What better way to see your region with fresh eyes than to give out-of-towners a tour around it? When my cousin Amber and her husband Adam brought 22-month-old Alexis to visit us in Calgary, I couldn’t wait to show them around. My friends at Chevrolet Canada hooked me up with a brand new 2014 Chevy Malibu so we could ride in style, and throughout the week we experienced my Top 5 Calgary Day Trips.
1) The Rockies, natch!
We got Adam and Amber out to the mountains a lot this trip. Skiing and boarding at Sunshine Village was a must of course, and then touring Canmore and Banff was on the agenda. My favourite family friendly hotel is the Douglas Fir Resort in Banff – it offers rooms and cabins of various configurations and has an awesome waterpark and large indoor play structure.
2) The Calgary Zoo
A one-time summer employee of the Calgary Zoo, I’m always eager to take visitors to our beautiful zoo and teach them about the incredible work being done in animal care research and conservation. The Calgary Zoo has partnered with other conservation organizations to help reintroduce and recover endangered species including Vancouver Island marmots, whooping cranes, swift foxes, black-footed ferrets, burrowing owls and more, offering both expertise and captive-bred animals for release. This was my first trip to the Zoo since it sustained $50 million in damages during the flood last year, and I’m happy to say that while there’s still a lot of work to do, the repairs are coming along well and it’s a great place to take the family for the day.
One minute you’re driving across the flattest prairie you’ve ever seen, the next you’ve dropped into the hoodoos of Drumheller, aka Dinosaur Valley. The Royal Tyrell Museum is a must see, and Horseshoe Canyon is worth a gander if you notice the pull off on the highway.
4) Cowboy Trail
Last summer, I spent a weekend in Alberta’s Aspen parkland ecoregion, driving part of the Cowboy Trail. We stayed at the Red Deer River Ranch on the northern end of the trail and used it as our home base for fishing, a Mukwah rafting tour and horseback riding with Sunset Guiding and Outfitting. This time, we ended the leisurely drive in Sundre, where I was scheduled to play in a roller derby bout!
5) Inglewood/17th Ave/Kensington
We really appreciated the Malibu’s new stop/start technology while I gave my guests a tour of my favourite Calgary neighbourhoods. The Malibu engine automatically shuts off when the car is stopped, and immediately and seamlessly restarts when the brake pedal is released. Given the three neighbourhoods we checked out have a lot of lights and crosswalks, it was fun knowing I was saving gas money and being more efficient (and yes we did get out and walk lots too). Brunch at the Ship & Anchor on 17th Ave is a must do. We also took Adam to a Flames game of course.
Some of my favourite bloggers dish on Calgary attractions:
Merry Around Town checks out the Calgary Tower, and Telus Spark Science Centre. Lisa compiled a roundup of the Top 100 things her family wants to do in Calgary, and Dana from Calgary Playground Review blogged about their family’s trip to the Gasoline Alley Museum at Heritage Park.