When my parents came to visit us in Kimberley a few weeks ago, we were faced with two problems. The first issue was that we had just moved to town ourselves, so planning an itinerary of 'things to do' required a bit of guesswork & wishful thinking that thing we tried for the first time didn't result in any boo-urns. The second problem was that my dad had just fractured his ribs and had a bum knee, which kinda took all those outdoor activities that require not having fractured ribs and a bum knee off the table of options.
A quick google of "what to do when your parents are visiting you in Kimberley and one of them has fractured ribs and a bum knee" didn't bring up any usable results (although I'm hoping that after I publish this post Google will start directing people who enter that specific query over to 95EH). So I narrowed the Googling to the less specific "things to do around Kimberley / Cranbrook" and from over my shoulder I heard "that Fort Steele sounds good".
I admit, I was skeptical about the plan to visit Fort Steele Heritage Town. It's not that I had heard bad things about Fort Steele (in fact, I actually had only heard / read good things), it's just that I remember feeling my Fort Edmonton experience was 'ok at best' and I also remember feeling I was over that day before the end of that day.
But you know what? I actually quite enjoyed Fort Steele. And more importantly, I my parents really enjoyed it. Especially my dad. It turns out he REALLY likes old things.
So either Fort Steele is way better than Fort Edmonton, or I have matured since my visit to Olde Edmonton and I now appreciate olde things more (including spelling 'old' with an 'e' on the end). It's probably a combination of the two. I guess I've grown out of my 'too cool for school' stage and am now just 'too old for school', a subtle but important difference when it comes to enjoying things.
Also, one probably needs to factor in the stunning 360˚ mountain back drop advantage that Fort Steele has over Edmonton. In fact, it's not really fair to compare the two given the ones geographical upper hand, so I will stop giving Fort E-town the shaft and just share a few photos of how lovely Fort Steel is.
In conclusion: if you ever find yourself looking for a way to spend the day that doesn't involve anything too strenuous (maybe your dad has a bum knee too?) or if you just want to walk around pretending you're a character in Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, hit up Fort Steele. It's totally worth the 35 minute drive from Kimberley and the very fair price of admission… especially if you can manage to get in on a Family ticket even though you don't technically meet the 'family' definition (I don't want to get anyone in trouble, so I'm not saying that we did get the Family ticket… even though we totally did). They've also got plenty of people walking around in character to add some proper pioneer character and the little restaurant within the gates doesn't leave you wishing you packed a lunch (i.e. good food at a good price).
All in all, it's a great full day out… especially if you get lucky with the weather like we did.