My husband and I love to travel! So when we added children to the family, we couldn’t wait to bring them along for the ride, and show them the world! One of our favorite cities in the world to explore is Calgary, Canada! The wide, open spaces, abundance of nature and fresh mountain air never get old. Luckily for us, we have family that live in the area, so when we go to Calgary with our babies and toddlers we love to really settle in and experience the city like locals.
Calgary is one of two main cities in Alberta. The other being the province’s capital city of Edmonton to the north. It is located near the Rocky Mountains of Western Canada and is about an hour and a half drive to Banff National Park. Calgary was originally established as a country and western town, but today it has all the offerings of a flourishing modern city.
Calgary with a Baby or Toddler
- When to Visit Calgary with Toddlers or Babies
- Getting Around Calgary
- Where to Stay in Calgary with a Baby or Toddler
- Best Things to Do in Calgary with a Toddler or Baby
- Pin It For Later!
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When to Visit Calgary with Toddlers or Babies
We have visited the city several times in all seasons and can confirm that there is fun for the whole family come summer sunshine or winter snow!
In the warmer months, from about May to October, you can expect to have lots of sunshine, and longer days with daylight lasting until around 11 p.m. in the height of summer. It is glorious!
Though it can cause some bedtime confusion for young kids who may not be used to going to bed when it’s still light outside. For that reason, we do recommend looking into travel blackout blinds if you think this may be a concern for your baby or toddler.
During the colder months, from about November to April, be prepared to pack full winter gear from warm coats, snow pants, toques, and mittens to good quality winter boots, for the whole family. You can find all the best baby winter gear for travel here.
It may sound a bit intimidating, but there is so much to experience when you can be outside enjoying the beautiful, white, snowy landscape! It’s like living in a real-life snow globe. Both our baby and toddler loved to investigate the fluffy snow, and we adored watching their curiosity towards it!
Many of these best winter activities with a baby can be done right in Calgary or in the nearby Rocky Mountains in Banff National Park.
Getting Around Calgary
We arrived in Calgary, with our toddlers in tow, by air, landing at the Calgary International Airport, the main travel hub for the province. The city’s public transit train system (called the C-Train) does not go to the airport, so we opted to get a taxi upon arrival.
Other rideshare options from the airport are available including Uber with a baby, or you can access a rental car from there.
Calgary is a city with a significant urban sprawl, and what we considered to be a pretty “bare bones” public transit system compared to other world class cities. A rental car or multiple taxi’s/ride shares will be necessary if you plan to really travel around the whole city.
However, if you plan to stick close to the inner city, the public transit system may suffice. With patience, it is a lot of fun for young kids to ride the trains and buses around Downtown.
Where to Stay in Calgary with a Baby or Toddler
There are tons of options as to where and what type of accommodations you can stay at.
We chose to stay at a beautiful boutique hotel in the city’s downtown core, called Hotel Arts. We chose this hotel as it had a fun pool, with delicious food and beverage service offered poolside. There were cozy fire tables and an inflatable “roof” they called a toque, that covered the patio during the winter. In the summer, the roof comes off for a seasonal outdoor experience.
TV screens play the top sporting channels as well, so sports fans don’t have to miss the big game while showing your kids a great time splashing in the pool.
The location is hard to beat, as it is walking distance to other great downtown amenities. We recommend dining at the inhouse restaurant, The Yellow Door Bistro.
Fairmont Palliser Downtown Calgary
For a more upscale experience, the Fairmont Palliser Downtown Calgary is another beautiful option. We recommend going up the Calgary Tower and dining at their 360-degree rotating restaurant.
The views of the city are unparalleled, and if you’ve got gusto, you can hop on the glass floor and look down at the traffic 190 meters below!
Other Baby and Toddler friendly Hotels in Calgary
When traveling with our baby and toddler in tow, we tend to choose hotels with the pool situation weighing in heavily.
As a result, we’ve also stayed at the Deerfoot Inn and Casino in the southeast quadrant of the city, and the Best Western Plus Port O’Call, near the airport in the northeast.
Both offer really fun water parks for the children, with multiple waterslides, and splash park areas for babies and toddlers. We liked having this option for a family-friendly indoor activity when the weather called for it.
