Author Archives: Calgary's Child

Top 5 at Disneyland Resort – October 2017

The Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California is on almost everyone’s dream vacation list. There is something completely magical about the attention to detail, characters, and the seasons there that you just don’t get at any other theme park – every time we visit, we are totally blown away!

There’s a lot of debate online about the best time to visit the resort, and we’d like to throw our two cents in. If you’re going to visit Disneyland Resort, we absolutely love going in the autumn! The temperature is perfect, both Disneyland Park and California Adventure are themed for Halloween, and if you time your visit right, the crowds are very manageable.

We had the pleasure of visiting both parks this week and want to let you know our “must-dos” if you’re planning on visiting this Fall (or anytime in the next year!)

1. The Haunted Mansion

The Haunted Mansion is a classic ride at Disneyland Park, and for Halloween and Christmas it gets a total Nightmare Before Christmas makeover! We really love how well-done this is, and there are different little details every year. It’s still a bit scary for the very little ones, but if you have any older kids who are huge Nightmare Before Christmas fans, we definitely recommend it!

2. Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!

This new ride replaces the Tower of Terror in California Adventure Park, and we absolutely loved it. It follows more or less the same format as the original ride (you’re led through a variety of themed rooms to get the backstory of why you’re there, and then the ride begins!) but it is really well done and feels totally new. Keep your eyes peeled for Rocket as you make your way through the ride! Mission: BREAKOUT! itself is very thrilling and a little scary, but if your kids love Marvel or Guardians, they’ll love this, too.

3. World of Color at California Adventure Park

The Disneyland Resort has absolutely incredible parades and entertainment all day and night, but our absolute favorite evening entertainment is the World of Color at California Adventure Park. It is totally unique – images and music from Disney classics are projected on to brightly colored water jets in the lagoon in front of California Screamin’ (the big roller coaster.) While we love the evening parade and Fantasmic! at Disneyland Park (and you should see both if you’re going for more than one day!) we love that this show offers lots of great viewing spots and it’s not like anything we’ve seen anywhere else. You’ll want to get a Fastpass early on in the day so you have an extra good view of the show.

4. Star Tours – The Adventures Continue

While we didn’t get a chance to experience this ourselves, there are brand-new scenes coming to Star Tours this Fall from the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens! Part of the fun of Star Tours is that every ride is different – there’s a wide variety of paths the ride can take, so it’s best to try it more than once if you have time!

5. The Food!

Literally, all the food. Disneyland Resort does a great job of seasonal theme, and the food is no exception. Both parks are full of delicious sweets and savories with a Halloween theme this Fall, and you should try as much of it as you can! Our favorites were the spooky candy apples we found at California Adventure.

No matter when you visit, the Disneyland Resort is a magical experience for all ages. If you’re not sure what is going to be right for your little ones, the website is a great resource, listing potential ride pitfalls (loud, scary, dark) and detailed descriptions of each attraction. If you’re still not sure, visitors to the park have posted full “ridethroughs” of almost everything at both parks so you can check for any elements which might be a problem for your family.

*Edit: Exciting news from Disneyland Resort! Paradise Pier is being totally refurbished into Pixar Pier, which means a few temporary closures as they roll out this major change. Check the website before you go to see what’s open and what’s closed! We can’t wait to see what the Disney Imagineers have in store for us in Spring-Summer 2018! 

Family Halloween 2017!

P98_smallEnjoy some spooky – but not too scary! – events as a family this Halloween! Calgary has tons of events and attractions sure to fright and delight!

Throughout October; Enjoy the Harvest Pumpkin Hunts, Butterfield Acres Children’s Farm! Weekends for families and other groups; weekdays for schools. This event sells out; get your tickets early. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Details and order forms: 403-239-0638;

Friday Flashlight Nights, Calgary Corn Maze & Fun Farm. Fridays and Saturdays through October. Check out all the amazing activities in the light and once the sun sets, challenge yourself to navigate through the huge corn maze in the dark.

Pumpkin Palooza at Cobb’s Corn Maze & Family Fun Park. Weekends in October. Pick from thousands of pumpkins for sale, pumpkin-themed specialty food items like pumpkin bread and pumpkin fudge. Carving kits available and carving stations on-site. Lots of fun for the whole family!,

Autumn Pumpkin Festival, Calgary Corn Maze & Fun Farm. Weekends in October. Take part in a ton of great activities: pumpkin decorating, pumpkin destruction, pumpkin picking and more!

