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Bar U Ranch National Historic Site

Education Programs

Bar U Ranch School Programs


The following goals established by Parks Canada, guide the delivery of school programming at the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site of Canada.

  • To aid teachers educating present and future generations of students about the roles of students as stewards of our national heritage.
  • To promote Canada’s national parks, heritage sites and marine conservation areas as important places of lifelong learning.

Igniting young imaginations and encouraging young minds to think in new ways about the past...

The Bar U Ranch offers curriculum-based school programming for K-9 students focusing on ranching history delivered in 35-minute segments by heritage interpreters. Programs are comprised of hands-on activities, demontrations, interactive talks, sensory experiences and environmental hikes.

Knowledgeable heritage interpreters demonstrate real ranch tasks, including leatherwork, blacksmithing, roping and livestock handling, while sharing the stories of the people, the history and the ranching industry.

Whether exploring the ranch by horse-drawn wagon, visiting roundup camp, touring the blacksmith shop and cookhouse, or hiking designated trails, students discover a unique part of their Canadian heritage and learn about an important rangeland environment.

Learning Themes

Bar U Ranch school programming demonstrates a broad range of educational themes integrating historical, cultural, social, political, environmental and economic issues.

Alberta Curriculum Themes Bar U Ranch NHSC Themes
  • Culture & Community
  • The Land, Places & People
  • Economics & Resources
  • Global Connection
  • Time, Continuity & Change
  • Power, Authority & Decision Making
  • Social & Community Life
  • Sustainable Living
  • Resource Management
  • World History
  • Settlement of the West
  • Canadian History

Prince of Wales and George Lane (circa 1919)
Prince of Wales & George Lane (circa 1919) © Parks Canada
Roundup Chuckwagon (circa 1900)
Roundup Chuckwagon (circa 1900) © Parks Canada
Olsen Children on Tiger (circa 1920)
Olsen Children on Tiger (circa 1920) © Parks Canada

Important Information

  1. School programming is offered Monday through Thursday, from late May to the end of September.
  2. Bookings may be made throughout the year and teachers are advised to make bookings well in advance.
  3. Most visits run approximately four hours and consist of four programs including a lunch break at noon.
  4. Optimum group arrival and departure times are 10:00 am and 2:00 pm respectively.

Fees: Admission: $3.90 per student with teachers and chaperones admitted free. An additional charge of $147.00 per school group (50 maximum) covers costs of program development and delivery. All fees include GST.

Payment: Payment may be made on arrival, in cash, debit or credit card, or by cheque payable to the Receiver General of Canada.

Cancellations: Cancellations may be made without penalty up to 24 hours prior to your booking, A fee of $100.00 may be charged for cancellations made after this time and for no shows.

Livestock Safety Livestock are an integral part of your ranch experience, and with that comes responsibility for the safety of the animals and guests. Wagon rides pulled by our Percheron teams are a highlight of your experience and it is important to adhere to safety practices around the horses.
Group Size School visits are limited to a maximum 50 students. Special arrangements may be made for larger groups.
Student Behaviour Teachers and chaperones, including parents, are responsible for student behaviour. Due to potential hazards on the ranch site, including livestock, a creek and moving machinery, students must be supervised at all times.
Arrivals and Departures Groups arriving by bus will be met by Bar U staff at the Visitor Centre. Students are asked to remain onboard. Staff will direct drivers to the ranch headquarters for parking. Groups are asked to depart the site from this same location. No privately owned vehicles are allowed on the ranch site.
Lunch Students may bring bagged lunches and eat them on the ranch site at picnic tables. Pre-ordered lunches are available from the Bar U Restaurant upon request.
Washrooms Washroom facilities are located in the Visitor Centre and on the ranch site. Students are asked to use washrooms located on the ranch site only.
Special Needs Students suffering from allergies are reminded to bring medication. Teachers are asked to advise Bar U staff of students requiring sight, hearing, mobility, or other types of assistance.
Clothing & Weather Foothills weather is unpredictable and students spend large amounts of time outdoors and it is important to dress appropriately. This means sweaters, hats, gloves, sturdy shoes or boots, jackets and rainwear. In warm weather bring water, sunscreen and insect repellent.
Late Arrivals As late departure times from school and traffic problems may cause late arrivals, teachers are asked to contact the Bar U when time schedules change.

School Programming

School Programming

Wagon Ride (1-9) Students explore the ranch from a wagon pulled by the "gentle giants" of workhorses, the Bar U Percherons.
Roundup of Memories (1-4) Set at roundup camp, students select items from a memory crate and are asked to describe their discoveries in terms of connections to the past.
Roundup Camp (5-9) Students learn how cowboys lived and worked on the range through music and storytelling.
Take a Hike (1-4) Bugs, grass, wildfowers, game trails and the towering cottonwoods along Pekisko creek. Children learn about nature and how it works.
Riparian Zone Walk (5-9) A creek side trek where students learn about land management practices helping to sustain an important ecosystem winding along Pekisko Creek.
Ranch Resources (3-9) Grass. Cattle feed on it, calves are born, gain weight and are ultimately sold for meat, which is consumed. Students learn about basic resources and seasonal life cycles that define ranching.
Log Cabin (1-4) Just as the early settlers did, students work in teams to erect a miniature log cabin.
Belly of the Bar U (1-9) Experience the variety of methods practiced to maintain self sufficiency. Featured is a cookhouse, garden, root cellar and three storage sheds.
Cowboy Gear (3-9) See the practical side of cowboy life and why cowboys wear hats, bandanas, spurs, chaps and use lariets.
Blacksmithing (3-9) Students learn how iron is heated, hammered, shaped and cooled to manufacture everything from horseshoes and hinges to wagon wheels.
Harnass Repair Shop (3-9) 100 years ago saddles and bridles were stitched by hand and harness was repaired when they wore out or broke down. Students try their hand at creating their own leather keepsake.
Putting Up hay (3-9) Horse drawn hay mower, rake, sweep and overshot hay stacker were basic tools of the day. Outdoor demonstration explains how equipment was used.

Contact Information

road map showing routes from Calgary to the Bar U Ranch, including highways 2 and 22

For school bookings or inquiries call: 403-395-2212 or 403-395-2163.


Bar U Ranch NHSC
P.O. Box 168
Longview, Alberta
T0L 1H0

The Bar U Ranch is located 90 minutes southwest of Calgary and 10 minutes south of Longview on Highway 22 at the intersection of Highway 540.

Galileo Educational Network

A registered charity, the Galileo Educational Network creates, promotes and disseminates innovative teaching and learning practices. See an interactive presentation about the Bar U created by grade 3 students at Red Deer Lake School.