Unfolding Journeys: Rocky Mountain Explorer

Over the past six years, we’ve gotten to know the highway between Vancouver and Calgary very well. We drive through the Rocky Mountains and Okanagan about twice a year. Despite this, I’ve realized the girls have a very limited sense of the geography along the way. They often ask questions about the “island of Alberta” or suggest that taking the ferry there might be faster. Unfolding Journeys: Rocky Mountain Explorer is an awesome resource for talking about this part of Canada.

I received this book courtesy of Raincoast Books; all opinions expressed are my own. This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Unfolding Journeys: Rocky Mountain Explorer

Published by Lonely Planet Kids, this folding atlas is made from sturdy cardboard. It features fun pictures of important landmarks along the way, from Westminster Abbey in Mission to the Banff Hoodoos. Flip the map over to find more details about each item on the map, from the historical places to the local flora and fauna.

The map follows the path of the Rocky Mountaineer Train from Vancouver past Kamloops and Mount Robson to Jasper National Park. Readers are then invited to “hop on a bus” to travel down the Icefields Parkway to Calgary. It covers the most scenic stops along the way, though if we’re heading from Vancouver to Calgary we don’t usually detour through Jasper.

Unfolding Journeys: Rocky Mountain Explorer

One of our favourite landmarks along the highway is the Animal Overpasses in Banff National Park. The girls love counting the overpasses as we go through! It gives them something to watch for along the way. Unfolding Journeys: Rocky Mountain Explorer says this about the overpasses:

Problem: What do you do when the country’s major road (the Trans-Canada Highway) cuts through one of the country’s main wildlife reserves (the Banff National Park)?

Answer A: Erect tall, steel fences beside the road.

Answer B: Build six wildlife overpasses and 38 wildlife underpasses so that animals can cross the road safely.

Thankfully, answer B was the winner here. Coyotes, black bears and cougars were the quickest to learn how to use the crossings. Then the deer, elk and moose caught on. It took longer for grizzlies and wolves to get the message, but they got there in the end. Thank goodness.

Whether you’re traveling via train, bus, car, or armchair, Unfolding Journeys: Rocky Mountain Explorer is an excellent resource for kids. I packed it in the girls’ activity box for our drive back to Alberta this Christmas. They were able to follow along with the route and share fun facts about where we were driving. In fact, it’s easy to turn this atlas into a road trip game! Kids can take turns quizzing each other about facts on the map.

We’ll definitely be packing this kids’ atlas for future road trips to Alberta. It should help prevent the age-old question: “Are we there yet?” The girls will be able to follow along on the map and answer the questions themselves! They can also add destinations from the map to their road trip notebooks as we roll along the highway.

Have you driven from Vancouver to Calgary with kids? What helps your children stay busy along the way?

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