Heritage Park Historical Village, one of Canada's largest historical villages, is divided into a pioneer Northwest Mounted Police outpost and a Main Street from 1910. The latter has a working antique amusement park, with rides that are safe even for small children. Other attractions include a working full-scale locomotive thundering through the park, and on the nearby Glenmore Reservoir, a vintage double-decker sternwheeler ship that takes visitors on lake cruises. Shops and restaurants are plentiful in the park, including a turn-of-the-century bakery. All park staff work in costume and character. Entertaining events for the whole family are scheduled year-round, including September's Fall Fair. The opening timing may vary for different experiences at the park.
Fish Creek Provincial Park is Canada's largest urban park, covering much of the south side of the city and dividing established and newer suburbs. The park features no organized recreational grounds, with daily usage intended for walking, cycling, and picnics, although tobogganing is popular in the winter. At the far east and south end are the man-made Lake Sikome beach and swimming area. The Fish Creek Environmental Learning Center, at the west end of the park, is intended primarily for school groups. At the east end, the Bow Valley Ranch Visitor Center, a small bakery cafe, and a more upscale sit-down restaurant, dubbed The Ranch, greet visitors.
Voted as one of the most fun outdoor sites in the country, Calgary Zoo features more than 1,100 animals from around the world and an ever-growing portfolio of innovative exhibitions. The fascinating programs put on by the zoo, allow guests to get up close and personal with its less ferocious animals through the Creature Features Program. Life-sized dinosaur models lurk in the badlands of the Prehistoric Park, and the more genteel setting of the Botanical Park includes a butterfly garden that is sure to delight visitors of all ages.
One of Canada's great museums and Western Canada's largest, this treasure trove houses artifacts of the west, dating back to the first white settlers of the 1800s and the history of the area's First Nations. Visitors can take delight in exhibits that delve into the history of the region and its people, celebrating their lifestyles and art, and also that record contemporary life in western Canada. Along with permanent displays, the Glenbow Museum presents a variety of temporary exhibitions. Visitors also explore an art gallery and archives on site.
Statistics say that Prince's Island is one of the most used urban parks in North Canada. Come here on a sunny day and you will not doubt it. Originally, the island was used to catch felled trees floating down the Bow River from logging projects upstream. Now this bit of serenity in downtown serves as a favorite venue for joggers, football tossers, family picnics, flocks of Canadian Geese, buskers, Shakespearean actors and nearly every major festival that Calgary hosts. This is also a great place for a quiet paddle down the river.
Hosting myriad performances yearly, Arts Commons is Canada's premier cultural space. The center is a six-level facility occupying a full city block in Downtown Calgary, and comprises many distinct event spaces like the Jack Singer Concert Hall and the Max Bell Theatre.
During the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, Olympic Plaza was the focal point of much of the event, including most of the medal ceremonies, laser, and fireworks displays. Tens of thousands of people jammed into the square on any given evening during the games. The square looks much as it did then and is now the focal point for many civic events, particularly for welcoming successful athletes home from the recent Olympic Games. The large area in front of the stage is now a wading pool in the summer and flooded for ice skating in the winter.
The sandstone buildings along downtown's Stephen Avenue Walk were constructed after a fire destroyed much of the neighborhood. Several of those historic buildings fell victim to developers wrecking balls, but the few that remain are worthy of an afternoon stroll during which you can revel in their architecture. Along the way, you can indulge in the diversions offered by many popular shops and restaurants.
Although some of downtown Calgary's office towers are actually taller, the Calgary Tower remains the city's most distinctive landmark. Officially opened in 1968, it remains a popular visitor attraction, providing a panoramic view of the mountains to the west and the surrounding foothills and prairie. On the observation deck, there are binoculars, multimedia information kiosks, and the thrilling Glass Floor Experience. The dining room rotates, allowing visitors the chance to relax with a meal while viewing the entire city from their window-side tables at the Panorama Dining Room.