Calgary, 10 Top Attractions

Calgary, 10 Top Attractions

Calgary, 10 Top Attractions :

Not thinking about skipping Calgary on your way to Banff National Park are you?  There is a ring road for that, we know.  But Calgary has some amazing attractions all of which are worth visiting next time you are in the neighborhood!  Don’t go straight to Banff. Really. And if you’re only in town for a selfie then check out my article on the best Instagram spots in Calgary! 

Princes’ Island Park

Princes’ Island Park is an oasis of green in Calgary’s urban core (at least in the summer).  Named after Peter Anthony Prince, the founder of the Eau Claire Lumber Mill, Prince’s Island Park is like a miniature version of New York’s Central Park.

Calgarians enjoy the green fields, playgrounds and paddling pools in the summer, while engaging in ice skating during the winter.  And if you work downtown, you probably have had your lunch outside at Prince’s Island Park at least once. 

Princes’ Island Park is also the primary location for some the best festivals that take place in Calgary during the Summer, including the  Canada Day celebration and  Calgary Folk Festival.

If visiting, be sure you don’t miss the Chevron Learning Pathway. The Chevron Learning Pathway is an environmental educational path that meanders through a reconstructed wetland designed to treat storm water before reentering the Bow River. You will find interpretive signage and information about wildlife, habitat and water quality.

When to go:

There is no bad time of year to go to Princes’ Island Park, but your best bet would be to check the festival schedule in advance. It is also quietest and easiest to park on weekends when the office set isn’t around.

How to get there:

Princes’ Island Park is located along the northern edge of the downtown along the Bow River.  Easiest to head to Eau Claire Market and use the above or underground parking there or in the surrounding area. 

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Princes Island Park
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Princes Island Park
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Princes Island Park

Heritage Park

Situated on the shores of Calgary’s beautiful Glenmore Reservoir, Heritage Park is Canada’s largest and best living history / heritage museum. No offence to Canada’s other living history museums, but where else can you ride a steam train or cruise blue waters in a grand paddle wheeler. Heritage Park has something for everyone.

Heritage Park’s collection focuses on the early 1860s fur trade and extends to the age of the automobile, but the sweet spot is the Historical Village with its wonderfully preserved pioneer era buildings. In the Historical Village you can interact with the live exhibits such as a blacksmith, ride in a horse drawn wagon and enjoy antique carnival rides. Halloween is my favourite time to go. Spooky!

When to go:

From late May until early September, Heritage Park is open daily and this is the best time to go.  The sun is shining and its warm.

How to get there:  

Heritage Park is located outside the downtown core and public transit is limited so your best bet is to drive.  Parking is $5.00 for a full seven hours if you arrive between 6:00am and 5:00pm. You won’t need more than 7 hours at Heritage Park!

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Heritage Park
Heritage Park,calgary,alberta,attraction,historical,living,museum,western,heritage, pioneer,destination,guide,vacation,holiday,travel,blogger,photography,family, things,to,do,
Heritage Park

Calgary Zoo

The Calgary Zoo is home to 130 different species. The zoo is organized into distinct zones, including: Canadian Wilds, Land of Lemurs, Destination Africa, Eurasia, Penguin Plunge, Dorothy Harvie Botanical Gardens, ENMAX Conservatory and the Prehistoric Park. Don’t worry… no live dinosaurs will be found in the Prehistoric Park.  

The Calgary Zoo is open every day except for Christmas Day. It is Canada’s most visited Zoo and is considered one of the best in the world.  And guess what…  the Panda’s are coming. Check Calgary Zoo updates to find out when.  

Tip:  Come early and have the Zoo to yourself since most people come around noon and spend the afternoon at the Zoo. It gets busy.

Admissions: 

At the date of posting:  General Admission is $24.95; Seniors $22.95; and children 3-15 it is $16.95.  Parking costs 10$.

How to get there: 

The easiest way to get to the Calgary Zoo is by light rail transit on the C-Train. Take the Northeast Line (Route 202) from the city centre and jump off at the “Zoo.” stop.

If you are driving to the Zoo, the easiest route is via Memorial Drive heading east from the city centre. Exit Memorial Drive at 12 St NE and then follow St. George’s Drive NE to the right all the way to the parking lot.

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Calgary Zoo
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Calgary Zoo

 

Glenbow Museum

The Glenbow Museum is an art and history museum that dedicates space to both traveling art and cultural exhibitions, as well as a permanent gallery dedicated to the history and culture of western Canada. The Glenbow Museum has an excellent interactive kids area, which crafts, games and other engaging activities for the kids.

Admissions:

At the date of posting:  General Admission is $16.00; Senior is $11.00; and children 7-17 $10.00.

How to Get There:

The Glenbow Museum is located in downtown core at 130 9th Ave S.E. between Stephen Avenue and the Olympic Plaza and the Calgary Tower.  It’s an easy walk from just about any location downtown. 

