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115 Things to Do With Kids In and Around Calgary

Bored? Desperate? Never fear, Nanica Brown is here with 115 fabulous activity ideas for you and the kids! 


1. Rothney Astrophysical Observatory - 
Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, U of C. One of Canada’s largest telescopes patrolling for killer asteroids. For more information, visit ucalgary.ca/rao/

2. Spruce Meadows - World-famous show jumping facility. For more information, visit sprucemeadows.com

3. Winsport Canada (Canada Olympic Park) - Try the mountain bike park, with 25 kilometres of open and single-track cross-country trails and more. For more information, visit canadaolympicpark.ca or winsportcanada.ca

4. The City of Calgary Wading & Spray Pools - Eau Claire Plaza: 3 Street & Riverfront Avenue SW; Prairie Winds Park: 223 Castleridge Boulevard NE; Riley Park: 800, 12 Street NW; Canmore Park: 19 Street & Chicoutimi Drive NW; Rotary Park: 617, 1 Street NE; South Glenmore Park (Variety Park): 90 Avenue & 24 Street SW; Valleyview Park: 28 Street & 30 Avenue SE.

5. The City of Calgary Outdoor Pools - Bowview: 1910, 6 Avenue NW; Forest Lawn: 1706, 39 Street SE; Highwood: 25 Holmwood Avenue NW; Millican-Ogden: 69 Avenue & 20A Street SE; Mount Pleasant: 2310, 6 Street NW; Silver Springs: Silverridge Close & Silverridge Drive NW; South Calgary: 3130, 16 Street SW; Stanley Park: 4011, 1A Street SW.

6. Skate Parks - Visit the world’s largest skateboard park. Shaw Millennium Park is North America’s largest free outdoor skate park. Boarders, bikers and bladers can climb, slide, twist, roll and flip through the park’s concrete terrain. The City of Calgary also hosts community mobile skate parks, the locations of which can be found at The City of Calgary Skate parks link, calgary.ca/CSPS/Recreation/Pages/Skateparks/Community-mobile-skateparks.aspx

7. Fish Creek Park - Only a hop, skip and a jump from Calgary’s southern suburbs, Canada’s largest urban park covers more than 20 kilometres of protected river valley.

8. Nose Hill Park - A unique natural environment park located in Northwest Calgary, just 15 minutes from downtown.

9. Reader Rock Garden - This garden, three-acre site has trails waiting to be explored.

10. Sikome Lake - Life’s a beach at Calgary’s famous swimming hole. Enjoy cooling down on a hot day at this well-known South Calgary treasure.

11. Elbow Valley Wetland - An incredible variety of sights and sounds greet you at this constructed wetland in the Calgary area. Location: Hwy 8 (Glenmore Trail SW), just 800 metres west of Sarcee Trail.

12. Beaver Dam Flats - Beaver Dam Flats is surrounded by various natural habitats that attract beavers.

 

FESTIVALS

Calgary (and even Edmonton) has some truly unique events during the summer. Expand your horizons by sharing in some of these cultural events.

13. Calgary International Blues Festival July 28 to August 3; calgarybluesfest.com

14. Calgary Turkish Festival - July; calgaryturkishfestival.com

15. GlobalFest - August 14 to 23; globalfest.ca

16. AFRIKADEY! African Festival - August; afrikadey.com

17. Canmore Folk Music Festival - August 2 to 4; canmorefolkfestival.com

18. Expo Latino - August; hispanicarts.com

19. Calgary International Children’s Festival - May 21 to 24; calgarykidsfest.ca

20. Calgary Folk Music Festival - July 24 to 27; calgaryfolkfest.com

21. Kensington Sun & Salsa Festival - July; visitkensington.com/sun-and-salsa

22. Marda Gras Street Festival - August; mardaloopbrz.ca

23. Chinatown Street Festival - August; chinatowncalgary.com

24. Calgary Dragon Boat Festival - August 23 & 24; chinatowncalgary.com/dragonboat

25. Inglewood Sunfest - August; inglewoodsunfest.com

26. Taste of Calgary - August 14 to 17; tasteofcalgary.com

27. Opera in the Village - August; calgaryopera.com

28. Calgary Japanese Festival August; calgaryjapanesefestival.com

29. Calgary Highland Games August; calgaryhighlandgames.org

 

DAY TRIPS

Need to get out of town for a few hours or a day? Try one of the following day trips that will educate, entertain or both.