October 14 to 31; Enjoy frightfully fun Halloween activities for the entire family during SHOCKTOBER at TELUS Spark! From October 14 to 31, take risks and be curious as you brew a colorful potion, stand under a mysterious mess, or witness a pumpkin destruction. Plus, Monster Mash-Up (sponsored in party by Calgary’s Child Magazine) is back on October 28 and 29!

Treat the Kids to a Swim on Halloween!
You can purchase a Booklet with 10 Swim Coupons for only $5! The booklets are on sale at any Calgary Recreation Aquatic & Fitness Centre or Leisure Centre.

Bert Church Live Theatre Presents, Musical Masquerade Halloween Howl
October 17; Join Juno award-winner Norman Foote and the fully costumed R.J. Hawkey elementary school choir! Where music, laughter, and the creative spirit of Halloween come together. Community connections make this concert a true family event where everyone is encouraged to sing along in their costume! This is an evening where the ghosts, goblins, and gremlins can all celebrate this ghoulish time of year! Foote’s musicality is like no other, mixing clever hooks, witty wordplay, and comedy all to great effect.

Day of the Dead Celebrations
October 21 & 28; Join in celebrating the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead at Marlborough Mall. Enjoy four hours of free family fun including Latin dance performances by Havana Cuban Dance Studio, sugar pumpkin decorating, face painting, colour your own sugar skull mask, and more! You also have the opportunity to win one of two Marlborough Mall gift cards! Take a selfie at the Halloween display across from the Family Park, post it to social media, tag Marlborough Mall and use the hashtag #MBMWins to enter!

Halloweekends at Calaway Park. Weekends until October 9. Dress up and join the Boo Crew. Take a stroll down Hallo-Street – if your dare! Is it scary? No, it’s friendly! Have a spooktacular good time! For more information, visit the website.

The Great Big Boo! at Cineplex Cinemas
October 26; Musical theatre meets trick-or-treating in this spectacular, non-scary show for kids! Join Zoe and Justin as they sing and dance their way through Boo Alley! Along the way, they’ll meet wacky, larger-than-life characters and embark on a quest to save Halloween. Through a maze of wild adventures, the new friends will overcome their fears, realise their dreams, and discover the true spirit of Halloween: You can be anything you want to be! Featuring a dynamic original score, spectacular dance numbers, and stunning theatrical effects, the show is sure to captivate and delight the whole family. Following the show, the audience is invited to meet the stars of the show, and join them for a fun trick-or-treat event! Check the website for more information.

Boo! Spooktacular Family Fun at the Calgary Farmers’ Market
October 27 & 28; There’s Double, Double, Toil and Trouble at the Calgary Farmers’ Market this Halloween when families come out for our Spooktacular Events! Check out the pumpkins in our vendor pumpkin carving contest and vote for a chance to win $50 in Market Bucks on Friday, October 27th! And on Saturday, October 28th, we invite you to come in your Halloween costume for spooktacular fun with a Christopher Cool Magic Show, a ‘spooky’ sing-a-long, healthy Halloween snacks, and a Mad Scientist Fire and Ice Show!

Halloween Party at Westbrook Mall
October 28 & 29; Families and children can enjoy free pumpkin decorating and face painting in the centre court with at $2 donation to Cystic Fibrosis Canada! *For children 12 years and younger. Must be accompanied by a parent/guardian. One per child while quantities last.

Ghouls’ Night Out at Heritage Park
October 26 – 29; Ghouls’ Night Out is perfect for families with little ghouls ages 3 to 9 who are looking for a fun, safe night out. Don’t miss the ghostly encounters and freaky family fun! This is a ticketed event, so buy online to avoid disappointment!

Babies Go Boo at the Calgary Public Library!
October 26 – 31; Dress up your baby and come celebrate Halloween with stories, rhymes, and songs. This event is for ages 6 to 23 months.

Halloween Boo Bags at North Mount Pleasant Arts Centre
October 27; A creative Halloween event for families! North Mount Pleasant Arts Centre will supply a fabulous instructor and all the art supplies you need! Bags are only $10 each. Spaces are limited, so register your family (children must be accompanied with a parent or a caregiver). Call 403-221-3682 to register!

Kanga-Boo Halloween at Cobb’s Adventure Park & Corn Maze
October 28 & 29; There will be free treat bags for all in costume, prizes for best costume, a pumpkin carving contest, and this is your last chance to see the kangaroos until next year.

