School's out, and the sun is shining, so it's time for our annual countdown of exciting, free activities to experience in the city this summer! From outdoor concerts and Shakespeare festivals to parades and summer reading clubs (Summer Starts at EPL, opens a new window), there’s plenty to explore as a family.
10. Visit an Astronomical Observatory
Kick off the summer by heading to the University of Alberta for an up close and personal view of our solar system. Enjoy different views of the Sun as seen with the telescopes on the fifth-floor balcony of the CCIS building in the Department of Physics Astronomical Observatory.
- Where: Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science (CCIS) 5-240
- When: Thursdays, noon – 1 p.m. Visitors may drop in anytime during this hour. No registration is required.
- Cost: FREE
9. Listen to the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra Under the Sun
Enjoy an outdoor concert in the park with The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra! Experience live music as a family and watch the talented musicians perform exciting renditions of classical favourites, pop music and Hollywood film scores. This pay-what-you-can concert is grass seating only, so be sure to bring your favourite picnic blankets and lawn chairs.
- Where: Castle Downs Park, 11520 153 Ave NW
- When: Friday, August 18, 7 p.m.
- How: First come, first served basis
8. Attend a Mini Parade
Join Explore Edmonton for the Festival of Mini Parades this summer! Festivities will begin with entertaining performances, followed by a fun-filled parade through the neighbourhood – be sure to cheer and clap along the way. Here's where you can find a parade happening near you:
Sunday, June 25, 1 p.m.
Beverly Heights, 11615 36 Street NW
Saturday, July 8, 1 p.m.
Glengarry, 13325 89 Street NW
Saturday, July 15, 1 p.m.
Southwood, 1880 37 Street NW
7. Experience the Maker Faire at K-Days.
Head to K-Days to attend the greatest family-friendly show on earth, Maker Faire. A showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness – the Maker Faire is a space to celebrate the culture of making. Learn about amazing robotics, crafting, science and tinkering – you may even spot some of our very own EPL staff sharing what innovations the Library has to explore. Pick up two free General Admission tickets to K-Days when you sign your child up for our summer reading club, Summer Starts at EPL (while supplies last).
- Where: Edmonton EXPO Centre & Exhibition Grounds, 7515 – 118 Ave
- When: Friday, July 21 to Sunday, July 23
6. Watch a Play at The Shakespeare Festival
Calling all future thespians! The Freewill Shakespeare Festival is back this year at a new location, The Cristal Palace Spiegeltent! There are two plays to explore: Shakespeare’s most famous tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, and a comedy, Twelfth Night. Both performances are recommended for the older kiddos (ages 10+), and all Tuesday and Saturday matinees are pay-what-you-will.
- Where: Edmonton EXPO Centre – The Cristal Palace Spiegeltent
- When: Tuesday, August 8 to Sunday, September 3
5. Explore the Telus World of Science with TD Family Night
Families can enjoy free admission to the CuriousCITY Exhibition at the Telus World of Science on TD Family Night in August. For children six and under, the exhibition offers an exciting opportunity to explore and move through Edmonton-inspired landmarks. Kids can crawl through sedimentary layers of the River Valley, direct airplane traffic at the YEG Control Tower, explore vegetation in the Muttart Conservatory and create colourful light displays for the High Level Bridge.
- Where: Telus World of Science, 11211 142 St NW
- When: Friday, August 4, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
- How: Tickets are available online on a first come, first served basis and are released two weeks before the event date. Find out more
4. Grab Your Fringe Guide to the Galaxy
Head to the Fringe for an out-of-this-world adventure in the heart of Old Strathcona. Families are invited on a journey to infinity this August, where even the littlest fringing astronauts can join in on the fun. As North America’s largest, longest-running Fringe Theatre Festival, you are invited to enjoy live theatre and outdoor performances by artists from around the world, fun activities and yummy food at the Kids Fringe.
- Where: Old Strathcona
- When: Monday, August 17 to Thursday, August 27
- How: Kids Fringe performances run alongside regular Fringe programming in the heart of Old Strathcona off Whyte Avenue
3. Watch a Movie on the Square
Sir Winston Churchill Square is pleased to welcome back their free outdoor movie series this summer, Movies on the Square. Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy a family-favourite blockbuster on the big screen. Enjoy snacks, food trucks and pre-movie entertainment starting at 6 p.m. – dress up to the theme of the movie for a chance to win prizes for the best costume.
- Where: Sir Winston Churchill Square, 102A Avenue and 100 Street
The Princess Bride
- Thursday, August 17, 9 p.m.
Josie and the Pussycats
- Thursday, August 24, 8:45 p.m.
- Wednesday, August 30, 8:30 p.m.
2. Learn the Science… of Cooking
Chemistry in cooking? That’s right! Learn about the science of cooking at our free cooking workshops for kids, at The Kitchen. Study chemical reactions while making a pizza lunch and learn the skills to recreate the recipe at home with the whole family. Our Chemistry and Cooking in The Kitchen workshops are registered programs with limited capacity, so head here to reserve your spot now.
- Where: The Kitchen, Stanley A. Milner Library, 7 Sir Winston Churchill Square
- When: Eight workshops running Wednesday, June 28 to Wednesday, August 23
1. Join a Reading Club, Summer Starts at EPL
We may be biased, but what better way to spend a summer afternoon than a trip to the library? Our Summer Starts at EPL summer reading club engages children in reading, learning and creating all summer long. Children can track their summer reading, make buttons, play games and participate in fun events, classes and performances at any EPL location.
We have a fantastic lineup of performers: enjoy balloon twisting with Demmi Dupri, watch a magic show with Kent Wong or head to the circus with the Great Balanzo. West Edmonton Mall is back with a reptile meet-and-greet. Take a yoga class with Glow Yoga and attend a pirate theatre performance with Kompany Family Theatre. Listen to the musical stylings of Beth Portman, amazing fiddling with Zach Willier and become an earth doctor with Future Energy Systems.
Bust out some moves at our Old MacDonald dance party, code a video game, learn embroidery or paint your own pet rock. Learn about extremely gross animals, make bubbles and craft your own musical instrument at the library.
Children can visit any EPL location now until Sunday, August 26, to pick up their registration package and begin reading for a chance to win exciting prizes.
Visit epl.ca/summer-starts/ for more details.