30. Bar U Ranch National Historic Site - The Bar U Ranch paints a colorful picture of ranching history, with the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop. Location: 15 kilometres south of Longview.

31. Brooks Aqueduct - This 3-kilometres long, centipede-like structure was a vital link in an extensive irrigation network that provided water critical to the dry lands of Southern Alberta. Location: 8 kilometres southwest of Brooks, off Trans-Canada Hwy 1.

32. Frank Slide Interpretive Centre - On April 29, 1903, 82 million tonnes of rock fell from Turtle Mountain and buried part of the coal mining town of Frank; 70 people died. Find out the story behind the Frank Slide. Location: Hwy 3, Municipality of Crowsnest Pass.

33. Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump - Head-Smashed-In is one of the world’s oldest, largest and best preserved buffalo jumps known to exist and has been used continuously by Aboriginal peoples of the plains for more than 5,500 years. Location: 18 kilometres north & west of Fort Macleod.

34. Leitch Collieries - While visiting Frank Slide, take the time to stop at one of the largest and most ambitious coal mines in the Crowsnest Pass. Walk among the ruins of the powerhouse, mine manager’s house and coke ovens. Location: Hwy 3, Municipality of Crowsnest Pass.

35. Remington Carriage Museum - The Museum’s interactive galleries tell numerous stories of turn-of-the-century society and the carriage industry. Location: Cardston.

36. Rutherford House - Check out how the other half lived in the early 1900s. Location: 11153 Saskatchewan Drive, Edmonton.

37. Stephansson House - Check out how Icelander, Stephan G. Stephansson, considered one of the greatest poets in the Western world, managed to tend this homestead by day and write his famous and respected poetry by night. Location: 30 minutes southwest of Red Deer, off Hwy 592 & 781.

38. Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village - Share in the compelling stories of the triumphs and hardships of Ukrainian immigrants who came to the Bloc Settlement in east central Alberta from 1892 to 1930. Location: 25 minutes east of Edmonton on Hwy 16.

39. Victoria Settlement - In 1862, Reverend George McDougall founded a Methodist mission to the Cree and later the Hudson’s Bay Company later established Fort Victoria to trade with the Natives. Learn about the growth and decline of this once-bustling community. Location: off Hwy 855, near Smoky Lake.

40. Sylvan Lake - Famous for its spectacular natural lake setting, Sylvan Lake has the second largest marina in the province.

41. Banff National Park - Featuring mountains, glaciers, forests, meadows and rivers, Banff National Park is one of the world’s premier destination spots. For a list of activities, visit pc.gc.ca/banff

42. Banff Hoodoos - These spires carved by the forces of wind and water, stand like lonely sentinels overlooking the Bow River. Location: 4 kilometres from Banff on Tunnel Mountain Road.

43. Bow Valley Parkway - This scenic alternative to the Trans Canada Hwy 1 provides an opportunity to view the landscape at a more leisurely pace. Explore the history of the Bow River Valley through interpretive signs located at various points along the hwy.

44. Moraine Lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks - The emerald green lake is set before Mount Temple, the highest mountain in the Bow Range and third highest in Banff National Park. Location: 12 kilometres east of Lake Louise.

45. Jasper National Park - The largest and most northerly Canadian rocky mountain national park, part of a spectacular World Heritage Site. For a list of activities, visit pc.gc.ca/jasper

46. Columbia Icefield Glacier - From Hwy 93, one can see the Athabasca, Stutfield and Dome glaciers. Ice Explorer and professionally-guided hiking tours are available on the Athabasca glacier.