Haunting Halloween at Village Square Leisure Centre
October 31; Come dressed in your favorite costume and join for creepy crafts, ghostly games, and fun ghoulish activities. Check the website for more information!

Are you a Soccer Parent, Dance Mom or Hockey Dad?

provided by Parenting Power

P84_smallIt’s that time of year, school has started and all of the extra-curricular activities are back on the calendar. Auditions, evaluations, practices…they add to the excitement and education in the lives of our families!

Are you a Soccer Parent, Dance Mom or Hockey Dad?

Lately, social media and marketers have begun labeling parents as Sports Parents. Labels are often easy to slip on – they can add a feeling of belonging. At the same time, these labels can add a lot of pressure for kids. If you have ever labeled yourself a Sport Parent, what you really are is a parent who has a child that is participating in a sport.

In his article, What is the Role of Parents in Youth Sports?, Micheal McArdle says,

“Sport is what we do, it is not who we are.”

The same goes for band, or choir, piano or dance, math or Rubik’s cube. Our kids do these activities, our kids are just kids. At the same time, we are the parents of these kids. It is not about us. Labels make it more about us.

Our job as parents is to love and support our kids as they participate in the activities. We are not there as coaches – and if a parent is the coach, the coaching job takes place at the event, not in the car on the way there, on the way home and all through the week until the next practice.

Kids feel a ton of pressure, embarrassment and frustration when parents overstep their level of involvement in an activity. Your child may not be able to tell you about these feelings. We’ve included a fabulous video below in which kids of all ages tell us what they need from their parents. It’s about kids and sports and it really does transfer to all activities.

Many sports organizations across Canada require families to take the Respect in Sport course. While this program contains valuable information, taking the course alone will not change your behaviour. That’s your job!

This week, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I make my kids’ activities about me?
  • Am I stressed out about what team or level my child will make this year?
  • What level of awareness can I bring to my pre/post game/performance behaviour?
  • Can I plan my words before I go and watch? What will I say? What will I do? What won’t I say and do?

Kids want our love, support and help. Let their coaches/teachers guide their performance. Enjoy watching them play. It’s what they do, not who they are.

3 Steps to School

By Parenting Power

You know it’s coming…

If you listen very carefully, you can hear the opening notes of the theme from Jaws playing in the back of your mind. Da…da. Da….da. Da.da.Da.da. Dadadada.  The notes are getting closer together! The tension builds. The shark is about to strike!

School is almost here.
That means that this is the time to start having those conversations. You know the ones we mean: sleep, homework, guitar practice, chores, etc….

The good news? There is always enough time for these conversations and planning them now means that you are setting everyone up for success.

Step One
Have these conversations with yourself first. Figure out exactly what you expect. Talk with your co-parent and get the adults on the same page. Know what is the most important to your family and where you are going to focus your energies.

Step Two
Call a family meeting (or meet one on one with each of your kids) and get started.

Don’t do all the talking. Be prepared to listen as well. Share the agenda and get your family working on what’s important. If it is important to you, you will stick to your plan and follow through.

Step Three
Pick a topic and follow one of the following agendas (or build your own)

Example 1.

Topic: Sleep

Parent: When we see you missing out on sleep, we feel frustrated because it is a struggle to get you out of bed the next morning.
Child: When you nag me to go to bed all the time, I feel like you are bossing me around and I should get to stay up later now.
Parent: What we know for sure is that you are meant to be getting 9 hours of sleep each night. How can you make that happen? Maybe we can change when you wake up? Maybe we can give you a bit more free time before bedtime?

Family works together to brainstorm ideas and find the right one.

WRITE IT DOWN – know all the details: What time is each step happening? Who’s in charge of it? What will the parents say as a cue? What are the consequences?

Example 2:

Topic: Chores

Agenda: What’s working? What’s not? How do we make it better?

Parent: Getting garbage out has been working really well. Thanks for making that happen every week. The frustrating part is that I go to throw out my garbage and no one has replaced the bag in the bin. How do we fix that?
Child: Well, if I have to get the garbage from all over the house, and get it outside, it would be nice if someone else can get a new bag? Is anyone willing to help me?

Family works together to brainstorm ideas and find the right one.

WRITE IT DOWN – know all the details: What time is each step happening? Who’s in charge of it? What will the parents say as a cue? What are the consequences?

