By STACEY PARKER
Ride the roller coaster at Calaway Park
Western Canada’s largest outdoor family amusement park features 33 rides — everything from bumper boats to a roller coaster. It also includes daily live stage entertainment, concessions, games, shopping and mini-golf. Calaway Park RV Park and Campground is just a short walk from the park for overnighters.
• Calaway Park, 245033 Range Rd 33, 403-778-7042, www.calawaypark.com
Explore aquatic Alberta at Bow Habitat Station
Indoor and outdoor activities at this aquatic attraction are a fun way to learn about Alberta’s fish, wildlife, and water. Feed fish on a guided tour of a fish hatchery, drop a line in the catch-and-release trout pond, stroll through the Interpretive Wetland, and explore the Discovery Centre’s exhibits and aquariums.
• Bow Habitat Station, 1440-17A Street SE, 403-297-6561, www.bowhabitat.alberta.ca
Imagination soars at the Hangar Flight Museum
Learn everything there is to know about aviation, up close and personal, at this attraction. Formerly known as the Aero Space Museum of Calgary, The Hangar Flight Museum features a large collection of aircraft and scale model planes for your family to interact with.
• The Hangar Flight Museum, 4629 McCall Way NE, 403-250-3752, www.thehangarmuseum.ca
Find your wild side at the Calgary Zoo
From Eurasian lynxes and African lions to Canadian grizzly bears and Antarctic penguins, the Calgary Zoo has more than 1,000 creatures to delight animal-lovers of all ages. There’s also several play areas, a large café, and a Prehistoric Park with life-sized dinosaur models.
• Calgary Zoo, 210 St. George’s Drive NE, 403-232-9300, www.calgaryzoo.com
Hear some chilling tales on Calgary Ghost Tours
Walk the historic neighbourhoods of Inglewood, Kensington, the Beltline and Downtown Calgary as your lantern-wielding tour guide shares spooky tales of the past. Stories or legends, myth or reality, get insight on some of Calgary’s “permanent” residents. Tours are family-friendly and are meant to provide historical information and fun stories, not scare tactics. Purely historic tours are almost available in Inglewood, Downtown Calgary, China Town, and Mount Royal.
• Calgary Ghost Tours, www.calgaryghosttours.com
Take in some live theatre
Introduce your kids to the delights of the stage with a show created for younger audiences. Vertigo Theatre offers children’s programming through its BD & P Mystery Theatre Series, and is constantly working to produce original, socially relevant, thought-provoking plays. StoryBook Theatre offers a variety of child-friendly shows during its regular season, from educational theatre, to classic kids tales and musicals.
• Vertigo Theatre, 115 9 Ave SE, 403-221-3707, www.vertigotheatre.com
• Storybook Theatre, 375 Bermuda Dr NW, 403-216-0808, www.storybooktheatre.org
Spark your curiosity at Calgary’s Science Centre
Imagination and ingenuity collide in this space, helping kids learn about science in creative new ways. Sculpt landscapes around an indoor river, compose a musical symphony with colour, create and activate an electrical grid, watch the planets align in the HD Digital Dome Theatre, and more.
• TELUS Spark, Calgary’s Science Centre, 220 St Georges Dr NE 403-817-6800, www.sparkscience.ca
Make some waves at Sikome Lake
Splash around on the shores of this man-made lake, located in Fish Creek Provincial Park. The Sikome Aquatic Facility offers swimming, change rooms, showers, playgrounds and a concession. Kids will stay busy for hours, or even the entire day, building castles on the sandy beach and paddling in the water.
• Sikome Aquatic Facility, Sikome Cir SE, 403-297-5293, www.albertaparks.ca
Dig up dinos at the Royal Tyrrell Museum
Travel back in time at this attraction, featuring prehistoric exhibits, dinosaur fossils and guided hikes through the surrounding Badlands, a landscape unique to this area. Kids can even search for fossils and see real dinosaur remains at the Dinosite.
• Royal Tyrrell Museum, 1500 N Dinosaur Trail, 403-823-7707, www.tyrrellmuseum.com
Plunge into Calgary pools
Most kids can’t resist a swimming pool, and Calgary has an array to choose from. The most exciting ones are Westside Recreation Centre, Village Square Leisure Centre, and Southland Leisure Centre, all of which feature seismic wave pools and towering waterslides.
