Looking for a city that the kids in your family will enjoy as much as the adults? Calgary, the largest city in Alberta, Canada, is home to world-class sports, fun outdoor excursions and good old-fashioned entertainment. Whether your kids love wandering through museums or enjoy more hands-on adventures, these tips from Culture Trip’s local insiders will help your family get the most out of their Calgary vacation.
Want to get up close and personal with some wild animals? Then this award-winning zoo is the perfect activity for the whole family. Easily accessible from the city center, this ethically run zoo is among Calgary’s top tourist attractions, boasting over 1,000 different animals who call it home. It even has a dinosaur exhibit, featuring 18 life-size, animatronic dinosaurs, including the T-Rex, and a variety of year-round events, such as an adults-only escape room and holiday light displays in December. Recommended by local insider Patrick Twomey
Head to the southwest banks of the Glenmore Reservoir to discover “How the West Once Was”. Heritage Park, Canada’s largest living history museum, offers a full day of interactive education and fun for the whole family. Wander into this 127-acre (51ha) historical village where you can step back into the Canadian West from the 1860s to the 1950s. Take a ride on a horse-drawn wagon and paddle wheeler boat, and do not miss the old-fashioned candy store. You’ll also find a variety of delicious restaurants and cafés serving up delicacies inspired by the times. Recommended by local insider Patrick Twomey
Calling sports fans of all ages! Calgary is home to its very own sports hall of fame and museum. Within this 40,000sqft (3,716sqm) space, you can discover the more than 673 legends and athletic greats of Canada while perusing the 12 interactive galleries and more than 100,000 artefacts. The kids (and kids at heart) will love the hands-on exhibits, where they can try their hand at shadow boxing, ski jumping and 3D hockey. Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame also offers year-round special events for all ages. Recommended by local insider Patrick Twomey
Fuel your child’s love of science and wonder at Telus Spark. This interactive science museum blends education and fun, welcoming more than 430,000 visitors each year. Put those thinking caps on and head inside where you’ll find a handful of permanent exhibits, including its live planetarium show. Discover fun facts about humans, uncover cool geology or enjoy the outdoor adventure space. It even offers a full-sensory playhouse for children under nine years old. Recommended by local insider Patrick Twomey
Want to instill a passion for art in your child? Glenbow Museum is a must for any arts and pop culture buffs visiting Calgary. This sprawling, four-floor museum near the Calgary Tower offers more than 33,000 works of art, making it the largest public art collection in Western Canada. Explore the floors dedicated to art, fashion, crystals and gems. If you’re feeling inspired, visit the museum’s Discovery Room, where you and your family can make art of your very own. Recommended by local insider Patrick Twomey
If the hair-raising thrills of a rollercoaster ride are more your family’s style, then check out the award-winning Calaway Park, Western Canada’s largest amusement park. This popular attraction offers 32 rides, as well as live shows, minigolf and 20 arcade games. Beat the family in a classic game of bumper cars, swing through the air in the Air Gliders or get that adrenaline pumping on the Vortex. The park also offers five restaurants, serving everything from hamburgers and poutine to frozen lemonades and soft-serve sundaes. Recommended by local insider Yamila
Looking to avoid the crowds and go off the beaten path for some family fun? The Village Square Leisure Center is a 5.5-acre (2.2ha) indoor entertainment center and Calgary’s hidden gem. Inside, you’ll find everything from an indoor water park and jungle gym to ice rinks and rope swings. Adults can even hit the gym, take a fitness class or play a round of badminton. Village Square Leisure Center also plays host to a variety of special events, including half-marathons, kids races and golf nights. Recommended by local insider Yamila