It doesn’t have to be one big long meeting. Some families love a weekly meeting, other families only meet when there is an issue. Figure out what works for your family and get it happening. These rituals help our kids feel involved and that family life is predictable. It helps them to feel like they have power (the ability to effect change.) It does not leave them feeling nagged or helpless.

This week, ask yourself these questions:

  • What are the key areas we need to discuss before school starts?
  • How much sleep does my child need? (see below)
  • Does my child get to go to extra-curricular activities if she isn’t showing effort for school?
  • Does my child get to work outside of the home when he doesn’t meet the responsibilities inside the home?
  • What will we tell our kids about screen time for this fall?
  • Will we follow through?

Julie and Gail are the co-founders of Parenting Power and the co-authors of A YEAR of Intentional

Back-to-School: Buying Backpacks That Won’t Hurt Their Backs

provided by Cadence Sports Therapy

With Calgary students returning to the classroom in a few short weeks, back-to-school shopping is a top priority for parents. While students may have strong ideas about what backpack they want to be sporting for the new year, to prevent long-term injuries, Dr. Angela Pucci urges parents to consider features, other than aesthetics, when selecting backpacks.

“Kids are super resilient, let’s keep them that way by treating their little bodies properly,” Dr. Pucci explains. Research, including a 2010 study from the University of California, San Diego, indicates that too heavy backpacks significantly increases back pain in children. With the body out of proper alignment when carrying a heavy backpack, shoulders, hips and knees also are strained.

As a mother of two and a passionate Chiropractor, Dr. Angela Pucci has a few tips for parents to keep in mind while out shopping for new backpacks, and throughout the remainder of the school year:

  • Look for Styles with Multiple Compartments: A backpack that has different areas to store items means that there are more options to distribute weight.
  • Consider a Waist Belt: A waist belt allows the weight of the backpack to be more evenly distributed across the body.
  • Use a Bathroom Scale: You may not have ever considered weighing your child’s backpack, but the contents shouldn’t be over 10-15% of your child’s body weight (i.e. a child that weighs 90 pounds shouldn’t carry a backpack over 9-13.5 pounds).
  • Use Both Straps on the Bag: Picking up and using the bag properly can be more challenging to get your kids to do, but their muscles may become strained if they sling the bag over their shoulder or chest, or have a bag with only one strap – encourage children to use both straps on their backpacks.

Dr. Angela Pucci enjoys treating people of all ages and stages of life, including school age children. She is certified in Active Release Techniques, Graston Technique, Kinesiotape, Custom Orthotic Therapy, and Acupuncture. Visit for more information.

August is Festival Month in Calgary!

Just one more month of summer – looking for things to do? August and September are full of an incredible variety of festivals and special events all around the city!

Inglewood Sunfest
Saturday Aug 5, 2017 at 11:00 am – 6:00 pm; Seize the Sunfest! There is an activity for all ages: a jump in the bouncer for kids, discovering a great new band, being wowed by amazing street performers, and more! For all of the details, visit the website.

Heritage Day at Fort Calgary
Monday Aug 7, 2017 at 9:00 am – 5:00 pm; Heritage Day at Fort Calgary. Bring the kids and experience Calgary’s multicultural heritage. Free family-friendly activities are part of Historic Calgary Week. Past highlights include community garden tours and games, traditional Indigenous games and stories, powwow dance workshops, and interactive children’s crafts.

Heritage Day at Heritage Park
Monday Aug 7, 2017 at 10:00 am – 5:00 pm; Interpreters will bring history to life in the homes, shops, and on the streets! Visit exhibits; take a spin on the antique midway, a cruise on a paddlewheel boat, or tour the park on an authentic steam train. Play traditional Aboriginal games, train to be a voyageur, and march with Mounties! For more information, visit the website.

Heritage Day Festival
Monday Aug 7, 2017 at 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm; Join for the 40th Annual Heritage Day Festival at Olympic Plaza! Come for 6 hours of multicultural performances, ethnic foods, and unique handicrafts. Explore the Indian Village, get your face painted into a lion, jump in a bouncy castle, frolic in the water, try a new dish, or simply soak up the sun in front of the stage and enjoy the folk performances. This is a free family event!