• Westside Recreation Centre, 2000 69 St SW, 403-531-5875, www.westsiderec.com
• Village Square Leisure Centre, 2623 56 St NE, 403-366-3900, www.calgary.ca
• Southland Leisure Centre, 2000 Southland Dr SW, 403-648-6555, www.calgary.ca
Cycle the city on Calgary’s bike paths
Pre-plan your route around town with the City of Calgary bike path map, with routes to major attractions like the Calgary Zoo and Inglewood Bird Sanctuary. BikeBike, Sports Rent and the University of Calgary all offer bike rentals. For the little ones, inquire about a tandem bike, kid’s bike, or attachment.
• City of Calgary Bike Routes: www.calgary.ca/transportation
• BikeBike Inc., 1501 17 Ave SW, 403-457-2453, www.bikebike.ca
• Sports Rent, 4424 16 Ave NW, 403-292-0077, www.sportsrent.ca
• University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, 403-220-5038, www.ucalgary.ca/outdoorcentre/rental
Shoot faster than the speed of light at Laser Quest
This fast-paced laser tag game is sure to keep the kids active for hours. Multiple levels, fog and music make for an action-packed experience, with occupancy for upwards of 30 players or more.
• Laser Quest, 9950 Macleod Trail SE, 403-640-1245, www.laserquest.com
See the sights at the Calgary Tower
Standing 191 meters above the downtown core, the Calgary Tower features an observation deck with a 360 degree view. Kids can see what it feels like to be a giant as they stand on the glass floor and look down to the bustling city streets below. Don’t forget to dine at the Sky 360 restaurant, which slowly rotates to provide a changing view as you eat.
• The Calgary Tower, 101 9 Ave SW, 403-266-7171, www.calgarytower.com
Cheer for the home team
The Scotiabank Saddledome is home turf to several sports teams. From hockey’s Calgary Flames (NHL) and Calgary Hitmen (WHL) to lacrosse team the Calgary Roughnecks, sports fans can be front and center to the action here. Meanwhile, McMahon Stadium is home of the Calgary Stampeders NFL team.
• The Scotiabank Saddledome, 555 Saddledome Rise SE, 403-777-4646, www.scotiabanksaddledome.com
• McMahon Stadium, 1817 Crowchild Trail NW, 403-282-2044, www.stampeders.com
Skate at Shaw Millennium Park
North America’s largest outdoor skate park for both skateboarders and in-line skaters, Shaw Millennium Park is completely free to access. Designated as a family activity park, events often take place on the park’s stage or in the amphitheatre. Admire the clock tower and play on the basketball courts.
• Shaw Millenium Park, 1220 9 Ave SW, 403-268-3888, www.calgary.ca
Discover the best of Canadian sports at COP
Site of the 1988 winter Olympic games, Canada Olympic Park is a year-round recreation centre and training facility, and features tons of thrilling activities for kids — from skiing and snowboarding in the winter, to Eurobungy (children 4-14 safely flip, spin and bounce high into the air while harnessed to a trampoline) and zip-lining in the summer.
• WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park, 88 Canada Olympic Rd SW, 403-247-5452, www.winsport.ca
Explore the Calgary International Children’s Festival
This four-day festival at the end of May focuses on learning, educational workshops, storytelling and more. Free activities include a craft tent, pedal powered bubble bike, playground and live performances.
• Calgary International Children’s Festival, 205 8 Ave SE, 403-294-7414, www.calgarykidsfest.ca
Find a timeless keepsake at a local toy store
Kids will love looking around at unique toys, making their own plushy, or adding a new figurine to their collection. Try Livingstone Cavell Extraordinary Toys — while it may be a tiny shop, it has a large selection of both popular antique and modern toys. Meanwhile, Discovery Hut, located in Chinook Centre Mall, offers classics like LEGO, Star Wars, Hello Kitty, Japanese Kendama and more.
• Livingstone Cavell Extraordinary Toys, 1124 Kensington Road NW, 403-270-4165, www.extraordinarytoys.com
• Discovery Hut, 6455 Macleod Trail South, 403-301-4180, www.discoveryhut.com
Wander the Devonian Gardens
Especially inviting during Calgary’s long winters, this indoor tropical garden is home to 10,000 shrubs and over 550 palm trees. Kids can learn to identify exotic plants, monkey around on the playground, and throw handfuls of fish food to the koi that swim in several pools throughout the newly-renovated gardens.