47. Maligne Canyon - One of the most spectacular gorges to be found in the Rockies. Self-guided trails and footbridges provide spectacular views of the canyon. Location: 11 kilometres east of the Jasper Town-site along Hwy 16.

48. Kananaskis Country - Located 90 kilometres southwest of Calgary, the spectacular mountain and foothills landscapes make a perfect backdrop for a multitude of recreational opportunities.

49. Waterton Lakes National Park -In Southwestern Alberta, some of the most ancient and colorful mountains in the Rockies abruptly meet the rolling Prairie. It is a dynamic landscape shaped by wind, fire, flooding and abundant plants and wildlife. For more information, visit pc.gc.ca/pn-np/ab/waterton/index.aspx

50. Calgary Corn Maze & Fun Farm Get lost and eventually found as you navigate your way through giant corn labyrinths, mingle with barnyard animals, bounce on jumping pillows, ride tractor trains, take aim with corn cannons, pick your perfect pumpkin in the Fall and more! The 2014 season runs from July 25 to October 19. calgarycornmaze.com

51. Cobb’s Corn Maze & Family Fun Park - Fun-filled activities for people of all ages. The main attraction is a unique corn maze, but there is much more going on including a fence maze, rope maze, straw bale maze(s), hop dots, puzzle mazes, punching pumpkins, fabulous finger game, giant board games, playground structures, pedal carts, tire mountain and slide, hayride, toddler town and more! cobbscornmaze.com

52. Butterfield Acres Children’s Farm - Mix and mingle with all the different animals on a farm. Pony rides for little ones, tractor rides, try some milking and more! Location: 254077 Rocky Ridge Road. For more information, visit butterfieldacres.com

53. The Vulcan Tourism & Trek Station - The Station is truly out of this world. Crew members will be on hand to answer any questions about the Station, as well as the town of Vulcan and Vulcan County. Location: One hour southeast of Calgary.

54. Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum - The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum is an interactive, hands-on celebration of Alberta’s Sporting history. Location: On the west edge of Red Deer.

55. R.C.M.P. Dog Training Centre -This centre is the only RCMP dog training facility in Canada. Public demonstrations are conducted every Wednesday afternoon between Victoria Day and Labour Day beginning at 2pm. The demonstration lasts approximately 45 minutes, and is free of charge. Location: Take Exit 365 off the Queen Elizabeth II Hwy (Hwy #2) at Innisfail, travel east and follow the signs.

56. EM-TE Town - A privately built ghost town featuring the Hogs Breath Saloon, jail house, harness shop, log buildings, livery stable, bank, church, emporium and restaurant. Location: From Hwy 22 (between Drayton Valley & Rocky Mountain House), go west on Hwy 13 to Alder Flats. Go past the school and turn left at the car wash/bottle depot. Go south 3 kilometres to stop sign. Turn right and go west 3 kilometres to the end of the road.

57. Writing on Stone Provincial Park - See Native carvings (petroglyphs) and paintings, which cover sheer sandstone cliffs. The park also protects native prairie grasslands, the meandering Milk River, hoodoos and unique wildlife. Location: 32 kilometres east & 10 kilometres south of Milk River on Secondary Hwy 501.

 

ROAD TRIPS

Never hear, “Are we there yet?” again when you choose one of the following road trips. Go on one of the planned itineraries, or combine them with local events and festivals to make your next vacation a family adventure.

58. Trail of the Buffalo - Track the path of the historic bison/buffalo throughout east central Alberta. Length: three to six days; total distance: 907 kilometres.

59. The Cowboy Trail - Discover how the Old West lives on in its art, history, food, hospitality and culture. Length: four to five days; total distance: 694 kilometres.

60. The Boomtown Trail - An alternate route between Calgary and Edmonton is the Boomtown Trail, studded with “boomtown” architecture. Length: two days; total distance: 332 kilometres.

