It's Canada's most beautiful journey: drive from Vancouver through the Rocky Mountains (the most spectacular mountain/driving experience) to Calgary, and stop off at the Icefields, Sulphur Mountain and Peyto Lake to soak in all the glories of the Canuck wilderness. There will most likely be bear and definitely deer and elk spottings too, which the kids will like.
Easter aside, another great time to be in Calgary is July, when the Stampede features six massive rodeo events and chuckwagon races. How can you refuse real cowboys in chaps, deep-fried Twinkies with Coke and generally calorific Western fun? Calgary is reknowned for not only its oil industry but the best beef in Canada, so steak all round.
Go to America. Then bear north.
The official name is The Calgary Zoo, Botanical Garden & Prehistoric Park, which gives you an idea of the scope.
Ranks high on the international 'zoo-o-meter' for it's quality and size. Loads of things to see and the kids will love the prehistoric park with dinos and what have you.
The LRT (train) stops at Zoo Station.
1300 Zoo Road (off Memorial Drive)
16 dollars (adults), 8 bucks (kids)
Calgary has developed a unique habit when creating new neighbourhoods as the city expands. In the south of the city they dug a huge hole, made a hill with the dirt, made a lake in the hole and then built a neighbourhood around the lake.
The result? Fascinating lessons in modern urban planning. Check out Lake Bonavista, Lake Bonaventure, Lake Midnapore and many others if urban planning is your kinky thang.
The above mentioned neighbourhoods are south of the city centre.
It all started in 1912 when rodeo competition was arranged to celebrate the old west and the cowboy culture. For ten days every July this busy oil town dons denim and stetsons and has a party. There is rodeo and chuckwagon racing galore, as well as Native American culture and a fun fair.
You can eat free for the duration as many shopping centres put on pancake breakfasts. Yeehaw. Yahoo. And all that.
It's good, clean fun (unless animal cruelty is an issue for you) and at the very least it's fascinating to see such a large city get so into an event that they change their wardrobe en masse.
At Stampede Park on McLeod Trail. Easily reached from downtown by train. Starts on the first Friday in July every year.
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