If you are pressed for time, or even if you’re not, a guided tour of Edmonton  may be a good idea. The big tour companies bypass Edmonton , leaving a variety of small operators to offer personalized service and flexible schedules. As you’d expect from a former museum guide, Cameron Malcolm of Out an’ About Tours (780/909-8687, www.outanabouttours.com ) emphasizes the heritage and culture of Edmonton  and Old Strathcona  on his half-day Alberta Past & Present Tour ($65), with the option to add a visit to Fort Edmonton Park  ($65). Wayne Millar of Watchable Wildlife (780/405-4880, www.birdsandbackcountry.com ) leads visitors through regional parks. Wayne’s forte is the areas east of Edmonton , including Elk Island National Park  and the Cooking Lake Moraine (three-hour evening tour is $79).
The Edmonton Queen (Rafter’s Landing, 9734 98th Ave., 780/424-2628) is a 52-meter (170-foot) paddle wheeler that departs across from Muttart Conservatory  for cruises along the North Saskatchewan River. One-hour cruises depart Friday–Sunday at noon and 3 p.m. ($18, child under 11 $12, lunch extra), evening cruises depart at 7:30 p.m. (adult $48, child under 11 $22, including dinner).