Is there a better part of parenthood than experiencing the excitement of something from your own youth through the eyes of your children?
That blissful joy is exactly how I felt on our family’s recent day at Calaway Park. My husband and I had each enjoyed Calaway Park as kids, but it had probably been roughly 30 years (yikes!) since either of us had visited. We were both thrilled for the opportunity to take our daughters – and I can speak for all of us when I say it won’t be our last visit.
Calaway Park offers the full-meal-deal amusement park experience at a price point that is significantly less than what you would pay to attend a travelling carnival. I highly recommend buying your passes online and in advance to save time and money. Check out the Playcation discount – 4 single day admission tickets for just $108. That’s for 4 people, not per person, like at some of the big theme parks. If you plan to visit on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, check out the online 45% off coupon! If you’re thinking of spending the night in Calgary before your Calaway day (another thing I highly recommend!) check out the area hotels that include Calaway Park tickets with your stay!
Think of what you spent the last time you attended a carnival or amusement park – I know we’ve spent more in just ride tickets for the kids! Calaway Park allows you to pay once and go – admission tickets include parking, rides, stage shows, and movies in the Cinemagic 3D theatre (a great place to cool off). It’s no surprise to me that Calaway Park was this year rated the Most Affordable Amusement Park in North America!
Once inside the park, there are some extras, if you’re so inclined. If you’re going to play games, purchase a Value Pack – $22 worth of game vouchers, plus a free game of mini golf for $20. Most games cost $3-5 per play. We bought one value pack, and our daughters played 3 games each and we walked away with a handful of small stuffies. (For youngsters, I totally recommend Fried Frogs – a fishing style game where kids win every time!)
You’ll find a small gift shop and a candy store near the front entrance but you won’t feel like you’re being gouged with a souvenir stand at every turn. There are food and snack kiosks scattered throughout the park, but bringing in your own food is acceptable, and there are covered picnic areas throughout the park. We chose to pack our own lunch, snacks and refillable water bottles – but we did splurge on frozen treats, which for the 4 of us came at a cost of less than $20.
We arrived at the park in time for opening on a beautiful day that was forecast to be 27 degrees. We spent most of our time on rides and didn’t wait more than one rotation for a single ride. The one exception was the Timber Falls log ride – the wait was estimated at over an hour for that ride, and since only one girl wanted to ride it, we chose to skip it in favour of hitting the spray park.
That’s right – there’s a brand new spray park in the middle of Calaway Park! On those hot summer days, bring a bathing suit or change of clothes and give the kids the chance to cool off in the water! (or just cool off and let the sun dry them!) My daughter chose to fill her cap with water and splash it down onto her head.
The beauty of Calaway Park is that there’s something for fun-seekers of all ages! Younger kids have tons of options and there’s still plenty of fun stuff, like The Vortex roller coaster, that will satisfy the thrill ride junkies.
After a full day that included LOTS of rides and two rather impressive stage shows (We saw “Red Riding Hood’s Rock the Forest” and “Shine like Summer” – at 20 minutes each, they offer a perfect break and were never so crowded we couldn’t find great seats right at show time.) we discovered a section of the park we hadn’t yet explored! My daughters were DONE, so we decided there was only one option.
We’re going to have to go back!