What to Do in Edmonton with Kids

City and Baby is a blog for parents with an urge to get out of the house. We explore all that Edmonton region has to offer families with kids six and younger. From unique events, fun activities, attractions, baby-friendly businesses to product must-haves, CityandBaby.com is your guide to savouring Edmonton with your little ones in tow.


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Monday
Jul302012

Enjoying The Edmonton Indy With Kids

The Edmonton Indy has become a favourite summer event for IndyCar and race lovers. Getting up close with cars and drivers. Seeing them whiz around the track. And watching a favourite sport LIVE is like nothing else.

We chatted with Christopher Nash, race enthusiast and dad of two, about the Edmonton Indy. Here’s what he had to say:

What does it mean to you to see an Indy event in person?

It means the difference between experiencing something truly special, and something boring. On the track, you see and feel how fast they run, how loud they are. In the stands, you get to feel how excited thousands of people sitting around you get when the cars come down the track on the first green flag.

But the behind the scenes stuff is what's really great. Wandering around the paddock and seeing the whole teams scurrying around trying to work the impossible. Seeing world famous race car drivers.  The pit lane is especially interesting - watching the pit crews work on cars and send them out on track.

They're all pieces of the racing puzzle that fit together and give you a more complete picture and appreciation for the sport.

Why did you bring your kids to the event this year?

I think they might be interested in seeing what it's really like at a race, instead of only seeing it on TV. Like hockey, or ballet. It's a much richer, vivid, widescreen experience to see it live. You never know, it may seed a love of the sport in them, or at least give them some great daddy-bonding opportunities.

Any tips for parents who are considering bringing their kids to the Indy in 2013?

Bring Ear Protection: It's not always super loud, but it can be. More than anything, I think kids are just surprised/shocked at the sound. Ear mufs helps to quiet the sounds and protect their sensitive ears.

Kid earmuff style works the best. Try Banz Ear Muffs designed for kid
s. This US website has tips on what to look for in kids ear muffs and a product comparison chart.

Be Prepared to Walk: The race track is huge, and there's a ton of walking to do to get from one area to another. So prepare ahead of time for that much walking with little ones.

I saw parents with strollers, carriers and wagons. You can tuck them under the grand stands when you’re not using them.

Know some racing info, or find someone who does: It's a lot more interesting for kids if you can explain to them what's going on at the moment, or what the different series are (stock cars, Indy cars), or be able to spot drivers and get some autographs. If you have girls, see if you can find a woman racer (only one in the series full-time at the moment - Simona de Silvestro - because Danica Patrick has moved on to race in NASCAR).

Agreed. I am not familiar with racing and felt like I was missing essential knowledge of the event.

Pack Food: To keep costs down, pack lunch, snacks, frozen juice boxes and bring lots of water.  This gives kids something to munch on in the stands and saves you a lot of time in lineups. Note, you cannot bring in alcoholic beverages or glass containers and be mindful to pack a small cooler or backpack.

Save your money for ice cream or a cold treat that can’t be packed. Yum!

Be ready for the weather:  Sunscreen, hats, rain gear, layers.

Don't let them fall off the bleachers 

Obvious tip there, Chris!

How could you make the Indy event even more fun for kids?

Pick up a race program. Get them to pick one driver to follow. They can pick a driver by country, or cool car colour or whatever else sparks their imagination. Then follow that driver and team around for the weekend. Buy that driver's hat or jersey. Take pictures and try to get their autograph at a signing session or in the paddock. Identifying with one driver to start can help keep them from getting lost in the chaos of race action.

With all these tips I'll be sure to be more prepared to enjoy our Edmonton Indy experience in 2013.

A special thanks to Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) for tickets to the final race to allow us to review it from a family-friendly point of view. You can follow EEDC on Twitter and Facebook. They love Edmonton as much as we do!

Thanks to Chris Nash for sharing his love of racing, letting me use his photographs (above) and being my emergency provider of ear plugs on race day.

~Jen

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