Kids In Calgary: Telus Spark

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Telus Spark
220 St. George’s Drive NE
Calgary, AB, T2E 5T2

Adult (18-64) $19.95 | Senior (65+) $17.95 | Youth (13-17) $15.95 | Child (3-12) $12.95 | Children under 3 are free

When Telus Spark first opened in Calgary, there was a big backlash over the cost of admission. Compared to other science centres across the country, the cost for admission is significantly higher, and there is no break for families wanting to get a group pass. All memberships are bought individually. That said, a membership pays for itself after 3 visits. Still, it can be expensive, you’re looking at a nearly $100 day for the average family of 4 for one visit to Telus Spark.

So what’s inside? The usual mishmash of science, and it’s all hands on. There are sections on energy, the human body, and places to tear things apart and put them back together. There’s crafts, imagination stations, and just random play areas.

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I don’t know how much ‘learning’ our 2 and 5 year old had during our half day visit, but they ran themselves silly playing with water, pullies, cranks, and more.

You have 7 days after your first visit to have your admission charges applied to an annual pass – we will probably do just that.

It’s an expensive visit, but in a city that has winter for 8 months a year, having an indoor option that offers a variety of experiences is invaluable.

For other things to do with your family in Calgary, check out the entire Kids In Calgary series.

Kids In Calgary: Bow Habitat Station

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BOW HABITAT STATION 1440 – 17A Street SE, Calgary
HOURS: Tuesday – Saturday 11a – 4p
ADMISSION: Adults $10, Seniors $8, Youth $5, Kids under 4 Free.

If your kids like to fish in Alberta, chances are they’ve hooked a rainbow trout that got it’s start at the Bow Habitat Station.

As many as 3 million fish each year are nursed from egg to fry in the Sam Livingston Fish Hatchery in Inglewood near the banks of the Bow River before being used to stock ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams across the province.

In addition to the hatchery, there are information stations, aquariums, interpretive wetlands, and more for the kids to explore. The main floor is home to the hatchery, where tours happen daily at noon and 2p.

The top floor is a vast interpretive area filled with displays, educational games, models, and more. Think of the sort of exhibits you would normally see in a science centre and then target them specifically to wetlands and fishing and you’ll get the idea.

The basement is the aquarium area featuring fish from all over the province of Alberta.

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Outside the Bow Habitat Station is a an interpretive wetland on the Pearce Estate Park. There’s a playground, a stocked trout pond and places to wander, picnic and play.

Give yourself 1-2hrs inside the Bow Habitat Station and then you can easily spend another hour or two walking, exploring and playing on the grounds (even longer if you bring your rod and try your luck on the banks of the river).

For other things to do with your family in Calgary, check out the entire Kids In Calgary series.

Calgary Kid Friendly Hikes – Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park

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Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park [map]
Trail Lengths: 2.3 km – 25 km
Elevation Gain: 120m
Age Appropriate: Hiking 4+, Cycling 6+

Opened August 9, 2011, Glenbow Ranch is Alberta’s newest Provincial Park. The land was acquired from the Harvie family and is in part still a working ranch (so watch out for cattle and horses).

Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park tells the story of Alberta. It is wide open grasslands, wandering waterways, secluded coulees, native and historic archaeological sites, small towns, big industry, ranching, and recreation all rolled into one. Alberta’s philanthropic spirit initiated this Legacy. The generosity and determination of the community will see it grow to benefit us all.

20111106 glenbow ranch - 10The Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation exists to support the responsible development of Park infrastructure and programming. Together with the Government of Alberta, the Foundation encourages residents and visitors to appreciate the beauty, and to contribute toward the protection of this environmentally and historically significant area. [source]

There are a number of trails, some paved some not paved. Some are designated no bikes. Picnic areas and viewpoints dot the landscape.

There are a couple of 2-3k loops you can do in the park, just know that you start at the top of a hill and head down it to get to the trails. If you want to stretch your hike out, there’s more than 25 km of trails to explore in every direction. Just remember: at the end of your hike, you’ve got to climb back up.

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It’s also a great place to take the kids and their bikes as much of the park has paved trails that run down along the Bow River. Again, be warned that the downhill hill karma at the beginning becomes an uphill trudge at the end.

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