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Where to Play and Stay with your Family in Calgary Alberta

Disclosure: I received IHG rewards points to facilitate this review of this particular Calgary stay. All opinions are 100% my own.

Calgary is a family-friendly city in Alberta that we visit often. Being so close to where we live, it’s one of our top choices for a weekend getaway. No matter what time of year, it’s a city that bursts with things to do and places to see.

Since we’ve been there countless times, there are some places that we’ve visited often. Yet, they are also places that are constantly changing and growing, meaning it could be a whole new experience each time. For those that have never been and are planning a family stay in Calgary, here are our top experience picks, in particular order.

{and don’t forget to print some Calgary attractions coupons before you go!}

Where to Play and Stay with your Family in Calgary Alberta
 

Calgary – Where to Play

 

Calgary Zoo

The Calgary Zoo is one place that I went to in my own childhood, and I love that I can spend time there with my children now. Covering a vast area in a great location, the Calgary Zoo is home to many different species of animals ranging from penguins and peacocks, to bears and butterflies. Each part of the park offers up close viewing and interactive learning for guests. One of the newest additions to the zoo is the animatronic dinosaurs {I missed them!}, so don’t miss leanring of what Alberta might have been like when the dinosaurs roamed the earth. We love to take in the playground for kids with an ice cream after hitting all the exhibits. It’s a great way to end the day and relax a little before making the trek home {or hotel}. 

Calgary-Zoo-family-travel

WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park

Calgary hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics {have you watched ‘Cool Runnings’?} and the area is still in use for some great family-fun! There are plenty of activities and lessons like luge and bobsled, skiing, snowboarding, zip-lining, minigolf, and a climbing wall. The activities differ depending on time of year visited, so it’s a place you’ll want to go to time and again. 

Heritage Park Historical Village

Heritage Park is Canada’s largest historical village, and they’ve done a magnificent job in constructing the ‘old days’ that really makes you feel like you are in the time. We started in the Gasoline Alley Museum, home to the world’s largest public collection of antique cars and trucks. Next, take a walk through time through the historical villages and keep your eyes out for period performers on your way. Don’t forget to take a ride on the steam train and spend time at the antique midway! As you go into the historical buildings, take note of the fine details not missed. It’s a greta learning opportunity for kids. Before you go, look into what part of history your kids are learning in school, we happened to go just after my oldest learned about The Famous 5, and Heritage Park has a replica home of Nellie McClung! 

heritage park family travel calgary alberta

TELUS Spark

Highly rated as a top family-friendly destination in Calgary, TELUS Spark offers science, art and technology like never before. Explore the world around you, be creative, let your imagination go wild and develop skills – there’s interaction at each turn! TELUS Spark is very hands-on and playful, bringing the fundamentals of science and engineering to life.

Insider Tip: Save your visit to TELUS Spark on a day with lackluster weather, or a time when a break from the elements is needed. 

The Calgary Tower 

This is one tour that we have to take every few years, just to compare the growth of Calgary. I may be a tad afraid of heights, but I go for the sights, the wonder and my kids. They sure do love giving me a heart attack when standing on the glass floor! 

calgary tower

Shopping

I have to give kudos to Calgary for being one great shopping destination, for kids and adults alike! There’s retail gems throughout the city, though my current faves are Chinook Centre {over 200 stores and an IMAX movie theater} and Cross Iron Mills {an outlet mall just outside the north end of the city}. When we go to Calgary for the weekend {or just the day}, we always save some time for retail-therapy. 

 

When my family needs a quick weekend getaway we oftentimes choose  Calgary as there’s plenty for food, education, entertainment and fun.

These suggestions really are the tip of an iceberg though, the options really are limitless. For instance, our next trip will definitely invoice a visit to Lloyd’s Rollersports Centre for some old-school rollerskating and Extreme Airpark – Canada’s largest indoor trampoline park.

