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100 Ideas for Summer Fun in and Around Calgary

Keep the fun going strong all summer long with our 100 favorite summer activities, indoor and out! 

OUTDOOR FUN

1. Rothney Astrophysical Observatory - Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, U of C. One of Canada’s largest telescopes patrolling for killer asteroids. For more information, visit ucalgary.ca/rao/

2. Spruce Meadows - World-famous show jumping facility. For more information, visit sprucemeadows.com

3. Winsport Canada (Canada Olympic Park) - Try the mountain bike park, with 25 kilometres of open and single-track cross-country trails and more. For more information, visit canadaolympicpark.ca or winsportcanada.ca

4. The City of Calgary Wading & Spray Pools - Beat the heat! There are tons of these all around town and most are open as of mid-June. Check calgary.ca for specific locations!

5. The City of Calgary Outdoor Pools - The City of Calgary has outdoor pools all around the city! Check out the COSPA website to find one near you! calgaryoutdoorpools.ca

6. Skate Parks - Visit the world’s largest skateboard park. Shaw Millennium Park is North America’s largest free outdoor skate park. Boarders, bikers and bladers can climb, slide, twist, roll and flip through the park’s concrete terrain. The City of Calgary also hosts community mobile skate parks; check calgary.ca for more info.

7. Fish Creek Park - Only a hop, skip and a jump from Calgary’s southern suburbs, Canada’s largest urban park covers more than 20 kilometres 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: Hwy 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 

Southern Alberta has some truly unique events during the summer. Expand your horizons by sharing in some of these cultural events.

13. Calgary International Blues Festival - July 31 to August 6; calgarybluesfest.com

14. Calgary Turkish Festival - July 13-16; calgaryturkishfestival.com

15. GlobalFest - August 15 to 26; globalfest.ca

16. Calgary Stampede - July 7 to 16; calgarystampede.com

17. Canmore Folk Music Festival - August 5 to 7; canmorefolkfestival.com

18. Expo Latino - August 18 to 20; hispanicarts.com

19. Red Deer Westerner Days - July 19 to 24, westernerpark.ca

20. Calgary Folk Music Festival - July 27 to 30; calgaryfolkfest.com

21. Lethbridge Whoop-Up Days Family Festival - August 22 to 26; exhibitionpark.ca/whoop-up-days

22. Marda Gras Street Festival - August 13; mardaloopbrz.ca

23. Pet-a-Palooza - July 29 & 30; petapaloozawest.com/calgary

24. Calgary Dragon Boat Festival - August 12 & 13; calgarydragonboatsociety.com

25. Inglewood Sunfest - August 5; inglewoodsunfest.ca

26. Taste of Calgary - August 10 to 13; tasteofcalgary.com

27. Opera in the Village- August 10 to 13 and 19 to 20; calgaryopera.com

28. Calgary Japanese Festival- August 12; calgaryjapanesefestival.com

29. Spruce Meadows North American- July 5 to 9; sprucemeadows.com

DAY TRIPS

Need to get out of town for a few hours or a day or two? Try one of the following day (or overnight) trips that will educate, entertain or both.

30. 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 kilometres south of Longview.

31. Brooks Aqueduct - This 3-kilometres 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 kilometres southwest of Brooks, off Trans-Canada Hwy 1.

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

33. Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump - 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 kilometres north & west of Fort Macleod.

34. 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.

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

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

37. 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.

38. 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.

39. 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.

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

41. 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 pc.gc.ca/banff

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

43. Bow Valley Parkway - This scenic alternative to the Trans Canada Hwy 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 hwy.

44. 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 kilometres east of Lake Louise.

45. 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 pc.gc.ca/jasper

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

47. Maligne Canyon - One of the most spectacular gorges to be found in the Rockies. Self-guided trails and footbridges provide spectacular views of the canyon. Location: 11 kilometres east of the Jasper Town-site along Hwy 16.

48. Kananaskis Country - Located 90 kilometres southwest of Calgary, the spectacular mountain and foothills landscapes make a perfect backdrop for a multitude of recreational opportunities.

