In a city of over one million people, there must be plenty of activities the whole family can enjoy to make that all too common gloomy winter feeling disappear.
Winter can be a difficult time for anyone, children and adults alike. In a Canadian city where summer seems to hide away in the shadow of winter, making that time joyful for your child, who might not be so fond of the cities unpredictable climate, is all part of coping with the seasons.
There are seasonal pastimes in abundance in Calgary. From enrolling your child in skiing lessons, to bringing the family to the city’s biggest winter party; Calgary Winter Festival, Cowtown’s winter options are sure to please everyone.
Canada Olympic Park (COP) can be a great place for an outing. Take your kids for a one and a half hour ski or snowboard lesson; $49 on weekdays, and $59 on weekends and holidays. Or brighten up the entire winter season with a year round junior pass (5- 12) for $399, or a student/youth pass (13-24) for $499.
If downhill manoeuvring is not your forte, don’t fret, COP offers public bobsleigh rides! For $165 per rider, you can see what it feels like to race down the bobsleigh track reaching up to speeds of 120 km/h. The only setbacks of this are the cost and the minimum age limit of 16. An alternative to this is luge, which is done similar to bobsleigh only the rider lies on his or her back on a smaller piece of equipment and is sent off feet first to be greeted at the end of the track. At $25 per run, luge rides provide an affordable option.
Also within COP is the Olympic Hall of Fame and Museum, where for a $6 per person, you will be able to see the largest collection of Olympic memorabilia in the country. Have a chance to hold a Calgary 88 Olympic torch inside the museum as there are over 20 Olympic torches on exhibit dating back to the 1936 Berlin Games.
Inside the museum is a thorough Olympic timeline where you can test your knowledge of previous Games. In addition, there are many interactive displays one of which is a hockey shoot-out. Warning; this may have your kids playing for Team Canada one day. The museum is open daily, and all year round.
Another element in Calgary’s winter-fun index is the Calgary Winter Festival; an 11 day festival that includes everything from carnivals, to crafts and games, to skating parties, and everything in between. Every February the city becomes a winter wonder land and creates ample opportunities for Calgary’s families to create fun memories.
The festival was originally created in February 1989 as a way to relieve the city of the ‘year-long hangover’ it had felt after hosting the 88 Olympics. It has since grown to be a rather significant event in the province of Alberta. Holding ice sculpting contests, human curling championships, music, and everything icy, snowy and cold that you can eat, these 11 days could shake even the Grinch from his seasonal depression.
Festival events are typically held at COP, Fort Calgary and Heritage Park.
Most of the events are family-focused with particular attention to child-centered activities such as live performances, scavenger hunts, storytelling, games and many more.
In addition to the Winter Festival, The Calgary Winterfest Community Events Program helps to further spread the spirit to all of the city’s communities. Local community associations hold events such as pond hockey tournaments, bonspiels, dances and many more. No matter where you are, the Calgary Winter Festival will make sure to include you and your family!
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