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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 and 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 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.
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.
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.
Built with a lot of thought and a significant amount of resources and time, TELUS Spark is a purpose-built facility designed to elicit curiosity and facilitate innovation in children and adults alike. The sprawling facility is divided into various sections and features tons of interactive exhibits, presentations as well as activities aimed at making science as interesting as possible. From the Prototype Lab, where new ideas are tested with inputs from visitors, to the 'Being Human' section where visitors can truly understand what it means to be human, there's a distinct freshness to this center which differentiates it from other such facilities. The 'Digital Dome Theatre' renders a rich audio-visual experience, and the various shows should not be missed here. The exhibits span all age groups, so there's something for everyone.
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.
Located on the University of Calgary campus, the Nickle Galleries is one of the forerunners to modern art. It is known for conducting provocative exhibitions as well as enlightening programs, run and taught by University students. The museum opened in 1979 through the benevolence of Mr. Samuel C. Nickle, whose vision was to supply provocative contemporary art for public viewing that was accessible to everyone. The museum has been relocated to the Taylor Family Digital Library since 2011 and has been renamed Nickle Galleries. Since September 1996, The Nickle Galleries has also been the aiming at providing university students with education in the 'Cultural and Heritage sector'. The Nickle Galleries works with other departments at the University to promote learning, research and discovery.
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.