It's one thing to keep the kids occupied while you're on vacation – it's quite another to find attractions the whole family can enjoy. But we have good news for you, moms and dads – Calgary's got it covered. Visit some of the places listed here, and you'll all spend the day with smiles on your faces.
Like a good roller coaster? How about bumper cars? You'll find both – and over 30 other rides – at Calaway Park. Once you've had your fill of twists and turns, you can settle back with a snack and watch some live entertainment, or try for a prize at some of the game booths. The park, which is Western Canada's largest outdoor amusement park, is just outside Calgary – follow Hwy. 1 west, then turn right on Springbank Road (exit 169).
Kids will love Butterfield Acres (254077 Rocky Ridge Road N.W.), where they can get right up close to little lambs, calves and chickens. Take Crowchild Trail north to Rocky Ridge Road and you'll find the farm just north of Country Hills Blvd. N.W.
There's something going on all year round – Easter egg hunts in the spring, pumpkin hunts in the fall, hayrides and bonfires.
Take the family on a trip around the world (or even back in time), without ever leaving Calgary. Visit the Calgary Zoo, Botanical Garden and Prehistoric Park, where you can see over 1,000 animals in exhibits grouped by continent, explore playgrounds, and see how big a T-rex can get. There are plenty of ongoing programs for kids, too, including story times and camp programs.
Have you ever been to the 19th century? Heritage Park is Canada's largest living historical village, offering over 150 exhibits and interpreters in period dress keen to tell you about prairie life before 1915. Visit the farm animals or go for a ride on a working steam train, a paddle wheeler or an old-fashioned Ferris wheel. Take Crowchild Trail south, then drive west on Heritage Drive until you reach the olden days.
Anytime, Rain or Shine
Expand your brainpower with a trip to the TELUS Spark, the New Science Centre, which is the first new science centre in North America in 25 years. A place of inquiry that looks at issues, ideas and concepts related to science, technology and creativity. Experiences are at once serious and playful, reliant on the ingenuity and enthusiasm of the visitors and collaborators to frame learning.
There's a lot to keep you busy at Shakers Fun Centre (9900 Venture Ave. S.E.), even on days when the weather is fine. But if it's a little chilly or wet out, the whole family can blow off some steam in the indoor playground, or work out the family dynamic with a game of laser tag. If you like heights, there's a climbing wall, too.
During the warmer months you can zip around the track on go-karts, play mini-golf, or get into a good old-fashioned water fight. Watch your back.