• Devonian Gardens, The CORE Shopping Centre, 333 7 Avenue SW, 4th floor, 403-268-2489, www.calgary.ca
Take a trip back in time at Heritage Park
With over 180 attractions and exhibits, this living theme park features Western Canadian history from the 1860s to 1950s. Kids will get a glimpse of a fur trading outpost and aboriginal encampment, pre-railway settlements, and —what is sure to be their favourite stop — an ice cream parlour, serving old-fashioned treats.
• Heritage Park Historical Village, 1900 Heritage Dr SW, 403-268-8500, www.heritagepark.ca
Immerse your family in traditional Chinese culture
Try authentic Chinese cuisine, discover the hidden world of the Terra Cotta warriors, and study a replicate of the worlds first Seismograph at the Chinese Cultural Centre in Downtown Calgary. The beautiful architecture and bright colours of this and surrounding buildings are sure to capture any child’s imagination. Exciting seasonal events like the Chinatown Street Festival and fast-paced Dragon Boat races allow you to experience the rich culture of China right here in Calgary.
• Cultural Centre, 197 1st Street SW, 403-262-5071, www.culturalcentre.ca
• For more information on Calgary Chinatown, visit www.chinatowncalgary.com
Shake up the day with hours of play
Endless activities are available at Shaker’s Fun Centre all year ’round, from laser tag and a playground to an arcade and climbing wall. Seasonal attractions include mini golf and two go kart tracks.
• Shaker’s Fun Centre, 9900 Venture Ave SE, 403-236-2213, www.shakerscalgary.com
Slip down the slopes
A must-try activity for any winter tourist, put on your mitts and toque and get ready to slide! Sleds, toboggans, and ski-doos are all available for rent through Sports Rent. Kids won’t be able to stop at just one speedy downhill ride, so be sure to dress warmly. Only certain city slopes permit tobogganing, so make sure to check the City of Calgary website for the most up-to-date details on where to go for a ride.
• For more information on tobogganing in Calgary, visit www.calgary.ca
• Sports Rent, 4424 16 Ave NW, 403-292-0077, www.sportsrent.ca
Spend a night under the stars
Open to the public during their Milky Way Nights events, and with one of the biggest telescopes in Canada, little astronomers are sure to enjoy the unobstructed views of the sky at the University of Calgary’s Rothney Astrophysical Observatory. Interactive indoor displays open up whole new galaxies of learning possibilities for stargazers of all ages, and real scientists are always on hand to answer questions. On particularly chilly nights, a mug of hot chocolate from the concession is a must.
• The Rothney Astrophysical Observatory, Priddis, 403-931-2366, www.ucalgary.ca/rao
Visit Butterfield Acres for some barnyard fun
Feed farm animals, milk a goat, ride a pony or enjoy a tractor-pulled wagon ride as you explore this wild barnyard. A day on the farm is the perfect way to bring kids back to Alberta’s rural roots!
• Butterfield Acres Children’s Farm, 254077 Rocky Ridge Rd NW, 403-239-0638, www.butterfieldacres.com
Monkey around at an indoor play place
You can relax as your kids run around at one of the city’s many indoor play places. From the typical fast food jungle gyms and shopping mall play centres, to dedicated indoor playground facilities like Krazy Monkey, Treehouse, and Hide N Seek, there are plenty of places in the city that put aside space just for the kids.
• Krazy Monkey Indoor Playground, 128 – 6008 Macleod Trail SW, 403-460-7529, https://www.krazymonkey.ca
• Treehouse Indoor Playground, 3337 34 Ave NE, 403-277-3378, www.calgary.treehouseplay.com
• Hide N Seek Indoor Playground, 18 – 49 Aero Dr NE, 587-774-1999, www.hidenseekcalgary.com
Get behind the wheel of a police cruiser
YouthLink Calgary Police Interpretive Centre gives visitors the opportunity to learn about social issues, from youth violence and domestic violence to crime and drug abuse, through interactive exhibits. Kids can try on a real police uniform, or even step inside a jail cell.
• YouthLink Calgary Police Interpretive Centre, 5111 47 St NE, 403-428-5465, www.youthlinkcalgary.com
Learn about the greats at Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame
Sports lovers will enjoy walking through the 50 plus interactive exhibits at Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, located in Canada Olympic Park. The Hall’s galleries will guide you from a dip into water sports, to the hockey gallery, locker room and more. Amenities include a café, resource centre, and Riddell Family Theatre.
• Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, 169 Canada Olympic Rd SW, 403-776-1040, www.sportshall.ca
Spend a day with the horses at Spruce Meadows
Spruce Meadows hosts several equine tournaments annually, enjoyable for horse lovers of any age. Open year-round, visitors can otherwise wander the grounds and visit the stables any day of the week. Live entertainment and a variety of concession stands make for an easily planned trip.
• Spruce Meadows, 18011 Spruce Meadows Way SW, 403-974-4200, www.sprucemeadows.com
Discover local species at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary
Learn about the many birds of our city area at this nature centre. Guided tours are a great way to see the wilderness that surrounds the space. a great place for a family walk in any weather.
• Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, 2425 9 Ave SE, 403-268-2489, www.calgary.ca
See the city from a new angle with the +15 Skywalk
This interconnected pedestrian walkway, located 15 feet above our city streets, provides easy travel around Downtown Calgary. With glass-roofed tunnels and unique views of the street, this walk will be both safe and surprising for the kids.
• For more information on the City of Calgary +15 Skywalk, visit www.calgary.ca
Picnic in Prince’s Island Park
Located in downtown Calgary, this park hosts many events throughout the year, including the Calgary Folk Festival in late July. The park features picnic areas, playground, pathways and hiking trails, flower gardens, and the River Café — a great way to spend the day with family and friends outdoors.
• Prince’s Island Park, 698 Eau Claire Ave SW, 403-268-2489, www.calgary.ca
Speed around the race tracks
Speeders Indoor ProKarts features a smooth track and fast karts to zip around in. Drop in for some heart-racing fun, or book your NasCar-loving-child’s next birthday party here at a group rate! Must be ages 12 and up to drive.
• Speeders Indoor ProKarts, 58 Aero Dr NE, 403-230-3009, www.speeders.ca
Visit the locals at our farmers’ markets
Calgary’s farmers’ markets are a great way to meet locals and try unique cuisine. Kids will love the sweet booths especially, serving up ice cream and chocolate delights. Whether your child has a sweet tooth or craves a savoury snack, farmers’ markets offer something quintessentially local for visitors. BarnYard Kids Play Area in the Calgary Farmers’ Market allows a place for kids to play too.
• Calgary Farmers’ Market, 510 77 Ave SE, 403-240-9113, www.calgaryfarmersmarket.ca
• Cross Roads Market, 1235 26 Ave SE, 403-291-5208, www.crossroadsmarket.ca
Pick up your next read at the Calgary Public Library
With 18 public libraries throughout the city, kids are bound to discover a new book to take home and enjoy with parents or siblings. With endless volumes and genres ripe for browsing, themed for kids and adults alike, libraries provide an activity families can have fun with together.
• Calgary Public Library, 403-260-2600, www.calgarypubliclibrary.com
Get lost in a corn maze
These seasonal attractions feature cornfields turned into massive outdoor mazes. Both the Calgary Corn Maze and Cobb’s are home to two corn mazes, a petting zoo, and tractor-pulled wagon rides, offering up great fun for the family at both locations.
• Calgary Corn Maze & Fun Farm, 284022 Township Rd 224, 403-648-2719, www.calgarycornmaze.com
• Cobb’s Corn Maze & Family Fun Park, 1500 84 St NE, 403-210-2676, www.cobbscornmaze.com
Climb to new heights at Calgary Climbing Centres
This all-ages activity allows everyone to climb at his or her own pace, and features two indoor facilities, and one outdoor facility at different locations around the city. The Stronghold location features over 36 ropes and a 60 in. lead wall, while Chinook has over 45 ropes and a 40 in. lead wall. All three cater to all abilities of climbing.
• Calgary Climbing Centre (Hangar), 106 – 588 Aero Dr NE, 587-230-0189, www.calgaryclimbing.com/locations/hangar
• Calgary Climbing Centre (Stronghold), 140 15 Ave NW, 403-276-6484, www.calgaryclimbing.com/locations/stronghold
• Calgary Climbing Centre (Chinook), 7130 Fisher Rd SE, 403-252-6778, www.calgaryclimbing.com/locations/chinook
Foster a love of literature with a trip to children’s bookstores
After a long day of sight-seeing, a visit to Owlets Book Store (the younger readers’ equivalent to local Owl’s Nest Books) or Monkeyshines Children’s Books is perfect to unwind. Both stores specialize in kid’s reads, so your child is sure to find the perfect book among these shelves.
