Category Archives: Day Trips

Day Tripping around Alberta – All Aboard a Prairie Adventure

Riding the Rails at Aspen Crossing
Every wonder what it’s like to ride the rails? We recently had the chance to take the new Circus Train excursion at Aspen Crossing located just outside of Mossleigh, Alberta.

Train travel is something my children have never experienced. I was a bit worried that we would get onboard and they would spend the next three hours pestering me if we were there yet.

Aspen Crossing 2I had nothing to worry about. Once our tickets were punched we got to pick out seats on the train. The three cars we could choose from included the lounge, the dining car and the Pullman. We took the Pullman it was the perfect choice, not just because of the wide, cushy seats and great views. It also had quick access to the open air patio car and caboose which turned out to be my daughter’s favourite place on the whole train.

When everyone was on board the train slowly pulled away from the station and on to the spur line – after a brief safety debrief it was on with the show. Most of the kid aged entertainment happens in the back of the Pullman car and the caboose. Our ring master handed out balloons, the face painter got ready and the smell of popcorn wafted out of the caboose.

If you’re wondering if there is enough to keep you entertained the answer is a definitive yes.  There are balloon twisters who made some truly incredible animals, live music in the lounge car and a mysterious golden elephant that gets lost and can be returned to the ring master for a treat or two or eight if you are a motivated six-year-old.

Aspen Crossing 1If that’s not enough to captivate you there is also a mystery on the rails. I won’t spoil it except to say there is a robbery and the shootout where they use blanks can be quite loud for little children.

Last but not least is the scenery. Chugging peacefully across the countryside the views are incredible. When we weren’t running from one end of the train we saw cows, llamas and deer along with the Mossleigh grain elevators.

If you get hungry or thirsty the dining car has a selection of hot dogs, sandwiches bagels, chips, sodas, bottled water,souvenirs and drink tickets if you would like something stronger from the lounge. They also take debit so you don’t have to worry about remembering to stop at a bank machine.

When we left that day my son asked when we were coming back. “It was epic mom.”

If you child is a Thomas enthusiast, loves Supertrain and knows all the names of the trains then this is the day trip for you*

Even if they aren’t train junkies this is a pretty amazing way to spend the day.

Aspen Crossing has eight train tours that run the gamut of themes. From dinner theatre – to Ale on the Circus train they have something for every age group. If a day trip is too much time on the road there are 85 camp ground spaces and two converted caboose cabins. If you don’t want to ride the rails you can enjoy dinner on their 1887 Pullman dining car that once belonged to John Diefenbaker or simple take stroll around The Station to find a perfect memento from the day.

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Tips for taking it all in at Aspen Crossing:

  1. Check out the Cupola in the Caboose
  2. If you have small children pick the Pullman car, it’s air conditioned and if they fall asleep the seats recline. There were several kids and dads or grandpas snoozing.
  3. Get there early. We didn’t have time to look around before the train left and the kids were so exhausted from all the things they did on the train we couldn’t check anything out after.
  4. It was over 30 degrees the day we went and while the cars are air conditioned the patio space has no shade, but it does have the best views, so pack sunscreen and water.
  5. Take the time to ask questions about your trip. All the staff have a passion for the rails and can tell you lots about the train and tracks you are riding on.