Taste of Calgary
Aug 10, 2017 – Aug 13, 2017 at 11:00 am – 9:00 pm; Takes place from August 10 to 13. Taste of Calgary, the city’s most appetizing outdoor festival of food and drinks, is back for its 21st year at Eau Claire’s festival plaza. This year’s blend of international cuisines will treat your taste buds to flavors from African, East Indian, Italian, Asian and others; all represented by over 60 of Calgary’s most unique restaurants and beverage companies. Come down and try sample-sized menu items that are perfect for a bite-size taste of Calgary’s great cuisine and most unique beverages. Buy Taste sampling tickets for $1 each right at the event and use them to pay for any of the food or beverage menu items at the festival. Admission to the festival is free and includes a taste of Calgary’s incredible local entertainers live on the Main Stage!

Sweet Summer Corn Festival at the Calgary Corn Maze & Fun Farm
Saturday Aug 12, 2017 at 10:00 am – 4:00 pm; Sweet Summer Corn Festival at the Calgary Corn Maze & Fun Farm. Enjoy pony rides, a corn-eating contest, corn crafts, a petting zoo, mini-golf, wagon and train rides, and more!

Marda Gras Street Festival
Sunday Aug 13, 2017 at 10:00 am – 5:00 pm; Enjoy live music, dance, and cultural performances, a fun kids area, unique shopping, and an abundance of great food! For more information, visit the website.

Aug 15, 2017 – Aug 26, 2017 at 6:00 pm – 11:30 pm; GlobalFest is an explosively multicultural festival that will take place from August 15 to 26. GlobalFest is proud to partner once again with Trico Homes for the International Fireworks Festival and Sunbelt Rentals for the OneWorld Festival. The Trico Homes International Fireworks Festival illuminates the night sky every August with a symphony of pyrotechnics and music, coming together as an artistic display of light and sound.Sunbelt Rentals OneWorld Festival will play host to various activities including live performances, cultural pavilions, ethnic food booths, and a night market.

Aug 17, 2017 – Aug 19, 2017; Experience why this family-friendly event has become the premier summer Reggae Festival! Chill out with a brew in the Village, hang with the kids in the Zone, savor the flavors of island spices, and much more! For more information, scheduling, and to purchase tickets, visit the website.

Expo Latino Festival
Aug 18, 2017 – Aug 20, 2017; The biggest Latin festival in Western Canada! There will be world-class performances, sizzling dancing, exotic food, and an art market. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the website.

Alberta Open Farm Days
Aug 19, 2017 – Aug 20, 2017; Alberta Open Farm Days is about farmers and ranchers inviting their urban and rural neighbours to stop in for a visit to share stories, see demonstrations, and learn more about the farmers who grow their food. As well, some of Alberta’s most talented chefs and rural communities will be hosting a memorable series of farm-to-table culinary events that will be held around the province using Alberta farm products. Admission is free.

Country Kickback at Heritage Park Historical Village
Aug 26, 2017 – Aug 27, 2017 at 10:00 am – 5:00 pm; Experience ‘How the West Was Once’ out on the farm during Country Kickback at Heritage Park. Watch antique steam farm equipment at work in the fields, cheer on the slow tractor races, and gather a team for the family-fun kickback challenge! For more information, visit the website.

Exercises to Do as a Family

by Brooke Whistance; image:

push-ups-888024_960_720When you have a family of your own, you are not just responsible for your own health and well-being but are also responsible for the people around you in your house. Everything that you do will not only affect you but have a direct or indirect effect on your family as well. It is easy to shape a child’s brain by being the prime example of what you are preaching them to be. If you want your child to be a grown up with good mannerisms and respect for everything that nature has blessed us with, then you would need to show them how to be loving and caring.

Similarly, the groceries that you bring and the food that you eat not only supplies you with nourishment but your children and your partner as well. You may have a healthy balanced diet which will undoubtedly be adopted by your family. Yet things may get complicated if you have a workout routine and you want to include your kids along with you. Most exercises that you do in the gym are not appropriate for kids under the age 16 to be performed. So here are a few exercises that you can do as a family.

Pre and Post Dinner Walks:

Walking is one of the healthiest and easiest out of all forms of exercise. All you need is to go out to the street and decide which direction to go to. Going for a walk before a meal, or 30 minutes after consuming a food is a good daily exercise to stay fit. This will not only provide you with exercise but also lets you spend quality time with your family. You may decide how long you want to keep the walk, especially depending on the age of your children. If they are below 5, you may want to keep the walk 15-20 minutes long as longer walks can tire young children quickly.

