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15 kids activities (more fun than Fortnite) in Saskatoon

*Disclaimer: There’s a ton of Fortnite jargon in here. If you are having trouble understanding what the heck I’m talking about, it’s best to ask the player in the house!

My boys have been taken hostage.

It’s been months now. I thought that hot summer days, the prospect of playing outside and seeing their friends would help the situation. Nope. No go. The situation has worsened rather than improved. And now that it’s fall, I’ve been feeling hopeless.

“WHAAAAATTTTTT? HOW?? HOW??? Hacker!!!!!!!!” rings through my household at decibels that make the adults, and even our dogs in the house wince. My head is pounding, my nerves are shot and my patience is long gone. And Fortnite is to blame.

Fortnite flossing Jenn Smith Nelson

Fortnite flossing occurs everywhere. Am I right?

Fortnite’s grip on my pre-teen boys is beyond ridiculous. There’s the yelling. Then there’s the fact that I cannot get them to even eat – or PEE! OMG. Pulling them away from the Playstation takes patience beyond my means.

*Disclaimer 2: I get just how addicting this game is – I play it. It’s super fun. Yes, I’m a mom who Fortnites. In attempt to spend time with my sons, I learned how – and thoroughly enjoy it. But, I can walk away. They haven’t got kind of self-control yet. Is any of this familiar to you other parents out there?

Is Fortnite winning the Victory Royale of your household?

Victory Royale Jenn Smith Nelson

Victory Royale

If so, I have a new attack plan for the fall season. It includes some fail-safe activities that will not only get the kids out of the house but will also have them exercising (and shhhh, sometimes learning, too). In some cases, they may event be able to utilize Fortnite strategies to conquer new quests (that ARE NOT Fortnite).

Where is this fun found? SASKATOON!

The city isn’t just an adult’s playground; it’s real-life Playground Mode for kids.

So, if you need some options to peel your children away without having to hear how boring everything else is – here’s 15 suggestions of activities (with enough stimulus) that just might break that Fortnite habit for a bit.

1. Stoked Centre in Wilson’s Lifestyle Centre

Stoked Centre

Courtesy of Stoked Centre

First off, with a name like stoked, how can you go wrong? The answer is, you can’t. If your child is obsessed with driving the golf cart in Fortnite, put those skills to work on the Velocity Raceway, an indoors electric go kart track circuit! If driving isn’t their thing, not to worry – this place knows that kids bore easily when there’s only one objective involved. To battle their monotony fatigue, they also offer so the Skyrail + Skytrail; a 12-circuit ropes course and 220 degree, 200 foot zipline! These will have them challenging themselves while cruising above the crowds. If you’ve got young ones, the Bouncy Castles will be a hit. Coming soon: an arcade and Zorb balls, which are sure to be a hit.

Stoked Centre

Electric go karting! Courtesy of Stoked Centre.

2. Black Fox Pumpkin Festival

Pumpkin Festival Black Fox Farm

Pumpkin Festival at Black Fox Farm

Heading out to Valley Road is usually a safe bet for family fun at any time of the year.

However, each fall over three weekends, the folks at Black Fox Farm and Distillery put on a super fun Pumpkin Festival. With over 15,000 pumpkins, it’s not only a great for the perfect autumn family photo (or flossing photo!) but there is a load of fun to be had– for all ages. Pumpkin rolling, straw bale mazes, pony rides and horse and tractor drawn wagon rides will keep the kids busy. Picking your own pumpkin before leaving is also fun, too.

Sadly though, due to the sucky temps this year, it looks like the remaining festival dates may be cancelled (the next dates are October 6/7, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. $10/vehicle). I’d still recommending a visit to grab a pumpkin (and some gin, too!).

3. TimberjAXE

Though technically a weapon supplies the fun, the aim of TimberjAXE is for kids to be able to get in on the axe throwing action that has been all the rage for adults over the past few years. With safety as their top priority, the folks at TimberjAXE can help beginner throwers and yes even kids, give axe throwing a try. I know for certain, my boys will be all over this one.

Ages 10 and up can participate, however there isn’t really a set minimum age. Parents need to use their discretion to decide if it’s a fit for their children, as it requires a certain amount of muscle strength. My guess is that Fortnite gamers may be naturals with all the time they spend aiming online weapons.

4. Mar’s Mini Golf

Mar's mini golf

Glow in the mini golf is guaranteed fun!

Why use your hard earned V-bucks to add the golf function in Fortnite when you can actually putt in person? Though no one but the course will take damage, there isn’t a kid I know who doesn’t like mini-golfing. Mar’s takes it up a notch offerinh a stealthy, 18-hole, 3D glow-in-the-dark mini-golf experience.

Mar's mini golf 2

Courtesy of Mar’s Mini Golf

5. Grip It Climbing

For the kids who have already mastered Fortnite, a new challenge awaits – indoor rock climbing. No grapplers required here. Climbers can choose their own paths to the top tackling a variety of terrain on 8′ to 50′ high walls. One of the coolest things is the auto belaying belay systems that allow climbers to scale safely upwards, without having the need for a partner to hold their ropes.

