Cold or not, thousands take in attractions on Family Day

Whether they chose to stay warm or to brave the cold, Edmonton families came out in droves to enjoy the city’s attractions Monday.

Popular destinations include Royal Alberta Museum, Silver Skate Festival

Admission was free on Family Day at the Royal Alberta Museum. (Nathan Gross/CBC)

Whether they chose to stay warm or to brave the cold, Edmonton families came out in droves to enjoy the city's attractions on Monday. 

Admission to the province's museums, parks and historical sites is free on Family Day and many chose to take advantage. 

Almost 20,000 people took in the Royal Alberta Museum (RAM), said director of capital development, Tom Thurston.

Many families were excited to see the museum in its new downtown location, which opened last October, he said.

"The museum offers us something unique, and that's the authenticity," said Thurston. 

"We have the real stuff here, you can come see the real objects, you can talk to the curators and our interpretive people and learn more."

The Royal Alberta Museum was busy on Family Day, with more than 17,000 people taking advantage of free admission. (Nathan Gross/CBC)

The Campbell family opted for the museum as a way to escape the cold. 

"I think it's great for the public, something to do on a cold day like this," said Tyler Campbell. "It certainly gave us something to do, we enjoyed it a lot."

Young Marley Jean was particularly impressed by the dinosaurs on display.

"That one is big, that one too," pointed out the toddler. 

Meanwhile, others chose to bundle up and enjoy the sunshine for the last day of the Silver Skate Festival in Hawrelak Park.

Participants on fat bikes raced through the snowy trails of the river valley during the Silver Skate Festival in Hawrelak Park. (John Shypitka/CBC)

The festival's executive director Erin Di Loreto was pleased to see crowds, after the bitter cold of last week had attendance down. 

"If you dress appropriately, there's a way to come out and enjoy this," she said. "We can't just hibernate all winter."

"People are tired of the cold weather, and they're embracing the sunshine."

The festival had many activities to offer, including fat bike races, skating on the pond, and taking in ice sculptures, or the Family Fun Zone.

Snow sculptures were on display during the last day of the Silver Skate Festival, in Edmonton's Hawrelak Park. (John Shypitka/CBC)

Undeterred by the weather, Brenda Anderson participated in the Dead Cold Run, a five or 10-kilometre race through the river valley trails. 

"I did the 10K. I had to walk a lot of it, there was a lot of uneven ground, but it was really enjoyable," she said.

About 55,000 people checked out the Silver Skate Festival this year, down from about 100,000 visitors last year. 

Brenda Anderson (centre) ran 10 kilometres on Monday, as part of Silver Skate Festival's Dead Cold Run. (John Shypitka/CBC)