While the full title of the park is Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, most people I know just call it the Ukrainian Village. We discoverd it while trying to get to know Central Alberta better. Located 25 minutes East of Edmonton, it is like a little trip back in time. The Ukrainian Village is an open-air museum that gives you a first hand look at the lives of Ukrainian settlers from the late 1800s through the 1930’s.
Different buildings were moved onsite from various settlements throughout Alberta. You can walk from one to the other on the streets of the town. In each building, there are interpreters going about the lives that the people who once lived or worked there likely had.
While the buildings are amazing and I love walking through them, the interpreters steal the show at the Ukrainian Village. Everyone seems to be native Ukrainian speakers and they stay in character no matter what you ask. If you ask where they live, you will likely be told “just up the road in the house behind the train station”. There is no admitting you are in a museum here!
They even put the kids to work! Evan got to try his hand at mowing the lawn the old fashioned way….with a swing blade!
As an adult, I found the history of the place interesting but the kids in our group were kept interested as well. The interpreters bring kids into the story by getting them to help cook or to feed the livestock (there are chickens and pigs on site). All the buildings that are open also allow you to wander through at will so it is very more open and accessible than a normal museum. The kids loved trying to figure out which bedrooms belonged to the parents versus the kids.
They also loved visiting the school. The teacher quizzed them on their spelling prowess. They loved sitting in the desks and learning about the classes taught at the school. They also learned that teachers usually started teaching when they were 17 or just out of high school.
Another highlight for the kids was seeeing the chickens and the pigs. I reccomend not mentioning those to the kids until you happen upon them as they are in the far back corner and you will end up going straight there and missing lots of stuff if they know.
We spent about 3 or 4 hours exploring the Ukrainian Village and we didn’t see it all. It was getting late into the afternoon and we were hot and tired so we left without seeing absolutely everything. At $40 for admission for a family of 4 (2 adults and 2 children), it was inexpensive enough that we weren’t too worried about not visiting again in the future.
You can only bring water into the Ukrainian Village. There are picnic areas and a restaurant before you enter the village. We decided to have the full Ukrainian experience so we ate at the restaurant. Evan and I shared a Ukrainian platter for $15. It had Kovbasa (sausage), Pyrohy (perogies), Nachynka (cornmeal dressing….my favourite), Holubshi (rice stuffed cabbage rolls) and Sunflower Cabbage slaw. It was amazing food and the container weighed about 5 pounds. We were STUFFED.
All in all, it was an amazing day and we can’t wait to go back. Evan had a great time and he learned a lot without even realizing he was learning. If you have more time, the Ukrainian Village is very near Elk Island Park which I’ve heard is another great place to visit.
More info about the Ukrainian Village
Hours: May 19 to Sept. 3, 2018: Open 7 days a week 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Where: Located 25 minutes (50 kilometres) east of Edmonton on Highway 16, 3 kilometres east of Elk Island National Park
- Family (2 Adults + Youths to a maximum of 8 people): $40
- Adult (18-64): $15
- Senior (65+): $13
- Youth (7-17): $10
- Child (0-6): Free
A 1-hour tour is included with admission. Tours depart from the Visitor Centre at 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., and 2 p.m. Tours are available on the following days:
- May and June: Saturdays and Sundays, except June 24
- July: Daily, except Tuesdays
- August: Daily, except Wednesdays and August 19
We didn’t end up doing the tour because the kids didn’t want to wait. Make sure to grab a map at the information desk before you head to the village.