49. 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 pc.gc.ca/pn-np/ab/waterton/index.aspx

50. Calgary Corn Maze & Fun Farm - Get lost and eventually found as you navigate your way through giant corn labyrinths, mingle with barnyard animals, bounce on jumping pillows, ride tractor trains, take aim with corn cannons, pick your perfect pumpkin in the Fall and more! The 2014 season runs from July 25 to October 19. calgarycornmaze.com

51. Cobb’s Adventure Park & Corn Maze- Fun-filled activities for people of all ages including a fence maze, corn maze, rope maze, a climbing wall, hop dots, puzzle mazes, archery tag, blacklight mini golf, giant board games, playground structures, pedal carts, tire mountain and slide, hayride, toddler town, wallaby petting zoo, and much, much more! cobbsadventurepark.com

52. Butterfield Acres Children’s Farm - Mix and mingle with all the different animals on a farm. Pony rides for little ones, tractor rides, try some milking and more! butterfieldacres.com

53. 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. vulcantourism.com

54. 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. ashfm.ca

55. Police Dog Service Training Centre -This centre is the only RCMP dog training facility in Canada. Public demonstrations are conducted every Wednesday afternoon between Victoria Day and Labour Day beginning at 2pm. The demonstration lasts approximately 45 minutes, and is free of charge. Location: Take Exit 365 off the Queen Elizabeth II Hwy (Hwy #2) at Innisfail, travel east and follow the signs.

56. Kayben Farms - Located just outside of Okotoks, Kayben Farms’ Sunshine Adventure Park is 10+ acres of nature and farm for kids to explore and enjoy! Check out slides, climbing walls, bouncy castles, pedal carts, a nature playground and much more for all ages. Don’t miss their U-Pick fruits in the summer!

57. Writing on Stone Provincial Park - See 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 kilometres east & 10 kilometres south of Milk River on Secondary Hwy 501. 

ROAD TRIPS

Never hear “are we there yet?” again! Go on one of the planned itineraries, or combine them with local events and festivals to make your next vacation a family adventure.

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

59. 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 kilometres.

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

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

62. 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 kilometres.

63. 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 kilometres.

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.

64. The Hangar Flight Museum - Formerly the Aero Space Museum of Calgary, The Hangar Flight Museum is a busy and growing museum that fosters the understanding and appreciation of the evolution of flight. Location: 4629 McCall Way NE.

65. Studio Bell and the National Music Centre - What if a visit to the museum was as exciting as going to a music festival? That sense of excitement, discovering new artists, hearing new sounds, and celebrating with friends - this is the approach the National Music Centre is taking to develop new exhibitions. Location: 850, 4 Street SE.

66. Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre Museum - Learn the history of the Chinese community in Calgary! The exhibition is divided into two main parts. “The History of Chinese Canadians in Canada” concentrates primarily on the background and general conditions of Chinese immigrants to Canada, while “The Evolution of the Chinese Community in Calgary” concentrates primarily on the development of Calgary’s Chinatown. Location: 197, 1 Street SW.

67. YouthLink Calgary Police Interpretive Centre - YouthLink is a 26,000 square foot innovative, hands-on learning centre filled with powerful, immersive exhibits and Alberta’s largest collection of policing artifacts ever placed on public display. Fly over the city in the HAWC helicopter, try on a riot gear suit, or touch a maggot mass in the forensics lab! Location: 5151, 47 Street NE.

68. Fort Calgary - Fort Calgary is located on 40 acres of parkland on the eastern edge of downtown Calgary. This is the place where the modern city of Calgary began! Explore colorful stories of Calgary’s past in the Interpretive Centre. Experience both sides of the law as you try on an authentic RCMP uniform or spend some time in jail. Location: 750, 9 Avenue SE.

69. Glenbow Museum - ‘Where the World Meets the West.’ Intriguing stories from Western Canada and around the world connect with extraordinary art and artifacts. Location: 130, 9 Avenue SE.

70. Grain Academy & Museum - Guests can watch a video depicting how the Prairies were settled, watch a working grain elevator demonstration, and view a model train display showing the movement of grain from the Prairies to the terminals at Vancouver. Location: Plus 15, BMO Centre 20 Roundup Way SE.

71. The Military Museums - The Military Museums is a Canadian Forces tri-service history, heritage, art, research, and educational institution. The Military Museums is dedicated to preserving the memories and traditions of the countless Canadians who proudly served their country through numerous wars and conflicts by their selfless dedication, commitment, and courage. Location: 4520 Crowchild Trail SW.