Best Things to Do in Calgary with a Toddler or Baby
Calgary Parks & Playgrounds
What we love most about this city is that Calgary offers a ton of really great natural parks and playgrounds for kids! The city prides itself on the stunning natural landscapes, especially those centered around the beautiful Bow River valley.
The Bow River runs from the northwest side of the city through Downtown then turns south, splitting the southeast and southwest communities of Calgary. It is world renowned for fly fishing, and the locals have come to love it for non-motorized watersports like river rafting and stand up paddle boarding.
There are plenty of spots for families to splash and cool down in the summer. We liked Bowness Park in the northwest, and Prince’s Island Park and St. Patrick’s Island Downtown.
At Pearce Estate Park, there is even a spot for river surfing! Calgary may be far from the ocean, but we noticed that Calgarians won’t miss an opportunity to appreciate the waterway they do have!
Some of our favorite amenities for families with a baby or toddler, beginning with the Downtown zone, are the Calgary Zoo and Telus Spark Science Centre. These two facilities are located side by side and are accessible from the city center by public transit.
The Calgary Zoo opened in 1929! It is categorized by location, and offers a taste of Africa, Asia, and of course not to be missed is the Canadian Wild! The zoo also recently upgraded the Dinosaur Park – which takes you back to prehistoric times in the badlands with life sized, animated, electronic dinosaurs.
There are two fun outdoor playgrounds – our toddler’s favorite was a replica of a bug’s life! There are plenty of snack shops, a canteen and a Starbucks counter for mom and dad.
There is a lot of ground to cover, so we highly recommend bringing a baby carrier for travel plus a lightweight travel stroller or wagon for your toddler.
Not to fret if you traveled without one, you can rent a wagon near the gift shop. Lastly, if you happen to visit Calgary in the winter the penguin walk and Zoo Lights exhibit are fantastic!
Telus Spark Science Centre
Telus Spark Science Centre is a wonderful place for all ages, new and old. Our little ones spent hours exploring the Creative Kids Museum. It’s a hands-on, sensory-rich gallery designed for children 0-8 years old.
There’s more than 10,000 square feet of big fun for Spark’s littlest visitors so they can play, build and explore with all their senses.
Outside is the Brainasium playground, which is open year-round. Beyond the kid’s area, there are two levels of exhibits for older kids and adults, that our baby and toddler loved to look at as well.
We took in an exciting science show in the live theater, called the Planetarium, and stopped for a space themed snack at the Ice Astronaut Cream Cafe. Again, a lot of walking is the theme here, so a travel stroller or wagon is recommended. There is a large parking lot out front.
Downtown Calgary with Toddlers or Babies
Calgary Pathways & St. Patrick’s Island
If you walk back towards the Zoo, you can catch the C-Train, or stroll along the Bow River. The walk is best with a baby carrier or your favorite stroller.
If you have access to a bike with a child’s seat or a bike trailer, the paved pathways are excellent for cycling enthusiasts as well. As you head towards the city centre, you will come to St. Patrick’s Island first. The gorgeous views of the Bow River and Downtown are some of Calgary’s best.
For the kids, there is a natural elements playground, a giant hill for climbing and rolling down, as well as a natural splash pool that is fed with river water from the adjacent Bow River. There is also a seasonal wetland at the heart of the island, with an elevated boardwalk for no-impact access to the wetland and the Gallery Forest.
The park offers public washrooms as well.
If you continue on and cross the river at the architecturally stunning George C. King Pedestrian Bridge, you will find yourself in East Village. It’s a trendy spot with plenty of boutiques and eateries to explore. We recommend grabbing a coffee from Phil & Sebastian’s (a local treasure), and a bite to eat from the neighboring bakery, Sidewalk Citizen.
If your toddler is itching to climb again, there is a really fun park for kids to discover just around the corner on 6th Street. From there you have views of Fort Calgary, and can continue your stroll east towards Inglewood for more shopping and restaurants, or west towards Downtown.
Downtown Calgary is really the heart of the city and where you will find the most hustle and bustle!
If you visit during the first two weeks of July, you will catch the Calgary Stampede – the world famous “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”! During which time the city transforms into a Wild West-inspired playground. It’s 10 days of infinite free pancakes.
