What to Do in Calgaryconstantgardener/iStockphoto.com
Zip to the top of the Calgary Tower (101 9th Ave. S.W.) via high-speed elevator to take in a fantastic 360-degree view of the city, a great way to get your bearings. Built to commemorate Canada's centennial, the tower has been a distinctive city landmark since 1968.
Pull on a pair of cowboy boots and celebrate all things wild and western during the Calgary Stampede , a rodeo-centered event attended by more than a million people. For 10 days each July, the Stampede puts on a tremendous show that not only includes barrel racing, bull riding and chuck wagon races, but also fireworks, parades, a carnival midway and a huge outdoor music festival.
Walk in the footsteps of Olympic greats from the 1988 Winter Games at Canada Olympic Park (88 Canada Olympic Rd. S.W.), a year-round destination for sports offering a zipline and bobsleigh runs in summer and skiing, snowboarding and tubing in winter.
Hop aboard a steam train or ride in a horse-drawn wagon as you explore nearly a century's worth of local history at Heritage Park Historical Village (1900 Heritage Dr. S.W.). You'll get a feel for life in the isolated prairie settlement that Calgary once was when you tour the historic buildings relocated to the park, chat with the costumed “townspeople” and find other fun things to do.
Listen to birdsong as you wander through the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary (2425 9th Ave. S.E.), a lovely bit of wooded parkland just minutes from downtown Calgary. And once your inner peace has been restored, explore nearby Inglewood, one of the city's oldest neighborhoods. It's a place known for boutiques, art galleries, antique stores and local restaurants, especially along 9th Avenue S.E.
At TELUS Spark (220 St. George's Dr. N.E.), get answers to such weighty questions as: What does it mean to be human? What natural forces have shaped our world? How can we harness energy for our use? The state-of-the-art science center is filled with high-tech displays that engage both children and adults. The two-level building houses exhibit galleries, the HD Dome Theatre, learning labs, an interactive kids museum and more. The outdoor Brainasium, a .4-hectare (1-acre) park, teaches young visitors about gravity and acoustics.
Discover the bravery of Canada's heroes at The Military Museums (4520 Crowchild Tr. S.W.), showcasing the nation's army, navy and air force as well as four army regiments. Tanks and a fighter jet seem poised for battle outside the museum, while inside dramatic dioramas and displays of weaponry, medals and photographs bring Canada's military history to life.
Flip, fly and fall courtesy of thrill rides at Calaway Park (245033 Range Rd. 33), where the amusements range from tame to terrifying. The Adrenaline Test Zone, Chaos and the Vortex roller coaster are in the latter group, but there are plenty of rides designed for smaller children as well. Plus, with various carnival games on-site, the whole family can compete for plush prizes—and glory. The park also offers a miniature golf course, live shows and a 3-D theater.
Take a trip back through time to the age of the dinosaurs at the Calgary Zoo, Botanical Garden & Prehistoric Park (1300 Zoo Rd. N.E.), home to a collection of fierce-looking dinosaur replicas, to say nothing of the even more impressive collection of living, breathing animals from all over the world. Such creatures as gentoo penguins, grizzly bears, cougars, bison, mountain goats and wolves thrive within re-created habitats.
Imagine rubbing elbows with one of 19th-century Calgary's wealthiest and most influential families when you enter Lougheed House (707 13th Ave. S.W.), their imposing sandstone mansion. Stroll through the formal gardens and you'll understand why the estate was named Beaulieu, French for “beautiful place.”
AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.
1,048 m/3,440 ft.
The federal Goods and Service Tax is 5 percent and applies to most goods, food/beverages and services, including lodgings. Alberta does not have a provincial sales tax but does impose a 3 percent Destination Marketing Fee (DMF) as well as a 4 percent Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT).
(877) 262-4997 or 511
Foothills Medical Centre, (403) 944-1110; Peter Lougheed Centre, (403) 943-4555; Rockyview General Hospital, (403) 943-3000.
238 11th Ave. S.E. Calgary, AB T2G 0X8. Phone:(403)263-8510 or (800)661-1678
Calgary International Airport
Hertz, with multiple downtown locations and one at Calgary International Airport, offers discounts to CAA and AAA members; phone (403) 221-1676 or (800) 654-3131.
The nearest VIA Rail stations are in Jasper and Edmonton; phone (888) 842-7245.
Red Arrow Express operates luxury motor coaches between Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Fort McMurray and Lethbridge; phone (403) 531-0350 or (800) 232-1958.
Taxi companies include Associated Cab, (403) 299-1111; Checker Yellow Cab, (403) 299-9999; and Mayfair Taxi, (403) 255-6555. Allied Limousine provides town car and limo service; phone (403) 299-9555. Taxi rates begin at $3.80 for the first 120 metres (about .074 mi.) or portion thereof, plus 20c for each additional 120 metres (about .074 mi.) or portion thereof (unless departing from Calgary International Airport, where rates are $8.30 for the first 120 metres, then 20c for each additional 120 metres with a $4.50 surcharge). Cabs can be hailed on the street, but phoning ahead is recommended.
Calgary has both bus and light-rail transit (LRT) service; the latter, known as the CTrain, is free in the downtown core between 3rd Street S.E. and 11th Street S.W. Calgary Transit's office, 125 7th Ave. S.E., has schedules and maps and sells transit passes. Fare is $3.40; $2.35 (ages 6-17). A 1-day pass is $10.75; $7.75 (ages 6-17). Phone (403) 262-1000.