With an average age of 36, Calgary has a decidedly youthful population with the result that the city’s ideally set up for a family vacation. You could spend a week here with your children and still not take advantage of everything to see and do – winter or summer.
Certainly don’t miss a day at Calgary Zoo.
Calgary also has two amusement parks especially geared to children. Although most adults enjoy a trip to the pioneer-themed Heritage Park Historical Village, the biggest attractions are for kids and include the antique midway amusement park; a horse drawn wagon ride; an antique steam engine train ride; a leisurely Glenmore Reservoir cruise on a restored paddlewheel steamer; and, of course, a trip to the old-fashioned candy store. Meanwhile Calaway Park, just west of the city, is a very popular family fun place with 32 rides from thrilling heart beaters for older kids to playful gentle toddler rides.
Just as much fun for school-age children, TELUS Spark, takes youngsters and adults on a fantastic and memorable journey. This impressive science centre houses dozens of hands-on scientific exhibits and working experiments, live planetarium shows, and a host of incredible travelling exhibitions. There’s also an outdoor adventure space and picnic area.
The big annual event, the Calgary Stampede is largely a family event, so has plenty to entrall kids. Another guaranteed hit with children of all ages is the late-May Calgary’s International Children’s Festival, which has taken place every year since 1986. Musical performances, theatre, dance, and a variety of fun activities take place at many indoor and outdoor venues Downtown. The outdoor activities and performances at Olympic Plaza are free and general admission to indoor performances are $17 per person.
Another imaginative experience for children are Calgary’s theatres and performances created just for children. There are three children’s theatres in Calgary with live performances. These are StoryBook Theatre ; Loose Moose Theatre ; and Stage West for Kids. Theatre Calgary also offers performances for Children, including A Christmas Carol every December.
Winter or summer, water parks are synonymous with fun for kids in Calgary. The city owned and operated pool complexes along with two rivers and two artificial lakes are attractions for kids of all ages. You can find everything from wading pools to wave pools. The best is the Southland Leisure Centre where kids can swim in an ocean like atmosphere with real waves or learn to skate on indoor ice.
Sikome Lake is the heart of Canada’s largest urban park: Fish Creek Provincial Park. In addition to the lake, the park is laced with hiking and cycling trails, and day use picnic areas. In all, Calgary has over 8000 hectares of parkland and 800 km of pathways. Travelling by air or car without enough room for equipment? No worries, the University of Calgary is a great place to rent equipment for almost any sport.
Also within city limits, WinSport – the venue for many events in the 1988 Winter Olympics – offers ski and snowboard slopes (and lessons) public skating, and sledding. In the summer, mini golf, bobsleigh rides, downhill mountain biking, ziplining, and a children’s activity area are just a few of the attractions. Also here is Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, which kids love for its many interactive exibits. These enable them experience what it’s like to participate in competitive swimming, rowing, sailing, equestrian, ball sports, skiing, ski jumping and more. In addition, competitions are held here year-round and are always free for spectators.