People from all over the world come to experience the professional rodeo – from the bronc and bull riding events to the beloved Chuckwagon races, the city really comes alive!
The carnival rides, games and food trucks deliver fun for all ages and the side shows offer a view into the farming and agriculture scene that thrives in Alberta.
If your Calgary itinerary offers time to escape the city for a day, Calaway Park is a really fun toddler-friendly theme park. It’s open 7-days a week in summer (typically early June to early September) and then on weekends in the spring and fall.
There are wee little rides for the smallest riders, a splash park, some carnival style games, shows, and of course snacks galore! You could easily spend 4 to 6 hours enjoying the grounds. We found this to be a fun alternative to the Calgary Stampede during the really busy Stampede days, like weekends.
Another fantastic out of town theme park is called Granary Road. It’s an active learning center and farmers market built on a beautiful farm about 15 minutes southwest of the city limits. There is a petting zoo with many furry friends from goats to alpacas to bunnies.
Our kids loved the resident miniature horse and his buddy the donkey. There are eleven over-the-top, larger than life, educational playgrounds that will thrill the imaginations of toddlers connected by 3.5 kilometers of pathways.
If you love to get active outdoors, we suggest you explore the Rocky Mountains or the Drumheller Badlands like the locals do. Drumheller is a 1.5 hour drive from Calgary, but it has tons to offer families who are looking for a day trip from Calgary.
Toddlers and their parents will be fascinated by the dinosaur bones at the Royal Tyrell Museum. You can also visit the world’s largest dinosaur. It’s hard to miss this towering T-Rex next to the information centre.
Add on a spray park, a stop at Horseshoe canyon and a short hike on the Hoodoo trail and you’ll have no trouble filling a day!
Day Trips from Calgary to Drumheller
Kananaskis, Canmore & Banff National Park
The stunning mountains west of the city are worth a day trip at minimum. You can drive to Kananaskis Country in an hour from Calgary, where you’ll find some of the best hiking trails in the world.
Many of these easy hikes in Kananaskis are doable with toddlers or bring along a toddler hiking carrier for when little legs get tired.
Carry on to Canmore or Banff National Park for even more family-friendly hiking options. These hikes with kids in Banff have incredible scenery you won’t want to miss.
Remember, it is still mountainous terrain, so even some of the easiest hikes may include some altitude gain. It can get tiring for little legs, so when you are hiking with a baby and toddler, we recommend bringing a well-structured carrier for hiking or better yet, a specific hiking carrier that is made for toddlers too.
That way, parents can enjoy going further along the trail, when the little ones need a break or a nap. The stunning natural environments and massive mountain ranges are some of the most rewarding experiences.
Calgary in Winter with Babies and Toddlers
Calgary Flames NHL Hockey Game
If you visit Calgary with your baby or toddler during the winter months, taking in a NHL game is a riot! The fans in Calgary are loud and loyal and love their hockey. It makes for a really fun family-friendly night out.
Of course, if you want to experience the fun for yourselves, there is a beautiful outdoor skating rink at the Olympic Plaza. Skate rentals are available, and if your baby or toddler isn’t quite ready to strap on the blades, you can cruise with them in the stroller.
This provides the added benefit of a sturdy base for new skaters too!
Traveling outwards towards the suburbs, there is WinSport (formerly known as Canada Olympic Park – COP), a seasonal amenities park constructed when Calgary hosted the Olympic Winter Games in 1988. You can hit the ski slopes or try the alpine tube park (for ages 4+).
There are no childcare options at WinSport, so this recommendation is geared towards the older toddlers, if parents wish to get them skiing or snowboarding from a young age. In the summer, we discovered the amazing downhill Skyline Luge track that feels like real-life Mario karting! It’s open to all ages, with parental supervision, and we can vouch for the awesome adventure.
All in all, we found Calgary to have small-town heart and big-city attractions. Between the 800 kilometers of paved pathways, the beautiful displays of public art, the riverside retail neighborhoods, and the nearby Rocky Mountains, there is endless exploring to do in Calgary with a baby or toddler.
This article was written by Tegan Dow.
Tegan is an adventurous mom, engineer, and creative entrepreneur who loves traveling the world, especially with her husband and young daughters.