Blackpool Illuminations 2009: Fun for all the Family

One of the UK theme parks I‘ve really fell in love with is Pleasure Beach (in case you couldn’t tell hehe). So, I did a bit more exploring, and here’s what I’ve found so far…

Blackpool's Central Pier -- Ferris Wheel(credit)

If you’re looking to view a dazzling light show this year, Blackpool Illuminations 2009 will tantalize, amaze and delight your whole family. This time-honored tradition attracts visitors to the area in their droves, and the Illuminations remain one of Blackpool’s most popular tourist hotspots. Surrounded by luxurious casinos, the Pleasure Beach family theme park, and spacious beaches, the Illuminations thrill tourists year after year with their innovative designs, spectacular visual illusions, and amazing colors.

Here is a whistle-stop tour of Blackpool’s world-renowned Illuminations. From its historic conception to this year’s show, families from all over the world have been left gasping in wonder as they travel the colorful miles together.

Read the rest of the post at its new home here:  http://www.traveltheprairies.com/canada/blackpool-illuminations/

Top UK Theme Parks: Let’s Explore!

I’ve received numerous questions about the UK theme parks I’d mentioned previously. And, since I’ve recently made the decision to move to the UK, I thought it would be fun to explore them a little more. I can hardly wait to try them myself! So, without further ado…

If you’re looking for a new sensation-packed stomping ground, the top family theme parks in the United Kingdom will not fail to delight. Whether you’re into thrilling rollercoasters or prefer to sample the nation’s premier haunted houses, the UK’s best parks have something to offer everyone.

Here is a list of the UK’s theme park leaders:

Pepsi Max Big One at Pleasure Beach Blackpool(credit)

Read the rest of the post at the new Travel the Prairies site: http://www.traveltheprairies.com/canada/uk-theme-parks-explore/

Fort Walsh: Horses, Whiskey, and Murder

James Morrow Walsh

James Morrow Walsh

©2008AngieHaggstrom

South West of Maple Creek, Saskatchewan Canada is a national historic site that not many know exists. Part of the Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, Fort Walsh National Historic Site is a recreation of the Trading Post, town site, cemeteries, and North West Mounted Police (NWMP) Fort that once flourished here. The Trading Post was a major trading point in the west and was an important part of daily life for the Aboriginals, traders, and settlers who lived here. In fact, the events that occurred in this area changed life on the Canadian Prairies forever.

The area had been a hub of activity before the construction of the Fort and even before Farwell’s Trading Post. The local tribes often used this area for winter camps because of the trees and abundant wildlife in the park. The Metis people (those who had Aboriginal and French lineage) also settled into the area. In fact, you can still see the tipi rings and the cellars of the Metis shanties to this day.

Then, in the 1870 a man named Abe Farwell moved out west and built a trading post here to trade furs and supplies for the Hudson Bay Company. The tribes and fur traders (often called wolfers) camped not far from the post and would bring in their pelts and collect their much-needed supplies. This was a huge benefit to the area at the start. European settlers received furs, beads, and other supplies from the west and the people here could get pots, tobacco, lanterns, and other items that were simply not available this far west.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t all innocent. Farwell also brought in whiskey, which the natives and wolfers traded for freely. One night in 1873, the wolfers were drinking heavily and chatting away when they noticed their horse missing. Immediately the local Nakota tribe was blamed for stealing it. The drunken wolfers gathered up their buddies, grabbed their guns, and headed towards the village. It is not known who fired the first shot, but what is known is the devastation left behind. By the end of the fight, men, women, children, and even the elderly were murdered where they stood; almost the entire tribe was eradicated.

The worst part was yet to come. After the massacre was over, the horse was found a short time later not far from the wolfers camp. The horse’s owner hadn’t tied him off properly and the horse had simply wandered off. The traders were taken to trial, and even with Farewell ‘s testimony, they were found to be innocent of their charges. Today, this event is known as the Cypress Hills Massacre.

Chief Sitting Bull

Chief Sitting Bull

This event did cause two positive changes in the Canadian prairies. First, because the wolfers went to court, the Aboriginals eventually respected and trusted the NWMP. This became vital three years later in 1876 when General Custer was defeated in the ‘Battle of Little Big Horn.’ Chief Sitting Bull and the Sioux would arrive and stay until they signed treaties and return to the United States in 1881. Secondly, the Massacre led to the arrival of the Canadian Mounties (NWMP) and the building of Fort Walsh in 1875. James Morrow Walsh initially ran the Fort. He would become a great friend of Chief Sitting Bull and would eventually arrange talks between the American Government and the Sioux.

After a long and trying fight, the Mounties would eventually bring peace to the area. After there was no more buffalo for the wolfers to trade and the Aboriginals had been settled onto reserves, (the Nikaneet still live on a reserve in the Cypress Hills not too far from the Fort), the need for the Mounties was gone and they left in 1883.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Musical Ride

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Musical Ride

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) returned to the Fort in 1942 and used it to train and breed their horses until 1968. This would lead to the creation of the famous RCMP Musical Ride and their signature black horses.

