The Bar U Ranch is even more of a place where families can hang their Stetsons, try a little roping and trade stories in an old-western campfire.
Admission to the Bar U, as well as all national parks and historic sites, will be free for anyone under the age of 18 for 2018.
“Canada wants to celebrate families and the importance of our protected areas and it’s an excellent way to make that connection,” said Mike McLean, Bar U Ranch special projects officer.
McLean said the free admission for young people will allow the Bar U to share the story of ranching heritage and history with a new generation of Canadians.
The initiative extends to all national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas.
Regular admission for adults and seniors will return. Admission for adults is $7.80 and $6.55 for seniors.
The new initiative comes as Canada’s 150th birthday comes to a close, and with it a record year at the Bar U Ranch.
“It was a remarkable year for the Bar U, we’re very pleased to be able to connect that number of people to the story of ranching and we’re looking forward to 2018 to see how many people want to return,” said McLean.
In 2017, the ranch welcomed 32,501 visitors, up 40 per cent over the previous record set in 2016.
McLean said many were first-time visitors and they came from around the world, with international guests hailing from the U.S., Europe, Australia, China and India.
“We had wonderful visitation for Canada 150 and a chance to make all those connections with people and now we have a chance with youth, that they’ll be coming and they’ll bring their families along,” said McLean.
The Bar U Ranch is located 13km south of Longview along Highway 22.