Incorporating Exercise into Other Activities:

If you do not get enough time for an everyday walk around dinner time, then you can incorporate small walks in your kids’ routine by some other forms. While picking them up from school, you may park your car farther away so that they can have a small exercise. Or if you are visiting a shopping center with them, take the stairs instead of elevators or escalators. You may use the family TV time to have small breaks of exercises, such as during commercials you can plan squats, pushups, crunches or some warm up exercises.

Active Video Gaming:

If you kids are of the stay-at-home kind and would rather play video games than do something else then make their activity into an exercise for them. Go to gaming arenas that provide exergaming. These games use technology that will require you to move around so that you can play the game successfully. This will result in you exercising your muscles while you play, which if done regularly, can assist you in staying in shape.

Do Strength Training:

When kids are growing up, they have different capacities of lifting weights which means that you will need to treat them differently based on their age and strength building. Exercises that involve core building muscles can be done so at nearly any age, however, strength training should wait until your kids are well into their teen years. Either have a combined gym membership for your family so that you can work out together, or you may also purchase some small equipment on your own and have workout sessions at home.

Doing activities such as these will not only strengthen your bond with each other but will let you build a better and healthier life. You will be able to motivate each other to be in good shape while providing assistance to each other during your workout routines.

Free and Cheap Family Summer Fun in Calgary

94_Autonomy_S128Summer is short in Calgary, so everybody wants to make the most of it – unfortunately, sometimes that means it can be an expensive season. Want to enjoy cheap or free family activities in Calgary all summer long? We’ve got all kinds of options for you!

Beat the Heat

Splash and Swim at City of Calgary Pools. Every Saturday and Sunday at select pools enjoy a splash and swim during regular public swim times. $2 per adult and $1 per child or senior.

Splash Parks and Wading Pools. Beat the heat and enjoy the summer weather in Calgary by visiting one of our many wading pools, spray parks and outdoor pools around the city. These are totally free and a great place to cool off on a hot day – don’t forget your sunscreen! Wading pools, spray parks and outdoor pools are typically open from mid June (weather dependent) until fall. Find locations here!

Outdoor Fun

Inglewood Bird Sanctuary.  The Inglewood Bird Sanctuary and Nature Centre is totally free to enjoy and has been providing migratory birds with a place to rest their wings since 1929. That’s more than 80 years of conservation! To date, 270 species of birds, 21 species of mammals and 347 species of plants have been recorded at the Sanctuary and Nature Centre. The Nature Centre is open to visitors. The centre has interpretive exhibits and information about local wildlife and parks, and there are occasional programs for visitors. Visit the website for more information.

Stay N’ Play & Park N’ Play. Looking for free, high-quality programs for your kids this summer? These safe, supervised programs are designed to help children make new friends and learn fun activities to help them on their path to healthy and active lifestyles. Programs run weekdays and are weather dependent. Look for more details at

Mobile Adventure Playground.  The City’s mobile adventure playground is back this summer in a park near you. The playground runs from now until September 29. The mobile adventure playground is not a registered program, but a playground that offers a different way to play. Onsite play ambassadors are there to inspire play and keep the playground safe, but not directly supervise the children. Parents are encouraged to stay and watch their children play and see how their imaginations soar in this new adventure space. Visit to see dates and locations.

Bow Habitat Station. Marsh Dipping Tuesdays go on all summer long – for just $4, have buckets of fun in the Interpretive Wetland’s marsh discovering the critters who make their home there. Check the website for more information.

Spruce Meadows Movies at the Meadows. For just $15 a carload (if you buy ahead,) enjoy a family movie at Spruce Meadows every Wednesday night at dusk from July 19 – August 23. Bring a chair, blanket and friends and enjoy a movie under the stars! Popcorn, movie treats and meals are available to purchase on the lower Plaza, so feel free to come early. Check the website for movies.

Visit a New Playground. Calgary is home to an incredible variety of public playgrounds! A memorable day out can be as simple as checking out one your kids have never been to before. is a wonderful local website featuring reviews for dozens of playgrounds across the city.

Indoor Fun

Glenbow Museum. The museum offers free admission from 5pm – 9pm on the first Thursday of every month; perfect for a quiet summer evening!

Play a Game at Pips Board Game Cafe. For just $5 per person, play as many board games as you want for as long as you want – kids under 3 are free. Parents play for 1/2 price on Monday! Pips has a great selection of games suitable for kids; just ask!