There is so much to see at the Fort Walsh site and the quiet countryside makes it a peaceful and interesting afternoon. You can get a tour of the Fort including the Trading Post, the museum and theatre, the cemeteries, the town site, and even enjoy the picnic or cafeteria. They even have cannon demonstrations, the Musical Ride, and other events throughout the year.

If you would like to take more information about the area or history, here are some sites that might interest you:

A virtual tour of Fort Walsh

Comprehensive information about Abe Farewell and the Fort

Pictures from the Fort

Thank you for taking the tour of the Cypress Hills!

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl

(This post now appears here: http://www.traveltheprairies.com/saskatchewan/fort-walsh-horses-whiskey-murder/)

Breaking News: Cypress Hills Alberta Visitors Center is Now Open to Winter Visitors

The Visitors Center in Cypress Hills Alberta will now be open all year round! The center has just announced they will hold a grand opening in the coming days to celebrate its expansion into the winter season. They will not only be able to guide visitors about wildlife, sightseeing spots, and other valuable information in the area, but they will also be holding a variety of events and interactive programs for their winter visitors. This is great news for those seeking a romantic Christmas vacation at a or just getting away from the stress of daily life.

(This post now appears here: http://www.traveltheprairies.com/alberta/cypress-hills-alberta-visitors-center/)

Cypress Hills Alberta: A Wild Outdoor Adventure or a Relaxing Retreat

Reesor Lake - A Great Place For A Day in the Prairie Sunshine

Reesor Lake - A Great Place For A Day in the Prairie Sunshine

©2008 Angie Haggstro

The Alberta side of the Cypress Hills is a quiet haven that can be as civilized or as wilds as you want it to be. Downhill skiing, water skiing, and jet skiing are just a few of the activities you can enjoy here. If you prefer a more relaxed vacation, why not spend a romantic weekend at the Elkwater Lodge taking nature walks and fishing.

If you enter the park from the #1, Elkwater greets you with bang. As you crest the hill, the beautiful lake appears at the foot of the woods, and if you continue around the lake, the small little cabin community of Elkwater introduces itself with style. If you are looking for a place to stay, there is a multitude of options. The campground has a variety of different sites depending on your camping style. Tenting sites are nestled into the bush giving you privacy and the feel of seclusion. Other campsites available include a range of fully electric and non-electric spots that are private, shared, or design specifically for large groups.

Cabins for rent in the area supply you with quiet, quaint cabins to the ultimate in rustic luxury. A small Bed and Breakfast is also open in the area. The opulent Elkwater Lake Lodge can easily become your home away from home. There is a wide selection of rooms available including suites, cabins, and magnificent condominiums. The new facility features an award winning culinary staff in the Buglers Restaurant that serves everything from delicious pastas to rabbit. If a manicure, pedicure, or massage is in order, there is the Woodlands Massage and Spa located right there for your convenience.

Elkwater also has an additional restaurant and store run by some of the nicest people you will ever meet. There is a service station located on the main road into town as well as a visitor’s centre that is a wealth of information about the area and often holds various programs throughout the season. While you are here, be sure to take the time to enjoy the animals and scenery in the area with a hike on several of the established trails or make your own way. You will have the opportunity to see all sorts of wildlife including moose, squirrels, deer, and owls as well as a selection of rare flowers and plants. Some of the local favorites are wild raspberries, strawberries, and beautiful orchids.

The summer season is host to a variety of activities. Mini golfing, fishing, and swimming are great to start your holiday. There is also biking, boating, and a full sized golf course available. In the winter, you can enjoy downhill or cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, tobogganing, ice skating, or even an afternoon just playing in the snow and enjoying the fresh, peaceful outdoors.

If you do decide to go for a drive and the weather has been nice, drive to the east and head towards ReesorLake. It is not the smoothest backcountry road you will ever be on, but it is definitely worth the drive so long as it hasn’t been raining. Reesor Lake is a massive lake with enough space to enjoy their favorite activities from fishing and boating to wind surfing and jet skiing.

Come for a visit, enjoy the area, and feel free to explore! You may even fall in love with the area and decide to stay.

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl

Picture is copyrighted and was provided for this post

by:

SC Photo Ltd.

1202 4th Ave NE

Medicine Hat, AB

T1A 6B9

1-403-529-9500

http://www.scphoto.ca/

MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected

(This post now appears here: http://www.traveltheprairies.com/alberta/cypress-hills-alberta-adventure-relaxing-retreat/)

Proof That Saskatchewan Is Not As Flat As First Thought – An Introduction

From the Top of the Cypress Hills

From the Top of the Cypress Hills

This is an introduction to the region in the Canadian Prairies known as the Cypress Hills. This is the first in a four part in-depth series of one of the most mystical places on Earth.

