Family Travel in Alberta

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Family Travel in Alberta
Fill up your next photo album with family memories from Calgary and Banff. From exciting urban treks to adventures in the Rocky Mountains, your clan is sure to have a great time getting to know southern Alberta.
Photo courtesy of Canadian Tourism Commission
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    Canada Olympic Park for the Whole Family
    Canada Olympic Park is almost too much fun. Once you've skied, snowboarded, ice skated, and tried the half pipe in winter, tour the ski jump where Eddie "the Eagle" Edwards made history at the Calgary Olympics in 1988—he finished last in the 70-meter jump and second to last in the 90 meter, leading to a new rule that made qualifying for the Olympics tougher. In summer, adults and kids can mountain bike, bobsled, or ride North America's fastest zip line. End your visit at Canada's Sports Hall of Fame to learn more about the country's top athletic feats.
    Photo courtesy of Canadian Tourism Commission
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    The World-Famous Calgary Stampede
    Grab your cowboy boots and ten-gallon hat, and mosey up to Calgary in early July. Featuring delicious pancake breakfasts on nearly every corner, rodeo events with professional cowboys, a giant fair (or midway), a parade, and loads of great music, the Calgary Stampede is the city's biggest attraction. Locals lay out the welcome mat for the million-plus people who come each year from all over the world to experience Western hospitality and unparalleled entertainment. Evening concerts feature some of the biggest names in country music (along with a few rockers), and the TransAlta Grandstand Show awes spectators with dancing, acrobatics, and a fireworks finale.
    Photo courtesy of Canadian Tourism Commission
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    Folk Music and Other Fun
    For much of the year, Prince’s Island Park, just a few minutes’ walk north of downtown Calgary, offers a quiet oasis for a stroll or a picnic lunch. But on most summer weekends, the park comes to life with family fun as music festivals and celebrations take over the pretty island in the Bow River. The biggest event is the Calgary Folk Music Festival, which books hundreds of artists to play for more than 50,000 people during the last weekend in July. There's an eclectic lineup of bands that's much more than merely mandolins, and there are plenty of booths and activities for the kids as well.
    Photo by age fotostock
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    Stroll around Calgary and Grab the Kids a Treat
    Stroll through Calgary’s historic Kensington neighborhood, just across the Bow River from the city center, and wander into Crave Cupcakes to pick up something sweet. Check out their Craving of the Month (perhaps gingerbread eggnog in winter), or stick with a classic chocolate, red velvet, or vanilla. Once you’ve got your sugar rush, pop into Pages—Calgary’s favorite independent bookstore, just down the street—to pick up a treat for the mind. There’s a great kids’ section, too. But if books aren’t their thing, take the little ones across the way to the Livingstone and Cavell toy store.
    Photo by Jean Roe
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    TELUS Spark: Where Science and Technology Meet Art
    TELUS Spark, in Calgary, is a science museum where kids won't even realize they're learning, thanks to the abundance of interactive exhibits. Kids can climb up a three story tower and slide 63’ down in the museum's outdoor park. Inside, they can create and then playback their own animation in Open Studio, watch a live planetarium show in the Dome Theatre, or generate their own electricity in Energy & Innovation. Along with delving into the mysteries of life—and maybe bottling the color of the sky—kids can let loose by playing with hula hoops in the atrium.
    Photo courtesy of TELUS Spark
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    Smell Where Canada's National Parks Began
    You can smell the minerals in the water as you unload the family at the Cave and Basin National Historic Site, the place where two railway surveyors spotted a cave and series of natural hot springs back in 1883. They were helping to build the railroad across Canada, but they inadvertently started the country’s extensive national park system. Before the railway was finished two years later, the cave and basin had been set aside as a natural preserve. Join the millions of visitors who marvel at the area's underground cave each year. Its bubbling thermal waters smell of sulfur and exude history.
    Photo by Rolf Hicker/age fotostock
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    Admire the Views from the Banff Gondola
    Mountains are awesome, in every sense of the word. There’s no better way to experience the full glory of the Canadian Rockies than by taking an eight-minute ride up Sulphur Mountain on the Banff Gondola. Just a short drive from the center of Banff, the six-person glass orbs provide a smooth ride up and a spectacular view—both down the valley and across six mountain ranges. Your eyes and ears will pop as you ascend to nearly 7,490 feet above sea level. Once you get to the summit, take a short self-guided hike, grab a seat at one of the restaurants, or just stand on the observation deck and marvel.
    Photo courtesy of Banff Lake Louise Tourism
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    Fairmont Banff Springs Resort
    Visiting the legendary Fairmont Banff Springs Resort is like walking through a history lesson. Kids will love all the pictures of the hotel’s old days as well as the castle-like feel of the stone halls and archways, built over 125 years ago. Designed by famed New York architect Bruce Price and built by the Canadian Pacific Railway, Banff Springs opened in the summer of 1888 and instantly became known as one of the finest hotels in North America. From the Queen of England to the Queen of Hollywood—Marilyn Monroe—a long list of luminaries have come here to stay.
    Photo courtesy of Banff Lake Louise Tourism
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    The Canadian Rockies for Kids
    Whether on foot, mountain bike, or hanging from your hands, there are endless ways to explore the Canadian Rockies. The options for a family hike include everything from taking the kids on beginner strolls through alpine meadows to showing them glaciers, waterfalls, and maybe even a few challenging scrambles. Climbers of all ages rejoice at the number of rock faces that are waiting to be mastered. And there are hundreds of mountain bike trails, from easy to insane, as well as miles of highway through majestic landscapes for those who prefer their routes smooth.
    Photo courtesy of Canadian Tourism Commission
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    Mountain Culture
    The eclectic mix of people who spend time in the Canadian Rockies—from celebrated artists to Olympic athletes—helps breed a vibrant mountain culture. From exciting adventures to high art, there's a wealth of cultural activities in and around Banff. Locals and visitors alike enjoy watching paddlers take off across Lake Minnewanka during a Dragon Boat race, or seeing cyclists overtake each other in the RBC GranFondo Banff—one of the continent's only big cycling races to run entirely within a national park. And don't forget the Lake Louise Pond Hockey Classic: a true Canadian experience.
    Photo by Ryan Creary/age fotostock