For holiday fun with the family in Calgary, this article offers ideas to entertain the kids, from space flights to animal encounters to a heart stopping view from the Calgary tower.
Located in close proximity to the rolling foothills of the Canadian Rockies, Calgary is majestic, safe and a truly heartwarming city. Considering all major Canadian cities, there are only few that can match Calgary’s abundant family activities and destinations, which are adorned by kids and parents alike.
Whenever I visit Calgary, an overwhelming sense of realization grips me while contemplating over the fact that the city has evolved from an early 1800s outpost of the North West Mounted Police and a haven for ranch builders to a bustling city that retains the magical small-town spirit. Calgary has always fostered a “family-friendly” culture and encourages the development of parks, playgrounds and fun activities for the entire family. To elaborate my point, I have jotted down a list of the city’s landmarks that are sure to make you chuckle with glee with your kids.
Be sure to check out these top family delights in Calgary…
If you fly to Calgary, head to the food court on the third floor of Calgary International Airport. Located next to the food court is a 6,000 square foot high-tech interactive zone called SpacePort. It houses four flight simulators, a time machine and visitors can also take a virtual tour of the International Space Station. SpacePort offers free facilities and exhibitions, except for simulation rides that carry a small charge. The educational exhibits give hands-on experience and information about flight simulation, the Canadian Space Agency, and communication technology. Hence, it is a truly entertaining and engaging outing for families. I personally enjoyed dodging aliens!
Spaceport at Calgary International Airport
Phone: (403) 717-7678
Opening hours: 9am-9pm Mon-Fri 9am-5pm Sat & Sun
Calgary Zoo, Botanical Garden and Prehistoric Park
Calgary Zoo offers habitat to more than 1,100 animals and a wide variety of species from different parts of the globe. The highly innovative and themed exhibitions offer close encounters with grizzlies, wolves, moose, cougar, bison, bighorn sheep and many other animals. If you feel like going green, you can step in the lush Botanical Garden. I love the serene environment of this garden, especially the charm of the butterfly garden. If you believe that size does matter, then head to the Prehistoric Park where you can view life-sized dinosaur models lurking in prehistoric lands. I visited Dino Island to experience its unique simulator ride that placed me right in the middle of prowling dinosaurs! Calgary Zoo also offers catered sleepovers specially for birthday parties for kids and other special occasions. Hence, you can enjoy the thrills of three unique attractions in a single Calgary Zoo. Moreover, it only takes 10 minutes to reach the zoo by train from Downtown Calgary.
Calgary Zoo, Botanical Garden and Prehistoric Park,
1300 Zoo Road NE, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2E 7V6
Phone: (403) 232-9300, 1-800-588-9993
Opening hours: Daily 9am-5pm
TELUS World of Science
Formerly known as the Calgary Science Centre, the TELUS World of Science offers highly intriguing and interactive exhibitions that cover various aspects of science ranging from biology to astronomy. TELUS World is complete with a Discovery Dome Theatre, WOWTown, Creative Kids Museum and an Amazement Park.
Moreover, you can clarify any doubts or queries with professionals with guided programs and interpretive tours. The displays are changed frequently. Hence, I always keep an eye out for upcoming interesting exhibitions.
TELUS World of Science, 701-11th Street Southwest, Calgary, AB, T2P 2M5s
Phone: (403) 268-8300
Opening hours: 9:45am-4pm Mon-Thurs, 9:45am-5pm Fri, 10am-5pm Sat, Sun, Holidays
Picture yourself with your family standing midair at 525 feet and looking straight down at the heart of Calgary. You can experience this thrill at the Observation Deck of the Calgary Tower. The tower is not the tallest building in Calgary, but you can walk on a 36 feet long glass floor that presents a panoramic view of the city and the breathtaking magnificence of the Rockies at the horizon.
Calgary Tower, 101 – 9th Avenue SW, Calgary, AB, T2P 1J9
Phone: (403) 266-7171
Opening hours: 9am-10pm Jun-Aug, 9am-9pm Sept-May
Crossroads Market is Calgary’s largest indoor-outdoor market that is open round the year. Located at at the junction of Ogden Road and Blackfoot Trail, Crossroads is just a 5-minute drive from Downtown Calgary. Moreover, the market offers free parking facility. The minute I stepped in the premises of this colossal market, I was exposed to the overwhelming presence of a flea market, antique market, indoor farmer’s market, and a seasonal outdoor farmer’s market – all under the same roof! Over 125 vendors represent a maze of booths that offer a mesmerizing display of unique products, rare collectibles, and antique treasures. The fresh produce, delicious baked goods, locally raised meat and poultry available at the market will certainly turn your visit into a grand feast. There are also many vendors who sell gluten-free products.
Crossroads Market, 1235 – 26 Avenue S.E., Calgary, AB T2G 1R7
Phone: (403) 291-5208
Opening hours: Indoor-Outdoor Market: 9am to 5pm Fri, Sat, Sun
Food Court: Open on Fridays for lunch
Flea & Antique Markets Mall: 9am to 5pm Sat & Sun
Family Friendly Tip
Keep an eye out for the “sunburst logo” of Child and Youth Friendly Calgary (CYFC). Established more than 14 years ago, this organization accredits establishments for “child-friendliness”. A strict inspection is conducted by Calgary’s youth and the businesses that pass this test earn the right to display the organization’s logo.
Thanks for this article to Vinay Shingornikar, who is a professional writer and has authored insightful articles for a wide spectrum of publications. Currently, he is working with Flight Network, which is Canada’s second most visited online travel agency. Flight Network negotiates bulk rates with major airlines such as WestJet and Air Canada to offer the cheapest flights to customers.
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