend the RCMP Heritage Centre. And if you’re an explorer and have more time in the city, be sure to check out the legislature building. We saw it 10 years ago and thought it was beautiful. Here’s a picture of that time.
Have you ever been to Regina? What’s your favourite thing to do there?