For Calgarians, summer is to be enjoyed. But it can also be pricey. Make the most of the lovely light-filled days and help your dollars stretch further with our best value picks for summer fun in Calgary!
We have some big-ticket attractions in Calgary, and when you’re on a budget, you might have to be choosy. Choosing one attraction you could visit several times and purchasing a membership gives you a much better value for your dollar than paying for every visit. Your price per visit goes way down and you don’t need to feel like you have to stay at the attraction all day to get your money’s worth. Most places pay for a membership in about three visits. Of course, it requires a bigger chunk of money to start, but then you can enjoy the entertainment all summer long without reaching for your wallet again. If you’re just visiting and not in the market for a membership, be sure to check out what discounts and coupons are available.
If you purchased a season pass at Calaway Park before the May long weekend – you know what a great deal it is! Even if you didn’t get a pass this year, Calaway Park was recently named North America’s most affordable amusement park and you can usually get deals on tickets at local Calgary Coop locations. Calaway Park is awesome for families with young children and tweens and young teens who want to hang out with their friends.
The Calgary Zoo offers amazing value with its year-round memberships. With over 900 animals, a botanical garden, a pre-historic park, and loads of special events, you’ll find a wonderful range of fun. Plus, when the weather turns cool and rainy, the zoo is still a great place to visit, with plenty of indoor spaces.
Calgary’s science centre, TELUS Spark, is another place you can visit all year long. It’s especially fun to visit the outdoor Brainasium in the summer. Plus, a membership here also gives you admission into other science centres, as they often have a reciprocal agreement. Road trip!
Heritage Park Historical Village is another top-notch attraction in Calgary and has exciting special events filled with energy and quiet corners for a family picnic. It’s a charming place where membership gets you a whole year’s worth of fun (including special Christmas activities!). We love stopping by for a picnic and a turn on the classic Ferris wheel and it’s a great place to visit with out-of-town guests or grandparents.
Playgrounds, Parks, and Water – Classic Summer Fun
The area around Calgary is not known for its beaches and lakes. (I know they’re out there if you’re adventurous enough.) But there are enough playgrounds, parks, and water play within the city limits to satisfy any kid or kid at heart.
If you’re looking for water play, Calgary’s wading pools and splash parks are free and the outdoor pools only charge a small fee. Of course, you could always head to Sikome Lake and enjoy a day at the beach without leaving the city for only $10 per family.
The City of Calgary also offers a bevy of free fun at its parks during the summer. You might need to mark your calendars because the fun doesn’t stay put, but check out the mobile adventure playgrounds, and the Park n’ Play and Stay n’ Play programs. Keep checking back as more dates get added for the summer! Or, head to a skateboard park or a bike park/pump track.
Festivals, Festivals, and More Festivals
Spring kicks off Festival Season in Calgary, bringing loads of unique fun for families. There is a charge for some festivals, but some are completely free! Check out Shakespeare by the Bow, a Taste of Calgary, or the Chinatown Street Festival for a wide variety of fun all summer long.
But That’s Not All . . .
Getting the best value for your summer fun is as endless as your imagination. Spend an afternoon at a farmers market or take a drive to Kananaskis for a hike (don’t forget the $15/day Conservation Pass that was introduced in 2021). Check the calendar for tournaments at Spruce Meadows, and enjoy a day filled with family fun, along with horse show jumping. Let your kids stay up late (gulp!) with a visit to Milky Way Nights at the Rothney Observatory ($10/ticket) or solve a mystery at the YouthLink Calgary Police Interpretive Centre (by donation). Sign up for the Kids Bowl Free program to make sure you have some rainy day fun ready or head down to the library for one of their great programs and stock up on books, movies, and music!
Whether your budget for summer fun is large or small, you can find something you’ll love in Calgary this year. Keep reading Family Fun Calgary for great ideas and ways to get the best value for your family and you can find our calendar here.