All Work, All Play in the County of Grande Prairie
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From hiking trails to dinosaurs to golf course socials, work can lead to adventure when you’re in the County of Grande Prairie. If you’re looking for things to do in the County of Grande Prairie between meetings or after the work day, read on.
County of Grande Prairie, AB - Cars, pickup trucks and semis zoom along Highway 43X to Four-Mile Corner in the County of Grande Prairie. The buzzing intersection is a major artery feeding the region. From the Redwood Inn in Clairmont, DeAnna Chmielewski finds her pace and joins the flow, headed for a rapid-fire day of appointments and adventures.
Oil, forestry, agriculture, tourism and commerce drive the majority of the region’s economy, drawing traffic from across western Canada. But for the visiting business traveler looking for things to do here, the County of Grande Prairie has more going on than meets the eye. Home of the Philip J. Currie Museum, the north’s answer to the Royal Tyrrell Museum, the County’s expansive landscape offers room to roam on trails, fairways and forests, with restaurants and entertainment close at hand. Follow along with Chmielewski as she mixes business and adventure, and discover the opportunities awaiting you on your next business trip to the County.
After firing off some emails and taking a few morning calls, Chmielewski heads for the Evergreen Ridge Recreation Area. With its untended boreal wilderness, the forested preserve is a great setting for a light trail run to clear the mind.
“Scheduling is very important to me,” Chmielewski shares. “I’m a planner, and it helps with business and my personal life, being able to balance it all. I usually get up early for a run, and [the County] has very nice, safe trails.”
You might even run into a crew of mountain bikers out for a cross-country ride, or riders on horseback, like Chmielewski did. “To be there and see people out using the trails ... from bikers to horses, to me hiking, there was lots of activity and I was out there for less than an hour!”
There’s nothing like a nature hit to get the creative juices flowing. Re-energized, Chmielewski heads for the Philip J. Currie Museum, the paleontological jewel of the north, for a lunch meeting. A centre for research and exhibition on scale with the Royal Tyrrell, the museum connects the story of northern exploration and resource extraction to dinosaur discovery and ongoing efforts to refine humanity’s understanding of natural history.
“With the restaurant patio, outdoor play area and the museum itself, it’s a great place to go professionally or personally,” Chmielewski comments, as she explores the interactive displays at the museum. “You go to museums and you think you have an idea of what it offers but being here, it’s surprising all the things there are to do.”
Business meetings on the golf course may be standard fare but you’ll find the courses in the County of Grande Prairie, like The Dunes Golf and Winter Club, are well-manicured, professionally managed and friendly. For Chmielewski, “Going to the golf course for a more casual meeting, to make more of a connection with a client, is simple and effective and it just puts you at ease.”
Next to the dinosaur museum, one of the other major draws in the County of Grande Prairie is Evergreen Park. Situated on a large plot of land just 15 minutes south of Grande Prairie city centre, Evergreen Park boasts a wide range of entertainment, from horse racing tracks to a drive-in movie theatre, two restaurants and a casino. Slot machines play colourful backdrop for a business social to cap Chmielewski’s tour.
It’s been a busy day, but Chmielewski’s curiosity is still not satisfied. “When I go out to places like Beaverlodge and other small communities [in the County], what I find really interesting is finding out what the communities offer, their history,” she says, “where they are and where do they want to go?”
It’s that inquisitive spirit that drives the on-the-go business traveler into new adventures and discoveries. The only question you’ll have to answer the next time you touch down in the County of Grande Prairie is, where do you want to go?