Grain Academy Museum. This completely free museum is located on the plus 15 between the LRT and the BMO Centre at Stampede Park. Guests can watch a video depicting how the prairies were settled, watch a working grain elevator demonstration, view a model train display showing the movement of grain from the prairie to the terminals at Vancouver, and much more! Check out the website.

Cineplex Family Favorites. Every Saturday morning at 11am, watch a family favourite film for only $2.99! A portion of the proceeds goes towards supporting Free The Children. Check the locations and movies here.

Crafts at Michael’s. Michael’s offers crafts and art projects for kids at extremely low prices a few times a month. Options vary depending on your local store, but prices start at $2. Check the website for your store’s calendar.

Projects at Home Depot. Hands-on Workshops designed for children ages 5 – 12. Held on the 2nd Saturday of each month at all The Home Depot stores. Each child can bring home a newly constructed project, an achievement pin and certificate, free of charge. Check the website for more information.

Devonian Gardens. While most of the gardens are still closed for repairs, the playground is now open! Perfect for a rainy day. Check the website for more information.

Calgary Public Library Programs. There are a huge variety of free programs for kids of all ages offered at library branches across the city; register online here!

Canada Day 150 in Calgary!

There’s so much going on all over the city on Canada Day – take the whole family out and enjoy!

The City of Calgary Canada Day Celebrations. Canada Day is Calgary’s largest single-day festival and this year, it will be even more special as we celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday all across downtown Calgary! More activities and festivities will be added to join annual favorites such as the Living Flag, Powwow dancers, live music, and fireworks.

11pm; Canada Day Fireworks. The fireworks are being launched from the Centre Street Bridge at 11pm. Wherever you happen to be at 11 p.m. on Canada Day, if you can see the sky above the Centre Street Bridge, you’ll have a wonderful view of this world-class fireworks show. You can enjoy the show  from any viewing location along the entire Bow River corridor.

3pm to 11pm; Canada Day in Airdrie. Family Fun Event includes live bands and family entertainment, some of the Calgary region’s best food trucks, henna, fireworks, face painting and many surprises to come. Check out their Facebook page for further details!

4pm to 11pm; Canada Day in Cochrane. Celebrate Canada Day at Mitford Park! A variety of Food trucks, Jumpstart Games hosted by Canadian Tire, Multi-cultural Activity Centre hosted by the Cochrane Immigrant Services Committee, Bumper Balls, Mini-Golf, super inflatable slide, Interactive Reptile Display and photo ops, Kids Zone, mascots, fireworks, live music and more!

9am to 11pm; Canada Day in Chestermere. Join us for a fun filled family celebration, as we come together as a community for Canada Day! Pancakes, kids activities, bunny races, swing dancing, wagon racing, cake, fireworks and more!

Canada Day in Okotoks. Special activities are being held all day long at various Olde Towne Okotoks merchants; fireworks following the Dawgs game starting at 7:05pm. Join Okotoks for barbeques, multicultural fun events, and much more! Check out the website.

12pm tp 9pm; Genesis Centre Canada Day Outdoor Festival. Enjoy this free family-friendly festival at the Genesis Centre! Bouncy castles, games and slides, henna, live music, an artisan market, and much more!

10am to 7pm; Celebrate Canada’s 150th Birthday with Calaway Park! The first 1,000 guests will receive a Canadian birthday cupcake. Surprise giveaways, too! And Calaway Live will be performing One Five Oh Canada, a high-energy musical performance celebrating what it means to be Canadian.

10am to 5pm; Canada/Dominion Day at Heritage Park. Celebrate Canada Day the old- fashioned way! The first 2017 guests can enjoy a free pancake breakfast. Watch an old-fashioned parade, mini chuckwagon races, and visit the new exhibit and performance: A Journey of a Lifetime.

10am to 4pm; Canada Day at the Calgary Corn Maze & Fun Farm. Come out to the Farm for Canada Day celebrations! There will be face painting, marshmallow roasting, Lost Treasure Mining, train and wagon rides, petting zoo animals, and more!

9am to 5pm; Canada Day at Fort Calgary. Beginning with a free pancake breakfast in the morning, this is a day of celebration and fun. Activities include live music, traditional Indigenous games and stories, the NWMP Commemorative Association patrol camp, a food truck caravan, powwow dance workshops, plus The City’s ‘Living Flag’ event.

10am to 5pm; Canada Day Celebrations at Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. Be inspired by Canada’s greatest sport heroes and test your skills on 50 hands-on interactive exhibits! Family crafts, activities, and 3 special film screenings will take place throughout the day. The short films include Harry Jerome: The Fastest Man on Earth, My Brand New Life, and The Sweater.

