If you have little ones who find the world of policing fascinating, and if you enjoy interactive and engaging exhibits, and like FREE admission, you are going to love the YouthLink Calgary Police Interpretive Centre.
The Police Interpretive Centre is a wonderful police museum that is a state-of-the-art space showcasing hands-on exhibits, an engaging forensics lab, and a collection of Calgary Police artifacts. You can also examine evidence, photos, and other details from famous YYC crime cases.
This experience is perfect for kids of all ages, although, if you are visiting with young children and would like the G-rated tour, let the front desk know and they can inform you about which areas to stick to. Having said that, there is plenty for the whole family to do – from the littlest members to the parents. In fact, when we went with our six-year-old twins, we planned to spend only an hour there, and it wasn’t nearly enough time. As a parent, I enjoyed this day much more than expected and could have stayed much longer.
When you arrive, be sure to ask for an ‘Investigation Handbook’. It is a great way to be ‘led’ through the museum and it ensures that you hit all of the main areas that you won’t want to miss. It includes a scavenger hunt (which is perfect for the older kids to do independently, but younger children also enjoy it with a little support), a police bingo game (search for specific items within the museum), and a fingerprint experiment (where you experience getting fingerprinted and learn to examine what type of prints you have).
Don’t forget to ask about whether or not there are any free daily activities or special presentations that might be happening on the day you visit, but you can also call ahead to get this information. If you’re lucky, you might be able to catch one of their special facilitated programs. These particular programs do have a small cost to them ($19+gst per person), are approximately 2-hours long, and are intended for children ages 7 and up, because they include subjects such as ‘Catch a Killer’ and ‘Search for Justice’.
In case you’ve got a time limit when you visit, here is a short list of our kids’ favourite museum areas:
- The Canine Unit display: Introduces you to the special dogs that form the unit and allows you to try on, and examine, a real bite sleeve, a tool used for training.
- The Hands-On Police Vehicle Display: Allows you to sit in and explore a police car and a police motorcycle.
- The Simulation HAWCS Police Helicopter: Features a wrap-around screen giving you the perception that you are flying in a helicopter while also viewing a display of a subject being tracked using thermal imaging technology.
- The Tactical Gear Display: Shows police tactical gear, and equipment, and even allows you to step into kid-sized gear (our kids especially enjoyed the unexpected bonus of hearing ‘emergency’ audio through the helmet).
Older children will enjoy visiting the Safe For Life Zones, which are sections within the museum that use current information from the Calgary Police Service to provide education in Online Safety, Healthy Relationships, Bullying, Drugs, and Gangs.
Food and drinks aren’t allowed inside the museum, however, they do have a nice grassy yard with picnic tables that guests are able to use to eat packed lunches or snacks. Guests are also able to purchase food items from the eatery located inside the Police Headquarters building, which is just next door. Note: it is open Mondays to Fridays but closed on Saturdays.
Also, in case you’re in the market, the YouthLink Calgary Police Interpretive Centre has birthday party packages, runs day camps, and takes field trip bookings. They also take bookings for group tours and adult team-building events (think locked-cases).
September to June: Fridays and Saturdays 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
July and August: Tuesdays to Saturdays 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
What to know: Afternoons tend to be a quieter time to visit!
*Check their website to get up to date information on closed dates, which generally seem to be around Christmas
FREE although donations are welcome ($5 per person is appreciated but not mandatory). Also, don’t forget that the special, facilitated, 2-hour programs are $19 + GST per person if you want to experience that.
5111 – 47th Street NE