©2008Angie Haggstrom

Perhaps the most amazing place on the prairies, this special region is the highest point between the Laurentian Mountains in Quebec and the Great Canadian Rocky Mountains in British Columbia. The Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, found in both Alberta and Saskatchewan, is Canada’s only Interprovincial Park.

The beautiful prairie oasis rises gracefully from the rustic prairie grasses and contains an amazing forest ecosystem. This magical place is home to a variety of unique species that draws visitors and experts from around the world.

Scientists believe that the park was formed during the last ice age. They believe that as the glaciers moved across the earth, the earth in this area pushed up between the icy plates and remained untouched. The result is approximately 220 bird species, more than 700 species of plants, and a mixture of animals including coyotes, wild turkeys, moose, elk, and cougars. Some of these species such as the Lodge Pole Pine and several orchids can’t be found anywhere else in the area,

In the early years of the park, the region was a center to the Aboriginal people and settlers in the area. As time went by, they were settled onto a reserve that remains there today. The park was then split into three distinct parts and ran by the Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Federal governments.

It soon became apparent that the secret to the park’s future would involve everyone working together to protect this vital area. In response, the park officially became an Interprovincial Park with the signing of the Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park Agreement on August 25, 1989. Today, the park is still referred to in three blocks – Cypress Hills Saskatchewan, Cypress Hills Alberta, and Fort Walsh– but everyone, including the local residents work together.

The Saskatchewan side of the park, just south of Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, has managed to find the perfect balance between tourist’s haven and a taste of the natural untamed world. Elkwater, Alberta, the Alberta portion of the park, contains a large, beautiful lake with a small taste of civilization hidden in its wild arms.

Combining the two of them is a quiet back country road that is completely impassible when it rains, but it offers you a look of the forest that cannot be seen any other way. Lastly, the northern region of the park can be found to the west of Maple Creek. Called Fort Walsh, this region holds a National Historic Site and tells of the hardships and the good times of days gone by for all of the area’s early residents.

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl

To be continued…

MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected

(This post now appears here: http://www.traveltheprairies.com/canada/cypress-hills-saskatchewan-alberta-1/)

Royal Tyrell Museum: World Famous Dinosaurs In Western Canada

Dinosaurs In Alberta, Canada

The Royal Tyrell Museum: Dinosaurs In Alberta, Canada

©2008Angie Haggstrom

Located in the Midland Provincial Park at Drumheller, Alberta Canada is Canada’s only exclusive paleontology research center. For anyone interested in dinosaurs, this is THE place to go! Fossils, full exhibits, and all sorts of programs and interactive activities keep visitors of all ages enthralled in this amazing museum.

The roads you travel to the museum are the start of your adventure. Amazing scenes, hoodoos, and kinds of interesting sights fill the prairie landscape. In fact, it is impossible to see everything in only one trip!

Once at the Royal Tyrell Museum, massive dinosaurs and a friendly staff are the first thing you will notice as you journey back into prehistoric times. Fun and informative interactive displays help to understand how the earth worked in its earliest days. The Cretaceous exhibits show you all sorts of dinosaurs and explain how these intriguing beasts lived more than 70 million years ago. (They look extremely real so the youngest visitors may get a bit scared.) Also, another exhibit shows you what the vegetation may have looked like during the days of the dinosaurs.

Other exhibits in the Tyrell Museum include a magnified look at life in the ancient oceans and aquatic life, the evolution of mammals, and the story of how humans come to inhabit North America. While you are here, you can also see paleontologists at work! If you would like a taste of what you will see at the museum, you can have a virtual tour of museum at http://www.seevirtual360.com/themes/2/theme02.aspx?listingID=8716#

Rosedale Suspension Bridge In Drumheller, Alberta

Rosedale Suspension Bridge In Drumheller, Alberta

When you leave the Royal Tyrell Museum, be sure to tour Midland Provincial Park. The park is rich in prairie life and mining history. There is ‘The Midland Coal Mining Company Office’ and several hiking trails that showcase the best the region has to offer. Some of these trails even lead to real mines and displays to help you learn and experience the area. The many trails allow you to customize your tour of the area. There are so many here you could spend days seeing all there is to see here.

For other things to do in the area like the Rosedale Suspension Bridge and historic buildings in the area, see the Virtual Drumheller Website or the Drumheller Valley Interpretive Center in Drumheller, Alberta.

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl

Pictures are copyrighted and were provided for this post

by:

SC Photo Ltd.

1202 4th Ave NE

Medicine Hat, AB

T1A 6B9

1-403-529-9500

http://www.scphoto.ca/

MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected

(This post now appears here: http://www.traveltheprairies.com/alberta/royal-tyrell-museum-dinosaurs-western-canada/)