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The Biggest and Best: 6 Calgary Attractions

By RACHAEL FREY

Family fun at Calaway Park. Photo: courtesy Travel Alberta

Family fun at Calaway Park. Photo: courtesy Travel Alberta

Visit Western Canada’s most exciting urban attractions.

#1 ATTRACTION FOR VISITING THE WILD WEST
Heritage Park

The historical buildings and costumed townsfolk of Heritage Park Historical Village bring this bustling Alberta pioneer railway town to life. Old-fashioned attractions include a bakery, ice cream parlour, blacksmith shop, aboriginal encampment and antique midway complete with Ferris wheel.
Must See: Three vintage modes of transport afford unique views of the park’s charming scenery. Tour Glenmore Reservoir on working paddlewheeler the S.S. Moyie, catch a ride on a fully operational steam train or hop on a horse-drawn wagon.
Must Do: Outside the main gate, admire the antique autos at Gasoline Alley Museum and shop the boutiques of Haskayne Mercantile Block. Attend special aboriginal cultural performances presented throughout the summer on the main grounds.
• Heritage Park Historical Village, 1900 Heritage Dr SW, 403-268-8500. heritagepark.ca
• Maps and Reviews 

[RELATED: 10 Can’t Miss Things At Calgary’s Heritage Park]

#1 ATTRACTION FOR SCIENTIFIC WONDER
TELUS Spark

The scientific world is just plain fun at TELUS Spark, the city’s new-generation science centre. The spacious family-friendly facility houses over 100 exhibits that emphasize hands-on exploration and creation.
Must See: The HD Digital Dome Theatre is a best-of-its-kind experience featuring a high-resolution dome screen and plenty of audio power. The system brings amazing images to life from the edges of the known universe to the depths of the ocean.
Must Do: Science isn’t just for kids. Adults Only Night is held every second Thursday of the month from 6 pm to 10 pm. Each evening features a licensed bar, live DJ and science-themed activities designed to engage participants and spark conversation.
• TELUS Spark, 220 St George’s Dr NE, 403-817-6800. sparkscience.ca
• Maps and Reviews 

TELUS Spark has appeal for every age. Photo: courtesy TELUS Spark

TELUS Spark has appeal for every age. Photo: courtesy TELUS Spark

#1 ATTRACTION FOR SPORTS FIENDS
WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park
Calgary hosted the Winter Olympics way back in 1988, but the sports facilities created for the event are still going strong. Though its winter sports amenities are world-class, WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park has plenty of summer appeal, including mountain bike trails, climbing wall, zipline and mini-golf course. Next door, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame features interactive exhibits on a who’s who of Canadian sport, plus a wealth of awards and memorabilia.
Must See: The park’s ski-jump tower boasts the city’s highest view. Take in a panoramic view of Calgary, the surrounding prairie and Rocky Mountains, then ride the zipline to the base of the hill.
Must Do: Hurtle down the many twists and turns of the neighbouring Skyline Luge. Suitable for the entire family, riders control both the speed and steering of their luge carts.
• WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park, 88 Canada Olympic Rd SW, 403-247-5452. winsportcanada.ca
• Maps and Reviews 

[RELATED: Calgary’s Canada Olympic Park: 10 Can’t Miss-Activities]

#1 ATTRACTION FOR VAST VIEWS
Calgary Tower

The Calgary Tower boasts the highest 360-degree observation deck in the world and is a signature feature of the city’s skyline. The deck offers a panoramic view that extends all the way to the Rocky Mountains, while its glass floor will test your comfort with heights. A Tourism Calgary Information Centre can be found at the tower’s base.
Must See: Get a close-up view of the downtown with guided city tours led by the tower’s knowledgeable staff. Fun, informative excursions visit the city’s central historic landmark buildings.
Must Do: Enjoy lunch or dinner while the cityscape changes before your eyes. Sky 360 restaurant completes a full revolution every 45 minutes during the day and every hour in the evening.
• Calgary Tower, 101 – 9 Ave SW, 403-266-7171. calgarytower.com
• Maps and Reviews 

#1 ATTRACTION FOR THRILLS AND CHILLS
Calaway Park

Just 30 minutes from the downtown core, Calaway Park is Western Canada’s largest outdoor amusement park. Its 32 rides include the heart-pounding Adrenaline Test Zone and the rockin’, rollin’ Mind Blaster, but there are rides to suit all ages and thrill levels. Also enjoy midway games and live children’s song and dance performances.
Must See: Need a break from the heat? The Park’s newest attraction, Cinemagic 3D featuring The Good, The Bad, and a Horse, is just the ticket. The fully air-conditioned theatre features a 3-D movie version of the children’s story.
Must Do: That joyful screaming you hear comes from the twisty-turny Vortex roller coaster that towers over the park. Its little brother the Mini Express is suitable for smaller riders.
• Calaway Park, 245033 Range 33, 10 km west of Calgary, 403-240-3822. calawaypark.com
• Maps and Reviews 

Penguins at the Calgary Zoo's fantastic Penguin Plunge exhibit. Photo: Rachel Frey

Penguins at the Calgary Zoo’s fantastic Penguin Plunge exhibit. Photo: Rachel Frey

#1 ATTRACTION FOR ANIMAL LOVERS
The Calgary Zoo is home to an impressive array of animals from gorillas, hippos and giraffes to Siberian tigers and grizzly bears. The facility’s varied features include botanical and butterfly gardens, a dinosaur park populated by giant reptile recreations and a very cool playground. The zoo has also recently welcomed three new species: mandrills (a brightly coloured member of the primate family), one-horned rhinos and Komodo dragons.
Must See: Humboldt, gentoo, rockhopper and king penguins are both fascinating and very popular. Popping on and off the surrounding rocks, they rocket around their underwater enclosure. Also watch these Antarctic charmers waddle around the zoo on regularly scheduled penguin walks.
Must Do: The Zookeeper For A Day program lets you spend the day preparing meals, cleaning enclosures and getting up close and personal with your favourite animals.
• Calgary Zoo, 1300 Zoo Rd NE, 403-232-9300. calgaryzoo.com
• Maps and Reviews 

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