WARM UP WINTER! HO HO HOLIDAY FUN!
Bundle up the kids and head on out to create some wonderful holiday memories. From winter picnics… to the beautiful music of the season and everything in between, here are some of our favorite ideas to make this holiday extra special for you and your family.
Here are some of great family-friendly events to help you ring in the New Year!
December 31, 10am to 12Noon; Noon Year’s Eve, Telus Spark. Join for a special Noon Year’s Eve celebration to ring in the New Year early with your little ones. Perfect for those with early bed times. Enjoy a day jam-packed with family fun, live science demonstrations and experiences, including a special Noon Year’s Eve countdown! sparkscience.ca/specialevents
10:00 am – 4:00 pm; New Year’s Eve Party at Bow Habitat Station. December 31, 10am to 4pm; Ring in 2015 with the whole family this New Year’s Eve! Join Bow Habitat Station for fun, family-friendly activities, and for a ‘Countdown to Noon’ dance party from 11:45 am to 12:30 pm. Activities include: a trip to feed the fish, build your own noisemaker, face painting, family photo booth and more! Date: December 31, 2014 Time: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Cost: Adults, $10. Seniors/Students, $8. Youth (5-17), $6. Children 4 & under, free.
December 31, 5 to 8pm; New Year’s Eve Family Event, Village Square Leisure Centre. Swim, jump, splash and slide 2014 out the door! There will be a DJ pumping out the sound as families enjoy the wave pool, nuclear balls, tubes, arts and crafts, prizes and more! Join for a pool party countdown!
*December 31, 7 to 9pm; Recreation in The City of Calgary The City of Calgary Recreation New Year’s Eve Family Dance Party. A family-friendly, safe and warm way to ring in the New Year! Music and activities for the young and young-at-heart. Wear neon or white and anything that glows. Bring your dancing shoes! Kids’ countdown at 9pm. Takes place at the Municipal Building. calgary.ca/recreation
*December 31, 9pm to Midnight; The City of Calgary Recreation New Year’s Eve Outdoor Celebration. Follow the Family Dance Party with an outdoor winter party at Olympic Plaza. Bundle up and bring your skates for skating with hot chocolate, music and ice sculptures. Finish off the evening with a countdown to midnight and fireworks. calgary.ca/recreation
December 31; Zoo Year’s Eve, The Calgary Zoo. A family-friendly way to roar in the New Year. Little party animals and mom and dad will enjoy the Zoolights displays, fireworks show, Kids Zone and some wild entertainment. Fire pits and hot chocolate are available to keep everyone warm and toasty.calgaryzoo.com
Let it Snow!
Getting the family together to go to the mountains can be difficult to squeeze into a busy lifestyle of work and school. Calgary’s Canada Olympic Park (COP) is the convenient and fun solution to that problem. Hills for all skill levels and a half pipe are all located at 88 Canada Olympic Road SW, just off of the TransCanada Highway. COP is open Monday to Friday 9am to 9pm; Saturday, Sunday and holidays 9am to 5pm. Snowboarding: Not a skier? Take advantage of lessons at COP for individuals of all ages and abilities. Take the initiative with private lessons or family private lessons.
- Plus 15’s
Don’t be wary of exploring the streets of downtown Calgary because of the chilly weather. Take advantage of the world’s most extensive pedestrian skywalk system spanning across 16 kilometres and enjoy the snow covered streets without the parkas and snow pants.
- Winter hikes
Some great areas that are suited for the whole family include Heart Creek Trail just 45 minutes from Calgary. It is an easy half-day hike on mainly flat ground, which follows a creek. Also, Bow Valley Provincial Park located less than an hour west of Calgary is a great way to get moving and enjoy the outdoors.
- Frosty Snowman Ideas
Few things can warm up a yard or park like a snowman. The snow conditions must be just right. If you can make a tight snowball with the snow, then you have great snowman making material. Typically a snowman has a carrot nose, button eyes and charcoal mouth, plus a borrowed old hat and scarf. Don’t let this be your only choice. Here are some ideas:
- Sticks, rocks, berries, twigs and leaves all make wonderful snowman decorations.
- Add six drops of food coloring to a litre of water and put it in a fine mist spray bottle or old ketchup bottle. Use the bottle like a pen and make markings to add color to your snowman creation (try stripes, dots, solid colors, etc.)
- Use different size containers to mold snow pets for your snowman. How about a green alligator or a pink elephant?
- Line up a lot of snowballs and make a snow caterpillar. Let the kids go for a pretend ride.
- Make an active snowman… surfing, skiing, playing a snow instrument, dancing.
- Decorate your snowman with things that birds would like to eat. Try a berry and nut necklace!
- Have a contest to see who can make the tallest or fattest or funniest, etc. snowman.
- Play toss the hat on the Snowman. Take turns with a hat (or Frisbee) to see who can toss the hat onto the head of the snowman.
- Pack up the kids and go on a Winter Picnic!
Bring snacks and firewood, and head to a park near you. Check out calgary.ca/parks to find locations near you and also how to get a permit (firewood is included with a permit), if required. Or take a winter hike and discover the beauty of nature in winter on trails in Calgary’s natural area environment parks or on cleared pathways.
- Scavenger Hunt
Make a list of winter items, get the kids to help you with this beforehand, then go out and see how many you can find. A short list of 10 items is great, and learning about what there is in nature in winter.