6. Pokey’s Pinball Café

Pokey's Pinball

Pokey’s Pinball

If the kids are really itching for some gaming action – try an old school solution. Note: This is also a chance for mom and dad to have as much fun as the kids. See who can keep the silver ball alive the longest! Besides the fun, Pokey’s is also a great place to chow down, so bring your appetite (and your quarters).

7. Apex Trampoline Park

Who needs a giant purple square (which is now Loot Lake – things change fast in Fornite!) to get their mega bounce on? My kids love visiting Apex Trampoline Park and I love it too, because when they leave, they are not only fulfilled and happy, but mega-tired from all the exercise and ready for some solid sleep. In addition to all the 10,000 square feet of springy platforms, there is a climbing wall, dodgeball and basketball courts, and a huge foam pit (with a tower you can jump from above!). Older kids may appreciate the Friday night offering that features a DJ and light show. For those worried about their kids getting hurt, get them outfitted in plastic – and let them take out their Fortnite withdrawal aggression with a game of bubble soccer.

8. Clip n Climb

Kids who need that adrenaline fix the game brings can find it by trying some of the crazy cool obstacle challenges found at Clip n Climb. Here a mix of climbing and obstacles are waiting to be conquered. Think Fortnite meets American Ninja Warrior. For the truly brave, the Leap of Faith or the Vertical Drop Slide will provide some good old-fashioned excitement.

9. Mana Bar

Mana Bar Jenn Smith Nelson

Old-school fun can be found at Mana Bar.

Like Pokey’s, Mana Bar is a haven for old-school game enthusiasts. Now, I know this may seem like it’s more of the same (ahem, video games) but trust me, kids will enjoy the novelty and surprising challenge of vintage games such like Ms. Pac Man. A cool feature of Mana Bar is that original game inspired artwork created by a local young artist, can be purchased.

10. Prairie Jurassic

Wishing they’d bring back the infinite crossbow to Fortnite? Well, until that happens there’s a new and superior option: Archery tag (ages 12 and up)! The new indoor play centre, Prairie Jurassic uses the technology of lasers to create fun games. Kids can try their hands at Jurassic laser tag, Archery tag and Blacklight dodge ball (5 and up). There’s also a laser maze and arcade!

11. Beaver Creek Conservation Area

Chickadee Beaver Creek Conservation Area

Chikadee Beaver Creek Conservation Area

If all of the glow in dark, obstacles or climbing options aren’t quite what you had in mind, consider escaping the city to Beaver Creek Conservation Area (found 13 km south of the city on Highway 29). Here, you and your family can explore the nature trails, enjoy interpretive programs and even hand feed chickadees. Though it may be a harder sell for older kids, once they get there, they’ll be sure to enjoy it. And if they don’t, too bad. Getting outside is good for them, dammit.

12. Remai Modern

Remai Modern Jenn Smith Nelson

Remai Modern

Kids can gather inspiration and create their own masterpieces with a visit to the Remai Modern art gallery. Options for drop-in art making takes place each week on Saturdays and Sundays with the Creative Space/Scotiabank Something on Sundays programs. Beyond viewing the collections and creating, the Discovery Cinema presents a family film series that screened on the first and third Saturday of each month at 1 p.m. The best part: it’s free with gallery admission!

13. Saskatchewan Rush Lacrosse Game

Saskatchewan Rush Lacrosse Game

Saskatchewan Rush Game – Courtesy of Tourism Saskatoon

A rush equal to opening a chest or finding a supply drop? It exists. Just ask any kid who has been to a Saskatchewan Rush Lacrosse Game. Set to defend their championship, the upcoming season (December to April) promises to deliver both excitement and pride. Get your tickets now and get ready to feel the rush!

Saskatchewan Rush Game

Feel the RUSH at a Saskatchewan Rush Game. Courtesy of Tourism Saskatoon.

14. Wanuskewin Heritage Park

Wanuskewin Heritage Park Jenn Smith Nelson

Kids can try their hands at fun traditional games.

Wanuskewin knows how to keep kids entertained. Totally interactive, this remarkable park mere minutes from the city, immerses visitors in culture and history of the Northern Plains Indigenous Peoples in fun ways. Think tipi raising, dances, crafts and outdoor activities such as traditional games, hikes and more. Kids will have so much fun; they won’t even realize how much they learned! Shhhhh! Coming soon: BISON will be reintroduced to the park – SO amazing!

Wanuskewin Heritage Park Dancer Jenn Smith Nelson

Wanuskewin Heritage Park dancer

15. Homestead Ice Cream

Homestead Ice Cream Jenn Smith Nelson

Challenge your kids to eat a dog’s breakfast!

When all else fails and you need to get them out of the house, the answer is always: ICE CREAM! Kids will be up for it, I swear. Kids will get their fill of the sweet stuff with Homestead’s generous offering, ‘A Dog’s Breakfast,’ which features 14 scoops of the sweet stuff!

Honourable Mention (coming soon): The Children’s Discovery Museum

Though it isn’t completed yet, it’s worth a mention here. The Children’s Discovery Museum is set to open in 2019, across the street from the PotashCorp Playground and Kinsmen Park (which are also fabulous choices for families to spend their time in the summer). The anticipation for what is sure to be a great hot spot and tourism destination for families is growing! Keep this one on your radar for next year.

 

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