After a long drive from Calgary to Edmonton, I settled into my hotel room at the Sands Inn on Fort Road, NW. It may not be a fancy hotel but the price is right. The room has a giant bed, mini-fridge, microwave and (most importantly) free Wi-Fi. I was very comfortable there but I was hungry. It wasn’t long before my group and I decided that we needed something to eat.
The Buffet Royale Carvery which was not too far away from the hotel was recommended. The atmosphere is calm and natural with beige and brown stone walls surrounding you. A nice, comfortable, down-to-earth spot where you can have just about any food you desire. As a vegetarian, I was pleased that there was a variety of choices for me.
Long aisles gave you a look at some of the wonderful cuisines just waiting for the taking. And that’s what I did. For my first plate I got rice, corn, salad, cooked veggies and a lovely cheese pizza. With my first plate full I sat at the table with my friends. I enjoyed the meal and the company. It doesn’t take me long to go to the dessert table and get what I was craving for all day…chocolate fondue. As a self-confessed chocoholic, there is a reason that fondue is my favorite treat because the limitlessness of it hits the spot, for weeks to come.
After such a meal, we all decided to retire to our hotel rooms and prepare for our first big adventure.
Up not so early in the morning, my friends and I decided to go straight to West Edmonton Mall. Short walk away, we discover the magic of Tai Chi. A whole group of people were practicing it, so I wanted to join in. I tell you, it was a magical practice. After 5 minutes, I was ready for anything but I needed food. We wanted a nice light breakfast before we hit the waterpark. One of my favorite places to go to for a quick and easy breakfast is A&W. Luckily, there is one in the food court. I ordered an orange juice, green tea and a sriracha bacon and egger (without the bacon). It was my first time trying that particular egg sandwich but it had a nice kick to it that definitely got me started. After satisfying all our appetites we were ready for a day of waterslides.
While waiting in the short line up, we discovered an option to add $9.00 onto your original admission to do the zip lining. Naturally, I jumped at the chance and bought it. My friends and I go to the change rooms where the lockers cost an extra $12. It may seem a little expensive but you definitely get what you pay for. Only the wrist bands you get from the machine can open your chosen locker. It’s very reassuring to know that everything you have is safe and secure.
Anyway, for our first great adventure, we start off by getting we get the “lay of the land.” As we are looking around we discover one of the pop machines (there are a few of them in there) that give away free soda. That was awesome for us but it is the slides that are truly magnificent. We decide to go on Nessie’s Revenge first and go from there.
Each slide we went on was better than the last but I have to say that I have two favorites. The cyclone (super scary but awesome!) is a slide that you go into an enclosure that the slide workers close up and a countdown begins. Once it reaches to one, there is no turning back. The floor releases you and you drop at an amazing speed that takes you up, around and I could have sworn upside down before you crash into the pool in the bottom. It all happened so fast that I wondered, “What did happen exactly?” That’s why it’s one of my favorite slides.
My second favorite slide is the Tropical Typhoon. My friends and I jokingly call it the toilet because that’s what it looks like. You slide down, go around and around (just like a toilet) until you plop out of the center. I must warn you that if you go on this ride you have to be a good swimmer. It is deep at the bottom of the pool and the current can be strong. Otherwise it is as safe as can be. We rode every slide at least twice but we did have to takes breaks now and again.
During those breaks, we enjoyed the Blue Thunder Wave Pool. Every now and again, the waves would come and get bigger and bigger. Although it was very exhilarating, there was something soothing about it at the same time. To float out there brought everyone great joy. Another great break was having my turn on the zip-line. The zip-line workers were incredibly knowledgeable and friendly. They helped me put on my harness, strapped me up on the line and away I went, waving and screaming at my friends as they stood watching me at the bottom. The ride was quick but fun with a nice view of the waterpark. I was happy I did it.
So after spending over 8 hours at this place, we decided to call it a day, get showered and go get something really big to eat. We found our big meals at the Coliseum. It is a pub that was only a few blissful minutes away from our hotel. Although it is a rib, steak and pizza place, I found a wonderful meal there that was as huge as my appetite. It is called a vegetarian loaf and for good reason. It’s like a giant grilled cheese sandwich with a whole bunch of yummy vegetables in it. I highly recommend it to all vegetarians. With that, a little wine and a small garden salad, I can finally appreciate this very famous quote. “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.”
Another adventurous day was upon us but this time it was a little more spontaneous. We had a lovely buffet breakfast in our hotel right after we checked out. They had a good assortment of different dishes including eggs, fruit, waffles and salads. Of course there is meat for all those who want it. The atmosphere was kind of plain but I like the whimsical knickknacks. What catches my eye is seeing those giant pieces of cutlery on the wall. I’m guessing this is BFG’s favorite place to eat. Well either way, it was a lovely brunch.
Back at the mall, we head straight to the Galaxyland Indoor Amusement Park. It was expensive ($40.50 for an all-day pass) but really cool and so much to do. We go through a haunted house where everything is out of the Saw movies. Blood was everywhere, zombies were watching and screams filled the place.
The house was pretty creepy but what looks super scary is the rollercoaster called the Mindbender. At its peak it is 14 storeys high so my friend and I could not wait to go on it. We ride through this thing faster than a chicken on fire. I could have sworn that I went temporarily blind with my adrenaline running so high. You know it’s a good ride when that happens. Next up is the space shot which is right next to the rollercoaster. They launch us straight up 120 feet and drop us in less than 2 seconds flat back to the earth. It was a lot like bungee jumping, quick but exciting.
After that cool ride we come to an unusual ride called Quirks at Work. We sit on these seats and it spins us (not too quickly) around different areas where we have to shoot our laser guns at targets. Needless to say, I shot anything that jumped out at me. After the ride, they rate us by how well and how much we shoot. It turns out I’m number one! YAY! It’s nice getting an ego boost.
After all that we decided to check out what else the mall had to offer. We discovered things like the sea lion show, virtual reality rides and an underground aquarium. Yes we saw them all. Those sea lions really know their stuff. They dance, jump and give waves to the audience. It was just a quick glance we had of the sea lion show but it is amazing how smart (and cute) these creatures are.
We walk by these $15 virtual reality rides that are sitting in the middle of the mall. You sit in this giant egg-like chair, pick which scenario you want and for 10 minutes you enjoy the ride. I gave it a try and it was pretty cool.
What was even cooler was the Marine Life – Sea Life Caverns. $11.00 later, my friends and I went down the steps of the cavern and had a taste of what life is like under the sea. You see stingrays, tortoises, and even a few sharks swimming around but that’s not all. We met a few reptiles including this guy over on the right. And visited the home of the penguins. They really do look like little tuxedoed men swimming around. Too bad the mermaids weren’t there then it would be a ball.
This was a full two days but I will never forget any of it. I left Edmonton with a smile on my face and looking forward to my next adventure. I have my good friends to thank for such a fun time. It was their idea and I am so glad I went along with them. Any adventure where you have fun friends with you are often the best ones. Thanks for reading everyone and stay tuned for next time.