by Nanica

105 Things to Do In and Around Calgary

Looking for a quick activity to burn away the summer time blues? Visit one of the following places to perk up a drooping day.

PARKS & POOLS

1. Rothney Astrophysical Observatory - Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, U of C. One of Canada’s largest telescopes patrolling for killer asteroids.

2. Spruce Meadows - World-famous show jumping facility.

3. WinSport's Canada Olympic Park - Try the mountain bike park, with 25 km of open and single-track cross-country trails and more.

4. The City of Calgary Wading & Spray Pools
Arbour Lake - 12 Arbour Lake Dr. N.W.
Edgemont - 125 Edenstone Pl. N.W.
Eau Claire Plaza - 3 St. & Riverfront Ave. S.W.
Prairie Winds Park - 223 Castleridge Blvd. N.E.
Riley Park - 800 12 St. N.W.
Stanley Park - 4011 1A St. S.W.
Bowness Park - 8900 48 Ave. N.W.
Canmore Park - 19 St. & Chicoutimi Dr. N.W.
Rotary Park - 617 1 St. N.E.
Somerset Square - 999 Somerset Dr. S.W.
South Glenmore Park (Variety Park) - 90 Ave. & 24 St. S.W.
Valleyview Park - 28 St. & 30 Ave. S.E.
Olympic Plaza Reflecting Pool - 228 8 Ave. SE.

5. The City of Calgary Outdoor Pools
Bowview Outdoor Pool - 1910 6 Ave. NW
Highwood Outdoor Pool - 25 Holmwood Ave. NW
Mount Pleasant Outdoor Pool - 2310 6 St. NW
Silver Springs Outdoor Pool - Silverridge Cl. & Silverridge Dr. NW
South Calgary Outdoor Pool - 3130 16 St. SW
Stanley Park Outdoor Pool - 4011 1A St. SW
Forest Lawn Outdoor Pool - 1706 39 St. SE
Millican-Ogden Outdoor Pool - 69 Ave. & 20A St. SE.

6. Shaw Millennium Skate Park - Visit the world’s largest skateboard park. Boarders, bikers and bladers can climb, slide, twist, roll and flip through the park’s concrete terrain.

7. Fish Creek Park - Only a hop, skip and a jump from Calgary’s southern suburbs, Canada’s largest urban park covers more than ten kms 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: Highway 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) have some truly unique events during the summer. Expand your horizons by sharing in some of these cultural events.

13. Calgary International Children's Festival - May 21 to 25, 2014

14. FunnyFest Calgary Comedy Festival - May 29 to June 8, 2014

15. Kensington Sun & Salsa Festival -
July 20, 2014

16. Calgary Folk Music Festival -
July 24 to 27, 2014

17. Calgary International Blues Festival -
 July 28 to August 3, 2014

18. Inglewood Sunfest -
August 2, 2014

19. Canmore Folk Music Festival –
August 2 to 4, 2014

20. AFRIKADEY! African Festival –
August 5 to 9, 2014

21. Marda Gras Street Festival -
August 10, 2014

22. Calgary International Reggae Festival
- August 13 to 16, 2014

23. Taste of Calgary
August 14 to 17, 2014

24. GlobalFest -
August 14, to 23, 2014

25. Expo Latino -
August, 2014

26. Calgary Dragon Boat Festival -
August 23 to 24, 2014

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.

Educational

27. 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 km (9 miles) south of Longview.

28. Brooks Aqueduct - This 3 km 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 km southwest of Brooks, off Trans-Canada Highway 1.

29. Frank Slide Interpretive Centre - On April 29, in 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.

30. Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump - Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981, 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 km north & west of Fort Macleod.

31. 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.

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

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

34. 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.

35. 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.

36. 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.

Family Fun

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

38. 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

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

40. Bow Valley Parkway - This scenic alternative to the Trans Canada Highway 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 highway.

41. 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 km east of Lake Louise.

42. 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

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

44. Maligne Canyon - One of the most spectacular gorges to be found in the Canadian Rockies. Self-guided trails and footbridges provide spectacular views of the canyon. Location: 11 km east of the Jasper Townsite along Highway 16.

45. Kananaskis Country - Located 90 km southwest of Calgary the spectacular mountain and foothills landscapes make a perfect back-drop for a multitude of year-round recreational opportunities.

46. 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

47. Calgary Corn Maze, Petting Zoo, and Pumpkin Patch - Get lost and eventually found as you navigate your way through giant corn labyrinths, mingle with the friendly barnyard animals, bounce on the jumping pillows, ride the tractor trains, take aim with the corn cannons, pick your perfect pumpkin in the fall, and so much more! The Calgary Corn Maze provides an array of fun and educational farm filled adventures for families, friends and groups. Open mid-July to late-October.

48. 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.

49. 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.

50. R.C.M.P. Dog Training Centre - This centre is the only RCMP dog training facility in Canada. On Wednesdays, from May to October, they have demonstrations of Obedience, agility and criminal apprehension. Location: Innisfail.

51. EM-TE Town - A privately built ghost town that features the Hogs Breath Saloon, jail house, harness shop, log buildings, livery stable, bank, church, emporium, and restaurant. Location: 10 km west off Highway 22 between Drayton Valley.

52. 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 km east and 10 km south of Milk River on Secondary Highway 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.

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

54. 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 km.

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

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

57. 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 km.

58. 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 km.

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.

59. Aerospace Museum - The museum has one of Canada’s most extensive collections of aircraft, helicopters and aero engines. Location: SE corner of the International Airport, Calgary.

60. Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre Museum - The only museum in Canada devoted exclusively to Chinese culture. Location: downtown Calgary.

61. YouthLink Calgary – Calgary Police Service Interpretive Centre - Learn about the role of police in society and the consequences of crime for young people. Location: downtown Calgary.

62. Firefighters Museum - Check out how they fought fires in the 1890s. See fire apparatus from 1890s to 1973. Location: 4124, 11 Street SE.

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

64. 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.

65. 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.

66. Grain Academy/Museum - Grain industry education and interpretive centre with model train and elevator displays. Location: Second level, Roundup Centre, Stampede Park.

67. Museum of the Regiments - 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.

68. Naval Museum - Naval Museum closed August 7, 2007 at this location.  All artifacts were moved and now are for viewing in a gallery in the Military Museum. 

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

70. 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 km northwest of Drumheller, Alberta.

71. 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, Alberta.

72. 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, Alberta.

Wildlife

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

73. Bow Habitat Station - Bow Habitat Station is made up of a discovery centre, hatchery, trout fisihing pond and the Pearce Estate Park Interpretive Wetland.

74. Butterfield Acres Children’s Farm - Listen to the sheep munching on their hay, or wiggle your fingers into the curly wool of a newborn lamb, or inspect the hair in a calf’s ear. Location: 254077 Rocky Ridge Road.

75. Calgary Zoo, Botanical Garden & Prehistoric Park - Travel the world without ever leaving the city. Go on a Safari, visit Australia or check out the creatures of the night.

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

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

78. 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, Alberta.

79. 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 Ave. SE.

Amusement Parks

80. Calaway Park - Western Canada’s largest outdoor family amusement park.

81. Wild Rapids Water Slide - The ultimate water slide experience. Wild Rapids is the first inner tube water slide. Location: Sylvan Lake, Alberta.

82. Kartworld - Calgary’s fastest karting track in Calgary with over 100 Karts to choose from. Kids Karts for ages four to eight years and two-seater karts for adults and kids.

FARMERS' MARKETS

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

83. Bearspaw Lion’s Farmer’s Market - Located on Highway 1A, one km west of the city limits. Here you will find locally produced vegetables, fruit, home baking and poultry. Visit Sundays, from June to October.

84. Calgary Swap Meet Farmers Market (previously Blackfoot Farmers Market)
Located at 5600, 11 Street SE, the Market features over 100 vendors, including organic farmers. Open from June to mid-October.

85. Crossroads Market - Located on Highway 1 and Barlow Trail, the Crossroads Market has vendors featuring fruits and vegetables, smoked meats and sausages, poultry and more! Don’t miss this indoor year-round flea market.

86. Grassroots Northland Farmers’ Market - Located at the Northland Village Shoppes parking lot, this market features 40 vendors that bring to you a variety of fruit, veggies, flowers, crafts, bakers and more. Tuesdays, June to September.

87. Calgary Hillhurst Sunnyside Farmers’ Market - Located at 1320, 5 Avenue NW, the Hillhurst Sunnyside Market features local vendors offering bakers, crafts, fruit and veggies. Wednesdays, May to October.

88. Millarville Farmers’ Market - Located at the Millarville Racetrack (30 minutes southwest of the city), the Millarville Farmers Market features everything from fruits, veggies, crafts, plants and much more. Runs from June to October.

89. Calgary Farmers’ Market - New location! 510, 77 Avenue SE. Open year-round. The Calgary Farmers’ Market has more than one million visitors each year from all around the world. Open weekly, Thursday to Sunday.

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:

90. Devonian Gardens - Explore for yourself the flora and fauna available at Calgary’s own Emerald City

91. The City of Calgary Village Square Leisure Centre and Southland Leisure Centre - Offers a wide variety of programs including swim lessons, sports, preschool fun, and more.

92. TELUS Spark the new Science Centre - Educational audio visuals. Hands-on exhibits. Demonstrations. Live science theatre.

93. Cardel Place for Community, Sports & Recreation - Offers families a wide variety of structured and unstructured health and lifestyle opportunities. For more information, visit .

94. YMCA - YMCA Calgary offers hundreds of programs for all ages. Each YMCA branch offers free drop-in classes for every member of the family.

95. Shakers Fun Centre - There’s a climbing wall, playground, laser tag, mini golf, go karts and more!

96. TommyKPlay – TommyKplay! is an indoor playground and family entertainment center geared toward children aged 0 to 12. The facility is dedicated to providing ‘good clean fun.’

97. bricks 4 kidz - Bring the kids to a Creativity Center for an afternoon of play! Open the door to LEGO® bricks of every shape and size, in themes like water world, space, cars and city.

98. Stir Crazy Family Fun Center - One of Calgary’s largest indoor play centers, catering to moms, dads and children under 12. There’s even a Parent & Tot Lounge.

99. Joso’s Play and Learn Centre - Explore their indoor play structure with tunnels, bridges and more! There are also tasty treats and hot beverages to enjoy.

100. Calgary Climbing Centre - The most comprehensive indoor climbing gym in Calgary for kids, youth and adults.

101. The Crux Climbing & Bouldering - Every Sunday from Noon to 2pm, the Crux offers drop-in times.

102. Coffee & S’cream - The 2,000-square foot indoor play space lets kids be adventurous even when it is wet outside. Located at 555 Northmount Drive NW.

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

104. Calgary Public Libraries - Free children and teen programs available on an ongoing basis.

105. 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.

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 Downtown Association, www.downtowncalgary.com; Travel Alberta, www.travelalberta.com; and Tourism Calgary, www.visitcalgary.com.

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