10am to 6pm; Canada Day Celebrations in Chinatown. Join the celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday and decades of Chinese contributions to this great country in Calgary’s Chinatown District. Enjoy cultural performances, family friendly activities or visit our stores and indulge your taste buds with culinary delights from Asia.

9am to 1pm; Canada Day Celebrations at Confederation Park. Come on out and enjoy a free pancake breakfast, horse-drawn wagon rides, main stage musical entertainment, a new natural play space and the opening of a 1967 time capsule. There will be lots of family friendly activities to enjoy.

10am to 5pm; Canada Day at Studio Bell. On Canada Day, celebrate at Studio Bell with live music that takes you across Canada, interactive exhibitions, and some surprises!

10am to 5pm; Canada Day at Calgary’s Central Library. As a place where the nation’s stories are discovered, shared and celebrated, the Calgary Public Library invites everyone to drop by the Central Library for family-friendly activities, including: campfire stories and songs (English, French, Indigenous); 150 acts of reconciliation; selfie station; arts and craft activities including colouring stations, storywall, and animal tracks adventure; Lego construction pit; giant chess tournament.

11am to 2pm; Celebrate Canada at Prairie Winds Park. Celebrate Canada is an initiative of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamā’at (AMJ) Calgary. Enjoy a complimentary barbecue, flag hoisting, and recreational activities.

For more details, check out our calendar online at!

Jump into Fun With our Top Tips to Make the Most of Spruce Meadows!

MES_8954by Nanica Brown

There is no doubt that Spruce Meadows is an iconic part of Calgary. While it’s best-known for the incredible summer show jumping season it’s best-kept secret is what a special place it is for families of all ages the other 365 days of the year.

Which is exactly what founders, Ron and Marg Southern wanted. “They really wanted it to be a space for the community to enjoy and it is certainly become that,” said Caroline Grant, Media Coordinator and Administrator for Spruce Meadows.

Inspired by that and in honour of Canada’s 150 Spruce Meadows has ensured that there will be family friendly events on all season. This includes Movies in the Meadow which will take place Wednesday evenings from July 19th – 23rd of August and for the first time a corn maze and pumpkin patch that will open in the fall.

So how can you make the most of your day?

There are a few simple ways to get the most out of this low cost, family friendly venue. Deciding how long you want to stay in advance, whether you will pack snacks and drinks and what you really want to see will help you ensure that everyone has a great time.

What does it cost to get in?

For events rush seating in the east and west grandstand is only $5 for teens and adults. Children and seniors are free. If you want a guaranteed spot to see all of the action you can reserve a spot in the south-west grandstand for $35. Our favourite spot is the west grandstand’s grassy space where kids can get up and move around when the mood takes them. Just remember to pack sunscreen.

When is the best time to go?

Pretty much anytime that works for you. If you are heading out to one of the Summer Series show jumping events know that the horses are jumping at the seven different competition rings all day. However, if you want to see the elite jumpers the international ring starts later in the day and goes into the evening.

My kids have a short attention span; is there anything else to do?

Don’t worry! There is enough to keep even the most restless child amused. Situated throughout the grounds are face painting, pony rides, a playground, the ever charming Prairie Dogs competing to see who will be the top dog, Sam Steele’s Scouts and a variety of local musicians showcasing their skills.

How do I get there?

Parking is a hot commodity and traffic can really back up during tournaments. Plan ahead and take one of the Red Arrow Shuttle busses. They pick you up from the Somerset-Bridlewood C-Train station and run every 30 minutes. The full schedule can be found here:

We can’t make it to an event, can we still go?

Sure, there are lots of things to do. The best part of Spruce Meadows is that it is open to the public all year round and, outside of tournaments and special events, it is free to wander the grounds. Our favourite non-event activities are having a picnic, going for a family walk to see the horses training, going fishing* or even trying to teach your little one to ride a bike in the open spaces. While in the winter we like to skate on the pond, get hot chocolate and tour the lights at night and visit the Christmas Market.

*Spruce Meadows has closed the pond to fishing this summer because of the outbreak of whirling disease. They will let the public know as soon as it reopens.

Nanica is a Calgary’s Child staff writer as well as a mother of two adorable, but fearless, turkeys (kids). A crazy cat lady, and wife to one super smart nerd, she is loving every experience this city has to offer.