If you have never visited the Rocky Mountains of Alberta you are in for quite a treat. Should you decide to visit Alberta in the Summer, here is a look at Banff National Park Alberta, Canada and four things seniors should see and do if they decide to come for a visit.
It would be a huge oversight not to take the time to visit one of the most famous attractions in Canada if you are already in the province. Just an 80-minute drive from Calgary, Alberta, Banff National Park is the gateway to the Roger’s Pass via the Trans Canada Highway.
THE BANFF GONDOLA RIDE
You can find the Banff Sightseeing Gondola just five minutes from the Town of Banff. It’s located on the shoulder of Sulphur Mountain, right in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. This has often been considered Banff National Park’s number one attraction.
What a great way to get up and personal with the mountains surrounding Banff. You almost feel like you can reach out and touch them. You will make the trip on a four-passenger Gondola. The view of the Bow Valley and the town of Banff are truly spectacular.
There is also a stunning 360-degree view of six mountain ranges from 7,468 feet above sea level. On arrival, you will experience a feeling like no other. It’s almost like you are standing on top of the world from the large main level observation deck.
From there you can take the optional Banff Skywalk. It’s a 1km self-guided interpretive walkway that leads you to the Cosmic Ray Station National Historic Site and Sanson’s Peak Meteorological Station.
There are other services you might find enjoyable as well. These include two gift shops, two restaurants, a Starbucks coffee shop, one snack bar, interpretive hiking trails, and an interactive giant compass.
Also, included with your Gondola ticket is admission into the new multi-sensory Above Banff Theater. You’ll get to soar over the Rockies like a bald eagle and to experience first-hand the ever-changing weather systems and the power of Mother Nature.
Remember to dress for the weather. You will be gaining quite a lot of altitude and the temperatures can vary from the bottom of the mountain to the top. Also, you might want to bring a camera other than your cell phone so you can capture the incredible views with a wide-angle lens.
Pets are not permitted for the safety and comfort of guests.
Here is a look at the prices you can expect to pay. Although it may appear to be expensive, it is truly a once in a lifetime experience.
- Adults – from $60.00
- Child (6-15 years) – $32.00 ($29 Advanced Rate)
- Child (5 and under) – FREE
- Admission Before 10 AM
- One free child with each regular-priced adult $64
- Alberta Resident (after 5 PM)
- Alberta Residents visit after 5 PM and save Adult $49 Child $25
Prices fluctuate depending on how busy the day or season is. In order to get the best possible price for the day and time you want, its best to book in advance. That way you will get the lowest rate even if prices increase as the day approaches. Keep in mind, the price changes depending on the week or season, so if you book a mid-week date in the early or late season its an excellent way to get a great price.
The last ride up is 30 minutes before close and the last ride down is at closing time. The advanced booking rate applies to bookings made 48 hours before arrival. (some restrictions may apply) The bookings must be made in person at an Explore Rockies location or at the Banff Gondola.
To learn more, you can contact guest services at 1-866-756-1904 or firstname.lastname@example.org
COLUMBIA ICEFIELDS AND SKYWALK
For many seniors, this might be their one and only chance to get up close and personal with a glacier. The breath-taking journey from Banff to the Ice fields Parkway takes about 2.5-hours.
On arrival at the Athabasca Glacier, it’s all aboard a giant ice explorer for the most unique 80-minute journey of your life.
During that journey, passengers will get to see some amazing geological features and at the same time will discover how glaciers are formed.
The Ice Explorer will take you to where you can walk on, feel and drink from the Glacier. You can even take a jaw-dropping walk along the glass-floored Skywalk at the cliff’s edge.
This adventure to the Athabasca Glacier is in operation from mid-April to mid-October(weather permitting)
The Glacier Discovery Center is on the boundary of Banff and Jasper National Parks. The center features interpretive scenic walks, self-guided trails, cafeteria, dining room, gift shop, and if desired, overnight accommodation.