72. Royal Tyrrell Museum - The Royal Tyrrell Museum is Canada’s only museum dedicated exclusively to the science of palaeontology. In addition to housing one of the world’s largest displays of dinosaurs, the Museum offers a wide variety of creative, fun, and educational programs that bring the prehistoric past to life. Location: Six kilometres northwest of Drumheller.

73. 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.

74. Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame - Explore fun, interactive exhibits that promote the importance of sport within our nation’s culture. The 40,000 square foot space has tons of activities and is located fittingly on the grounds of Canada Olympic Park. Location: 169 Canada Olympic Road SW.

75. TELUS Spark - A place for the curious! TELUS Spark is Calgary’s Science Centre. Get your hands on exhibits and experiments or lay your eyes on Calgary’s only Dome Theatre, featuring live planetarium shows. Location: 220 St. George’s Drive NE. 

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:

76. Bow Habitat Station - Bow Habitat Station is made up of a visitor’s centre, the Sam Livingston Fish Hatchery and the Pearce Estate Park Interpretive Wetland. For more information, visit bowhabitat.alberta.ca

77. Calgary Zoo - There’s something for the whole family! Whether it’s just enjoying the zoo or the warmth of the ENMAX Conservatory, it’s a different visit each time. Location: 1300 Zoo Road NE. For more information, visit calgaryzoo.com

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

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

80. 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.

81. 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 Avenue SE. 

AMUSEMENT PARKS

82. Calaway Park - Western Canada’s largest outdoor family amusement park. For more information, visit calawaypark.com

83. World Waterpark - This huge indoor waterpark at West Edmonton Mall boasts the world’s largest indoor wave pool and more than 21 waterslides and play features. wem.ca

84. Kartworld - Calgary’s largest Go Kart track also featuring mini golf, laser tag and arcade.

85. Edmonton Jurassic Forest - Set in an old-growth forest, Jurassic Forest is home to lifelike animatronic dinosaurs, guided “safaris,” a dig site, mini golf, and more. Jurassicforest.com

86. Galaxyland - The world’s largest indoor amusement park is located in West Edmonton Mall, with over 27 rides for all ages. wem.ca

FARMERS’ MARKETS

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

87. Airdrie Farmers’ Market- 320 Centre Avenue East, Airdrie. Runs every Wednesday from 3:30-7pm until Thanksgiving.

88. Bearspaw Lions Farmers’ Market - Located on Highway 1A, one kilometre west of the city limits. Find locally produced vegetables, fruit, home baking, poultry and more. Runs first Sunday in June to first Sunday in October, 10am to 2pm.

89. Grassroots Deerfoot Farmers’ Market - Runs every Tuesday from 3:30 to 7pm, early June to end of September at Deerfoot City, 901 64 Ave NE.

90. Hillhurst Sunnyside Farmers’ Market - Every Wednesday from 3-7pm. 1320, 5 Avenue NW.

91. The Market on Macleod- Thursdays to Sundays, 9am to 5pm. 7711 Macleod Trail S.

92. Millarville Farmers’ Market- Open every Saturday from 9-2 until October 7. Millarville Race Track, 20 minutes south west of Calgary off Hwy 22.

93. Crossroads Market. Farmers’ Market, Fridays, 9am to 5pm. All market areas, Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays, 9am to 5pm. 1235, 26 Avenue SE.

94. Parkdale Community Association Farmers’ Market - Year-round, Thursdays 3 to 7pm. One block off Memorial Drive on 34A Street.

96. Calgary Farmers’ Market - Thursdays to Sundays, 9am to 5pm. 510, 77 Avenue SE.

97. Bridgeland Riverside Farmers’ Market. Thursdays, 3:30pm to 7pm. 917 Centre Ave NE.

98. Marda Loop Farmers’ Market. Runs June to October on Saturdays, 9am to 1pm. 3130 16 St SW.

99. Canmore Mountain Market. Runs until October on Thursdays, 10am to 6pm. On 7th Avenue next to the Canmore Civic Centre Plaza.

100. Cochrane Farmers’ Market. Runs until mid-September on Saturdays, 9:30am to 1:30 pm. 101 RancheHouse Rd.

 

Calgary’s Child Magazine © 2017 Calgary’s Child