If you are looking for a place to take your kids to explore planes, trains and automobiles – the Western Development Museum in Moose Jaw should be up next on your family destination checklist. This museum is all about the History of Transportation.
The Western Development Museum in Moose Jaw is just a stones throw away from the highway, so even if you are just passing through and need the kids to stretch their legs and do some exploring this is the place to go! As you approach it, my best advice would be not to judge a book by its cover. Yes, the exterior may need some care and attention but inside is where kids can take magical journeys back in time and explore some historical planes, trains and automobiles.
As you enter the kids are prompted to write on a luggage tag “What would you take with you if you had to leave your country?“; which is part of the 1st Day in Canada series. This series is to describe what early settlers first days were like as they migrated over to Canada. We had some good talks about what they would bring and reflected upon when our ancestors came over. Jamie’s parents are first generation immigrants, so we have a more recent frame of reference that the kids could relate to.
One of the most amazing facts about the museum is that most of the up-keep is purely with volunteers who have a desire and hobby with rebuilding old planes and vehicles. As we turned around the corner to go the ‘Aeroplane Hanger’ our kids literally bumped into a group of men who were volunteering in the museum! These men’s genuine reaction to seeing the kids in ‘Awe’ as they looked up at the planes was probably worth every minute they spend volunteering their time in order to share a piece of the past with the children of the future.
The Western Aeroplane Hanger has the latest projects that the Vintage Aircraft Restorers are working on. All planes the were flown in the Saskatchewan skies.
There is a garage full of cars, buses, snowmobiles, motorcycles, watercraft, boats, bicycles, wagon, etc. A variety of ages, styles and rare automobiles. These were the two that intrigued Luca and Sofia the most – I was not surprised with Sofia’s choice in the pink car!
Sofia’s first reaction to seeing the massive Steam Train was “It’s like the Polar Express Train”! There is a Steam Locomotive 2634 Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) on display that the kids loved. They also had a CPR superintendent’s coach sleeping car and the ability to go inside and check out what it would have been like to travel on the trains. They also have a great selection of vintage posters, railway tools and stuff that takes you back in time as a passenger on the CPR back in the early days of the railway. Really cool to check out!
This area of the museum holds a special spot in our hearts because my grandfather used to work in Moose Jaw on the railway as a ‘brakeman’. We always try to incorporate our family history when we are learning about new things with our kids, this helps them find common connections and relate to what they are seeing.
Last but not least as you make your way towards the end of the museum you don’t want to leave without seeing the Snowbirds Gallery! This is an area that is dedicated to teaching you about the story of Canada aerobatic team The Snowbirds. The Snowbirds demonstrate air shows across North America and their base and training facility is in Moose Jaw. Also, another family connection since this is where my father was based out of 15 Wing Moose Jaw for a while when he first joined the Canadian Forces, he was not a Snowbird but was stationed from the same military base. Check out The Snowbirds site for North American schedule of air shows.
- Adult $10.00
- Senior (Age 65 +) $9.00
- Student (any age with valid student card) $7.00
- Children (age 6-12 years) $4.00
- Preschool Children (age 5 years and younger) Free
- Family (parents or guardians & dependant children under 18 years)
There are also other locations as part of the Western Development Museum. If you save your receipt you can get a discounted admission within a certain timeframe at the other locations:
- Yorkton, SK – Story of the People
- Saskatoon, SK – 1910 Boomtown
- North Battleford, SK – Heritage Farm & Village
So next time you are passing through or visiting Moose Jaw, stop in at the Western Development Museum and take a stroll back in time.