- Head For The Toboggan Hills
Head for the hills with your toboggan, inner tube, or sled! And always play safe – wear a helmet on your head!Calgary Marlborough Community Association, 636 Marlborough Way NE
Confederation Park (East), 2807-10 St NW
Deerfoot Athletic Park, 1604-14 Ave NE
Elliston, 60 St & 17 Ave SE
Erin Woods, 20 Erinwoods Dr SE
Kingsland Dry Pond, 502 Heritage Dr SW (behind arenas)
Glenbrook Hill, 45 St & 25 Ave SW
Maple Ridge Dry Pond, Mapleglade Cl SE
Marlborough Park Community Association, 6021 Madigan Dr NE
Monterey Park – Catalina Blvd & 28 Ave NE
Prairie Winds Park, 223 Castleridge Blvd NE
Richmond Green, 33 Ave & 25 St SW
Richmond Park, 22 Ave & 45 St SW
River Park, 4500-14A St SW
St. Andrew’s Heights, 2504-13 Ave NW
Scarboro, 15 Ave & 15 St SW
Scirroco Joint Site, Scirroco Dr & Signal Hill Hts SW
Stanley Park, 4011-1A St SW ·
Strathcona, 277 Strathcona Dr SW
Turtle Hill, On 45 St btwn 17 Ave & 26 Ave SW
West Glamorgan, 4207-41 Ave SW
- Take in a Play, Concert or Performance
Our Events Calendar is filled to the brim with seasonal performances sure to delight families of every age. Visit the calendar for all the details!
Outdoor skating rinks in Calgary are weather dependent and are typically open mid-December through February, except for Olympic Plaza which is a refrigerated ice surface and is generally open from mid-November to mid-March.City-maintained outdoor rinks are free to use and are flooded as needed during low usage hours. Please stay off the ice while it is being cleaned or cleared of snow. Hockey sticks are not permitted and helmets are strongly recommended.The following outdoor skating rinks are maintained by The City:
Big Marlborough Park – opening mid December
Bowness Park Lagoon – opening mid December
Carburn Park – opening mid December
Olympic Plaza – OPEN
Prairie Winds Park – opening mid December
Prince’s Island Lagoon – opening mid DecemberToo cold to skate outside? Visit the Olympic Oval for indoor skating fun! Helmets are required. Check online for the public skating schedule. The City of Calgary also maintains several indoor arenas that are occasionally open for public skating; check the schedule online.
The City is All Aglow With Millions of Twinkling Lights
- Zoolights at the Calgary Zoo to Jan. 3; 6 to 9pm – gates close at 8:30pm (closed Christmas Day and excludes Zoo Year’s Eve); Every year, people of all ages head to the Calgary Zoo to enjoy hot chocolate, fire pits, fun games and the display of 1.5 million twinkling lights. The Zoo Lights are open every day from 6pm to 9pm (gates close at 8:30pm), finishing on Sunday, January 3 (excluding Christmas day and New Year’s Eve). Admission for adults is $15 and admission for children is $11.
- Lions’ Festival of Lights – Confederation Park – 14 Street – 24 Avenue NW; For many Calgary families, the annual visit to the Lions’ annual light display marks the beginning of the Christmas Season. Located on the east side of the Confederation Golf Course, you’ll find thousands of glowing lights displayed in beautiful Christmas themes. See Merry Christmas written in 17 languages at the 25rd Annual Lions Festival of Lights located at Confederation Park. The display is illuminated daily from 7pm to Midnight until January 8. This is a free event.
- McDougall Centre – 455-6 Street SW; The Christmas Lights on these beautifully kept grounds are a joy to behold.
- Olympic Plaza – 228 – 8 Avenue SE; Originally built for medal presentations during the 1988 Winter Olympics, Olympic Plaza is a great place to bring the family to enjoy a day of skating. The rink is open to the public daily from 10am to 9pm until the middle of March, depending on the weather. Grab your ice-skates and glide amongst the lights.
- Airdire Festival of Lights Nose Creek Park – Airdire, Alberta; December 1 to 31, nightly from 6 to 9pm. 20 minute drive north from Calgary on QE II Highway. Experience the glow as you walk through a wintry world of twinkling holiday lights. Sip on a cup of hot chocolate while standing beside a roaring fire. Watch the glow as you gleefully ride the miniature trains around a frozen pond! For more information, visit airdriefestivaloflights.com.
- Downtown Calgary – Downtown Calgary lights up beautifully, enjoy twinkling office towers and the decorated lobbies of office buildings and hotels. Stephen Avenue Mall glows from top to bottom.
- Spruce Meadows – Each evening between 5-10 pm from December 5 to January 4 – Scotiabank, Bennett Jones, ATCO Group and AKITA Drilling present Christmas Season magic with a quarter of a million lights, blanketing Spruce Meadows from west to east. The 2 kilometer drive through the grounds includes Tournament Lane, The Courtyard, Traffic Circle, the Nations Flag Park, Congress Hall, Riders Chapel and the Pond with strings of lights measuring nearly 50 kilometers.
- Currie Barracks – Light Up Currie Barracks! It’s that time of year – Cue the lights, decorations and festive cheer! To brighten up our dark December nights, we’re setting the sales centre a-twinkle with holiday lights. Currie Barracks Sales Centre (J5, 2953 Battleford Road)