By Lara Shannon, Wood’s Homes Community Engagement Coordinator
Are you looking for something new to do with your kids this summer? There are so many wonderful places to visit in Calgary. While my girls were growing up, some of the activities we all enjoyed most are listed below. I’ve included the ages of my girls when they liked these activities most. Click on the links for more information and directions:
Riley Park- outdoor wading pool
Ages: 2 – 6, Price: free
Splashing in the water and the shade of the beautiful mature trees made this the perfect place to have a picnic and stay cool. With so many little kids to play with my girls never wanted to leave. It was also a great place for me to connect with other parents.
Calgary Farmers’ Market
Ages: 0 – 6, Price: free (face painting and balloons at reasonable prices)
When the girls were little we visited the Calgary Farmer’s Market every week. I loved to get a coffee and watch the girls enjoy the bouncy castle, balloons, clowns and face painting. The girls were often mesmerized by the young people performing on various instruments and loved to put loonies and toonies in their instrument cases. I could also get some shopping done making it a fun and practical stop.
Ages: 0 – 6, Price: free
This downtown park is located on the 4th floor in the CORE Shopping Centre. This was a favourite for my kids and I to meet up with friends when the weather was too hot, cold or rainy to play outside. You can bring food with you or there are plenty of places to grab a coffee, juice or snack and watch the kids play.
Prince’s Island Park & Eau Claire Market
Ages: 3 – 10, Price: free
We spent so many awesome hours playing at the playground, listening to buskers and having picnics at Prince’s Island Park. When it got too hot or started to rain we took the five minute walk over to Eau Claire to play in the indoor playground. We have also enjoyed attending the Calgary Folk Festival and watching Shakespeare on the Bow.
Ages 3 – 10, Prices: Day pass: Adult – $26.25, Child – $13.50, Family season passes start at $170.
I always felt like we had actually taken a trip to a different land when we visited this enchanting park. The girls were 4 and 6 when we got our first season pass. After we visited all the rides and shops, I would put a blanket down in the green space and relax while watching the girls play in the grass. We always took the train from stop to stop – I truly think this was the best place to spend a warm summer day in town.
Bowness Park – Boating on the lagoon
Ages 6 – 12, Boat rental price: $15 for ½ hour, $20 for 1 hour
We experienced some magical moments on a canoe in the lagoon. With the green of the surrounding trees reflecting on the water and the ducks and ducklings floating along with us, we found this activity both exciting and relaxing. Bowness Park also has train rides for younger kids, picnic areas, a playground and a lovely cafe on the west side of the lagoon.
Sandy Beach (4500 14A Street SW, below River Park)
Ages: all ages, Price: free
This is a fantastic place to take kids for a beach experience in the city. Bring shovels, buckets, towels and sun hats. There is also a playground and washrooms nearby.
Calgary Public Library
Ages: all ages, Price: free (if you return your books on time!)
This has been a favourite with our family since the girls were babies. At 13 and 15 they still ask me to take them there. They also have programs and events for all ages. A great place to go on a rainy day!
Bowmont Park – Saskatoon Berry Picking
Ages: all ages, Price: free
My kids and I have picked Saskatoon berries every summer in Bowmont Park for years. One of our favourite picking spots can be reached by parking in the northwest community of Silver Springs, one block south of Value Village and following the bike path to the east until you go down a steep hill. Right at the bottom of the hill there are many bushes on the left (the river is on your right). There is a path into the bushes where you can find plump and juicy berries from mid-July to mid- August. We then enjoy making Saskatoon berry crisp or pie together.
Ages: All ages Pricing: Junior (3-6 years) $33, Regular (7 – 49) $39.95
This amusement park was always one of the most exciting adventures for the girls! It’s expensive so a good idea to plan for a longer outing. We usually take snacks and lunches to avoid also paying for food. It’s a good idea to pack for all weather possibilities and prepare to spend at least an hour in line for the log ride (my girls’ favourite) on a hot day.
Our favourite day trips
Troll Falls and Big Hill Springs are two great day trips we enjoy regularly. With easy and scenic hikes that are less than an hour from Calgary these are accessible for all members of the family. Click on the links for directions and more information.
Two activities we want to try
I was told by many wise parents to be present and enjoy these times with my kids and that the time flies by. It’s true! I am so grateful for the memories and look forward to the few years we still have before they are off on their own adventures.
Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends, family and community – let’s work together!