Arrive at the Golden Visitor Centre to stretch your legs, grab a snack and a local map. The kids can pick up a couple of brochures and information about local wildlife to get them excited about the trip. After settling in at your accommodation, go for a walk along the Rotary Trails and visit the Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge in downtown Golden - the longest free-standing timber frame bridge in Canada. The iconic timber frame structure makes for an excellent backdrop for family photos. Pretty soon it will be time for dinner at a family friendly restaurant and then early to bed after a day of travel.
Just a short drive south of Golden you will find the World's Largest Wooden Paddle, so jump in the car and be prepared to take in the beautiful views of the Columbia Valley as you travel to Parson. The Columbia Wetlands are home to many wild animals, including beautiful birds and waterfowl. Watch carefully out the window and see who can spot the most to help pass the time. If you're feeling inspired by the giant paddle and want to test your paddle skills, you can rent a canoe or stand up paddle board and float down the Columbia River. If you prefer to stay off the water, hike the Canyon Creek trail, just keep your eyes out for mountain bikers, mountain goats and bears! Spend the evening in town and check the Summer Kicks concert schedule, if you're in luck enjoy a free outdoor concert by the Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge.
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort is home to Boo the Grizzly Bear. Get ready for an up-close visit (don't worry he is behind a fence) with this local celebrity while learning about how he came to Golden and some fun facts about Grizzly Bears. Next up, jump on the gondola and take the Eagle's Eye Express to the top of the mountain. Just the ride is half the fun, and the views from the top are spectacular. Be sure to bring an extra sweater and maybe even your binoculars. On your way back to town, stop at Cedar Lake, enjoy a swim, a hike, a bike ride, or maybe all three! Make sure you have plenty of bug spray!
Golden is surrounded by national and provincial parks. Hop in the car for a visit to Yoho National Park and start your day with an easy hike to see the thundering Wapta Falls. (Make sure to do this first as the turn off can only be accessed by east bound traffic.) As you get to Field, stop off at the Visitor Centre to take a look a look at the Burgess Shale fossil display, pick up an Xplorers booklet for the kids and see if there are any special interpretative programming happening in the park. From there, you can continue chasing waterfalls with a visit to Takakkaw Falls - one of Canada's tallest and be prepared to get a little wet, it's the perfect way to cool down on a hot summer day! Spend the afternoon on a rented canoe at Emerald Lake or take a casual stroll around the lake and don't forget to visit the Natural Bridge.
Jump into the car for another wildlife adventure. Head out to the beautiful Blaeberry and start your day with a visit to the Rocky Mountain Buffalo Ranch. Kids eyes will pop as they get a close up look at Chester Jr and his crew. Then head across the street to the Northern Lights Wolf Wildlife Centre, meet the wolf pack and learn about wolves' key role in wildlife. By the afternoon it will be time to head back to town and cool off at the outdoor swimming pool and spray park.