Resting at the foot of Canada's Rocky Mountains, Calgary rolls gently onto the prairie, giving residents and visitors many options for outdoor adventure.
Following the dinosaur trail
Kids and dinosaurs are a natural pairing and the Badlands of Drumheller are a treasure trove of buried dinosaur remains. Located about two hours outside Calgary, this area is a family must-see.
The hoodoos -- mushroom-capped sandstone pillars -- welcome visitors on Highway 10 to Drumheller. Formed by thousands of years of corrosion, the hoodoos are an eerily beautiful sight and a preparation for the thrill of dinosaur trail.
Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology
The centre-piece for dinosaur trail is the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology, located in Drumheller. With many interactive displays, multimedia shows and life-sized exhibits, the Tyrrell is one museum kids don't want to leave. Admission is $10 for adults, $6 for kids (aged seven to 17) and free to kids 6 and under. They recommend two to three hours to get the most from the displays. For more information, call 1-888-440-4240.
Prince's Island Park
It seems there's always something going on in Prince's Island Park or at the connected trendy shopping mall, Eau Claire Market, in downtown Calgary. One of its finest attractions is the annual Shakespeare in the Park, which runs this year from July 3 to August 25. This year's plays: Macbeth, As You Like It and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged. Shakespeare in the Park is a fun and accessible way to introduce your kids to the bard and admission is by donation ($10 to $20 is recommended). TIP: Pack a picnic lunch. For more information, call 403-440-6206.
Shaw Millennium Youth Park
Located at 1220 9th Ave. SW, the Shaw Millennium Youth Park is the world's biggest free outdoor skate park. In the summer, more than 1,000 skateboarders hit the park every day -- many more come to play beach volleyball or basketball.
Fish Creek Provincial Park
Fish Creek Provincial Park is one of Calgary's most beautiful green spaces. More than 10 kilometres of river valley provide beautiful walking and biking paths. The park also has picnic spaces and a visitor services centre. For more information, call 403-297-5293.
While the Calgary Stampede itself isn't free, it will be nearly impossible to go too far in Calgary from July 6 to 15 without hitting a free pancake breakfast, evening barbecue or petting zoo. Check the daily paper for the freebies around the city. Downtown Calgary kicks the western spirit into high gear over Stampede, and you'll see evidence of it wherever you go during the 10-day festivities. For more information about the Stampede, call 1-800-661-1260 or 403-261-0101.
For more ideas on things to do in Calgary, visit Calgary Tourism.
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