- Book in Advance, Save 10%
- ADULT $103
- AGES 6-15 $52
- ADULT (Alberta Residents Save 20%)$91
- AGES 6-15 (Alberta Residents Save 20%)$46
- KIDS age 5 & UNDER FREE
- PRICES AT THE GATE FROM $114 ADULT | $57 AGES 6-15
CALL 1-(866)606-6700 for more information.
LAKE MINNEWANKA CRUISE
This one-hour panoramic, interpretive cruise is an opportunity to see the towering Rocky Mountains from an entirely new perspective.
The Lake Minnewanka cruise begins on the Western edge of Bannf’s largest lake and sets sail under the towering peaks.
While passengers are taking in the emerald-green water and amazing mountains they should also keep an eye out for waterfalls and wildlife that is often spotted on the lakeshore.
You never know when you might spot big-horned sheep, American Bald Eagles, Ospreys, deer, or maybe even a bear.
The ships’ captains are very knowledgeable about the history, geology, animals, park policy, and native involvement in the area. The will provide passengers with an entertaining and informative commentary during the lake voyage.
- Book in Advance, Save 10%
- ADULT $58
- AGES 6-15 $29
- ADULT (Alberta Residents Save 20%)$48
- AGES 6-15 (Alberta Residents Save 20%)$24
- KIDS age 5 & UNDER FREE
- PRICES AT THE GATE FROM $64 ADULT | $32 AGES 6-15
If hiking isn’t your thing, how about a helicopter tour. This is an ideal excursion for seniors who want the ultimate in a mountain experience but don’t necessarily want to climb the mountain.
The helicopter tour actually takes off from the Canmore Municipal Heliport which is about a 25-minute drive east of Banff. Alpine Helicopters would be your flying host and they are very good at what they do with over five decades of doing business.
They are located right at the base of the majestic Three Sisters Peaks.
Your sightseeing air tour will take you past awe-inspiring mountains and the remote and incredible world of ageless glaciers.
There are three main options to choose from:
Three Sisters Peaks Tour
($150.00 per person for 12 minutes)
If you are visiting the Rocky Mountains for the first time, this will most likely be the most amazing 12 minutes you will ever experience. Your flight will take you past the Three Sisters Peaks as you leave the Spray Lakes Valley.
Next, you will see the spectacular Goat Range where you will gaze down at the radiant aqua blue/green colors of Spray Lakes. The return flight will feature views of the Bow River as it winds its way towards the Town of Canmore. This flight requires a minimum of two adults. Children fly for $75.
Royal Canadian Tour
($275.00 per person for 25 minutes)
This tour is an extension of the Three Sisters Peaks Tour.
You’ll fly through the Goat Range Pass and along the Sundance Range of Banff National Park. On this part of the journey, you’ll see mountain peaks, alpine meadows, and pristine lakes.
This flight has a minimum of two adults. Children fly for $137.50.
Mt. Assiniboine Glacier Tour
($330.00 per person for 30 minutes)
This flight includes all the sights of the previous two tours plus much more. In actual flying time, 30 minutes is quite a long flight and this flight is the most value for your money.
You will head over to the Matterhorn of the Rockies. It rises to 3,611 meters (11,870 feet) along the Great Divide. The glacier’s ice falls will amaze you, especially when you are up close to the Gloria Glacier as it tumbles off of Mount Assiniboine.
This flight also requires a minimum of two adults. Children from six to twelve fly for $165.00.
Prices on all these flights may be subject to change if booked after November 30th.
SENIORS IN BANFF
There is so much for seniors to see and do in Banff National Park, and especially in the Town of Banff itself.
You can sip a coffee, ride the world-famous Gondola or rent a canoe. There are myriads of beautiful walking trails that would be perfect for seniors.
There are also many superb dining opportunities to choose from. The best way to find out more about the history of Banff and the area is to visit the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies and the Cave and Basin National Historic Site.
The Banff Seniors Center is located at 101 Bear Street and is just a short walk from the center of Banff. All seniors are very welcome to stop by for a visit and to have any questions they might have answered by friendly staff.
If you have gone on cruises or visited Europe and are looking for something a bit different than you have never experienced, I’m sure you will be thrilled with your visit to Banff National Park Alberta, Canada and four things seniors should see and do.
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