• Owl’s Next Books, 815A 49 Ave SW, 403-287-9557, www.owlsnestbooks.com
• Monkeyshines Children’s Books, 2215 33 Ave SW, 403-240-1723, http://www.monkeyshinesbooks.com
Light up your night with glow bowling
What do you get when kids roll bowling balls under an array of black lights? Glow blowing illuminates anything and everything colourful, making for an unforgettably bright experience. This type of blowing is offered at many local alleys, creating a fun and colorful atmosphere that are sure to appeal to kids.
• Century Bowling and Event Centre, 1010 42 Ave SE, 403-287-1183, www.centurybowling.com
• Mountain View Bowling, 3919 Richmond Rd SW, 403-249-0858, www.mountainviewbowling.com
• The Bowling Depot, 146 – 5255 McCall Way NE, 403-275-1260, www.bowlingdepot.ca
Local history comes to life at Fort Calgary
This interpretive center tells the history of the North West Mounted Police and Calgary from 1875 to 1914. Attractions include Hunt House, once part of a Hudson’s Bay trading post, Deane House, home to NWMP Captain Richard Deane, and more.
• Fort Calgary, 750 9 Ave SE, 403-290-1875, www.fortcalgary.com
Build your wildest creation yet
At Bricks 4 Kidz Creativity Centre, kids can create in their own way — with LEGO bricks! This attraction features themed-based models and project kits to get your child started, with themes including space, construction, amusement parks, and more.
• Bricks 4 Kidz Creativity Centre, 1428 19 Ave NW, 403-457-5530, www.bricks4kidz.com
Saddle up for a horseback ride
Horsin’ Around offers the chance for kids to experience rural Calgary on horseback —with 45-minute lessons, birthday party packages, and a menagerie of ponies and other farm animals to play with on this 160 acre ranch. Kids can enjoy horse drawn hay rides, pony rides, the petting zoo, bouncy castles, and more.
• Horsin’ Around, 22X Range Rd 283, 403-263-7433, www.horsinaround.ca
Rock n’ rollerskating
Lloyd’s Rollersports Centre offers roller and inline skating for the whole family. The festive atmosphere of the rink, which lights up with strings of bright decorations, will win kids over in a heartbeat. Lockers are available to rent, and food is available at the snack bar.
• Lloyd’s Recreation, 7520 Macleod Trail SE, 403-252-0146, http://www.lloydsrollerrink.com
See “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”
The Calgary Stampede has tons of attractions for kids. From watching live rodeo and the GMC Rangeland Derby chuckwagons, to live entertainment at the Coca-Cola Kids’ Stage, and the Great FUNtier midway and BMO Kids Zone, many of the attractions here are made specifically for families and younger audiences to enjoy.
• The Calgary Stampede, 1410 Olympic Way SE, 403-261-0101, www.calgarystampede.com
Prepare for take off at Spaceport YYC
If you’ve come to the city by plane, be sure to visit Spaceport YYC, inside the Calgary International Airport. This free interactive attraction features a full-size single-engine Beaver bush plane and moon rock exhibit. Children can also expend some extra energy in the play area, a bonus if boarding an incoming flight.
• Spaceport YYC, at the Calgary International Airport, 2000 Airport Rd NE, 403-735-1200, www.yyc.com
Lace up for Canada’s favourite pastime
A must-try for any visitor, skating is a treasured activity in chilly Calgary. The Olympic Oval features three ice rinks and is open year round, boasting some of the fastest ice in the world. For those visiting in winter, try Olympic Plaza for outdoor skating. Built for the 1988 Olympic Winter Games, this is the city’s only refrigerated outdoor ice.
• Olympic Oval, 2500 University Dr NW, 403-220-7954, www.oval.ucalgary.ca
• Olympic Plaza, 228 8 Ave SE, 403-268-2489, www.calgary.ca
Tumble around at a gymnasium
Whether your child is new to gymnastics or taking lessons, drop-in sessions are a perfect way to burn some excess energy. Test your skills on bars, ropes, trampolines and more at Kyle Shewfelt Gymnastics. Flip Factory and InjaNation have all your needs covered for ninjas-in-training.
• Kyle Shewfelt Gymnastics, 3442 118 Ave SE, 587-349-2004, www.kyleshewfeltgymnastics.com
• Flip Factory, 4500 5 St NE, 403-265-2656, www.flip-factory.com
• InjaNation, 52 Aero Dr NE, 587-353-4652, www.injanation.com