Just a short drive away
Have a day or two to spare? Explore these great area destinations
Only 25 minutes southwest of Airdrie and less than an hour from Banff, Cochrane boasts spectacular vistas of the rolling foothills and majestic Rocky Mountains along the Cowboy Trail. With a variety of outdoor activities in the area – fishing, golf, hiking, horseback riding, paintball, skateboarding, white water rafting – Cochrane has action for everyone. Spend the day in historic downtown enjoying quaint shops, boutiques, dining establishments and the most famous ice cream in Alberta. The Cochrane Farmers’ Market is a popular Saturday morning destination for visitors and locals alike, June through end of September. Other special events include the Children’s Festival, Summer Light Up, Cochrane Canada Day Family Festival, Zombie Survivor and Hero Survivor, Cochrane Fair, The Prairie Girls Vintage Market, Cochrane Classics Car Show and Cochrane Outhouse Races. Late summer 2016 is jam packed with rodeo action: Cochrane Classic Bull Riding; Calgary Police Rodeo; and the 50th Annual Cochrane Lions Labour Day Rodeo.
Enjoy the small-town charm of Crossfield, located just a 15-minute drive north of Airdrie. The town proudly hosts the annual Pete Knight Days in June, honouring the legendary 20th century bronc rider who first rode in the Crossfield Rodeo in 1918. As part of the celebration, enjoy a rodeo, dances, demolition derby, parade and other fun activities.
While in Crossfield, be sure to stop in at the Crossfield Farmers Market. In 2016, the market runs from the first Thursday in June through the last Thursday in September from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. outdoors at Banta Park (corner of Railway Avenue and Limit Avenue, beside the splash park). Find the best in local produce, baked goods, handmade arts and crafts and more, plus assorted weekly entertainment and demos. A Christmas Market, held at the Crossfield Community Hall, takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the first weekend in November.
Canada’s largest western store, Irvine Tack & Trailers is a family owned-and-operated shopping destination that appeals to window shoppers and serious buyers alike. Located near Crossfield, east of Highway 2, this 85,000-square-foot warehouse features western clothing, jewelry, decor, tack, rodeo gear, ranch supplies and more. With tons of inventory – such as more than 1,200 saddles in stock at any given time plus a huge supply of in-stock boots for the whole family – Irvine’s doesn’t disappoint. Ask about shipping arrangements if you can’t take your purchase with you.
Pioneer Acres (Irricana)
Travel back in time at this family friendly museum located just 20 minutes east of Airdrie. Experience southern Alberta’s rich pioneer history firsthand and discover that many of the conveniences we take for granted today simply didn’t exist in the early 1900s. Learn about the tractors, tools and machinery used during the early days of farming in the area, and peruse the displays of antique trucks, furniture and gas pumps, as well as the 1905 schoolhouse, blacksmith and wheelwrights shop and much more. Open daily from May through September. Please note that admission is by cash only; no debit or credit cards are accepted.
Feature 2016 events, such as the Spring Tractor Pull (May 28) and Steam and Stationary Engines (Sept. 10-11), highlight one or more areas of the museum and bring them to life. Pioneer Acres’ main event of the year is the Annual Show and Reunion (Aug. 5-7), where virtually every piece of museum equipment is running, and many outside exhibitors bring displays, equipment, crafts and more.
The Royal Tyrrell Museum
Unearth what awaits about an hour and 20 minutes east of Airdrie, just northwest of Drumheller, at The Royal Tyrrell Museum. Nestled in the heart of the Canadian Badlands, this year-round destination offers fun and education for all ages. Explore, create and discover with the museum’s assorted summer programs, which include excavating in a realistic quarry, making fossil replicas, as well as guided hikes through the badlands. The museum offers an on-site cafeteria and gift shop, as well as an outdoor picnic area and play park.