Family Travel Files Ezine Family Vacations Resource
Saskatchewan: Moose Jaw, Family Vacation Ideas - Owls, Living History, and Secret Tunnels.  The city is easy to walk and the “The Great Walls” are clever and creative. The fact is the city is a prairie treasure. It is perfect for families because of its size and the abundant number of easy to do activities. Family fun without lines - no stress.

Our “do-not-miss” list is to the point and easy to follow but no doubt that time in town will lead to more discoveries. From the renovated train station to the second hand bookstore and the cozy antique shops, the city has positive energy, class and spirit. It is a secret place worth the drive.

 Meet the little owls.  Located Burrowing Owl Interpretive Centre is located not far from the Trans Canada and the Western Development Museum this is a “ground zero” place worth a look. From the outside it is unglamorous but efforts are impressive and the learning factor high. On our visit there were 119 burrows in a predator proof area. Not easy to see and these tiny owls are endangered because of the actions of man.

We learned that each female will lay sixto 12 eggs per year in ground holes abandon by badgers, fox, weasels or ground squirrels. The problem is the nests are on the ground and easy for coyotes and other predators to locate. They also have other birds at the facility. Some of them are undergoing rehabilitation while others have become permanent residents. The best part of the visit is the chance to meet Luna one of the Burrowing Owls used in the education program. SBOIC, 250 Thatcher Drive East, 1(306) 692-1765. Need to know: Since 1987 Operation Burrowing Owl (OBO) has been full swing.  When traveling in Saskatchewan if you spot a burrowing owl please report the location by calling the Hoot Line at toll-free 1-800-HOOT (4668).

Checkout Western Develpoment Museum. They showcase the History of Transportation in a systematic interesting way. The building has four gallery sections: land, water, aviation and rail. Unique to the facility including snow planes built by Fuge and a Gypsy Moth built in 1929 and used in the Northwest Territories as well as the first public air ambulance in North America. There are many grand automotive specimens including an electric car from 1911 and 1902 Holsman with hard rubber wheels.

Naturally one of our favorite displays contained rail cars restored and open for boarding. Unless there is an organized family event this location is not for young children but it is for those of school age when an adult is willing to act as a guide. This is a comfortable place where a time travel recess is possible, it only takes a little imagination. An added bonus for young ones is the short line railroad outside the Western Development Museum. (Trans Canada. 50 Diefenbaker Dr. 1(306) 693-5989 or or

Discover the Tunnels of Moose Jaw. This is an exceptional experience to have with children aged 10 years or older. Both tours provide the opportunity to become part of a moving play created from events that occurred in Moose Jaw. The “Passage to Fortune” depicts the time frame from 1860 to 1920 and includes an exceptional video of Kim Lee. The tour is both fascinating and eerie as it winds through the underground network of rooms and passageways. From the burlap factory to the restaurant and the claustrophobic opium den there is a reality pinch that is unforgettable.

Participants on “The Chicago Connection” tour will find a totally different living history experience. leverly the two who play Capone’s accomplices draw the group into the tension of the times. Imagine fleeing along a stone walled underground passage and hearing the sound of thugs in the next room. More than one of us jumped when the silence was unexpectedly broken and all of us felt the need to hold our breath and to listen for footsteps.

My advice, just do it. The Tunnels of Moose Jaw is an A+ activity for families with school aged children. Each tour provides a living history lesson. The result will be conversations with the kids about real topics that still impact our lives today. The Passage of Fortune tour is based on events that occurred in that time period in Canada, some in Moose Jaw but much of it is representative of Canadian history on a whole. The Chicago Connection tour is based on fact and fiction or at least rumors from the gangster era in North America.

Naturally the discussions depend on the age of your children. A discussion of Prohibition in the US relates to narcotics trafficking today. The illegal smuggling of Chinese people in the Canada and the US is still going on after decades of programs to change the causes.

Teen’s note: There is a terrific book about time travel and Moose Jaw. Tunnels of Time, A Moose Jaw Adventure, by Mary Harelkin Bishop. I highly recommend this book. It was really cool especially because I had been in those tunnels.

Editor’s note: So just how good is the interactive experience? J.Kirstan and I agree it is as good as Kingslanding even though it is shorter in time. It is certainly as well done as the programs in Historic Williamsburg, Virginia and on a par with the interactive programs at Hampton court just outside London, England. On a rating scale of ten this is ten plus ten. Translated to grading terms and A+ and worth the drive. Located at 18 Main Street, 1(306) 693-5261,look at their clever Website at

Mineral Waters Experience. In addition to being a destination spa, Temple Gardens is also a day spa so it is not essential to stay in the spa complex.  But to go to Moose Jaw and not have the water experience would be irresponsible because this is one of the earth’s well being zones. The pools provide warm, healing bliss. The largest section is under glass and the other under the sky but they are connected.

To really experience "taking of the waters" it is best to start slowly. The mineral pool water temperature is hot and the moisture rich interior air is filled with the aroma is of minerals. The water for the pool originates from the porous rock of ancient seabeds located more than 1350 meters (4500 ft.) below the spa. Just enter the pool gradually let the warm mineral waters penetrate, a feeling of euphoria will occur. It is very easy to float in this water and the feeling is quite relaxing.

Eating Places

Treats R Us.They serve both hard and soft ice cream, yogurt and wonderful, yummy shakes. This is the place for specialty coffee and tea. They bake things fresh each day and have lovely meat filled buns to go. In the back is a 35-seat mini movie theatre that sometimes has silent movies. Just ask for Sally Chow if you need anything special. She is friendly and likes kids. 40 Main Street 1(306) 692-7799.

Yvette Moore Fine Art Gallery and Copper Café.
This is a find on the prairie. Yvette Moore, an author and long time Moose Jaw resident bought the Land Titles Building. The gift gallery is quite exceptional. There are rare artifacts and memorable sculptures. For young children there are unique toys and books. Two of Yvette’s beautiful children’s books are available for sale, A Prairie Year and A Prairie Alphabet. She received a Canadian Children’s Book Award for the later. Her books are also available from or by calling 1(306) 693-9071.

The Café is located in the back of the magnificent old building. It is simply the best not just on the prairie. The menu provides many tempting choices with clever names like Chuckwagon Beef Meatloaf and Prairie Alphabet Hamburger Soup. They serve Prairie Fog, a tea brewed with milk and vanilla. Ideal for kids, they serve Italian sodas topped with whipped cream and sprinkles. My personal favorite is Saskatoon Iced Tea, a combination of red and black currents, blueberries, hibiscus, Seneca root and divine Saskatoon berries. Hint: They are known for Saskatoon berry pie. Located in the old Land Titles Building on 1st Ave at Fairford St. 1(306) 693-7600.

Location on the planet. Moose Jaw is just 45 minutes from Regina, the capital of Saskatchewan.
Make it happen: Visit Saskatchewan on the Web at or toll-free 1-877-237-2273.
Content by FTF. Image courtesy of Tunnels of Moose Jaw.  Copyright 2012.