Fredericton for a Family Friendly Vacation

Families visiting Fredericton in the summer will delight in having the kids experience the life of a soldier in the Fredericton Garrison. Dressed up in a redcoat uniform, children are given a special tour of the barracks, guardhouse and cell block. Then they are led to the parade ground for drill instruction where they learn to march and turn like a soldier in the early 1800s. To top it all off a review is held of the platoon of little ones which is sure to make every parent proud. This experience in re-enactment takes place in the Fredericton Garrison.

For those with more time to linger in the Fredericton area, the week -long summer camps for kids offered by the Beaverbrook Gallery come highly recommended. Just about all kinds of art-making are explored in the camps and at lunch time the participants are taken outside to enjoy a performance by the Calithumpians and play games on the Green.

The Calithumpians Theatre Company itself offers a series of summer camps for kids in which they have a terrific time learning developing theatrical skills. The Calithumpians get their name from an old tradition in which costumed young people merrily make their way through a community making a joyful noise. The young theatre troupe present nightly performances starting at The Coach House. Their lantern lit, theatrical ghost walk involves people from Fredericton’s past, ghosts, frights and plenty of jokes. But this is not all. Be sure to check the Calthumpans for a full description of their lively summer program.

A little bit of heritage that is sure to fascinate children is the School Days Museum which has a fully equipped old time classroom where guides will act as teachers informing your children what it was like to attend a one-room school in the old days. They will come away astonished at the difference between what it was like then and what their schools are like now.

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery, whether you take in the summer kids programs or not is well worth a visit. It is a gem in the crown of Atlantic Canada art museums. The permanent display includes the awesome, huge picture by Salvador Dali, Santiago del Grande (St. James, 1957). The permanent collection equals those you will find in art museums in much larger communities with paintings from 18th century England to contemporary works by Canadian artists.

From the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, next to the Lord Beaverbrook Hotel, you can see the Provincial Legislature Building and the Fredericton Playhouse. This ensemble of buildings on the banks of the Saint John River forms the core of the city. From here you can walk a short distance along the river to the Garrison District where the history of Fredericton and its region is the subject of displays at the York Sunbury Museum. In the summer time this lively museum has half-day programs for children. Kids visiting this museum will certainly enjoy seeing the preserved Coleman Frog, the 42 pound over-fed monstrous pet of Fred Coleman who said the amphibian jumped into his canoe one day in 1885.

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