Prince’s Island Park is a large green space in downtown Calgary, set on an island in the Bow River. The park is adjacent to Eau Claire Market, and many tourists make a joint visit to these two attractions. The park offers walking and biking areas, as well as outdoor concerts and plays during the summer months.
Where to Stay in Calgary:
Mid-Range Hotels: Right downtown, just a short walk from Prince’s Island Park in the Bow River and offering large suites at an affordable price is the upscale International Hotel. The award-winning, boutique Hotel Arts, an easy stroll from the Calgary Tower, has custom contemporary décor in all the rooms. South of downtown, but very close to Fish Creek Provincial Park, is the Wingate by Wyndham Calgary. With an indoor pool and waterslide, this hotel is a good choice for families.
More than 1000 animals from around the world, many in enclosures simulating their natural habitats, make Calgary’s zoo one of the top rated in North America. The zoo’s well-regarded conservation team study, reintroduce and protect endangered animals in Canada. Besides the animals, the zoo has a Botanical Garden, with changing garden displays, a tropical rainforest, a good butterfly enclosure and the 6½-hectare Prehistoric Park, featuring fossil displays and life-size dinosaur replicas in natural settings. Picnic areas, concessions and cafes dot the zoo. During winter, when neither you nor the animals will care to linger outdoors, the admission price is reduced. To get here, take the C-Train east to the Zoo stop.
Ignite Your Imagination at TELUS Spark
Explore the adventurous side of science and technology at TELUS Spark. Mash up science and art in the open studio, take in a live demo, or travel to the edge of the universe with an immersive visual experience at The Dome Theatre
The iconic Calgary Tower opened in 1968 and is a staggering 191 meters high (about 627 feet). But don’t worry, you won’t have to climb its 762 steps – two 25-passenger, high-speed elevators soar to the top in 62 seconds. Once there, stand on the glass floor observation terrace for a bird’s eye view of the Rocky Mountains and iconic Calgary landmarks. An audio guide is available in 7 different languages (English, French, Mandarin, Spanish, Japanese, Korean and German) and will explain interesting trivia about some of the notable art and architecture in your view. Check out the visitor information centre and souvenir shop at the tower’s base, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse on the second floor, and revolving restaurant Sky 360 at the top, which makes a full rotation every 45-60 minutes, allowing you a complete panoramic view of the city as you dine. Admission: general (ages 13-64) $18, senior $16, child (4-12) $9, children three and under are admitted free. www.calgarytower.com
Loose Moose Theatre
Located on the second floor of the Crossroads Market in the historic Inglewood neighbourhood, this theatre company presents weekly improvised comedy shows. Their Maestro Improv show on Friday nights at 8 p.m. features elimination rounds, where audience members rate performers chosen at random until one performer wins the ‘maestro improviser’ title, going on to direct shows during Gorilla Theatre on Saturday nights. Every show is different, but they’re always very funny. Tickets: general admisison $15, student $12. Some shows not suitable for young viewers. www.loosemoose.com
The world-class, high performance atmosphere of the Olympic Oval skating rink is not just for professional athletes. Located at the University of Calgary, the 450 meter oval ice surface is open to the public, with equipment rentals available at the Skate Shop. The facility also houses artwork that fosters a connection between artists and athletes-it’s worth checking out. Admission: adult $7, youth and senior (55+) $4.75, family $18.50, special needs (with assistant) $5. Children five and under are admitted free. www.oval.ucalgary.ca
Rothney Astrophysical Observatory
Located on a hilltop in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the University of Calgary’s Rothney Astrophysical Observatory is home to one of the three largest telescopes in Canada. The RAO hosts public events and open houses once monthly that offer perfect occasions to star gaze. These outdoor gatherings provide everyone from amateur astronomers to true observers opportunities to look through the telescopes and view constellations and other celestial events. Admission: $10 per person, or $30 per car. www.ucalgary.ca/rao
Fish Creek Provincial Park
One of the largest urban parks in North America, and the largest in Canada, Fish Creek features the Bow Valley Ranch Visitor Centre, Environmental Learning Centre, and a seasonal interpretive program and Sikome Aquatic Facility – the manmade beach and lake are the perfect spot to enjoy summer. Bird watch, fish, bike, and hike through trails in the riverine forest location. Afterwards, take a break to dine at the casual Annie’s Café, the upscale Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant, or pack your own meal and take advantage of the park’s many picnic tables and shelters, complete with a fire ring and charcoal grill. Whether it’s winter or summer, Fish Creek’s beautiful scenic environment is enjoyable, and free to access, year-round. www.albertaparks.ca/fish-creek
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