61. The David Thompson Explorer’s Trail - Step back in time and re-trace the enormous tracks left by David Thompson, one of Canada’s greatest explorers. Length: one to three days; total distance: 349 kilometres.

62. The Canadian Badlands Trail - Discover 2-billion-year-old rocks plus the largest collection of dinosaur skeletons in the world. Length: four to five days; total distance: 771 kilometres.

63. The Icefields Parkway - Dramatic mountain vistas, huge walls of ice, beautiful lakes and spectacular waterfalls make this one of the world’s classic mountain drives. Length: three days; total distance: 237 kilometres.

 

MUSEUMS

Who says museums are boring? The following places have history and hands-on activities that are a sneaky way of learning something new on a hot summer day.

64. Aerospace Museum - This museum has one of Canada’s most extensive collections of aircraft, helicopters and aero engines. Location: 4629 McCall Way NE.

65. Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre Museum - The only museum in Canada devoted exclusively to Chinese culture. Location: 197, 1 Street SW.

66. YouthLink Calgary - Calgary Police Service Interpretive Centre - Learn about the role of police in society and the consequences of crime for young people. Location: 5111, 47 Street NE (LC 594).

67. Fort Calgary - Join the ranks of the RCMP when you visit the Fort built in 1875. Location: 750, 9 Avenue SE.

68. Glenbow Museum - ‘Where the World Meets the West.’ Where intriguing stories from Western Canada connect with extraordinary art and artifacts. Location: 130, 9 Avenue SE.

69. Heritage Park Historical Village - Travel back in time to Canada’s largest living historical village. There are over 150 exhibits ready for you to explore. Location: 1900 Heritage Drive SW.

70. Grain Academy & Museum - Grain industry education and interpretive centre with model train and elevator displays. Location: Plus 15, BMO Centre 20 Roundup Way SE.

71. The Military Museums - At one of North America’s largest military museums, you can follow Alberta’s military heritage from 1885 during the NW Rebellion to present day. Location: 4520 Crowchild Trail SW.

72. The Naval Museum of Alberta - Canada’s largest naval museum portrays the history of the Royal Canadian Navy. Location: 1820, 24 Street SW.

73. Royal Alberta Museum - The Wild Alberta gallery takes visitors across, over and under Alberta’s diverse landscapes. Location: 12845, 102 Avenue, Edmonton.

74. Royal Tyrrell Museum - See more than 35 skeletons of dinosaurs like Albertosaurus, T. Rex and Triceratops. Journey through time, as different life forms emerge, evolve and in some cases, face extinction. Location: 6 kilometres northwest of Drumheller.

75. Sundre Pioneer Village Museum - Four acres comprising of Blacksmith shop, school, cabin, ranger station, reception centre with 5,600 square-foot display area. Location: Sundre.

76. The Alberta Railway Museum - Take a train ride back in time to the Alberta Railway museum. See their extensive collection of railway or tour the railway buildings around the grounds. Location: northeast end of Edmonton.

77. Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame - Explore fun, interactive exhibits that promote the importance of sport within our nation’s culture. The 40,000 square foot space has fun activities and is located fittingly on the grounds of Canada Olympic Park. Location: 169 Canada Olympic Road SW.

 

WILDLIFE

Is the only wildlife you see are your kids hanging from the rafters? Show them how animals truly go ape at one of the following:

78. Bow Habitat Station - Bow Habitat Station is made up of a visitor’s centre, the Sam Livingston Fish Hatchery and the Pearce Estate Park Interpretive Wetland. For more information, visit bowhabitat.alberta.ca

79. Calgary Zoo - There’s something for the whole family! Whether it’s just enjoying the zoo or the warmth of the ENMAX Conservatory, it’s a different visit each time. Location: 1300 Zoo Road NE. For more information, visit calgaryzoo.com

80. Kayben Farms Sunshine Adventure Park - 12+ acres of nature and farm for your kids to discover, learn and have fun! Location: 10 minutes south of Calgary in Okotoks. For more information, visit kayben.com

81. Medicine River Wildlife Centre - The Centre provides care for injured or orphaned wildlife with the aim of returning them to the wild. Location: 4 kilometres south and 1.5 kilometres east of Raven.

