Just before Kallista turned 2, we took advantage of the lesser airfare and flew ‘home’ across the Atlantic from the UK to Regina, Saskatchewan. Regina has a population of approx. 215,000; it’s been growing a lot in the time I’ve been away. It may be in the middle of the Canadian Prairies, and it may not be huge, but it’s my hometown and I LOVE it! There’s so much to do in every season and is very family friendly! One fabulous place to visit is the Royal Saskatchewan Museum.
The Royal Saskatchewan Museum has been around for decades. I remember visiting it several times as a child, both with my family and on school trips. Since those days it’s been completely redone, and redone very well (other museums should take note!). The RSM is nestled in the northwest corner of the Wascana Centre (though I still refer to it as it is commonly referred to, Wascana Park).
The museum is stroller/pram and wheelchair friendly with stair lifts and an accessible washroom on the main floor. They even have a stroll and wheelchair that they will loan to you for the duration of your museum visit!
The main galleries at the RSM are
- Life Sciences
- Earth Sciences
- First Nations
- The Megamunch exhibit and
- Travelling exhibits
On this particular day we didn’t make it to all of the exhibits as our children were still a bit young to be taking so much in at one time, but it leaves more for us to do the next time we visit Regina!
The first area we visited was the Earth Sciences Gallery. Here you can learn about Saskatchewan’s ancient history. The spot you are standing on used to be the bottom of a sea bed:
Find out more about the dinosaurs that have been discovered in Saskatchewan. There are even hands-on exhibits to let the little ones touch a bit of history. The Canadian prairies are known for their dinosaur fossils, especially the areas of Drumheller in Alberta, and Eastend in Saskatchewan. The children (and us) enjoyed the hands-on fossils and life-size exhibits.
Our next area for exploration was the First Nations Gallery. The full-size diorama backgrounds have been painted by professional artists. With the life-like mannequins and stuffed animals, tipis, etc. in front of these murals, you feel like you could just walk right into another time or place. When you take photos of the exhibits you sometimes can’t tell that it’s just a ‘scene’.
This was probably my personal favourite part of the museum. I graduated from the University of Regina with a minor in Indian Studies, and I think it is important to understand history from all points of view, even if it isn’t a ‘written’ history. My children began to learn about the First Nations people of Saskatchewan last summer by making bannock, and a sweat lodge craft.
Before we left, we made sure to stop in and say “Hello”, to Megamunch, the resident mechanical dino that roars and moves when a coin is dropped into a box on the wall. We thought Tristan would love this, but he was actually quite frightened of it at first and left the room. Then he tried again, and grew to love Megamunch and mentions him regularly.
There are several programs that run year-round at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum for all ages, including evening hunts, overnight cap-outs, and seasonal activities. You can visit their website for up-to-date information on these programs.
There is a gift shop within the museum where there are lots of Saskatchewan-made products to choose from ranging from Saskatoon berry jam to glass wheat to books on Native Americans. My children loved the toys, especially this big dino! There isn’t a restaurant or cafe on the premises, but they do have a drinks vending machine. It is located just off the downtown area and is very close to several restaurants of many varieties and price ranges.
But why not pack a lunch or a picnic and eat it outside in the amazing Wascana Park? There are picnic tables, acres of space for the kids to run free, a bike path that runs from one end of the city to the other, the hand-dug mighty Wascana Lake just a few minutes walk away where you can feed the Canadian Geese, mallards, and gulls. Just across the lake is the Saskatchewan Legislative Building, seen here in the background. There is also within walking distance a playground and outdoor swimming pool (open during the summer season).
There’s no need to worry about getting to the Royal Saskatchewan Museum as it is on several bus routes, and you if you need to take more than one bus, just ask the driver for a transfer when you get on the bus and you can use this to gain access to your connecting bus. If you are driving, there is plenty of FREE parking just behind the museum, as well as on-street parking along the roads within Wascana Park as well.
While you’re in town, there are some other great places that you may want to visit, such as the RCMP Heritage Centre. Every Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer is trained just 2 km from my family home. Maybe you can catch a drill practice or if you’re very lucky, the Musical Ride may be in the area. One special historical note is that this is where the trial of Louis Riel was held and he was hanged on the site before his burial in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The Saskatchewan Science Centre is a day’s worth of learning fun. We also visited here and made some paper and tried out our ice hockey abilities at some of the hands-on science exhibits. Tristan learned a little about how a movie is made with his own drawings.
If you’re in town during the fall or winter University of Regina academic terms, why not check to see if you can catch a game or two. Inter-university sport it where it all happens! There is a great range of sports from Football, Ice Hockey, and Basketball, to Volleyball, Track and Field, Swimming and Wrestling. Competitive sport for a reasonable price, what’s not to like? Go Cougars!
If you’re interested in more dinosaur activities, please hop over to see our 3D painted dino cookies, paper plate dinos, and how we dig for dinos at home. And don’t forget to check out more fun places around the world in our ‘Postcards‘ feature!
Additional notes on the Royal Saskatchewan Museum:
The RSM is open from 9:00am until 5:00 pm. There are “suggested donations” of:
- $6.00 – Adults
- $5.00 – Seniors (65+) & Youth (12-18)
- $3.00 – Children
- $15.00 – Families
However, unlike places I’ve visited in the UK, this donation is not a requirement of visiting so that you can certainly visit the Royal Saskatchewan Museum no matter how much or how little money you have and you can have a fun day out. It’s accessible to everyone!