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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.
Fort Calgary gives visitors a hands-on look at early Calgary life. Fort Calgary lies on 16 hectares (40 acres) of riverside park. The interpretive center reconstructs the original 1875 fort, a facility North-West Mounted Police built after being dispatched from the settled east to establish law and order among pioneers, and to stop the culturally devastating whiskey trade. Children will love trying on the officers uniforms that have been laid out, and exploring the interiors of the old prison. Visitors can grab a bite, or indeed a shot of whiskey at The Deane House, the on-site restaurant.
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 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.
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 stern wheeler 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. Check the website for a full list of events and detailed admission fees.