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)
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.
This museum offers some excellent material on the early history of the area, particularly on the First Nations. It has also a small, though interestingly stocked, bookshop.
We missed it the first time we were in Calgary and the second time only found it on the last morning we were there. Don't make our mistake!
The most fantastic dinosaur museum since T-Rex reigned supreme. The 'badlands' east of Calgary are some of the richest dinosaur graveyards in the world and the Royal Tyrell Museum has the most impressive collection of fossils and bones you could imagine. Great for the family.
Just outside the town of Drumheller, which in turn is and hour and a half east of Calgary.
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