82. Cochrane Ecological Institute and Cochrane Wildlife Reserve - This reserve has the only breeding colony of the Swift Fox (endangered in Canada). The reserve also provides care and rehabilitates injured wildlife. Location: Cochrane.

83. Inglewood Bird Sanctuary - Over 250 bird species and a variety of mammals call these 32 hectares of natural area home. Location: on the Bow River at 2425, 9 Avenue SE.

 

AMUSEMENT PARKS


84. Calaway Park - Western Canada’s largest outdoor family amusement park. For more information, visit calawaypark.com

85. Wild Rapids Waterslide Park - The ultimate waterslide experience. Wild Rapids is the first inner tube water slide. Location: Sylvan Lake.

86. Kartworld - Calgary’s largest Go Kart track also featuring mini golf, laser tag and arcade.

 

FARMERS’ MARKETS

Make fresh food fun and entertaining at one of the following farmers’ markets. There is always something new to try when you visit.

87. Airdrie Farmers’ Market - 2014 summer season opens Wednesday, June 4. 320 Centre Avenue East, Airdrie. airdriefarmersmarket.com

88. Bearspaw Lions Farmer’s Market - Located on Highway 1A, one kilometre west of the city limits. Find locally produced vegetables, fruit, home baking, poultry and more. Runs first Sunday in June to first Sunday in October, 10am to 2pm. bearspawlions.com/bearspaw-lions-farmers-market

89. Grassroots Northland Farmers’ Market - Runs every Tuesday, early June to end of September. East side of Northland Village Mall, 5111 Northland Drive NW. skatersfoundation.ca

90. Hillhurst Sunnyside Farmers’ Market - Check website for 2014 dates. 1320, 5 Avenue NW. farmersmarket.hillhurstsunnyside.org

91. Kingsland Farmers’ Market - Year-round. Thursdays to Sundays, 9am to 5pm. 7711 Macleod Trail S. kfmcalgary.com

92. Millarville Farmers’ Market Re-opens June, 2014. Check website for dates. Millarville Race Track, 20 minutes south west of Calgary off Hwy 22. millarvilleracetrack.com/farmers-market

93. Crossroads Market. Year-round. Farmers’ Market, Fridays, 9am to 5pm. All market areas, Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays, 9am to 5pm. 1235, 26 Avenue SE. crossroadsmarket.ca

94. Parkdale Community Association Farmers’ Market - Year-round, Wednesdays 2:30 to 6:30pm. One block off Memorial Drive on 34A Street. parkdalecommunity.com/the-pca-farmers-market

95. Rocky Ridge Ranch Farmers’ Market - Thursdays, June to September, 3:30 to 7pm. 10709 Rocky Ridge Boulevard NW. rrrha.ca/Farmers%20Market%202.html

96. South Fish Creek Recreation Association’s Farmers’ Market - Re-opens June to September, 2014. Check website for dates. #100, 333 Shawville Boulevard SE. sfcra.com

97. Calgary Farmers’ Market - Year-round. Thursdays to Sundays, 9am to 5pm. 510, 77 Avenue SE. calgaryfarmersmarket.ca

 

RAINY DAY FUN

 Summer can’t always be sunny. When the sun takes a breather - or even if it is just too hot out - take time out to visit one of the following:

98. Devonian Gardens - Located in the downtown Core Shopping Centre. Experience the 10,000 shrubs, 1.5 million pounds of soil and the trees used to re-create this “tropical oasis”. For more information, visit calgary.ca/parks