Stephen Avenue Walk

Calagry’s Stephen Avenue Walk is the main pedestrian fair through the urban core. It has also been declared a National Historical District, with over 30 restored buildings along the Avenue. For the most part, the architecture reflects the styles of buildings built between late 1800s to the 1930s. 

Today Stephen Avenue Walk is home to retailers, banks , restaurants and many pubs. During the day and on weekend evenings, Stephen Avenue is a vibrant gathering place. If you’re visiting Calgary and you’re staying downtown, Stephen Avenue will be your base for food, drinks and shopping.

Enjoy the sidewalk cafes, street musicians and merchants, including temporary markets, which draw thousands of Calgarians and visitors to the pedestrian mall. 

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Stephen Avenue
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Stephen Avenue

Fort Calgary Historic Park

Fort Calgary was originally founded in 1875 as Fort Brisebois by the North-West Mounted Police. It is located where the Bow and Elbow rivers come together on Calgary’s downtown east side.  The site has operated as a museum since 1978.

The museum primarily consists of an Interpretive Centre and reconstructed Barrack. The exhibits inside tell the story of the area, including Canadian Pacific Railway station, the NWMP barracks, and the Calgary Herald newspaper.

The grounds outside are beautiful and a fantastic place to walk and observe the wildlife.

Admissions:

Admission Rates: Adult – $12.00; Student/Senior (+65 yrs.) – $11.00; Youth (7-17 yrs.) – $7.00; and Child (3-6 yrs.) – $5.00.

How to get there:

Fort Calgary is located a 10-minute walk from downtown 750 – 9th Avenue SE.  There is also free parking for visitors to the site.

Bow Habitat Station and Sam Livingston Fish Hatchery

Bow Habitat Station and Sam Livingston Fish Hatchery consists of a number of attractions, including hands-on exhibits in a Discovery Centre, a trout fish hatchery tour (where you get to feed the fish), trout pond and walking trails through an interpretive wetland. Bow Habitat Station is open year-round and is fun for all ages.

Bow Habitat Station s definitely on of Calgary’s most under rated attraction, particularly for kids.

Admissions:

At the date of posting:  General Admission is $10.00; Senior is $8.00; and children aged is 4-17 $6.00.

How to get there:

Bow Habitat Station  is located just east of Calgary’s downtown at 1440-17A Street SE.  You will need to drive here since public transit does not provide easy access. Good news is that there is free parking in the main lot.

Canada Olympic Park / Winsport

Canada Olympic Park is used both for high performance athletic training and for recreational purposes by the general public. The park was primarily developed during the 1988 Winter Olympics when it hosted ski jumping, bobsleigh, and luge.  During the winter, the slopes at Canada Olympic Park are used for downhill skiing, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing. In the summer, the slopes are used for mountain biking

If you are not looking to participate in slope style sports but just want straight up fun,  during the summer you will have the opportunity to participate in awesome activities such as the Zipline, Skyline Luge, summer bobsleigh, bungee –jumping and the summer water slide. If your old school then check out the mini golf course. 

If you’re visiting Canada Olympic Park then make sure you check out Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. It’s a cool venue located in a cool building.

How to get there: 

As with many locations outside downtown Calgary, you will need to drive here. Public transit just doesn’t work.  That said, Canada Olympic Park is easy to find.  Just follow 16th Avenue westbound and turn right onto Canada Olympic Road SW.

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Canada Olympic Park / Winsport

Fish Creek Provincial Park

Located in south Calgary, Fish Creek Park the second largest urban park in Canada and one of the largest urban parks in North America. At over 13 square kilometers, Fish Creek Provincial Park has around 80 kilometers of paved and unpaved trails for walking and biking, day facilities and an artificial swimming lake.  Fish Creek Provincial Park is  home to a large variety of natural wildlife, including coyotes, deer, and  beavers , as well as many birds such as owls and great blue herons.

Museum of the Regiments

The Military Museums of Calgary, Alberta is large armed forces themed and the second largest military museum in Canada.  It is made up of the regimental museums for the Navy, Army and Air Force. The Military Museums of Calgary also hosts a gallery and archives.  

If you have an interest in military history,  Canada’s contribution to the world wars and peace keeping  or just wish to honour the sacrificies of our military women and men, then keep a couple of hours available for a visit to this beautiful and touching museum.    

Admissions:  Adults – $15.00; Seniors -$5.00; Youth (7 – 17) – $5.00.

How to get there:

The Military Museums  is across Crowchild Trail from Currie Barracks and Mount Royal College in Garrison Woods. Following Crowchild Trail southbound to Flanders Avenue and head east, then turn right onto Amiens Road and follow the signange.

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Military Museums
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Military Museums
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Military Museums

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