 

Calgary – Where to Stay

 
On our last family trip to Calgary, we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites which is located by the airport. Not only is this location convenient  for those flying into the city, but because of the great roadways in the city, it’s very easy to get anywhere from the hotel.

holiday inn express and suites calgary accommodations family friendly

The rooms at Holiday Inn Express & Suites were modern, clean and very comfortable. The beds, amazing! There was plenty of room for us all and from the moment we arrived – we felt right at home.

holiday inn express and suites calgary alberta family travel

The Holiday Inn and Suites is known for their incredible hot Express Hot Breakfast bar, which is one key aspect when looking for family accommodation. Not only is a breakfast the start to a great day taking in the sights, but it’s a frugal way for families to travel. 

holiday inn express and suites calgary Express Hot Breakfast bar

We were all impressed with the Pancake Maker, signature to Holiday Inn Express hotels. With a push of a button, out came fresh pancakes. Have you seen anything like it? The whole family was smitten with this breakfast option, it was a highlight of our mornings for sure!

holiday inn express and suites calgary Express Hot Breakfast bar

The Holiday Inn Express & Suites also has a fabulous pool area which we spent time after each long day taking in Calgary attractions. The girls loved the water slide and us adults were in hot-tub-heaven. 

holiday inn express and suites calgary family friendly pool travel

The staff at Holiday Inn Express & Suites are so helpful and pleasant and form the meals to our room, location to the pool – this hotel was a major player in our Calgary weekend getaway.

I wouldn’t hesitate to stay at the Holiday Inn & Suites again, even if we’re taking an early morning flight from the city. They have complimentary wifi and airport shuttles for those to and from the city. 

 

Have you ever been to Calgary Alberta?

 

 

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42 Comments

  1. I have been there, but it has been years. I loved the Olympic Park. There is more there to do than what I knew. I will have to check it out again.

  2. You know, Calgary has never crossed my mind before. After reading this, I definitely want to visit one day. It sounds wonderful.

  3. I have never been to Alberta before. That looks like an amazing place to go though. The hotel looks like it would be fun for the kids! My daughters love to go to hotels and stay the night. They always have fun there.

  4. I lived in Edmonton for four years, but had only been to Calgary once. We drove through on our way to Banff so I wouldn’t say that we visited. I would love to go back and see all the sights!

  5. I had no idea Calgary was so breathtakingly beautiful. That glass floor would give ME a heart attack.

  6. I’ve always wanted to visit Calgary! That Heritage Park Historical Village looks like something i would enjoy a lot.

  7. My grandma is heading there this month. I should tell her about these. They look so fun.

  8. What an amazing stay! Both the aquarium and the hotel. If I ever visited Calgary I would love to stay there.

  9. I would have to check out every one of these places. The historical village would be first on the list!

    1. It was a fun time, the kids were engaged the whole time too, i was a bit worried before we went that they would get bored – nope!

  10. Calgary looks like a beautiful place to both stay and play. Your images make me with I were there right now!

  11. Calgary is a beautiful place to visit. I would love to check out the Zoo. I am hoping to travel to Calgary this year.

  12. This is rather timely for us, we are headed to Calgary next month. I think a few of these sites will be worth checking out.

  13. We live in Calgary but when we stay action we stay at the Best Western Port o Call because it has Great indoor water park with poolside rooms. It is great!

  14. I love Calgary. It’s so easy to get around with their transportation system. The zoo was a highlight when I was there.

  15. Calgary is one of my favorite cities to travel to – I find there is something new to experience each time I am there 🙂 I still have not made it to the zoo there – but it is on the list for my next trip there!

  16. I live in Calgary and I’m always struggling to find things to do that can include our 2 year old. Thanks for the post and great ideas!!

  17. I would love to visit Calgary someday! have never been but heard it’s beautiful and our first stop would definitely be the Calgary Zoo!

  18. I always love recommendations on hotels we stayed at a travel lodge in Calgary olympic park paid $200 a night and let me just say I can’t even post about what was in the room and on the sliding glass doors because you girls might read it, yes that bad.. after 2 hours we slept in the car because the phone was shut off at 10 pm and the guts of the tv was GONE!

  19. I have been to Calgary once before but will be visiting with the grandchildren this weekend.

  20. I’m in Calgary fairly often, I have a daughter & family who live there. I love going to the zoo, the grandkids love it too. Another thing I love is the walk that goes through down town and ends up in China Town. That is truly amazing 🙂

  21. The best time to visit Calgary is in July during the Stampede. All the free pancake breakfasts you can handle but the whole city turns into one big Western Party.

  22. I have never been to Calgary, Alberta, but would love to go! Thank you for the great information and tips. Loved the pics!

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