99. The City of Calgary Village Square Leisure Centre & Southland Leisure Centre - The Leisure Centres offer a wide variety of programs including swim lessons, sports, preschool fun and more. For more information, visit calgary.ca/recreation

100. TELUS Spark, The New Science Centre - Exhibits and programs ignite a sense of wonder and excitement. A place for people of all ages and abilities to let go and embrace the desire to explore and discover science, technology and art in a way that their normal day-to-day life doesn’t allow for. For more information, visit sparkscience.ca

101. Cardel Place for Community, Sports & Recreation - Starting with children and youth, and then adults, Cardel Place is pioneering local solutions to Canada’s national challenge of sedentary behavior and physical inactivity with the goal of getting more Canadians healthier, more active, more often. For more information, visit cardelplace.com

102. YMCA - YMCA Calgary offers hundreds of programs for all ages. Each YMCA branch offers free drop-in classes for every member of the family. For more information, visit ymcacalgary.org

103. Shakers Fun Centre - Enjoy year-round fun such a laser tag, indoor playground, redemption games, climbing tower, and seasonal miniature golf and Go Karts and Kid Karts. For more information, visit shakerscalgary.com

104. bricks 4 kidz - Designed and created by teachers, architects and engineering professionals, the hands-on curriculum introduces children ages two-and-a-half to 13 to concepts of engineering, architecture and mechanics using LEGO® bricks. For more information, visit bricks4kidz.com/calgary

105. Stir Crazy Family Fun Centre - An indoor play and party centre providing clean, safe, healthy fun for ages 0 to 12. The centre includes a huge themed play structure, on-site bakery and more! For more information, visit stircrazyfamilyfun.com

106. Joso’s Play and Learn Centre - Caters exclusively for the fun, entertainment, learning and development of children up to six years. The indoor playground offers a play structure with tunnels, bridges and slides, a ball pit, plasma cars and a baby and me area. For more information, visit josos.ca

107. Calgary Climbing Centre - Calgary’s two biggest indoor climbing facilities, friendly staff, varied terrain, beginner lessons for all ages. For more information, visit calgaryclimbing.com

108. The Crux Climbing & Bouldering - Every Sunday from Noon to 2pm, the Crux offers drop-in times. The drop in program includes a supervisor, equipment and loads of fun! For more information, visit thecruxclimbing.com

109. Coffee & S’cream - Come and relax at the full service coffee spot with a separate 2,000 square foot play area for parents and tots. Children six months to six years can climb and slide, explore mats and ride around a 100-foot track. For coffeeandscream.ca

110. Calgary Tower - Get a bird’s eye view of the river, the mountains, downtown and beyond. calarytower.com

111. Calgary Public Libraries - Free children and teen programs available on an ongoing basis. For more information, visit calgarypubliclibrary.com

112. Downtown’s +15 system - Make sure to check out the double-decker bridge between Bankers Hall and TD Square for a great view up and down Stephen Avenue.

113. TommyKplay! - Calgary's first class indoor playground and family entertainment centres geared toward kids ages 0 to 12. For more information, visit tommykplay.com

114. Fun N’ More - Atwo-level indoor playground structure with climbers, big balls, tunnel slides, rollers, toddler area tree house, plastic toys, small climber with slide and interactive floor mat. For more information, visit funnmore.ca

115. Play-A-Latte - Bouncy castles, RODY horses, bouncy teeter totters and climb on structures. Coffee, Tea, sandwiches available for lunches and snacks. For more information, visit playalatte.ca

 

Nanica is the proud parent to Benjamin and Fable. Truly a child at heart, she is constantly exploring Calgary for new things to keep her kids from destroying her house and happily occupied year-round. The information used to create this list was culled from the following sources: Calgary’s Child Magazine; The Calgary DowntownAssociation, downtowncalgary.com; Travel Alberta, travelalberta.com; and Tourism Calgary, tourismcalgary.com.

Calgary’s Child Magazine © 2017 Calgary’s Child