I love living in Calgary, Alberta. I think it’s one of the best places to be in Canada! Not only is it within view of the Rocky Mountains, but there is so much to do here. If you happen to be in the area with your family, here are some great things that you can do together!
Calgary has so many beautiful parks and green spaces that I find it impossible to get around to all of them, but I’ve picked out my top two outdoor destinations for the whole family to enjoy.
Prince’s Island Park
This is easily one of my favourite places to go in Calgary. It’s on a small island in the middle of the Bow River just north of downtown. In the summer there is an abundance of walking trails that weave through beautiful flowerbeds and pass scenic lagoons. There is a playground for the kids and open spaces for the dogs. On the odd occasion, I have even gotten to enjoy a local theatre performance put on right in the middle of the park! In the winter, I make it a point to visit just so I can go ice skating on the lagoon when it freezes over. There’s just something so special about skating on the Bow River with your loved one while the city thrives in the background.
Sikome Lake is very special for a reason – it’s man-made! My first time hitting this beach I was impressed by how nice it was. It’s small for a lake, but there’s plenty of room for everyone, and this beach gets busy. The water is shallow enough along the edge of the shore that you don’t need to worry about the younger kids, but it’s also deep enough further in that the adults can go for a nice dip. There is a lot of space on the beach around the lake to set up picnic blankets for the whole family, sun tents to keep in the shade, and spots to build the biggest sand castle you’ve ever seen. A walking trail shaded by trees winds around the beach and leads to picnic tables and a playground for when the kids get tired of the sun, sand, and water.
I love animals. Who doesn’t? Luckily, I know of some of the best spots in Calgary to visit some furry critters when I need to.
The Calgary Zoo
A zoo is definitely one of the best spots to go when looking to spend the day with animals, and the Calgary Zoo does not disappoint. The whole zoo is huge with a variety of sections displaying animals from all over the world. Some of the enclosures I always make sure to visit include: the lions, where you can get face to face with one of these majestic big cats if you’re lucky, the elephants, when the zookeepers are out playing with them, and the penguins, when they go for their walk around the zoo. One unique feature of the Calgary Zoo is its dinosaur park. While there are no living dinosaurs to run away from, there are life-sized replicas along a trail that will transport you back to pre-historic times.
Inglewood Bird Sanctuary
When you are more in the mood for seeing animals in their natural habitat, the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary is the place to go. Beautiful walking trails wind throughout the nature reserve where you can see all kinds of animals just minding their own business. The Sanctuary is also home to a variety of migrating birds that come and go all year-round, which is great for bird experts and amateurs alike. People often talk about seeing all kinds of baby animals here. There is also a Nature Centre with some neat educational exhibits to explore. There’s nothing like enjoying nature at it’s finest.
Adventure and Entertainment
There is a lot to do in Calgary if you’re looking to have some fun, so I’ve narrowed down a few options that I find always appeal to my sense of adventure no matter what I’m in the mood for.
Cobb’s Adventure Park & Corn Maze
Cobb’s is one of the most fun places to visit in the fall while in Calgary. If they only had the corn maze, I would be happy with that. The corn maze is huge and they have a new design for it every year. But this place also has a ropes course, a climbing wall, blacklight mini golf, archery tag, bouncy houses, a kangaroo petting zoo, and so much more. It’s one thing to see kangaroos at the zoo and another thing entirely to get to pet them! While some of these features cost extra, I find it’s definitely worth the price. There is so much to do here, and the more friends and family I bring along, the more fun there is to have.
This is THE amusement theme park for Calgary. Calaway Park is packed with all kinds of fun, dizzying, exciting rides. Two of my favourites include the rollercoaster and the water log ride. I could spend all day just riding those two rides, alone! There are also some great shows that will get kids jumping around and singing at the top of their lungs as the performers dance around and sing on stage while getting the kids involved. When you’re ready to take a break and have a snack, there are some great options to get some food.
The Rec Room
The Rec Room is Calgary’s latest go-to spot for fun and entertainment. Events, performances, shows, and showings of the big game are always going on here. For fun lovers, there are so many neat games to play including an augmented reality climbing wall, immersive virtual reality, and dozens of other arcade games. For more nostalgic fun lovers there is even pool, shuffleboard, and ping pong available. When you want to get your hands on some cool swag, there are plenty of classic redemption games to keep you and the kids racking up the points all day. Finally, they also offer great food including a spot that serves only the finest poutine and doughnuts.
Telus Spark inspires the scientist in all of us. With fun exhibits on what it means to be a human, Earth’s geology, and energy, plus lots of interactive spaces to explore science, art, and technology, I never find myself running out of ways to stimulate my brain while I’m here! The Dome Theatre is also a spectacular and immersive exploration of this world and beyond that is sure to thrill. Live science demonstrations are also one of the coolest ways to learn about science. For true scientists, there is also the opportunity to spend the night at Telus Spark! What a great way for the kids to take their sleepover skills to the next level.